World War Gay is Over!

WarEnds-300x224Unaware that their cause had been lost, a small number of Japanese soldiers deep in the jungles of the Philippines continued waging guerrilla warfare against an imaginary enemy years after World War II had ended.

Via pamphlets dropped from airplanes, newspapers left for them everywhere, and even relatives at the jungle’s edges hollering at them through bullhorns, the diehard soldiers got the news that the war had ended. They just didn’t believe it.

It’s now as obvious as a full bright rainbow in a dark gray sky that at most within a couple of generations (if not, at the rate we’re going, within a couple of years) any church or denomination still fighting against the marriage of gay couples and the ordination of gay clergy will be like those recalcitrant Japanese soldiers living amongst the mangrove trees of Lubang Island long after everyone else has accepted peace as a fact and adjusted to the new world order. As surely as the complete cessation of gunfire and your cousin’s voice through a bullhorn yelling, “Come out! It’s over! Stop embarrassing your family!” means that the war you were fighting has ended, gay people will ere long be fully welcomed into every Christian church, where just as many as you please will be serving as pastor and priest.

It took longer for some Christians than it did for others to understand that the Bible does not, in fact, support denying black people their civil rights.

It took longer for some Christians than it did for others to understand that the Bible does not, in fact, support denying women their civil rights.

And now it’s taking longer for some Christians than it is for others to understand that the Bible does not, in fact, support denying gay people either their civil or religious rights.

The Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the United Church of Christ, among an increasing number of other denominations or groupings within them, now favor the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

Science continues to affirm homosexuality as inborn (not that anyone who’s ever actually known a gay person doubts it).

The Biblical scholarship supporting the idea that Paul never wrote a word proscribing natural homosexuality is at least as credible and persuasive as the scholarship (if not the typical Bible translations) claiming that he did.

A Gallup Poll done in 1996 showed that 68 percent of Americans were opposed same-sex marriage. By 2012 that number had dropped to 48 percent.

Across the board young people today—including Christians of every denomination—fail to understand why the church makes such a big deal, or any deal at all, about gays and lesbians. In a Gallup Poll conducted in November 2012, 73 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old said they supported same-sex marriage; only four years before it had been 39 percent for and 52 percent against.

The bottom line on the whole LGBT-Christianity issue is that within what historically is an astonishingly short period of time (yay Internet!), we have reached Ye Olde Tipping Point. And from this point on that seesaw will only continue tipping further to the left.

That certainly works for me personally. For verily am I just ever so slightly weary of hollering into the jungle for the deeply confused, bizarrely obdurate Christian combatants in there to stop fighting, lay down their weapons, and come step out into the open, where they can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, relax, get a hug or ten, and finally be at peace with a whole class of citizens who, from the very beginning, never meant them any harm at all.

 


I will be including this essay in the upcoming revised edition of my book UNFAIR. As you may know, I’m asking readers to help me proofread such essays. If you would, please leave any mistake you find in the text above—spelling, punctuation, syntax, anything at all—as a comment below. (Once I’ve incorporated your suggested changes into the text itself I may delete your comment, by way of keeping a clean and focused pathway for those wishing to comment on the post itself. I know that can seem really obnoxious; thanks for understanding why I might do it. And thanks so much for your help!)

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.

  • Mindy

    And for the win . . . . perfect. :)

  • Elizabeth

    Third para from the bottom, I’d throw a Q after LGBT. The Q means a lot to some people. I’d stop short of I (intersex) and A (allied) because it starts looking like alphabet soup. Great piece. I can’t wait to see what you tackle next! Or maybe some good old-fashioned theology?

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

      Novel next. First this overhaul/update of UNFAIR, then a novel.

      • Gordon

        Cannot wait!

    • Jill

      Oooh! Ooooh! Yes to theology. We’ll have to start a queue.

    • Richard W. Fitch

      Maybe it should just be shortened to Q&A – Queers and Allies.

      • anakin mcfly

        A good portion of the community still considers ‘queer’ to be a derogatory slur that shouldn’t be reclaimed, though.

        • Elizabeth

          It’s kind of like the n-word for African Americans, no? They’ve empowered themselves by owning it, even if it makes me cringe. As a woman, I also don’t have a problem with the b-word or the c-word. We all learn to roll with the punches. A very thoughtful lesbian friend of mine also suggested ‘queen’ as an alternative.

        • Elizabeth

          I don’t mean to browbeat you, anakin. I think you contribute a lot to the discussion here. You might watch this, though. It was an anthem for the gay community in the 90s.

    • anakin mcfly

      I’ve never really understood the inclusion of Q in there – given that people who are questioning are questioning if they’re, well, LGBT. If they are, they’re already part of the acronym. If they’re not, then… they’re straight and cisgender and thus not part of the community.

      • Matt

        Some say it’s also for “Queer,” which I think is a legitimate inclusion. There are folks who are definitely queer and identify as such, but don’t fall neatly into LGBT.

      • Elizabeth

        Hi again, anakin. I’m of the generation where Q means queer, not questioning. Don’t get my college classmates started on the dilution of the acronym.

      • Allie

        You know what would be awesome to me? No letters, no letters at all, because no one cares, except the individuals concerned who need to know if the other person is interested in them in particular. Maybe someday.

        Know what you mean about “queer,” though. There are a lot of terms which are acceptable within certain groups, in certain situations, when certain people use them but not if others do. The only safe thing to do is to ask when uncertain and apologize when necessary. I almost used the phrase “theater fags,” the other day, in response to a post of John’s about his upbringing, which is certainly how a particular group of my friends referred to themselves and which they would not be offended by if I said it to them. But they would probably be offended if YOU said it to them. And quite likely many people here would find it ugly. So it seemed better not to use it.

        • Elizabeth

          Hi Allie. I’m just seeing this now. Ever since Hitler, we need to wear our letters with grace and dignity.

          • vj

            Wow. This is so profound – just started a whole chain of thoughts in my head that has me a sniveling wreck all of a sudden… In high school in South Africa in the 1980s (the height of Apartheid miseries), one of my teachers had a poster up that quoted [rats! his name completely escapes me right now], about ‘First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak up’, etc, until ‘Then they came for me, but there was no one left to speak up for me’. Truly, we need to ‘wear our letters’ – and even the letters of others.

          • Elizabeth

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

            Because I was not a Socialist.

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

            Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

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

            Because I was not a Jew.

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

            —Martin Niemöller (via the United States Holocaust Museum website) When your mother’s maiden name is Wilhem, even German is a letter you must wear.

          • vj

            Oh, THANK YOU! I was really hoping someone would post this – made my day :-)

            (My mother’s father was a Norwegian whaler [for commercial, not traditional purposes] – I wince every time I think about it, and I never even met him, as he died before I was born… It’s interesting – from a psychological perspective – that we seem to so readily carry the weight of our forebears ‘sins’).

  • Jennifer Edwards

    Amen!

  • charles

    sea….. meet change.

  • mike moore

    Taking the long view, I completely agree with you and have, on a regular basis, echoed the same thoughts.

    For today, however, let’s not forget we’re still at war.

    Our enemy is not a few misguided and lost Japanese soldiers. Our enemy is massive and global and well-organized and dangerous. And they believe they speak for God, which makes them all the more frightening.

    Our enemy is the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and conservative Protestants/Evangelicals. It is conservative and orthodox Jews and Muslims. It is the Republican Party and its platform. It is NOM. It may be our own Supreme Court. And let’s not forget about average ordinary stupid bigots.

    For example, when Pope Francis denounced the violent anti-gay protests in France …. oh, wait a sec, I just realized Pope Francis the Cross-dresser has not, to my knowledge, specifically denounced these violent gay-bashers.

    In other words, the war may indeed be won, but there are many battles left to fight.

    (John, I think I’m commenting more for your readers than you … I know you know all of this, and I know it’s a reason why you continue to write and challenge the status-quo.)

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

      No, Mike, you’re right: this war is long from won. And I appreciate the second half of your caveat: as you say, I do sometimes purposefully adapt the tone and perspective of an optimist (which, in truth, I am by nature … you know: sort of), because sometimes in battle the most important guy on the field is the trumpet bugler.

      • mike moore

        Sweet, naive, John …

        Do you really want to hand me, on a sterling silver platter, a line about you being a trumpet blower? It’s just too easy.

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

          Well, it was either that or use my first metaphor, which had to do with me pulling out of my quiver a particularly sturdy arrow and shooting it.

          • Jill

            It’s all about metaphors with men, isn’t it? ;)

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

            You’re thinking of metaforeskins. Metaphors are for everyone.

          • Jill

            You just want me to keep adding to my list, don’tcha?

          • mike moore

            if we didn’t use metaphors, we’d have to talk about our actual feelings … and, trust me, you don’t want that.

          • Jill

            Forgive me, I should have said, it’s all about *sexual* metaphors with men.

            But then, yeah. Maybe this IS better…

          • Lymis

            Sorry, Jill, that’s a phallacy.

          • Jill

            Oh my, you saucy men!

          • Lymis

            Meaty, too.

            Just sayin’.

          • mike moore

            3-pointer for Lymis!! You made me snort-laugh …

          • DR

            I laughed out loud.

          • Mindy

            Me, too, DR – and had to pretend I didn’t hear the daughters saying “What’s so funny, Mommy?!” – - –

            Saucy, indeed.

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

    (Great job so far on the proofing comments on this one, friends. Thank you! See the italicized note at the end of the post if you’re wondering what happened to your suggestions.)

  • textjunkie

    well put!!

  • Keith Carter

    This past weekend, April 19-21 2013, Community of Christ, held a National Conference where 1500 delegates voted on three items regarding the LGBTQ community.

    First, the conference voted to allow the sacrament of marriage be extended, where legal in the USA, to same gender couples.

    Second, the conference recommends that a church-recognized way for two persons of the same sex/gender to publicly express their covenant to each other be made available in places in the USA where marriage is not legal.

    In addition, the conference recommends allowing a priesthood call to be processed according to established procedures regardless of sexual orientation, including a person in a monogamous, committed, same-gender relationship in the USA.

    I am proud to be a member of this small, but progressive, denomination.

    • Lymis

      Cool!

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    When a young youth pastor gives a sermon in an established, mostly conservative Methodist congregation and suggests that considering our gay community as neighbor, fellow Christians, one of us, and not only have overt positive response by several members before the service is over, but there are no loud outcries for her ousting…I know that many prayers have been answered and the the tide is turning. Its got a ways to go, but it has indeed turned.

  • K

    Homosexuality is not in a category of race, ethnicity, or gender. It took Christians a while to realize that blacks and women deserve civil rights? So are you saying that homosexuality should be treated as one of these categories?

    Blacks and women didn’t choose to be who they are…. Homosexuals choose who they are…. So why do they get to get special treatment?

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

      Are you straight, K?

      • Gordon

        So John, when did you start attracting all these fundie trolls? Maybe that’s a good thing in your business. Like celebrity stalkers? You know your career is slipping if the stalkers leave.

        • Elizabeth

          Gordon, you should have seen troll patrol a couple of years ago. It was like a pinball game around here. Pull back the launcher and hit the next one. The quality of dialogue now is in a whole different category.

        • Lymis

          Build bridges, you get trolls.

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

            I get so very few anymore that now sometimes I just let them stay on (as I did the two today). It feels sort of nostalgic. As Elizabeth says above, a couple of years back I had so many of them it was like dealing with a cockroach invasion. Half my time was spent blocking and deleting them. But I kept at it, they went elsewhere, and I finally had the level of discourse I was after.

          • Elizabeth

            Thank you! I am a little nostalgic for the old bloodbath. Your commenters now are so honest and eloquent. Kudos.

          • DR

            Those were good days. Very Braveheart.

          • Elizabeth

            (Never saw Braveheart. I hid under my sweater during Gangs of New York. Hi DR.)

          • Matt

            Oh, don’t do that! Daniel Day-Lewis is at his utterly insane finest in Gangs of New York. Cameron Diaz was forgettable, though.

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            I like that, Lymis!

    • spinning2heads

      I think you may not have read the entire passage. Allow me to quote the relevant material for you:

      “Science continues to affirm homosexuality as inborn (not that anyone who’s ever actually known a gay person doubts it).”

      there’s your answer.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      Why would someone choose to be gay? Have you really stopped and asked yourself that question K?

      Or is it like asking me why I chose to be born in the south, or be dexterity challenged?

    • mike moore

      we get special treatment because we’re fabulous.

      (btw, how many men did you sleep with before you chose to be straight?)

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

        Oh, sure, Mike. Give away the ending to my totally tricky question.

        I swear, I can’t take you anywhere.

        • mike moore

          mike has left the building … you may call me Chief ThunderStealer.

    • Lymis

      Whether or not we chose to be gay (I know I certainly didn’t), being treated equally is not, by any rational standard, “special treatment.”

      Even if, against all the available evidence, you choose to believe that homosexuality is a choice, then at most it would fall under the same category of the choice of religious affiliation (or the choice not to have one) or political belief. Even if it was a lifestyle choice, it’s a choice people are free to make.

      So, while I fully support everyone here who is working for change and acceptance within specific denominations for the recognition by those denominations of the theological validity of our lives and loves, what does that have to do with social and civil equality?

      Do you feel that allowing Jews and atheists to have civil marriage is a “special treatment?” Do you feel that married Muslims getting the Social Security benefits they paid into for a lifetime for their surviving families should be barred because you disagree with they way they interact with God? Do you feel that allowing a denomination the choice of whether to celebrate the remarriage of divorced people is “special treatment?”

      The real question isn’t “why [homosexuals] get to get special treatment” but why you feel we should be singled out for special mistreatment. If you claim to be a Christian, then it’s you that has to justify your choice of how you treat your brothers and sisters. And if you believe in the Bible the way so many people who ask that question seem to, it’s possible that your personal salvation depends on your answer. How are you proposing to treat “the least of your brothers?” Because that’s how the Bible says you will be treated.

      If Jesus said to you at the Last Judgement, “I was a gay man, how did you treat me? I was a lesbian, how did you treat my family? I was transgendered, how did you stand up for my civil rights?” is this really the answer you want to justify?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        Note to self: ever underestimate the wisdom and power of a Lymis rebuttal.

      • Mindy

        Lymis, I don’t believe I’ve professed my love for you in a while. So here I am, once again, swooning over your response. Because it is just so . . . delicious. Thank you.

      • vj

        Awesome response – as always :-) I stand in awe of the depth and breadth of what you articulate, and the grace with which you do it, over and over and over and over again. There may not be anything new under the sun, but there is always something new to be learned from a Lymis post…

    • DR

      Please tell us when you chose to be straight. Was it in elementary school or did it happen later on in life?

      • Lymis

        Well, I can speak for myself – I asked God for years if I could please, please, please be straight. He said no.

        Thank God.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          We are all God’s creation who I his or her wisdom built an astonishing array of diverse possibilities of who we would be.

          That some of us are double jointed or have ski slope noses is as much a part of the array of possibility as being gay or athletic or tone deaf. Its all beautiful..we are all part of the beauty God has .made.

    • Robert

      Can’t remember being given a choice… do remember when I started to have same sex attraction… about 8yrs old. Don’t remember thinking to myself… wow… I am going to choose to be gay… and be hated by whole groups of people… including my parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, peers, ministers and priests…

      Oh and thanks for all the special treatment… like when a woman threw a bottle at me and screamed faggot or how about when I listened to christian minister damning me as I was taking care of freind dying of AIDS…. oh and then there was the harrassment by the account executive that tried to get me fired for being gay… (he was the one who lost his job… cause he wasn’t actually doing it)…

      Sorry “K”… there was no choice about it… and I have never gotten any special treatment for being gay…

      • Elizabeth

        This.

  • Christina

    Your article is hardly scientific. I see no doctoral research that shows that GLBT is a genetic trait. We are all born predisposed to sinful nature, but to willfully act on it where it becomes an unrepentent sin. I believe that I’m predisposed to be selfish, proud and have a short temper, but I don’t use Christ’s mercy as a way for me to keep on sinning. I know there is scripture that says that I shouldn’t lead a church because I’m a woman. I don’t see that as demeaning, I accept that scripture is perfect.

    I don’t see churches changing their views a sign of correctly interpreting scripture, I see it as the clear signs of what was warned in end times as in 2 Timothy 4:3:

    “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

    I’m confused about the Bible not being clear about “unnatural relationships.” The Bible says that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God.

    I’m sure what I’m saying is going to ruffle feathers and come across as being out of touch, but the Bible makes it clear; I will obey God and not man.

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

      You don’t come across as being out of touch. You come across as a condescending, socially maladjusted, Bible-ignorant bigot.

      • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

        To her credit, she did say that she was “predisposed to be selfish, proud and have a short temper”. Time will tell if she’s telling the truth about her temper but she’s right on about her pride and selfishness.

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

          I didn’t actually think that was to her credit. (Hi, Albert!) There’s not a person alive who isn’t predisposed to be selfish, proud, and short-tempered. She’s just setting up her spurious argument that being gay is just like any other natural sin.

          • DR

            I’m almost beginning to believe that the Rapture theology is more for us than it is for these people. God is going to quietly rapture all of these people and they can celebrate that they’re leaving all of us self-deluded false prophets behind while we all enjoy the open bar at the fabulous gay weddings we’ll be attending. Then we go to heaven too, with just a few more cocktails under our belts. Everyone’s happy. God is a genius.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

            Not much of a drinker. So I”ll be the happy DD and steal all the cocktail peanuts.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      Just because you never seen any scientific evidence doesn’t mean. that it doesn’t exist. It does, and has for some time.

      Just because you see passages in the bible one way, doesn’t male you right and everyone else wrong. What it gives you is an interpretation that you have chosen to accept. That God maybe showing others, and apparently a fair amount of others, something else should never be discounted.

    • DR

      Christine, you’re not obeying God any more or less than anyone here. You’re simply obeying the God you’ve been taught to believ based on the interpretation of the Bible you have chosen to pit your faith into, just like all of us. Like it or not, you are left with what we here are left with, you don’t have some purer view of God. Yours is man made too , to suggest otherwise indicates an ignorance of how Scripture is interpreted.

      The real question to ask yourself is why you have selected to embrace an interpretation of scripture that is so evil, it drives gay kids into despair and/or suicide. You’ll be too scared and defensive to deal with that but I know when you read it? Your heart and spirit jumped in reaction and then you probably found a way of not thinking about it. When you find the courage to really think about it, then come mom back and we will talk. If you don’t, God have mercy on you for the evil and destruction you smother this community with in the name of Jesus. You no longer speak for Christians on this issue, we don’t allow you to have that exclusive voice any longer. We are now intent on protecting the gay community from you and if you want to call us false Christians or end of time deceivers, who cares, knock yourself out. It’s the same exact tactic people like you pulled on Christians who were challenging the “scriptural belief” that interracial marriage was against God’s plan. We know better now and we are a lot less easily manipulated.

      • Cindy

        DR – I love your post! I feel the same way, and I am going to borrow some of your strong phrases to use myself if you don’t mind! WOW.

    • Lymis

      Do a Google search for “biological basis of homosexuality.” In under a few seconds you’ll have over 150,000 search results for the topic. Go to town. Educate yourself.

      So from this instant on, if you ever claim again that you have “seen no evidence” for it, it will be a lie. A big, fat, whopping, makes Jesus weep lie. And that, unlike being gay, will be a choice.

      Happy to help.

      • Leslie

        Sometimes I wish John had a like button in his comments so I could click a big, fat like to this comment, Lymis. Or better yet, a love button.

      • http://www.facebook.com/LostInSpaceMan SteveCampsOut

        LIKE!!!!

      • DR

        I’d bet a year’s salary that we could not detect Christine’s level of interest in the science you’re referencing under a microscope, but I love that you try.

        • Lymis

          I had a Navy buddy who would interrupt any discussion of politics and ask the speaker if they had voted in the last election. If the answer was “Yes” then he’d say, “Sorry to interrupt, please go on.” If the answer was “No,” he’d look them square in the eye and say “Then, shut the f*** up, you aren’t allowed to express an opinion.”

          I am personally rapidly approaching that point with people who make claims like this. They deliberately choose to remain uninformed – often, going wildly out of their way to do so – and then try to use “I’ve never seen any evidence” as though it’s a meaningful discussion point. 30 years ago it really was. 10 years ago it took a bit of effort. Today, it takes nearly superhuman commitment to personal ignorance.

          If someone said, “I’m not interested in the topic, so I won’t express an opinion,” I’d find it sad that they don’t care enough about their fellow citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ to engage in one of the biggest social justice issues of the time, but I’d honor that.

          But I am rapidly approaching the point where “I deliberately choose to be ignorant” doesn’t even count as an opinion. When someone tries to use their own chosen ignorance as a refutation of someone else’s informed opinion, that needs to be called out. More and more of this sort of “Christian” are boldly stating that their ability to proof-text actually counts as a a winning argument in areas like science and government.

          So, to people like Christine, I am nearing the point where I may find myself channelling my old Navy buddy. “Excuse me, but have you even spent five minutes with a search engine to see if there actually is any evidence? No? Then shut the f*** up until you have.”

          I probably never will get that blunt about it. I’m under consideration for the Olympic Windmill Jousting team. But it’s a pleasant fantasy.

          I do invite people like this, who complain that it’s always dark and smelly, to consider just where they have their head stuck.

          • Jill

            Ah, Lymis! ♥♥♥

          • DR

            This is perfection.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

            Gotta love it. I’m gonna try to remember that line. Thanks Lymis.

          • James

            “superhuman commitment to personal ignorance.”

            I’m absolutely stealing that one, Lymis. :)

          • Cindy

            There is such good advice on this discussion board. I am going to use this too with ignorant people who only believe one side of thing, and what people tell them to believe.

            I have used the line – the wiki page takes about a minute minute to read. But this is better.

      • Andy

        Liked repeatedly

    • Richard

      Leviticus also says it is sinful to eat pork and shellfish, to wear clothing of mixed fiber, and when a woman goes on her menstrual cycle, she must leave town for the duration. If you are a Christian, you are a Gentile. The rules in Leviticus do not apply to Gentiles, only the Levite tribe of Jews, that’s why it’s called “Leviticus”.

      If you are going to follow the Leviticus rules, you must follow them ALL, that means no ham, bacon, lobster, crab, or shrimp cocktails for you. Also no cotton-polyester blend clothes.

      • Andy

        Also, you have to keep your hair neat (or don’t shave it, if you like KJV), can’t get tattoos, can’t eat meat rare enough that it still has blood in it, can’t eat fruit from a tree within 3 years of planting it, and you have to pay your employees every day.

        I get paid once a month. I should go tell my boss he’s not adhering to Leviticus.

        • Allie

          Pretty sure most kosher butchers would interpret that not as “rare” but as draining the blood from the meat during slaughter.

          Incidentally, just to show how whack-jobs can get anything from any verse, Jehovah’s Witnesses use these verses to say that blood transfusions are sinful.

        • Jill

          This is entertaining to me, so I uncovered this, the 76 banned activities found in Leviticus. I knew there were a lot, but never found the time to delineate them this clearly.

          http://leviticusbans.tumblr.com/post/23730370413/76-things-banned-in-leviticus

          • Elizabeth

            FYI Jill, I’ve bookmarked this.

          • Cindy

            How cool. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lymis

      “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

      And it honestly doesn’t occur to you that that’s exactly what you’re doing? If the Greatest Commandment is to love your neighbor, shouldn’t you be putting some effort into figuring out how that works rather than seeking reinforcement of your own prejudices?

      • Mindy

        I’m pretty sure it honestly doesn’t occur to her. Ever. She hasn’t a clue that everything she’s learned is no less man’s version of theology than what is written and shared here – that’s far too frightening to even consider. She will not question what she’s been taught.

        People who are unable to engage in critical thinking, those who NEED lots and lots of rules – they never question those rules, or those who taught them, because their shaky house of cards might fall.

    • Elizabeth

      Oh! Oh! I know this one! It’s not genetics. It’s epigenetics. So if God created humans… http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/

      • Lymis

        It’s important to note that the fact that they are finding epigenetic roots doesn’t refute a genetic basis, it just verifies an epigenetic component.

        What so many people don’t understand about genetics is that for a lot of characteristics, even purely physical ones, there is no single gene that does or doesn’t “cause” a particular trait, and that in a lot of cases, something that is absolutely and unquestionable genetic can still be recessive or partially recessive.

        You really can’t prove a negative, but especially on the anti-gay side, too many people interpret “no conclusive proof that a single gene inevitably causes homosexuality” is not the same thing as saying “it’s not entirely genetic” – it may mean that more than one gene, or a variety of gene combinations, may be causing homosexuality.

        And, the other, really important thing to remember is that many people take for granted that there is a single kind of homosexuality. That may be true and that every other aspect of things is cultural, familial, or epigenetic, but there’s really not a lot of reason to assume that the same genetic pattern that creates a Rock Hudson or Bob Paris is the one that creates an Alan Cummings or a Paul Lynde. Or that whatever makes Portia de Rossi lesbian is the same thing that makes Lea DeLaria lesbian.

        There may be no single gay gene because there is no single homosexuality. We just don’t know enough yet. But we do have the lived personal experience of LGBT to go by in evaluating people’s personal experiences, even if we don’t have all the data on first causes.

        • Elizabeth

          I love your science responses. I’m not fixated on causation. The fact is gays and lesbians and everyone else in the queer spectrum exist. You bring up another interesting point, that the cultural and socioeconomic ramifications of being in a gay partnership versus a lesbian partnership are drastically different. There’s not a lot of overlap. And in their struggle for social acceptance, they’ve been willing to throw the outliers (BTQ) under the bus. There really is no single homosexuality.

          • mike moore

            Elizabeth, I think you need a Venn diagram to demonstrate:

          • Elizabeth

            You crafty devil. I’m a sucker for Venn diagrams.

        • Elizabeth

          PS, I’ve been informed by people who should know better that I may be straight but I’m definitely queer. It’s a badge I wear with honor.

          • Tim J.

            YAY! I love straight queers! XO

          • Cindy

            I want to be a straight queer too! LOL.

        • Allie

          However, the existence of many pairs of identical twins, one gay, 0ne straight, does prove that it’s not solely genetic. Regardless of how many genes are involved, identical twins share all of them.

    • Mindy

      Thank you, Christina, for clearing that all up. Because we’ve never heard any of that around here before. You have made some interesting choices. Best of luck with your bigoted, condescending life.

    • Lymis

      I’m not a fan of proof-texting, but when you do it, at least do it honestly.

      “Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God.”

      No it isn’t, not even if all you use is the text itself. Go back three or four verses, and what you find is an entirely different story. Whenever a text includes something like “Because of this, God…..” then you really have no excuse for not looking at what the “this” involved was.

      And it was most definitely not, “developing as a normal sexual person who, on reaching puberty, finds that they are naturally attracted to people of the same gender.” The text in Romans makes it absolutely clear that these were straight people who deliberately chose to set aside what they know about God engaged in idolatrous worship, and that the punishment God gave those particular people was to remove their sexual inhibitions and give them over to lust.

      Even if you take it on its face and take it as literally true and historically factual, all you can conclude is that at least once, God used lust as a punishment for idolatry. It does not, and cannot follow, that all same-sex desire is a punishment from God.

      The Bible tells of people being struck dumb, or being made blind, or being eaten by bears as punishments. It does not follow that everyone who is mute or blind, or is attacked by wildlife was a sinner, nor that speech impediments, failing eyesight, or problems with animals can be avoided by living a holy life. Let’s not even get into things like having the first-born children of an entire country get whacked overnight.

      Even if you honestly believe that the Romans were punished with lust (an admittedly odd choice on God’s part, when he had options like painful skin conditions available), it specifically mentions that the women gave up their natural desires, and that the men gave up their natural desires – so this text specifically has nothing to do with gay, lesbian, and bisexual people at all, whose natural desires are quite different.

      You could claim a connection to recreational bisexual behavior among straight people. You could even make a connection that this indicates a potential disfavor God might have for gay people getting into opposite-sex marriages to try to force themselves to be straight.

      Or, more reasonably, you could use it to point to a larger and clear pattern that Paul had some serious sexual issues that he had trouble working through, and that he imprinted those on Christianity right from the beginning. Not much of a fan of women, our Paul.

      But take it our of your arsenal of anti-gay texts, because it doesn’t work unless you start with anti-gay prejudice to start with. Those beams in one’s eyes can make it hard to focus clearly.

      • http://www.thegreatfulmom.wordpress.com Keshia W

        This is the best thing I have ever read.

        • Matt

          Yeah, Lymis tends to have that effect on people. If you want to really feed your mind and your soul, just go back through old threads and find his comments. They are immensely satisfying on multiple levels.

          • vj

            I agree! We need a ‘find everything ever written by Lymis button’ somewhere…

    • Allie

      Well, the problem is believing that the Bible is perfect. It isn’t. Period. Easily provable by analyzing the many internal inconsistencies within it, even without needing to use your own brain to notice many of the horrible, horrible things it says, such as an entire race of people being cursed with dark skin, and women being cursed with painful childbirth by a petulant, nasty little God completely unworthy of worship. But having chosen to pretend to believe something that no sane, educated, and intelligent person can truly and honestly believe, you have broken yourself, and can’t any longer tell truth from lies, because the truth is not in you.

      Sorry if *I* step on toes. But the Biblical infallibility bullshit needs to stop. Christ, the living Word of God, was broken when he came to Earth. The word of God as recorded in the Bible has likewise been put through a wringer. The Bible was inspired by God, but it is not perfect, and claiming it to be so in the face of reality is the religious equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “La la la I can’t hear you.”

  • Luke

    The news hasn’t gotten to where I live yet. Christian churches are still standing united in fighting tooth and nail to repulse the evil gay agenda, by which I mean they’ve dug themselves firmly into fundamentalist idiocy and they’re teaming up to help each other put on more pants.

    Just a matter of time, I hope. I don’t like being on my own with my dangerous new-age opinions, just waiting to be excommunicated.

    • Susan in NY

      Luke,

      Where do you live?

      Susan

    • Luke(2)

      Interesting. I’m a different “Luke”, but I share the sentiment a bit. The church I attend, however, is welcoming and leans progressive. Still, there are plenty of anti-gay churches and fundiegelicalwhatevers. They have lately been distracted by imagining themselves persecuted because the evil Satantic communist God-hating ACLU has filed suit against the county commission on behalf of some citizens who objected to the commissioners’ mixing highly sectarian prayers with county business.

      I hope hanging out here helps you feel not quite so alone.

      I guess I should switch to one of my other aliases.

  • Tim Northrup

    It was responses like the big, boldfaced ones doubting the central claim here that drive people who are gay and Christian most insane. What you are telling me is that something that is a state of being (I haven’t had a partner in over two years, happily single) is a “sinful inclination” while simultaneously saying I “chose it”. Sad.

    I think the war analogies I’d use are WWII at the fall of Rome or the American Civil War post-Gettysburg. Probably an inevitable result, but still a hard slog. But consenting to their war analogy just fits the fundie-conservative argument to some degree. They are afraid that gay people are at war with them (and so is the nazi-socialist president of the US, and the UN and the abortionist genocidal faux doctors, and on and on, more often than not). It is the state of siege that makes the argument seem so persuasive. Oh, look at humble us being besieged. We must be on God’s side if we’re being persecuted! fooey.

    So as much as I may get in trouble for my conservative way to getting to liberal christianity at times on here, I can’t stand such obvious hypocrisy. I just worry John that the analogy is a decade too early to be fully realized.

  • Robert

    Hey John… thanks for this piece… but truth be told… I am pleased as punch that Rhode Island finally has voted for Gay Marriage… I am from RI and it is about time… the last New England State to Vote “yes”…. maybe now I can move back.

    • Lymis

      Yay! I’m in Illinois, hoping we’ll be next.

      • David S

        Fingers crossed for you Lymis!

      • Cindy

        I am an Illinoisan too. I cannot wait for the celebration.

  • Andy

    I fear my state (Texas) will hold out a while longer, but with every additional state that enters the real world, the pressure will mount against the others. One day…

    • Gordon

      I’m hopeful about Oregon. It would be cool to have this western wall of marriage equality if SCOTUS does what they should with Prop 8 in California. My husband and I were married there in 2008 before that stupid law was passed and we are hoping that disgrace can be swept away.

      Here is the Oregon website I have been following. GO DUCKS!

      http://www.oregonmarriageequality.com/

      • mike moore

        ok, I love the Ducks … but you must always remember your priorities. GO CAL!

  • Gary Bryson

    God ordained that marriage be the union of a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-6). God also commanded that all sex outside of marriage is immoral (I Corinthians 7:2).

    Those who promote same-sex marriage, or promote homosexuality, are promoting things that God forbids. Not a smart thing to do.

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

      It’s so funny that you would use the word “smart” in the context you have.

      • Gary Bryson

        Your argument is against God, not me. The Bible is very clear about marriage and sex outside of marriage.

      • Elizabeth

        This made me laugh. Thanks John.

    • Gordon

      You know what else isn’t a smart thing to do, Gary? Troll on this website. You are about to be SCHOOLED you poor, pathetic, intolerant fool. And I get to watch! Best show in town.

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

        (I’m voting people don’t bother. How many times do you try to fill a cup with a hole in its bottom? (Oh, just stop it!)

        • Gordon

          You are right of course. The worst thing to do is feed a troll. It’s almost as bad as getting a gremlin wet.

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

            You were right too, though. We’ve got some astoundingly resilient responders here.

          • Elizabeth

            I’m addicted to feeding the trolls. I always think I can turn one around. It’s a sickness, really.

      • Gary Bryson

        I know what the Bible says about marriage and sexual morality. Since my arguments are based on the Bible, I am not going to get “SCHOOLED” by you, or anyone else who posts here.

        • Gordon

          I’ve read what the Bible says about marriage too, Gay. How many wives have ya got?? Any slaves or concubines for good measure?

          • Gordon

            Sorry, typo. I meant to write Gary! How awkward.

          • Gary Bryson

            If you can show me in the Bible where God endorses same-sex marriage, then I will apologize for being wrong and become an advocate for same-sex marriage.

          • DR

            Let’s start by you telling us when you chose to be straight. Was it in high school or did it happen earlier in life?

        • DR

          And perhaps you can tell us where the Bible prevented interracial marriage which was according to many Christians like you Gary, an abomination before God as well. So answer those questions and then we can address yours. Let’s see if you’re willing to have a conversation that’s not dictated by your own terms because you’ll find very quickly here that no one is interested in “schooling” you. We’re not terribly interested in you at all but your comments provide an excellent opportunity to continue freeing our beautiful Christian faith from people like you. Because regardless of however you want to huff and puff and try to blow this house down, gay marriage is being legalized in state after state much faster than people imagined with no damage to straight marriage. All of the fear those of you try to insert around the “destruction of marriage” is obvious in its manipulation at this point, the only one destroying marriage are the straight people getting divorced while shattering your families in the process. Cristian youth – the product of those divorces, infidelities, etc. are very clear on how the Bible is being used by a few remaining groups in our Church to extend your homophobia and are mortified by it. Basically, you don’t know it yet but your beliefs about gay men and women are already a part of our sordid past that’s happening now. The only one who doesn’t know that is you.

        • http://www.matthewgraybosch.com Matthew Graybosch

          Which translation did you use for the foundation of your arguments, Gary? Unless you used the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic original texts, you’re not arguing from the actual word of God, but a flawed translation created by men as flawed as yourself.

    • DR

      Thanks for that advice Gary. If its all the same to you, I’ll keep choosing the Biblical interpretation that doesn’t make gay kids kill themselves in despair like yours does or assume that God had one design plan for gay human beings and another for straight human beings. You keep choosing the (man made) interpretation that works for you rhat will be as much of an embarrassment in a decade as those like you who claimed the Bible was against interracial marriage fifty years ago. Good luck.

      • Gary Bryson

        The Bible is very clear on marriage, and on what we now call homosexuality. It is clearly against you.

        • DR

          LOL. Oh Gary, I’m not that easily manipulated, dear.

    • Gordon

      I just can’t help myself. I haven’t read the Bible for a long time, but I just read Matthew 19:4-6. This is what drives me crazy about you people. (And I mean that with all disrespect.) That verse doesn’t ordain ANYTHING. It is an instruction and admonishment for a man and woman who decide to form a union. It doesn’t forbid other unions and it doesn’t address opposite sex or same sex unions in any way. Keep digging, pal.

      Look, the bottom line here is that the Bible isn’t going to help you. For every verse, and there are very few of them, you think you have to support your anti-gay views, we’ve got dozens that show that the Bible is really no help to you. The truth is that you oppose gay people and gay marriage because you have been taught by your religious leaders to do that. The only people more foolish than the fools are the fools who follow them.

      This is going to happen. Adults of a certain age are going to be able to marry another adult of a certain age in every state of our union. And guess what? The world will not tilt on its axis. Other marriages will not be threatened. Dogs and cats will not start having sex. There will be no mass hysteria. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost will applaud our progress and scratch their heads and wonder why in the hell it took us this long.

      • Gordon

        A union of a man and how many women, Gary?

      • Elizabeth

        You’re like a troll parody, right? Because Biblical God allows incest, slavery, and polyamory, and what it says about homosexuality is in terms of rape and ritual sacrifice. Moral homosexuality, whatever that means, isn’t addressed.

      • Lymis

        Don’t you just love that it’s the people who claim that their entire argument comes from their deep and abiding love and respect for the Bible who can never manage to actually quote it properly or string together their proof-texts into a coherent line?

        I swear, I know people who revere rolls of Charmin more than these people seem to revere the Bible.

        Why they are not absolutely terrified to say the Lord’s Prayer always escapes me. “Judge me in exactly the same way that I judge other people” is either the most freeing or the most terrifying concept, depending on how you go about judging others.

        And seriously, if I were to say to God, “Judge me based on the literal interpretation of every single verse of the Bible, no matter what order I take them in,” at the absolute very least, I’d make a serious effort to get the quotes right. Holy Cow.

    • Roger Barton, AIA

      Gary, do you not realize (no, of course you don’t) that what Abrahamic scripture from the period of 1700 BCE through 300 CE says or does not say about ANYTHING at all, has absolutely nothing to do with the laws or constitution of the USA. The founders designed it that way, whether you like it or not. We are NOT a “Christian Nation”… much less a Southern Baptist Nation or a Pentecostal Nation. Please believe whatever you wish about whatever religion you choose, but keep your religion out of our laws and away from our bedrooms.

    • Cindy

      Gary Bryson, you are a lazy Christian. That verse does not do as you purport. I know that lazy christians don’t desire to care about the bible for real or know its truth, but that part of Matthew is an answer to a question on how a MAN can divorce a WOMAN. Even the heading in the bible is called DIVORCE, not marriage.

      And it came about from the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus, just as you have been tricked.

      And so what about your second verse. it applies to heterosexual sex as well as homosexual sex. It is a good thing then that homosexuals want to have sex within the bounds of marriage, if they are bible believers.

      I

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

    Gary Bryson has left the building.

  • mike moore

    Jesus: “love thy neighbor.”

    Gary: “but what if they’re gay?”

    Jesus: “Bitch, did I fucking stutter?”

    as found in the NAS, slightly paraphrased.

    • mike moore

      oops, it’s crack of dawn here in the east (9:15am) and through my blurry eyes I didn’t even see John’s note about Gary being gone … so, nevermind.

      • Gordon

        Priceless regardless.

  • Ken Poole

    The issue is not whether people who are gay should have civil rights. The issue is the attempt by gay activists to redefine marriage to include gay couples. This is not possible. No law can change what marriage is – the union of a man and a woman and any children produced from that union.

    The gay “marriage” issue is not about people wanting rights – it’s about gay activists wanting the rest of society to believe that their lifestyle is normal, and redefining marriage is how they are attempting to force their beliefs upon society.

    • Lymis

      No, it’s pretty much about people wanting rights.

    • Elizabeth

      Pretty much.

      • Matt

        ^ Yup.

    • Cindy

      Ken, you speak as if your perspective is the only one that is valid.

      There are different perspectives on this. They are valid too. Because they are valid, they invalidate your claim. You want marriage only for one man and one woman. More than half this country believes that marriage is more about two people who are in love and who want to spend their entire lives together.

      Your perspective has lost. Love has won. God loves when love wins! He tells us so more often in the bible than he mentions a word that means promiscuity.

  • Cindy

    Of course as a vociferous supporter of equal rights for homosexuals including marriage equality, I know everything in your article to be true.

    But reading it all put so succcinctly and so perfectly makes me feel like I am in a ticker tape parade celebrating this human rights advancement right now! Balloons and confetti and all!

    I want to shout it to the world. And I am so thankful to you for doing itr so well and being a voice for so many of us supporters!

  • Tim J.

    Without any disdain for anyone’s religious beliefs, the secular government of the United States is based on law, not on the holy books of your religion or any religion.

    Therefore, it is an absolute error to state, as has another person posting here, that “no law can change what marriage is…” Let’s clarify, U.S. law absolutely defines the parameter of the civil contract of marriage. That’s what it is and that’s what it does.

    On the other hand, the original poster could be saying that they believe that the secular government of the United States under U.S. law has the authority to tell the individuals it marries exactly what the *spiritual* content of their marriage is… Somehow, I don’t think that was his intent.

    To those who may seek to reject same-sex marriage on religious grounds: There are many churches, temples, congregations, priests, shaman, etc., who will and who have performed same-sex marriage ceremonies. There have been hundreds and thousands of spiritually blessed same-sex unions throughout history…

    Therefore, whether or not I agree with your belief system or not, your beliefs have no bearing on either the spirit of marriage or U.S. law covering marriage–regardless of whether it is same-sex or opposite-sex…

    • Gordon

      The word “marriage” is so highly charged, isn’t it? It triggers all kinds of assumptions, beliefs and passions. One of most interesting of these on the “belief” front is that the Bible defines marriage. Give me a break.

      There are many people who are fine with something called “civil unions” that, theoretically at least, secure all of the legal aspects of marriage, but it’s not called marriage. And, not surprisingly, my tribe equates that with “separate but equal” doctrine, and I’m a proud member of that tribe. But, the absolute truth is that marriage is a civil contract that is sometimes solemnized by a religious ceremony.

      I have a friend who is Jewish who asked a Catholic girl to marry him. Not just any Catholic girl. A sweet girl we went to high school and college with and who he had LIVED with for more than three years before he finally had the balls to propose to her. Neither of them was particularly religious, but it was very important to the future bride’s parents that they be married in the Catholic church. The only way their priest, at a church the family had attended for three generations, would marry them is if my friend converted. That would have broken HIS parent’s hearts. And suddenly there was this awful shadow cast upon the entire undertaking. Now, I was an observer to all this, but I found it all incredibly ridiculous. First, both sets of parents had joined in social events at my friend’s home during the years they lived together, including holiday events. There didn’t seem to be any judgment around their “fornication” since they weren’t married. In fact, it was just the opposite. There was a lot of ribbing about “when are you two kids going to tie the knot?” and that kind of thing. And then this stupid, unmarried ignorant priest inserts himself into something that was none of his f-ing business.

      My point is that the spiritual part of marriage is secondary in our society. I’m not saying it’s not important or relevant, but it has no bearing on the legality of marriage. Marriage should be a civil law guaranteed to any two adults of a certain age. The spiritual and religious aspect is secondary and it is a choice. If any minister, priest or rabbi refuses to solemnize a marriage for any reason, that is their choice and their right. But obtaining a marriage license in any City Hall in this land is our right. All of us.

      My friends ended up going to Las Vegas. I was his best man and my husband was her best man and the four of us will never tell any more, because what happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas. The things that Americans twist ourselves up in knots about drives me crazy sometimes. And look at all the really critical things we could focus all this energy, time and money on that really help our society. Ugh.

  • ed

    Don’t use the term “ye old…” since the word ye is a plural of “you” like “you people.” Ye seems to be a confusion of an ancient letter thorn (still used in Icelandic) with the letter Y. You can imagine it easily enough when it’s handwritten.

    See the Wikipedia article for more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_(letter)

    • Elizabeth

      Exactly. As your link suggests, that phrase is meant as a parody of “the 1611 edition of the King James Version of the Bible in places such as Romans 15:29…” I like the word nerdery, though. Welcome!

  • B STATS

    The Bible doesn’t support Gay marriage. Just because the New Testament doesn’t mention it doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong. It also doesn’t mean bestiality but none of you will disagree that it is wrong. The thing is people just knew homosexuality was wrong already, they didn’t need reminding. If you are gay you can never be a Christian. It is totally incompatible. And I will NEVER support it or take any gay marriage seriously. No matter how much the World accepts it, in my eyes it will always be unnatural.

    • Lymis

      Good for you. Now stand over there in the corner with the people who will never accept race mixing or uppity women pretending to be as good as men participating in academia or the workplace.

      For that matter, I hope you avoid antibiotics and things like corrective lenses and refrigeration that are equally clearly against the will of God.

      The people who “knew” the homosexuality was wrong were themselves wrong.

      As for your eyes, you’ll see better if you take the planks out of them.

  • Alex Eureka

    No amount of gay rights advocacy will remove the uncontrollable subconscious ‘ick’ reaction many people have. And that actually includes a few gay people themselves. So the whole thing is pointless. Let gays be gays please…just don’t let them constantly bother us with requests for more freedoms…


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