Hosanna! Jesus is Risen! Let us bash some gays.

[The below was written by my friend Mike Moore,* who is gay.]

Easter when I was a young boy are among my richest memories. My Mom and I lived with my grandparents in the south, at a time when on Easter Sunday men got into their new summer suits, and boys were put into little blue blazers with snappy ties. Moms dressed like Jackie Kennedy in pastel suits and pillbox hats adorned with silk flowers. Girls were put into frilly, fully-meringue dresses and patent leather shoes. (I still feel sorry for them.) And woe to those poor same-sex siblings, made to wear matching outfits. The Help were off on Sundays, of course (we didn’t live in Mississippi, for god’s sake), but inevitably they would drop by with some special Easter treat, dressed to the nines with gigantic hats that offered sun protection for every kid within a six-foot radius.

Easter baskets and egg hunts. Special early supper with the grown-ups. It was all so good.

By far the biggest deal of the day to me was my role at church. My grandmother, Mernie, was the organist and choir master at our Episcopal church, and on Easters, she “opened-up” that huge pipe organ in a way that chest-rattlingly announced that Easter was no ordinary Sunday. Mernie was a dervish: fingers would be flying, playing the upper and lower keyboards, pulling and pushing the stops, feet pumping pedals. My job was to stand quietly by the side of the organ while she brought Bach to life. In contrast to the complex chaos of her movements, she would glance at me and smile, entirely at ease, as if she were dinking out “Heart and Soul,” and give me the slightest of nods—my signal to turn the page of the sheet music. The entire Easter service depended upon my doing that right!

By 1967 my Mom and my new Dad had moved us to California. Easter still meant Sunday services, but some of the magic was gone. Soaring music became dour hymns. No grandparents. And no big black women in even bigger hats dropping off coconut cakes and baskets of goodies. However, my Dad invented a wonderful new Easter for me and my soon-to-arrive little brother. The man had a wicked talent for hiding Easter eggs, and he created the annual Egg Off, a great race to find your eggs first and win.

By the early 1970’s Easter had kind of fallen off the radar. If we went to church, I don’t really remember. I do remember still having the Egg Off, but afterwards it was Off to the Beach. In the evenings it was lamb, mint jelly, and homemade southern biscuits for dinner. Not like my grandparents’ Easters, but great days, always.

By the late 70’s, evangelical Christianity had been brought into our home, and at 16, I happily joined in. Easter again became a day of joy and celebration of Jesus. Jesus Has Risen! Sunrise services. Bach and Mahler gave way to Keith Green’s “He is Risen” (with the accompanying and happy cringes as the congregation attempted to hit those high notes).

Jesus is Risen … the crux of our faith. That which sets Jesus apart from the prophets who became before him and who have come since. A sacrifice so great it could change the world. I felt profound joy on those Easters.

But years pass. Faith shifts. Sundays became more about Bloody Marys and the NY Times crossword. But my love for Easter has remained intact. Thousands of miles separate us, but on Easter my parents and I—for all our differences and dramas—still chat and laugh about the days of big organs and big hats and Egg Offs.

And then yesterday, a very dark shadow descended over Easter.

On ABC’s Sunday morning talk show, This Week, the Reverend Franklin Graham (I just gagged a little typing “reverend” in front of this evil man’s name) and Ralph Reed, former leader of the Christian Coalition and now head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, spent almost half of their allotted time explicitly and unreservedly demonizing gay people.

Rev. Graham first spoke of Jesus’ love, and then reiterated his admiration for Putin’s/Russia’s new anti-gay laws, which has wrought torture and death upon countless gay men. He talked about how children must be protected from gay people. They replayed an interview in which Graham made a point of saying that when gay people adopt children, what they’re really doing is “recruiting” them.

Then Ralph Reed quoted statistics of “irrefutable” social science which he claimed proves how destructive to children it is to be raised by same-sex parents. (A minute later he was forced to admit that, in his own words, “the social science is just simply not in yet”—meaning he had just lied about the ‘irrefutable’ claims of harm done to children by same sex parents. But by then he had of course said what he wanted America to hear and believe, which is that same-sex parents destroy the lives of the children they raise.)

That is Reed in the picture above, as Franklin Graham is talking about how gay people are welcomed into heaven, as long as they “repent and turn,” the same as any sinner.

It was Easter Sunday. And on national television, all these Christian leaders wanted to talk about was how evil and destructive people like me are.

Easter morning. And the message they were moved to proclaim to the world was:

Jesus is Risen. Protect our children from evil gays. Hallelujah.

I thought of my grandmother Mernie. I poured myself a Bloody Mary. And I cried.


*For this blog Mr. Moore has also written A good week to hate Christians, A gay reader confronts a Catholic Bishop at an airport, and, Would you confront a pastor as this gay man did?

The This Week segment Mike is writing about is:

ABC US News | ABC Business News

"If I may ask, what would you consider a good argument?"

Atheist and Christian argue about hell ..."
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The fundamentally toxic Christianity
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The fundamentally toxic Christianity

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  • AtalantaBethulia

    RE: “But by then he had of course said what he wanted America to hear and believe, which is that same-sex parents destroy the lives of the children they raise.”

    Seems we need to have a national conversation on psych 101 and the problem of projection: How fundamentalist parents destroy the lives of the children they raise.

  • Lindsey Laney

    What a wasted opportunity to share the real, tangible love of Jesus. Instead, the message of Jesus’ love was prostituted on the alter of the conservative agenda. If there is one day that we could put aside all of our differences of opinion and worship Jesus, share joy, and speak love, you’d think it would be this Easter day.

  • DrDon

    This “Reverend’s” indoctrination center/pseudo-Christian madrasa is not far from my home and I am sorry to admit a lot of people in our area think he is just wonderful for all those shoeboxes with trinkets and tracts destined for third world children at Christmastime. Multitudes of volunteers (carefully screened to be sure no one who does not agree with his theology touches these objects) work long hours, and huge trucks and even airplanes take the stuff to who knows where. I don’t know if he and his henchmen/henchwomen include specifically anti-gay (and/or anti-Muslim) materials in these boxes but long ago I decided this sham operation is not Christian in the least. Graham’s outfit is a giant wolf in sheep’s clothing and deserves no support from anyone who truly seeks to follow Jesus.That he got a national forum for his blather on Easter Sunday is really sad.

  • Vicki Kemp Whorton

    So very well said Lindsey, that I had to share. Thank you.

  • Wilma Salley

    Yes these evil men, Graham and Reed are Christians but they are NOT followers of Jesus! They are hate-mongers just like Hitler who was also a Christian!

  • Kathy Verbiest Baldock

    THIS IS NOTHING compared to Dr. Bob Jones Easter message in 1960 in the midst of civil rights wrangling. The words are SHOCKING. This was an EASTER message!!

    It is a pdf or I would quote it. Read it John, it is NUTS.


  • Tim W Callaway

    was there a message from these gentlemen other than “you too can benefit from Grecian Formula?”

  • Yeah, I’m not far from there either living in the upstate of SC. I understand the original sentiment behind the shoe box charity, but I soon wondered how little there was in those boxes..some cheap toys, a pair of socks, a few school supplies, and whatever was stuck in after the boxes left our church, and how little direct contact there was with the kids meant to recieve these things, and how huge a production that was made out of sending boxes containing stuff we wouldn’t give our own kids to a third world country, just for the minute of feeling good about ourselves for “helping” and just couldn’t buy the spiel any more.

  • usingmyvoice

    I’m really sorry, Mike, that you were so hurt. That grieves me. Next time, please change the channel. Or turn off the TV! But don’t you dare let their vicious crap take away your joy. Don’t you dare do that to yourself! What you were seeing (and btw, I couldn’t help but notice the bad hair dye jobs on two of the three men, and an ill-concealed comb-over on Graham… who do they think they’re fooling?) Anyway, what you were seeing is the sputtering rage of a dying religion that went political, and is losing power on both fronts. jmho. (Think of a little boy clenching his fists and striking out in anger at anything around him.) Dry your tears, and stop allowing these bigoted monsters to convince you that you are anything less than wonderful – just the way you are. They are not God!!! I’ll repeat that: they. are. not. God. So come away from them. And btw, you’re not alone in this; women have been getting the same schtick from these guys for years… Hugs to you. Now go and have a blessed day!

  • I don’t watch those Sunday morning “news shows”, having long ago realized that they have as much to offer as those infomercials prevelent on stations everywhere on a Sunday morning, but not as interesting.

    These two guys, who are quite fond of the camera, or a caption in a magzine, or a full page politicalized ad in a glossy magizine that they paid for through a religious non-profit, who delight in being outrageous, pompous and evoking “contraversy for Christ” have as much to offer us as an infomercial selling eyebrow waxing kits for badgers.

    That no one has found a way to make their message the farce that it is, and have everyone recognize it is, I hope, only a matter of time.

  • Barry Chitwood

    Again, we hear the old cry about gays “recruiting” and the myth that gays are pedophiles. Don’t swallow the kool-aid.

  • Kristin Fields

    I don’t mean this as an endorsement to Graham, because quite frankly I’m disturbed by his Easter message, but I did want to share my experience with OCC. I’ve packed shoe boxes with my children for the last ten years and although I know those “trinkets” aren’t life changing, I know someone who delivered them personally several years ago and he remarked that the experience was life-changing and that the children he encountered were overwrought with joy over something so simple. I’ve also had the opportunity to inspect boxes at a shipping facility to make sure they were properly packed and at that time no propaganda or paperwork was included. I would like to hope his hateful rhetoric isn’t the underlying motivation for a ministry with such potential and one that I’ve devoted time and money towards for many years.

  • I don’t think all that many people are buying it. I think these two men are fighting a battle that is well on its way to being lost for their side, yet no one has told them to retreat or that they and their peers are contributing the failure.
    I am struggling to be civil, and not call them addicts of aging men’s hair care products…something that seems to strike many males of their occupational realm. Its hard, when they are so obviously not civil to people that they intentionally and with malice want to cause harm and pain to.

  • Jill

    Quite telling, the third sentence out of Graham’s mouth: “I’m not going to be out of a job.”

    This is why they are playing this vile, violent game.

  • An interesting take on the whole shoe box charity idea. I’ve often wondered if the money people spend on the shoe boxes might be better spent if it were put towards a village well or some other more tangible use. That said the shoe box charity can be a useful tool for teaching children about helping others and some of the things like school supplies are actually useful.

  • Dan

    Lindsey you said it well. Their message would be awful on any day, but my first response was “On Easter !!” They totally perverted this holy day and its message.

  • tanyam

    I think we need to write ABC and ask them to quit turning to these guys each time they want a “Christian story.” On Easter, for pity’s sake, there are other stories to tell than the tired conversations from these self-appointed “Christian spokespeople.”

  • tanyam

    You do know that Franklin Graham had to defend his extraordinarily high salary with Samaritan’s Purse, http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/franklin_graham_moves_to_addre.html and you do know that there are other programs that benefit children and do not give him “cover” to continue to push his name and his hatred.

  • I read that, and thought of a quote from the original star wars. “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more systems will trickle out of your fingers.”
    And yes, I am that nerdy.

  • I think Franklin Graham needs to look in the mirror for the answer to the question of why fewer and fewer young people are attending church. Until recently I though that it might be possible to have a dialogue with people like him but I have realized that they are not about religious difference it is about hanging onto political power and privilege. Being gay is not a sin nor is being in a committed same sex marriage is not a sin. Its time Franklin Graham stop using religion as a political wedge issue. But then I’m probably just one of those cultural, nominal small “c” Christians.

  • And yes, I am that nerdy. You know that’s a good thing right. Nerds rule!

  • thank you for your kind words, but don’t worry … we shook it off and had a beautiful day.

  • Jill

    Some of the coolest stuff on earth, created by nerds.

  • you’re absolutely correct … unfortunately, “buying” is the key word, and “protect our children” is still a great tool for fund-raising, and there are still plenty of buyers.

  • Jill

    I wish I hadn’t read that article. I already loathe the man enough already.

  • Jackie Heaton

    I never bought into the Billy Graham schtick and I have less use for his son. Seriously though, Franklin Graham and Ralph the smirk Reed? Unless there is a miracle of Biblical proportions their tune isn’t going to change. Especially if it fills the tax exempt coffers. Their symbol isn’t the cross it’s the dollar sign. And they don’t care who they hurt along the way.

  • Rodney McNeely

    Gay people that don’t understand why religious people are so hateful toward them remind me of people who pick up snakes, then act shocked when they get bitten.

  • pastasteve

    I’m glad Cokie was part of the conversation – why the “mainstream” media continues to use Evangelical “leaders” as spokes persons of Christianity I’ll never understand.

  • I happen to be straight, and I don’t understand why some religious people are so hateful against non-gay people. Being hateful, is just being hateful.

    I’ve also handled more than one snake in my life, all non-poisonous., usually to rescue them from a lawnmower or my cats. I’ve been bitten once, by a snake that got indoors, and was pretty frightened by all the screaming and terrified people trying to catch him. Poor thing reacted defensively when I caught him. He nicked a finger and was soon transported safely outside in a towel.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    I have an atheist friend who has surmised that religious fanatics are simply people who didn’t find comic books or Star Trek soon enough. If they had, they would have simply turned all that obsessive energy to arguing about whether Picard or Kirk was the better captain (it’s Picard), or whether Batman or Superman is the better DC hero (it’s Batman.) Ultimately, their religion is about being right – actually, it’s about being MORE RIGHT than everyone else. And that religion looks nothing like Jesus.

  • JenellYB

    this made me cry. what a horrible mess the church has made of Jesus’ name.

  • lucasfam

    I watched the “chat”…Cokie Roberts tried, but it was so infuriating for those evil men to be allowed to just keep talking, spewing hate and be allowed ON A NATIONAL “NEWS” PROGRAM to say the vile things and barely be challenged.
    We are lost until people of faith recognize and challenge hate couched in lies wrapped in the Bible

  • I’ve come to view conservative Christianity as parasitic. It survives by comparing itself to all other religions and insisting it’s the absolute truth. In the process it seeks to kill all other “false” religions.

  • Bones

    Are we on the Dark Side?

  • Yeah. I remember that. I think they “restructured” his salary so the money goes straight to a retirement account.

  • Depends on who’s asking. Now that you mention it, I have this sudden craving for cookies.

  • We understand. But a person’s thinking can evolve, a snake’s cannot.

  • Jill

    Unfortunately, this is a viable perspective in their camp. In some cases it’s their only pair of spectacles.

  • Jill

    Seriously, if Next Gen hadn’t come along when it did, who knows what would’ve happened to me. Cmdr. Data, take me away!

  • Jill

    And here I thought raising money for charity was about… sending that money to the charity. Silly me.

  • Lamont Cranston

    Is it the case that conservatives have forgiven Ralph Reed for his deceit and fraud during his involvement with Jack Abramoff, or do they just not consider anything done in the worship of mammon to be a sin?

  • I cant help but wonder what Graham’s real agenda is. His political mechanicisms, his cozying up to a particular branch of political personalities, his using his father’s name and reputation to espouse his own personal views, his making personal appearances for the purpose of promoting socio/political ideals…it all has an agenda. I don’t particularly like the list of possibilities I’ve come up with.

  • R Vogel

    ‘Their symbol isn’t the cross it’s the dollar sign.’

    Amen, amen. And they nail Jesus to it every chance they get!

  • R Vogel

    Ask Frank Shaeffer, I bet he’ll give you and earful! 😉

  • R Vogel

    Why does he need a retirement account? I thought boyfriend was coming back any day now?

  • R Vogel

    I made a comment on FB about the recent Honey Maid commercial and its follow up and some fundie dope from my high school years said something about the ‘research’ about the harm same-sex parents blah, blah, which I promptly deleted. At least I now know where he got it – I knew he didn’t come up with it on his own…

  • Jill

    We spend years cleaning up the mess left behind.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    He gets it from Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council and a group called the American College of Pediatrics,”a socially conservative association of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States”, so named as to be intentionally deceptive and easily conflated with the legitimate American Academy of Pediatrics. Churches across America (and, likely, the world) have received information and educational materials from these groups for use in their congregations that push this false science and their ideologically driven agenda.

    Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) famously grilled a FRC representative during a judiciary hearing pointing out the illegitimacy of their organization’s claims and their spurious interpretation of the raw data.


  • AtalantaBethulia

    Indeed, we do.

  • Rodney McNeely

    I completely agree. People do grow and change. However, as a gay man who spent 27 years in the Pentecostal church (where reading the Bible from cover to cover each year was mandatory) I can say this: as long as people insist on holding onto belief, that growth is very unlikely to happen.

    It is beyond sad to watch the theological acrobatics my religious gay friends have to go through to reconcile their sexuality with scripture. Because let’s face it, the fundamentalists have actually READ the books. And they’re RIGHT about them.

    Now, you can play with the language all you want, and you can contextualize scripture away until the cows come home, but the god of the Bible DOES hate homosexuals. At the very least, gay sex is an abomination to Yahweh.

    What kills me is that – instead of realizing the simple fact that the universe simply does not work the way scripture says it does – many gay people spend a lifetime torturing themselves straddling the barbed-wire fence between who they are and the insane ramblings of a bunch of Bronze-age, goat-herding mystics.

    The sooner religion dies, the sooner our species can go about the business of building a sane, decent world unfettered by myth and superstition.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Quite Tribalistic of them. Perhaps some day they will evolve beyond the four F’s of the reptilian part of our brains (Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and Reproduction) that compel us to act in this ego-centric, self-protective, distrustful, defensive, way in order to learn–as so much of humankind already has–trust, cooperation, interdependence, compassion, community and working collectively toward the Common Good. It seems that Judaism’s concept of Tikkun Olam and the teachings of Jesus should compel us to at least this much.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Which is why I love the quote I learned from Anne Lamott: “Sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses.”

  • agreed. unfortunately, these “snakes” never stop attacking, and I feel ignoring such attacks is extremely dangerous for the community, and (as John can attest to) I’m no Gandhi … so I fight back.

    Sometimes that means writing a blog post, other times a F2F verbal confrontation, or getting arrested for protest, or maybe just writing a check and donating some time. On three occasions, it has meant literally knocking would-be bashers to the ground. I do what I can, when I can.

    I may no longer be a Christian, but I’m human, and I still cry over the snake bites.

  • DrewTwoFish

    Thanks for this. I’d say both sides perform a lot of mental gymnastics to make the Bible say what it doesn’t. Sorry, Matthew Vine et al. Maybe Christians need to re-think the Bible when it asks them to do or endorse some really sh*tty stuff.

  • Jill

    And yet, get different people of differing fundamentalist movements together to discuss even just one scripture narrative– say, Revelation 7:1-8– and you find theological acrobatics all over the place.

    You can’t put all those eggs in one basket. Fundamentalists only agree with their own kind.

  • You may be right, religion may be the problem. Faith and belief certainly aren’t.

    I’m not sure how you pursue inner peace or if you even believe in God anymore, but trolling certainly isn’t leading to self-actualization. You might want to try a different approach than spending your energy insulting the readers of this blog.

  • Jill

    love any and all shout-outs to Sen. Al Franken.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    *****…but the god of the Bible DOES hate homosexuals.****

    The God of the Bible ACCORDING TO THE MEN WHO WROTE ABOUT THAT GOD. It’s an interpretive issue when the interpreting was prompted by anti-gay prejudice motivated by, surprise, Biblical interpretation. Circular thinking. Whodathunkit!!! Until lately, as anti-gay religious people began to lose control of the social agenda and the power to prevent gays calling them out. Now they are being exposed for not having and never did have a rational argument against homosexuality any more than for slavery or misogyny. So now they cry “victim” and religious oppression when, in reality, they are simply losing the battle of ideas. Sucks to be them.

  • Leslie Marbach

    Rodney, just because for so long Christians have claimed the god of the Bible hates homosexuals doesn’t mean it’s true. As I read the Bible it makes much more sense that that sentiment is flat out false and that it doesn’t speak of sexual orientation at all.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    No doubt John is way ahead of you on that.

  • Lance Schmidt

    It shows that you come from fundamental thought. While the subject of your post is anti-religious, it has the same style of the fundamentally religious, i.e. absolute knowledge claims, all caps for emphasis, strong rhetoric, dismissive language, etc. I grew up under religious fundamentalism and it took me years to realize that religious thought was just one expression of a much deeper and broader fundamental way of thinking about and approaching the world. I suspect I will struggle with the relics of it for the rest of my life; and it’s easy and natural for me to engage in fundamental thinking no matter what the subject matter may be.

  • I have never thought the Bible was anti homosexual. So when I started hearing the argument about it, I got a bit curious. It didn’t take me long to discover how little The BIble discusses it, and how much of it is either situational or up for debate because of translation.

  • Bill Richards

    Has anyone commented on Mike Moore’s use of the derogatory term “gyp?” Unfortunately it spoils an otherwise very insightful reflection; for me at least 🙁 It is hypocritical to speak out against one form of hate speech while engaging in another. Please choose your words wisely!!

  • the word usage is apt. Gyp means to cheat or swindle.

  • Rob Osberg

    As a Christian gay man in his later years I can appreciate this post very much. I say Christian, NOT to be confused with hard core radical conservative evangelicals. Coming out to my parents in 1960 when I was 13 was the most wonderful thing that had happened in my very young life. We did all those Easter things….and I enjoyed them very much. After I “came out” things changed a lot. (My parents NEVER darkened the doors of our ultra conservative “church” ever again.
    I’ve lived my life, raised my family (all good Christians) that I’m VERY proud of!!! Now in my senior years I’m looking forward to living MY life as I want!!!!
    In MY opinion, Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed can BOTH rot in hell for their hate and bigotry. They both profess hate and try to hide their vile views in what they claim is “christianity”. IT IS NOT Christianity!!!!!!….it is bigoted HATE!!!!!!!
    To our friend Mike Moore who wrote this wonderful blog….GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER!!!!!!!! Hang on tenaciously to your FAITH…..and let the nay-saying bigots who claim to be “christian” waste their words. God doesn’t listen to their HATE!!!!!!!

    With deepest respect,

  • Bill Richards

    And is a derogatory term referring to Gypsies; akin to saying one was “Jewed.”

  • really? that’s your response?


  • Guest

    I won’t even watch this. Just like I gave up reading the comments on GLB pages about the Trans difficulties right now.
    I have family who soak this right up. Well, they would if they watched tv. But they don’t do that because of the “liberal media bias”. But they listen to conservative talk radio, and that’s even worse.
    I feel sad at what Franklin Graham has done by capitalizing on his father’s popularity. Billy Graham wasn’t perfect, and I don’t know what his views of homosexuality were (probably not favorable), but he was a man who loved Christ and showed that love to those around him. He fought for civil rights for black Americans and just radiated kindness.

  • Rodney McNeely

    Except you forgot one tiny thing: As scientific knowledge deepens and broadens, it continues to prove every mystical claim made by religion patently false. You can call me close-minded if you want to, but there’s a vast difference between making a false claim with utter certitude and simply restating a fact that is observable, testable, and verifiable.

    The point I’m making is that I don’t care what scripture says about sexuality. What scripture has to say about most subjects has been shown to be demonstrably false. You can straddle the fence if you want to, that’s your right.

    But to accuse atheists like myself of engaging in the same type of thinking as religious fundamentalists is both completely incorrect and intellectually lazy.

  • Rodney McNeely

    How in the world did you get a target lock on that idea? The scripture in Leviticus clearly states that a man that lies with another man is abominable and should be put to death. It means what it says.

  • anakinmcfly

    Agreed to this, but I highly doubt that the word choice was made with intentional malice or knowledge on Mike’s part. I didn’t even know the word ‘gyp’ until about a year ago, via a similar comment as yours on another blog saying that it was derogatory, and – especially given the proliferation of misspellings I’ve seen (‘jip’, ‘jyp’ etc), I doubt many people actually know it’s a derogatory term, and mean no harm or hypocrisy.

    Chances are that you yourself use many words that you don’t know are derogatory, because unless you’re an English major (and even then) you’re probably unaware of the etymology of the majority of words you use. Mike has made no indication of being anything than an amazing person, and there’s no reason whatsoever to believe he wanted to make a dig at another group.

  • anakinmcfly

    The Bible wasn’t written in English, and among other things, ‘abominable’ didn’t always mean what it currently does.

  • anakinmcfly

    But I don’t see how it’s mental gymnastics to do some basic research into the historical and linguistic context of the Bible. Mistranslated words are objective errors, right there, and the only way to continue to claim that the Bible is anti-gay is to insist on the clearly wrong notion that it was written in English.

  • anakinmcfly

    “In MY opinion, Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed can BOTH rot in hell for their hate and bigotry”

    Nah, let’s not stoop to their level.

  • Its news to me that it has use as a derogatory term. I’ve learned something new.

  • James Walker

    I second AnakinMcFly on this. I noted the usage when reading the article and, when weighed against the body of Mike’s work that has been posted here, I determined he most likely did not intend any slight against the Romani. So, I moved on without it “spoiling” the rest of his essay for me.

  • I apologize, I had no idea of the term’s roots.

    Best to say, I think my Pop got us so wired on chocolate that he could weasel out of a first prize without us even noticing! What a sneak!

  • James Walker

    yeah, there are lots of terms for cheats and swindles in common usage that most people aren’t aware came from racially or ethnically derogatory words.

  • btw, and I’m sincere … is the phrase, “that’s like the pot calling the kettle black,” a racist expression?

    I learned this as a young kid from our help (who were black, if that matters) and have always seen it as similar to “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” but I was recently told the phrase is a racial insult. Anyone got the scoop?

  • James Walker

    nope. that one’s not racial or ethnic in its derivation. pots and kettles used to be cast iron and were often “blacked” which meant they were painted black to prevent the appearance of rust or bare metal.

  • lymis

    “Rodney McNeely: How in the world did you get a target lock on that idea? The scripture in Leviticus clearly states that a man that lies with another man is abominable..”

    Actually, it says that a man who lies with a man the way he would with a woman is an abomination. I’ve never laid with a woman in any way at all, so I assume I’m in the clear.

    But point taken. Bits of the Bible are unequivocally anti-gay. But bits of the Bible are unequivocally pro-bashing children’s heads against stones and pro-keeping a thousand concubines around, too.

  • Bones

    It was ancient ceremonial Hebrew ritual laws. (Which were probably never enacted as when these laws were written, Israel/Judah was being occupied by Babylon/Assyria/Greece/Rome)

    Has nothing to do with anyone.

    Not even most Jews would follow the torah.

  • Jill

    Truly you don’t have to care about what scripture says about anything. Obviously. Frankly I’m not always such a big fan myself.

    But you are assuming an all/nothing slant on those particular translated written words on a page, based on your comment above.

    When you read poetry, do you read it with the same vantage point as you read the newspaper? When you read fiction, do you read it with the same perspective as a biography? Not to mention, when you read a translated passage of any kind written in broken English, do you cognitively process it word-for-word?

    If the whole bible is a literal expression of *someone’s* opinion– God or otherwise–to you, then in fact you are thinking about it the same way fundamentalists do.

    The opposite side of the same coin. (BTW I’m not attempting to call you ‘close-minded’. I’m attempting to say there is more to this story than just words on a page.)

  • Jill

    Maybe one day I, or someone smarter and more adroit at scripture knowledge than me, will gather all the verses with the vile, horrid behaviors done by God’s chosen and
    the inhumane proclamations of God as written, put them in a list for easy reference.

    We can look at the sheer vastness of what faithful people who regularly reference the Bible have figured out how to overcome and move beyond, while still holding a credible and viable faith.

  • Leslie Marbach

    Actually John did that in his book, Unfair. It’s not a list, but the section on Scripture explains those verses really well.

  • anakinmcfly

    Most insults in general, actually! Along with a whole bunch of other negative words and phrases. I encountered a long list some time ago and was surprised at just how many seemingly-benign words actually had racist/sexist/homophobic/etc origins that most of us are now completely unaware of.

  • Leslie Marbach

    I think possibly you’re reading Scripture plainly, in English translations, taking it all at face value. The nuances are lost in translation. Also, keep in mind that Leviticus was written in a specific time in history, to a specific group of people, for a specific purpose at that time. It still doesn’t speak about orientation at all. Scientifically, sexual orientation wasn’t even considered at the time any of the Bible was written.

  • DrewTwoFish

    Mental gymnastics, mistranslations…I don’t know. All I know is that the “word of God” has been used for centuries to demonize and/or oppress a variety of people. This suggests to me that the word of God isn’t clear (and if so why isn’t it?) or that it is clear and what some of it says really stinks. Which again has me asking whether or not the Bible can be treated seriously but not regarded as God’s inerrant word, end to end.

    I tire of the slippery slope arguments. I don’t think giving up slavish adherence to every tit and jottle means the whole thing has to be chucked. Are we all children? We can be pretty savage but we all have hearts and brains too.

  • The sooner religion dies, the sooner our species can go about the business of building a sane, decent world unfettered by myth and superstition.

    It’s not religion that is causing the insanity. It’s the insanity of bad religion, stupid worldviews, addiction to novelty, materialism, death of culture, ecological collapse.

    Biggest monkey gets to run the show.

    “Unfettered by myth”? Just what do you think is going to save us? The Hadron Collider?

  • Maybe that is why, at least for me, the concept of the Bible as the only authoritative source of Godly knowledge and how the divine expects us to behave, fails.

    We don’t agree on content, purpose, meaning, voice, etc. To me, if God wanted to be sure we were absolutely clear on something, it would have been made absolutely clear so anyone could understand it. I just don’t see The Bible offering that.

  • I doubt there will ever be a world void of myth and superstition. Humanity is just a bit too creative to let go of the means where why try to explain things we just can’t understand, and tell embellished accounts of past events.

  • Lamont Cranston

    But stooping to their level would be the loving and respectful thing to do. After all, Frank and Ralph are bible-believers, and the bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we treat people like Frank and Ralph with condemnation and derision, we are only treating them the way they want to be treated. What could be more loving and respectful than that?

  • Imagine my chagrin when I became old enough to understand what my parents oft-repeated phrase meant: “keep your cotton pickin’ hands off…”

  • Lance Schmidt

    You made no mention of science in the post I replied to. Rather, when it is stripped down you said the following:

    1. Fundamentalist reading of the Bible is correct.
    2. The God of the Bible hates homosexuals.
    3. The Bible is insane ramblings of Bronze Age people.
    4. A sane decent world is predicated on the death of religion.

    Those are fundamental claims, and with my background in math & biological sciences I fail to see any connection between them and science. Because I’m not a fundamentalist I don’t see the Bible as the inerrant, infallible words of God. Rather, more and more I read the Bible metaphorically as a human product that speaks to underlying truths which leaves me no conflicts with science and what it can do for the good of humankind.

    Speaking of Yahweh hating homosexuals, the way the Levitical law speaks to me is about purity and the question for me becomes is purity a virtue in the modern age and what does that look like to be pure? Your post absolutely dismisses that by positing that fundamentalist reading of Scripture is right, so I guess I have to question how that is not being closed minded.

  • Jill

    Hmmm… I will have to review that happy book on my shelf. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the references specific to the so-called clobber passages only? I want to have verses like Deut. 20.11 and Numbers 31 in the list. Yucky stuff.

  • James Walker

    when exactly did the “no true Scotsman” argument become the flavor of the day when disenchanted former Christians come visiting our community here? this is, what, the third different commenter to use this tactic within a week?

  • anakinmcfly

    “Which again has me asking whether or not the Bible can be treated seriously but not regarded as God’s inerrant word, end to end.”

    That’s the progressive Christian stance, though – taking the Bible seriously, not literally. Inspired by God, but written down – and translated – by fallible humans.

  • Timothy Fowler

    I do not consider myself an evangelical per se anymore, but I did not get the same impression that Mr. Moore did from this interview. What I heard Mr. Graham say was that God loves all of us sinners, and included himself in the mix as one of those, and he did not use the term “marriage”, but adultery. Look, I have followed John for a long time and know he is an advocate for gays, and I am one of those who this panel mentioned as having gay friends. They definitely have been put upon by well and not so well meaning “Christians”. But that is true of all misguided people in the church. Calling Franklin Graham “evil” and blasting these fellows for holding to their beliefs, some that have a long history, does not set a good tone and creates the kind of discourse that I am sure Mr. Moore and John criticize evangelicals for possessing. Why can’t we have a reasoned discussion on this issue (and I think Christians, even evangelicals and former ones like me, are evolving on it) without the name calling and reactionary behavior.

  • notmike64

    ralph reed needs to come out already

  • DrewTwoFish

    It’s one thing to say, “I can’t square what I read in the Bible with the practice of homosexuality” or “It makes me uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do with that because I want to love people. Let’s talk.” and so on. It’s another thing to tell LIES, demonize people and praise those who are doing harm to God’s children. WTF?

    I’m sorry. At some point enough is enough. One needs to make a choice and let the chips fall where they may. And if getting your nose bent of joint over who does what with their naughty bits trumps kindness and compassion and justice, is there much room for reasoned discussion? I am so very tired of having to apologize for pushing back when I’ve been kicked in the head.

  • seriously.

  • Wow. Just wow.
    I have nothing against evangelicals. I was raised in a conservative church and have roots there. This is more than being critical about Graham for his beliefs (which I consider to be emotionally and spiritually abusive). He actually said people who are gay are trying to recruit children. He said that. He’s spreading a vile lie to invoke fear and loathing for gay people.

    How can you possibly defend that?

    Even beyond the most outrageous part, these men are not only stating their beliefs, they are impugning the faith of anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do. The “but I’m a sinner too” rhetoric is a not-so-coy way to insist that gay people are sinners and anyone who doesn’t agree isn’t a true Christian. They refuse to let the sinfulness of homosexuality be a disputable issue; instead they work passionately in the church to keep gay people away from the communion table, and they work in society to keep gay people in the margins (aka fighting the “normalization of homosexuality”). That is completely contrary to the example of Christ.

    How can you possibly defend that?
    Their remarks, and the reactions they elicit, are indefensible.

  • This is something that people who support LGBT rights need to stop saying. I know that there are sometimes when a very vocal opponent to LGBT rights is using their very vocal condemnation of homosexuality as cover but this is far from a universal truth. So and so needs to come out is insulting in the same manner that saying that that’s so gay is insulting.

  • notmike64

    I don’t agree with you. I am simply stating a truth. I don’t need any support nor do I care about what “god” thinks

  • Maybe notmike64 is observing the strong possibility of someone “protesting too much”

  • What?

  • I’m sorry but telling blatent lies on national television deserves to be pointed out refuted, and made sure that everyone knows that these to people are lying, profusely and purposely for reasons of their own…that’s right personal agendas. Their words and actions are hurtful, divisive, dishonest, selfish and prideful…yep prideful. They seem to take great personal delight in this activity.

    I personally don’t care if Graham and Reed are evanglicals, or devotees of belly lint. When someone goes to that much trouble to spread dissent, deceit and pain, I don’t like it, and I am not afraid to say something.

  • Lamont Cranston

    “This issue” that you speak about is my life and humanity. Right after we have a reasoned discussion about whether or not black people are fully human we’ll have one about whether I am. After all, the church I was raised in taught that black people were basically quasi-intelligent farm animals. Shouldn’t you have respect for that religious belief?

  • “A reasoned discussion”?! You must be fucking kidding me.

    Graham supports the anti-gay laws in Russia which are literally causing gay men to be murdered and tortured. THIS IS REAL LIFE HARM, NOT A REASONED DISCUSSION.

    Graham loudly crusaded for and succeeded in passing Amendment One here in North Carolina, which means MY marriage, and all the civil legal benefits which should come with it, is null. Same sex couples are not permitted to marry, and so those families – those children about whom Ralph and Franklin are so very concerned — lose out on all the protections and benefits like healthcare, inheritance, etc. THIS IS REAL LIFE HARM, NOT A REASONED DISCUSSION.

    Oh yeah, and speaking of the children … these creeps may have dodged the question on “This Week”, but they are on record that they would indeed prefer to see children in institutions rather than loving same-sex parent households. So, these children, about whom these a-holes are sooo concerned, are TODAY living in institutions rather than loving homes. THIS IS REAL LIFE HARM, NOT A REASONED DISCUSSION.

    These men are causing great, actual, measurable, harm to many innocent adults and children every single day. They work very very hard to harm us.



  • Thank You.

  • Oh, Mike. Must you be so angry? Can’t we all just get along?

  • [People who don’t know me. That was me being funny.]

  • angry-ish gay man reporting for duty, Sir!

  • notmike64

    in essence James Jarvis I made that remark with tongue and cheek as a man I can say whatever I want…he is gay ….and we don’t want him …I am not a supporter of gay rights I am gay …matter of fact I am an american who happens to be gay not a LGBT supporter I do what I want when I want it is you offends me

  • Jill

    Yes! Exactly this. Emotional honesty here would be more than simply a nice change of pace. This brand of believer doesn’t get a free ride to espouse cruelty and incite mob mentality, and then merely recline back in their (faux-)superiority without consequence.

    They don’t like gay sex. Big fucking deal. Their approval is not required. There are plenty of things I loathe about them, yet I don’t fight to dial back their rights.

  • Jill

    I still love that you have to explain. Makes it even funnier.

  • Jill

    I adore your angry-ish ways. But you knew that.

  • Ditto.

  • Jill

    You know, if everyone simply ignored these ass hats like we ignore how many calories are in a slice of cheesecake, I’d say let them have their :15. But no. They do *too much real life, measurable damage*.

    One brilliant day when that particular brand of screeching no longer organizes worldwide human rights violations, then we can get back to our regularly scheduled reasonable discussion. Priorities, people.

  • “Particular brand of screeching”
    What a delicious phrase that is.

  • lymis

    If you want to understand more about where this particular recent wave of claims came from, do a bit of research into the recent so-called study by Mark Regnerus. Commissioned by anti-gay funding sources specifically so they would have a study to take into courts, both the methodology for collecting the data and the conclusions drawn from the faulty data have been roundly condemned – so much so that even his own university had to distance themselves from it and disavow it’s findings.

    The claim made was that it proves that children raised by same sex parents do badly, but the fact is that only two people in the entire study actually lived with a parent in a same-sex relationship for more than two years. The majority of the “children of gay parents” were actually raised by the straight parent after the divorce.

    But Regnerus separated out children raised from birth by the same parents and children of straight parents who were divorced, and only compared children raised by the ex spouses of gay people with children raised in unbroken homes, and then declared it proved gay people are dangerous to children.

    Google “Regnerus study debunked:” https://www.google.com/#q=regnerus%20study%20debunked&safe=off

  • lymis

    “Except you forgot one tiny thing: As scientific knowledge deepens and broadens, it continues to prove every mystical claim made by religion patently false. ”

    That is in itself a scientifically inaccurate statement. Anyone who claims that science “proves mystical claims to be patently false” isn’t actually using science.

    Science can disprove the idea in specific cases that a miracle or mystical cause is the only possible mechanism for some specific thing – epilepsy and multiple personality disorders are no longer seen as demonic possession, for example.

    And science can explain the mechanisms of the world around us – including the way our brains process (or mis-process) the stimuli we receive.

    But a reputable scientist is going to be very hesitant to make a flat statement that science has disproven any religious claim. Heck, reality shows that most scientific claims need to be refined even when they only attempt to describe purely physical phenomena.

    A religious claim for miraculous intervention may not be scientifically likely, and given that they are by definition, not usually repeatable under controlled conditions, science is certainly unlikely to weigh in to support explicitly religious claims. But that’s a different matter than being “proven” false.

  • lymis

    “when exactly did the “no true Scotsman” argument become the flavor of the day”

    It’s never NOT been the flavor of the day. It’s always easier to claim that the people doing the vile things aren’t “really” followers of your beliefs rather than admitting that, yes, people who follow the beliefs you follow are often really nasty people.

    It’s not limited to religion. And it’s not new. But the corollary isn’t true either – what amounts to “one Scotsman, therefore all Scotsmen” idea, which is as common or more so – people blaming modern Episcopalians for the Spanish Inquisition or Quakers for the Crusades, as though nobody has ever held a contrary belief to any other Christian and all are to blame for any abuses.

  • speaking as guy of Scottish descent with 5 family tartans, I can safely say no True Scot likes to drink Irish whisky. Beyond that, you guys are on your own. (insert drunken plaid smiley-face)

  • Regnerus was pretty much shredded in court. An excellent day for schadenfreude. The judge wrote: “The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” he wrote in what must be one of the most stinging and decisive repudiations of an expert witness in memory. He cited evidence that the conservative research was “hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder” which clearly expressed its wish for skewed results. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/03/21/michigan_same_sex_marriage_ban_struck_down_along_with_fake_regnerus_research.html

  • R Vogel

    You came out at 13 in 1960?!

    You, sir, are awesome! Blessings

  • James Walker

    it’s one of the few things left that make me lose my cool. I’ve fought long and hard to reclaim my Christianity after my crisis of faith so many years ago when I finally “owned” my sexual orientation. to have some ex-fundie come along and declare me not a “real” Christian because I’m not stuck in a set of beliefs they themselves no longer hold to makes steam come out my ears.

  • James Walker

    I’m not sure even the Irish truly “like” drinking Irish Whiskey. 😉

  • MikeEinspanjer

    Darling, human behavior 101….A heterosexual man who is comfortable with who he is, his sexuality, his very being, will never preach about homosexuality. He will not actively seek to condemn gay men and women. A heterosexual man will focus his energy on things that apply to his life. It’s not normal for a heterosexual man to spend 60 or 70% of his time devoted to preaching about gay people. I’m not criticizing, rather helping to illuminate. When a man spends the majority of his time in the light of the media or in his personal life, talking about something that has no real effect on his personal life, it would make the average human question his motives. If a pastor or politician’s raison d’être is to defame a gay person in lieu of attacking homelessness or poverty or war, it might lead us to think he or she is battling some demons within their own soul.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    He says the same things OVERANDOVERANDOVERANDOVERANDOVER………………………………..

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    … and capes! Chicks dig the cape.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    “Ha! I see what you did there! You put Reproduction in place of Fart-jokes!”

    – Captain Obvious

  • no no no, didn’t you watch The Incredibles? no capes!

  • I pretty much agree with you on this. The amount of time that men like Ralph Reed and Franklin Graham spend on preaching condemnation of gays and lesbians is way out of proportion to the rest of what they talk about. This I believe is in large part a political strategy meant to appeal to their political base. The fact that they spend so much of their time condemning gays and lesbians rather than attacking homelessness, poverty, and war would indicate to me that they are not concerned with following Jesus but with obtaining power and keeping it. They wrap themselves in the flag and wave the Bible in the air and all the while they are preaching against love and justice that is at the heart of Christianity.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    They should be asked what their own sins are so that they can be stopped from recruiting children!

  • Why don’t you speak for yourself and not the Irish?

  • James Walker

    the comment was tongue-in-cheek, and intended to lighten a mood that had gotten entirely too heavy after being accused one too many times in a short time period of not being a “true” Christian by one “group” and of not being a “true” gay by another “group” all because my particular set of beliefs don’t fit neatly within the boxes some folks like gays and Christians to fit in so they can casually dismiss us without actually listening to what we have to say.

    so, you know, please don’t try and school me about “speaking out of turn”

    also, I’m of Scots-Irish descent (yeah, yeah, I know, that probably made you even MORE likely to just casually dismiss anything I say from now on)

  • My mother is Romani, more commonly referred to as Gypsy. I grew up in an environment where slurs against her people, and myself and my sisters because we were ‘half-gypsy,’ were common. So that being said, I really, really hope your use of the derogatory slur ‘gyp’ to describe being cheated was made out of ignorance, and that you don’t actually believe that using ethnic slurs against the Roma is permissible.

  • James Walker

    that was actually discussed, at some length, in another comment below.

    look for the comment by Bill Richards.

  • Yes, I see it now. But I’ll still express my disappointment that the slur remains in the article especially after establishing how derogatory it is. You can treat it as an intellectual curiosity all you want. It’s never been directed at you, has it?

  • James Walker

    that particular one, no, but I’ve had plenty of other epithets hurled my way. I deal with them on a case-by-case basis, using whatever information I have available about the person to decide how offended (or not) I’ll be.

  • Such is your right. But it’s also my right to remove myself from an environment where epithets that affect me are going to be treated casually. So I reckon it’s time for me to leave.

  • James Walker

    Mike (the author of the article) not only apologized for his usage which came out of ignorance, but once informed that there are several similar terms with racist/classist/sexist origins, asked some good questions to help avoid making such a mistake in future.

    I think the term is still there in the article because Mike doesn’t know how to edit it out and John may not be aware of the discussion that took place.

    My take is that before departing, you should PM John on his Facebook page and ask him to remove the derogatory term.

  • Steve Flower

    I’d point to an easier, simpler answer….right out of the history books. It’s so much easier to gain support (friends, connections, money, you name it) when you and your audience share a common enemy. Hitler and the Jews, White Dixiecrats and black people, Hutu and Tutsi, Sunni and Shi’a, conservative Christian and gays. Once one can establish that *we* are good and *they* are immoral trash trying to destroy *us,* people throw money at *us* to vanquish *them.* It’s all historical – but the last couple chapters of “Stranger At The Gate” by Mel White codified it for me.