Update on Las Vegas Church ($) Supporting Leader of Anti-Gay Bill

Recently I posted about Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas who has publicly admitted to their financial support of Martin Ssempa, the man leading the charge in Uganda to pass the Anti-Gay Legislation. When this information went public, the Southern Nevada Health District, who had been partnering with Canyon Ridge to do HIV testing, has now (as we just got a confirmation call from them) cut ties with the church.

Yesterday my good friend Warren Throckmorton was live on NPR with Canyon Ridge’s senior pastor, Kevin Odor. You can see the full details of why pastor Odor continues to financially support Ssempa here. This stuff just amazes me.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • corrie

    heard this live, only caught my attention because of Throckmorton. did you go to GCC too?

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      No… But I’m good friends with Throckmorton!

  • Eugene

    “Why do we, as a church in America, need to say something about a bill in Uganda?” [Kevin Odor] asks.”

    Now, where have I heard this before? Let me think…

    …Actually, it’s remarkably similar to Rick Warren’s first reaction to this bill:

    “…it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”
    (http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2009/11/29/pastor-rick-warren-responds-to-proposed-antigay-ugandan-legislation.html)

    Fortunately, bad publicity is a wonderful thing, and now Warren is pretending to care about gays in Uganda. I wonder if he could explain his reasons to Kevin Odor.

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      His series of responses that finally ended in speaking against the bill took waaaaay too long to put out there. I just don’t understand why folks are backing Ssempa – relationship with him or not, it’s just not right. Not biblical. No matter how you look at it.

      • Eugene

        Uhm… what if I remind you that homosexuality was illegal in many civilized Christian countries only 20-50 years ago? What if I remind you that, according to Leviticus, men who have sex with men “must be put to death”? Was it “just not right” back then?

        The thing is, many people have been taught that homosexuality is a serious – even “mortal” – sin. Is it any wonder that it affects their worldview?

        • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

          Eugene – You don’t have to remind me. I actually talk in my book about the crazy laws that AMERICA had 20-50 years ago (pages 55-57). The craziest of all was that it wasn’t until 2002 (only 8 years ago!) that the ‘sodomy law’ re: privacy in a home was nationally overturned; among a number of others until the 70′s. Thanks though. I know you already said you don’t want to read my book because you can read my blog, but you’re ‘reminding’ me of things that don’t need to be reminded because I’ve already publicly been over that…and so have the 40,000+ people who have read my book.

          • Eugene

            You see, I felt the need to “remind” you of that only because you said that you “just don’t understand” why people support anti-gay preachers and anti-gay legislation. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that the anti-gay aspect of conservative Christianity is the main reason.

            And, frankly, I don’t think that the gay community will take your “bridge building” efforts seriously until you denounce “Christian” anti-gay beliefs. Your ambiguous stance on homosexuality sounds just as insensitive from my perspective as Kevin Odor’s non-committal stance on the Uganda bill sounds from your perspective.

  • Jack C.

    Eugene – I’ve never commented even though I have been reading since the summer of 2009. And I did so because you, Eugene, are one of the nastiest people.

    How dare you link Andrew to being as insensitive as Odor to the Uganda Bill.

    You’re nuts. I am a gay man, partnered, have adopted kids, I am NOT a Christian and don’t know Andrew personally, but his book and his work have influenced my conservative Christian family so much they are not only talking to me again after not speaking to me for 20 years (!!!), but they love me unconditionally now (and for the first time in my life I can say that truthfully) even though they don’t “believe” how I do. You could have paid me millions of dollars and I still would have never believed my bigot family would talk to me again, let alone love me, be a part of my life, my husband and my kid’s lives, and love them as much as they love me. It’s literally a miracle. And it’s all because of Andrew’s work. So screw you Eugene. You don’t speak for anyone but yourself – and I am not the only LGBT person who thinks how I do. Have you read any of the LGBT sticking up for Andrew all over the internet? Get a life. I hope Andrew ban’s you because you have no idea what it means to, as he says, be peaceful, productive and build bridges despite differences in theological, social and polticial ideologies.

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Jack C – A few things:

      1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. What has happened with your own family and your extended family is so humbling. For me to play any part in that reconnection is beyond anything I could ask for. Thanks for being on this journey with us through the blog as well.

      2. Your words to Eugene are quite harsh. Though I can see where you’re coming from, people will have their opinions about me and this work, no matter where those opinions are formulated from. I want to be fair to everyone on this blog, and name calling is not allowed and there is no room for it. I already warned Eugene once, along with a number of other people in the past, so here is your public warning as well. Please read these:

      http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2009/i-blocked-someone-today/

      http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/learn-what-it-means-to-dialogue/

      3. Since you’ve been reading this blog for a year, you see you can have as strong of opinions as possible in disagreement. Just no name calling. I really, really appriciate you having my back though. Much love!

      • Jack C.

        Andrew – I know, I know. No name calling. My one saving grace is that I’m not a Christian and therefore don’t subscribe to the same set of beliefs :) All I know is that you’re the real deal and I have seen the tangible ways you have impacted a life I thought was totally dead. I mean totally dead when I say that. 20 years they hated me and didn’t even say one word to me after I came out! Now everything is 180 degrees different because of your work. If only you would have been doing this work decades ago I wouldn’t have lost my entire teenage years and a huge chunck of my adult life. And when people like Eugene waist your time, energy and emotions like he/they do, it’s not worth it. I just had to say something. He probably won’t listen to me anyway, but I could give a sh*t. Look, I even censored that one just for you. Much love back to you Andrew, with all my heart.

        • Eugene

          No, I will listen to you! :) (my reply is below)

          Still, I find it a little unfair that your family hated you for 20 years, but you call me “one of the nastiest people”.

  • Eugene

    “You don’t speak for anyone but yourself – and I am not the only LGBT person who thinks how I do.”

    I guess it’s important for us to understand that I could say precisely the same thing about you – and I won’t call you “one of the nastiest people”.

    I’m glad that your conservative Christian family finally loves you. My family has always loved me, and when I finally came out to them, it was a non-issue. The thing is, they aren’t conservative Christians. Now, can you please forgive me for viewing conservative Christianity as a problem, not as a solution?

    “I hope Andrew ban’s you because you because you have no idea what it means to, as he says, be peaceful, productive and build bridges despite differences in theological, social and polticial ideologies.”

    Is that why I’m offering peaceful and productive criticism? Sometimes Andrew doesn’t fully understand how some of the things he says sound from a different perspective – and he already knows it (e.g. http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/are-gay-equality-rigths-orgs-really-fighting-for-equality/). If I actually wanted to be disruptive, I’d surely be more creative about it.

    It’s easy to believe that “a bill in Uganda” has nothing to do with “a church in America”. In a way, Kevin Odor is right. Whatever he says, Uganda won’t suddenly become a pro-gay country.
    It’s almost as easy to believe that homophobia and anti-gay laws have nothing to do with the belief that homosexuality is a sin. Christians “love” sinners, don’t they?

    But, in both cases, the connection is there. And it’s important for us to acknowledge and denounce it.

    There are millions of LGBT people whose parents/friends already love and accept them. Naturally, they are unwilling to tolerate homophobia. More importantly, they view it as an “external” problem. Is it any wonder that gay-affirming messages seem more important to them than bridge building? Your story demonstrates that bridge building is still very important – even though you didn’t really need to call me names…

    My point still stands, though. If you actually want to build bridges between the communities, you need to acknowledge the connection between the belief that homosexuality is a sin and its negative consequences. How would it sound if Rick Warren refused to criticize the anti-gay law for the sake of “bridge building” between American Christians and Ugandan Christians? Yes, it would sound as if he secretly condoned it. And, yes, that’s how Andrew’s stance on homosexuality may sound from a purely pro-gay (or even a purely anti-gay) perspective.

  • Jack C.

    Eugene, you said:

    “I’m glad that your conservative Christian family finally loves you. My family has always loved me, and when I finally came out to them, it was a non-issue. The thing is, they aren’t conservative Christians. Now, can you please forgive me for viewing conservative Christianity as a problem, not as a solution?”

    That’s the point! Sure, you had an accepting family from the start. Mine wasn’t, and so also are tons of other LGBT people’s families who are conservative. Now, I finally understand why you can’t stand Andrew and his work so much – you can’t stand conservatives because to you, they are the root of all evil against LGBTs. But, and this is a big B-U-T, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like them or not! There are still a TON of them. And they’re not going away.

    To use your own analogy, do you think one day all the conservatives will just wake up and be not conservative or not think “same-sex sexual behaviors” are not a sin? If that’s what you think you’re fighting for, you’re waaay off. We need people like Andrew to be a voice to them, if for nothing else, to lead them in a more peaceful, productive and compassionate way. Just like he did with my family, and he didn’t even know it.

    You’re trying to fight a battle that will never be won by anyone. Maybe legally (which would be great! – and PS, who cares what Andrew’s stance is on gay marriage because that is 1) not his concern or goal; 2) not about what he’s about, which he is about reconciliation), but surely it will not win the hearts and minds of those who will never theologically agree with you. Plus, Andrew wrote about this in his book a lot, “working off of the false model of an ideal situation.” (it was a main theme, but specifically mentioned on p. 39, first 2 paragrahs). Funny how it applies exactly to you and your arguments. Looks like he was actually right all along… That amazes me. This straight guy knows the thought process behind your arugment better than you yourself.

    Also, you talk about perspectives and how things sound through the LGBT filter. Obviously you aren’t applying that to yourself in how Andrew’s message sounds to conservative audiences through any filter but your own gay filter. Oh, he also talks about that in his book on pages 33-35.

    Andrew recently tweeted: “You will stop failing when you stop trying to succeed and start establishing Kingdom.” You, Eugene, work in a success/fail metric. That’s not what Andrew’s work is about. You’re trying to ‘win’ when the work of The Marin Foundation isn’t even playing the game.

    You’re trying to “expose” the best thing we have going for us, in Andrew’s work. You think the conservative world would listen to any of us LGBTs? You think they listen to progressive or theologically liberal straight Christians? Nope and nope. That’s why we have this culture war going on. If they listened to us, there would be no culture war! Hello!

    Andrew – keep on keepin on my brother who believes nothing the same as I do. Your life’s work is an impact to so many thousands you don’t even know, who will never comment, never be public. I’m strangely proud of you; your Lord knows I wouldn’t have enough guts to do what you do and get this stuff from both sides. I have now decided it’s officially easier to just ‘come out’ and be LGBT. At least then, 1/2 of the back and forth is on my side. :)

    • Eugene

      “That’s the point! Sure, you had an accepting family from the start. Mine wasn’t, and so also are tons of other LGBT people’s families who are conservative.”

      The thing is, it’s not my fault. I realize now that I won’t get a sincere apology from you, but I don’t really care.

      Just like you, I have lost my entire teenage years – only because the society wasn’t gay-affirming, so I couldn’t expect my parents and friends to be gay-friendly. So, no, I didn’t have “an accepting family from the start”.

      “To use your own analogy, do you think one day all the conservatives will just wake up and be not conservative or not think “same-sex sexual behaviors” are not a sin?”

      No, I think that anti-gay bigots will be getting increasingly less numerous and powerful with time – just like it happened to racist Christians. Yes, I guess “people like Andrew” can “lead them in a more peaceful, productive and compassionate way” – but I’m not entirely sure that it will make things better for gay people. It can be done in many different ways.

      And, no, I’m not “working off of the false model of an ideal situation.” Andrew believes that love is “tangible expression of an unconditional behavior”. How can you win hearts and minds of the gay community when you aren’t even trying to fight their battles (e.g. marriage equality) in a tangible way? And, no, you don’t need a 100% “win” to make a big difference – as evidenced by Andrew’s willingness to fight the Ugandan anti-gay bill.

      “Obviously you aren’t applying that to yourself in how Andrew’s message sounds to conservative audiences through any filter but your own gay filter.”

      No, I have specifically told him that I actually understand this. (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-2-note-to-skeptics/comment-page-1/#comment-3741)

      “You think the conservative world would listen to any of us LGBTs? You think they listen to progressive or theologically liberal straight Christians?”

      Well, if that’s the case, Andrew could lead by example, showing that even a strongly Evangelical Christian can actually be strongly pro-gay. It’s a little ridiculous to expect the gay community to be “peaceful and productive” towards Evangelicals when most of them either vote against gay rights or don’t say anything about it.

  • Dora

    There is a direct link to right wing christian money in the US and Uganda.
    This link was exposed. This is deadly for gay people in a lot of African countries. We’ve had contact with gay Africans for a long time now, and the gay movement is global. So we need to always warn our international brothers and sisters of what American right wing christians are up to.

    Conservatives don’t really change on all basic issues, but they do eventually shut up and stop funding things. The black civil rights movement is a very good example of this. Black churches have not gone away, there is still a strong need for a black centered christianity. Right wing groups give lip service to anti-racism, because the LAWS were changed through struggle. The racists are still there. They just can’t get away with public racist comments as much.

    The gay and lesbian civil rights movement is pushing back anti-gay conservatives. I’d say they’ve given a really bad name to christianity, and they commit the sin of using god’s name in vein. They use the ‘word of god” to attack gays and lesbians. Bridgebuilding will not change these churches, but legal action will. Gay marriage is now legal in two states, one of which I am proud to stay is Iowa–long a very progressive gay friendly place going back to the early 70s.

    Whether the conservative churches call us sinners or not, is not of much consequence, but their interference in the legal process and a democratic society and my medical and tax benefits is very much a problem. The idea that gay = sin is the excuse they use to deny us civil rights. It’s that simple. They used to say that slavery was god’s law, or that women couldn’t speak in church– they used Paul as an excuse to deny women the right to vote back then. Things don’t change very much, but social progress does force certain “concessions.”

    As I’ve said before, radical right wing christianity has been the noose around American life. They used to gain traction in virulent anti-communism, which cost untold thousands to suffer in the U.S. in the 1950s.
    They were the same people back then standing in the way of the New Deal, social security legislation, black civil rights, women’s rights, other minority rights. It’s just who they are. We won court battles because we were willing to fight back– Stonewall was a riot. Women used to die of illegal abortions because these people wanted to make sure women had no access to safe birth control. There are still many christian conservatives who believe that unborn children have precedence over a mother’s life, not all mind you, but hundreds of thousands of christians believe this.

    What changes is when American society changes over time. Fortunately, these right wing christians don’t have full power in this country. They are well funded, and international in scope, they are hypocritical too. From McCarthyism to the Minute Men to the homophobes challenging our rights at the ballot box and court house, they don’t ever change. They move over when their view becomes so absurd that they hold no traction anymore.
    That’s what causes the shift, not their actual ideology or biblical worldview.

    Once you get what this is about — liberal secular rights vs. people who actually want a theocracy, you’ll see the historical patterns. Thanks Eugene for your courage here. I support your critiques, and I’m glad you speak out. Sometimes the people who were born more recently don’t know what the legacy of right wing christianity really is. Oh, did I mention anti-semitism? Forgot that too. They want to return all Jews to their homeland so that the second coming of Christ will happen. I’m not kidding, listen to their radio shows and read their books.

    Should our community be open to straight people so easily? Straight people could do a lot of damage to us by giving aid and comfort to our enemies. I’m not even saying this is intentional on the institute’s part or its employees. I’m saying that clueless straight people talking to these groups could actually make it harder on gay youth, for example. That’s what’s at stake here. Will the persecution of gays come to an end? Never fully. Homophobes, racists and male supremacists will always be with us alas, from age to age. But whether they are a minor irritant or a huge force for legal attacks against us remains up to the gay civil rights movement itself. We have pushed this issue to presidential politics, and have committed to a struggle to the end.

    Our progress as a people, built on the visionary early leaders, changed America forever. Mothers who left those churches to be with their dying sons changed America, PLAG changed America. The greatest danger to gays is our minority status. Coming out is what changes things, but we have to be careful so that our gay youth don’t get suckered by these reparative therapy types, among other things.

    I have every hope that our movement will prevail, and that someday, most of this right wing nonsense will sound as weird as 1930s style American fundamentalist anti-semiticism. Hatred of Jews is always there, it just doesn’t get as out of control with a strong progressive political agenda, that makes the U.S. safe and just for all people… especially the disenfranchised. That’s what the real America is all about.

  • Dora

    “It’s a little ridiculous to expect the gay community to be “peaceful and productive” towards Evangelicals when most of them either vote against gay rights or don’t say anything about it.” This last comment of Eugene’s really hit the nail on the head. Evangelicals in my office are DEAD and I do mean DEAD silent. The day after Prop 8 passed, I went into the work room, and put them on notice. “Stay the heck out of my way today, one wrong word, and I WILL TAKE ACTION.” Believe me, they shut up!

    With very strong secular straight allies, gay rights activists, ordinary gays coming out of every closet and learning to fight back, the bigots will be less and less obvious.
    The thing that is tragic is that it didn’t matter what type of family you were born into at a certain time in history. Your childhood and teenage years were destroyed by a homophobic toxic world. There was absolutely no place for gay teenagers of my day, and certainly no powerful places on a university campus for true gay life to flourish. The hatred of straight people, the complicity of the medical profession calling us mentally ill, and the vicious suppression of gay people was ever present.

    My partner’s childhood friend was caught in bed with her girlfriend and sent off to a mental hospital never to return. The threat was real, the dangers huge. We were living under a terrorist anti-gay regime known as straight society. Now we battle in the streets against Mormons, against evangelicals, against the catholic church. We have huge enemy forces, and still, with all their money and their “god” they still can’t stop our movement.

    I don’t think I have ever met one straight person who seems to really get this. The straight world did everything in its power to erase my very life.
    Fortunately for me, my family was loving, and highly educated. My parents were sophisticated and open minded. My relatives risked their lives in the civil rights movement. My Dad was very aware of bigotry and taught us kids how to fight against it.

    But what about gay kids in those gay hating churches their parents belong to today? What about them? It must be even worse for them, because I at least had kind priests and nuns to teach me religion, and the example of a life outside of heterosexual marriage. The brilliant nuns (the first woman I ever met with a PhD growing up was a nun) were an example of women who lived independently of that heterosexual system. Looking back on it, I realize several of them were closeted lesbians. They looked after me in a positive way, and encouraged my scholarship. Churches can be good and do good.

    But what about those teenage boys? And why should all boys have to conform to gender stereotypes? What about gay youth? Should they trust those creepy “youth pastors”? That’s a scary thought Eugene!

  • AdamN

    Ooops! I’m still here… I just have had to come back and visit and see if the conversation had moved forward. Apparently Eugene is a nasty person I hear! How dare you question the Marin Foundation, Eugene? Its positive affirmation and “bridge building” all the time or you will be banned!
    So has anyone posted this here yet?:
    http://www.signorile.com/2010/07/more-of-that-false-prophet.html
    Really interesting reading the comments there vs. the comments of the gay people supporting Marin here. Gay people over there think the audio is pretty damning, scary and creepy. Other people there have mentioned fearing for gay youth (It wasn’t just me after all! (Sigh of relief)) But over here none of the supporters seem to want to address the audio. Interesting!
    More importantly:
    Andrew, are you going to address the audio links in full to make things clearer, such as directly speaking to LGBT concerns about the audio? As well as address the whole Advocate retraction lie thing?

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Yeah, that was already posted on another post. Thanks. Also, I will be posting stuff about it to answer the accusations.

      • AdamN

        Looking forward to it!!

      • AdamN

        Andrew,
        I actually like a lot of what you wrote in “Part 3: A note to Skeptics”. Its the first time since discovering the Marin Foundation that I am convinced that your intentions aren’t anti-gay, even if I still disagree with some of your positions, and its possible affects on the gay community. I would add that from what I read while others seemed to believe in your positive intentions while doubting your methods (Eugene) I was pretty strongly convinced otherwise, thus the harshness of my comments. I think that my possible misunderstanding of you and your organization is your use of troubling language, something which you admirably owned up to in this recent post, and your non-committal position, something I still have a lot of trouble with.
        I get that you wanted to turn comments off after being worn out by the debate but I really don’t think you should have. You did a good job of expressing yourself about the aims and goals of the Foundation to your critics even if you have not answered all our questions. This is something you may not have done as well if the debate had not happened. Ultimately debate is good and healthy I think. If you find the debate to be unproductive to your ultimate goals, it is worth modifying it and addressing it differently to re-engage it and recenter it. This is something your recent post did, for me at least.
        Here are my two points of contention with your position (its worth remembering I’m an atheist with no interest in organized religion, my only investment in the debate is in the welfare of my community):
        1. Ultimately I still find your neutrality troubling. I get that you want to build a bridge between two sides but ultimately I think there is a very clear right and wrong here, as with any civil rights struggle. Particularly I think that not staking a clear claim on the side of justice and equality for gay people is ultimately against your Christian faith. I would urge you to re-read Martin Luther King and his ideas as well as others like Desmond Tutu.
        I think that the correct way to proceed is to be an advocate for the gay community in dealing with the conservative church, firmly on the side of gay equality.
        2. I still I am VERY worried about how your organization is dealing with churches and christian groups interactions with gay youth, even if you did express ultimately positive intentions. I still see the potential for incredibly harmful things there for gay kids. I think that what is needed is a change in tactics that protects them first and foremost. I would very much like to speak to you more about it, whether here in the comments or over email.
        Thank you,
        Adam

        • Jay

          Told ya so, Andrew. God bless you brother, but they’re here for one reason and one reason only…to be a bone of contention.

          • AdamN

            HUH?!?! What are you talking about?
            Did you even read my comment at all? How is appreciating and complimenting Andrew’s post and wanting to have a dialogue with him, being a bone of contention?? Seriously, you totally missed the point of my comment entirely.

          • AdamN

            Oops. I did just realize that I used the word ” contention” in my post but that was only in addressing two issues I continue to with the Marin Foundation. Ultimately my last comment was about extending an olive branch and attempting to re-open up dialogue with Andrew, in other words pretty much the absolute opposite of being a bone of contention. I was never here to just be a thorn in Andrew’s side anyway. If you really believe that, then you haven’t been paying attention to my comments or Eugene’s or Dora’s. We are all concerned about our community here. How couldn’t we be?

        • AdamN

          Andrew,
          Would you be open to speaking to me (in comments or email) about gay kids and the Marin Foundation??

          • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

            AdamN – Of course I would! I’m open to whichever avenue you think is best. We can email or we can talk on the blog – as I’ve said before, I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m not trying to prove a point with that statement, I just want to let everyone know how honest I am about answering everything. My email is andrew@themarinfoundation.org. You will get an auto-reply when you email, but I will be on the look out for yours so I can respond asap. Looking forward to talking.

          • AdamN

            Hey Andrew,
            I’ve been slammed with work and family stuff this last week but will be emailing you next week.
            Thanks for being open to dialogue with me.

          • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

            Talk to you next week then… :)

  • Dora

    AdamN, don’t hold your breath. Listening to these “insider” tapes of a seminar is kind of a window into the bizaar world of fundamentalist christianity. Right wing radio is full of these “seminars” — and we have a bunch of men running around the country teaching these classes. Back in the 70s it was right wing women teaching classes on “fascinating womanhood” and we lesbian feminists were just amazed. Now it’s the guys’ turn :-)

    So this institute is kind of a window to that world, that most of us never see.
    I know I could not sit through one of those conferences if you paid me a million dollars. But it’s good for this information to be put out there so gay people can hear it for themselves. I guess you have to hear this to believe it. As they always say on the Internet these days: “we couldn’t make this
    s— up!”

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Dora – Looks like AdamN won’t have to hold his breath. Thank God! Will be posting my responses soon. Thanks for the thoughts.

      • Jay

        Why bother, Andrew? Judging from their responses thus far, nothing you say will make any difference. They don’t want answers, they want to drone on and on and on and say the same things again and again! But, answer if you must I suppose.

        • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

          I have literally thought and prayed intensely about this. My head and emotions keep telling me ‘no’ (as well as half of the people I know). But my heart keeps telling me that I have to (as well as the other half of the people I know). I guess I would rather have my side out there than to continue to have everyone else’s and not mine. At some point I can’t keep answering everything. It is draining, and it is taking a whole lot of time away from actual bridge building work. But in this time and place I feel this is what I need to do. I don’t know if and how I’ll keep responding, but at least to this recording, I will. Thanks for the continued love and support Jay!

          • Tobias

            Hey, I have said this a couple of times but since I think it is really important, I’ll repeat myself. You should really do a video-chat with these guys or even better, meet. Emails and online discussions are just no adequate way for what this discussion needs. Humans are not made for this.

  • Dora

    I don’t think this institute is anti-gay. I think it’s about straight people attempting to deal with their fundamentalist upbringing as well as gay people dealing with it.

    It is not about liberation for gay people. It is not about the liberation of women. It is about dealing with the gay hatred that is common place in fundamentalist circles. It is about dealing with churches who drive other christians out of the church, or terrorize people still in it (gay kids in fundamentalist churches).

    And as with any job or industry, there is a market for this stuff, and people obviously want to deal with a different kind of conversation. Most fundamentalists have painted themselves into a corner. What they do is fade out in time. The catholic church lost the battle on birth control, so they fixated on abortion. Gay civil unions won the day, and the homophobes now draw the line at using the word “marriage.” Mealy mouthed as always, they hated civil unions, till the sacred word marriage enraged them more.

    Straight marriage in this country is a joke. It is almost as broken as congress or the federal budget. So straight people can’t even deal with their own lives… wife battering, incest, divorce, porn addiction, dead beat dads, messed up families. After awhile, even I can’t fathom the whole thing. In any gathering of women, there can be times when every woman in the group has been divorced. I never have been. And I’m the lesbian who supposedly doesn’t have any civil rights. Truth be told, no one was celebrating me when I got together with my partner. We had to really love each other, because social acceptance was not the reason for us being together. No parents were pressuring us to get married, nobody bugs us about not wanting children. In our freedom, maybe we had a lot more than most straight people with all their privileges. Now that’s an irony, or maybe it is god’s little joke.

    Once upon a time a woman was baffled when I said we had appealed our marriage to a higher power, and by-passed the State of California. “Oh, I didn’t know federal law supported gay marriage,” she said. I smiled, and said no, “we had the support of god for our union.” That stopped her dead. She had never heard that one before, because we always felt god was really on our side protecting us. We just had to stop listening to human men :-) and pay attention to god. My partner has a very special relationship with Jesus… I don’t get this all that much, but Jesus is big around here. Come into our house, and you’ll see amazing things. Straight atheists are a bit amazed :-)

    Jesus spends a lot of time talking to my partner. And then my partner reports to me on that dialogue. No fundamentalist church has any say in our prayer life, and again, ironically, having so many churches so hostile to us made us more spiritually self-sufficient. :-)

  • Christin529

    I do not believe that I have ever posted on this site before, but after reading the past few blogs I have felt it necessary to share. I read Andrew’s book (Love is an Orientation) when it first came out – I was in his target market (conservative, evangelical Christian). The book changed my Pharisee (hypocritically self-righteous) mindset and helped me remove the stigma that I had put on the gay community. Through Andrew’s book I have been able to reconcile several relationships with friends. (Thank you, Andrew)

    I will be the thousandth person to say that I do not agree with everything Andrew says. Does his neutrality bother me sometimes? Yes, it does, BUT I believe in Andrew’s goals – create reconciliation and restore relationships. I do understand that if chooses “sides”, we would just continuing arguing about right and wrong and lose this battle of reconciliation. So get this…instead of us spending efforts disagreeing – he is trying to help us find the commonality by bring “two different groups of people on a human to human level whether in agreement or not.” His goals are not to make us all into Andrew Marin clones. And his goals are not to even make us agree with one another. He just wants to reconciliation.

    The question you have to answer is:
    Can we restore relationships and reconcile without agreeing with one another?
    Absolutely. But on both ends of the spectrum, we have to give and let go or it will never happen. Reconciliation is not about agreeing with everything everyone says. It’s about agreeing to disagree and still have a relationship.

    • Eugene

      The thing is, we can’t “agree to disagree” when the other side keeps supporting laws that take away our rights and freedoms – from the Ugandan anti-gay bill to Prop 8 and DOMA. Andrew’s theological neutrality would be more appropriate if he fully supported gay rights – including civilmarriage equality. But he can’t expect the gay community to “restore relationships” with Christians when Christians (including Marin himself) can get married, and gay couples can’t.

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences Christin529! Much love indeed.

  • Dora

    Yes, I would agree with AdamN. And Eugene too. We are very concerned about our community, and about any attempt by conservative christians to undermine our movement from within. It’s why a lot of us are pretty tough, and not going to put up with homophobia. The main reason I comment here is because I want a solid lesbian and gay message to get out there, and I don’t want this website co-opting pure gay community thinking. We know straight people read this blog, so they will get the real thoughts of many of us, and maybe learn something. Since almost all of us grew up in straight homes, and many people here grew up in straight christian conservative homes, like any oppressed group, we know a heck of a lot more about you than you know about us. Blacks know more about whites, women know more about men. The oppressed have to be alert, because oppressors are dangerous. Right wing christians are our enemy, and they are dangerous to our mental and spiritual well being. So Eugene, AdamN, me and others have to make this clear.

    Let me get at a phrase that I see a lot here— it’s this “we don’t have to agree with everything you say” to get at reconciliation.

    To tell you the truth, I have often wondered if this phrase is some kind of right wing conservative code phrase for “we secretly think you are horrible people… but we won’t light a cross on your lawn or call you mean names..we’ll tolerate you” That’s one thing I often feel. Because when I think of it, I interact with lots and lots of people— some are very good friends, some are aquaintences whom I enjoy, some are just neighbors I wave to— I really don’t know the opinions of a lot of people. A lot of the time, unless I specificially ask, I don’t even know who people voted for in the last presidential election. If men voted for Hillary, they usually volunteer this information. :-) I often don’t people’s religions or professions, but I do know if I like them.

    I have friends who are atheists, so naturally, I wouldn’t talk about god all that much around them. They are very good people, better people than fundamentalist christians a lot of the time.

    So there is no way any two human beings will ever be in complete agreement. My partner of many years and I don’t agree on a lot of things.
    We certainly have differing spiritual opinions. When we first met, my partner wasn’t even baptised, and became a christian later in life. Maybe she saw me getting up early every Sunday to go to church, rather than getting drunk on Saturday nights :-)

    I think that right wing straight people might be very surprised at who gays and lesbians actually are as real people. Our activist community is so enraged now, that it is publically ok to hate all of the straight christian conservatives out there. You get to bash us 24/7 on the radio, we don’t own all those stations, but we sure get to bash back in the streets, and in the epic battle over marriage and the military–neither of which seems very visionary from a lesbian perspective, but hey, it’s all the rage with romantically minded youth.

    Because people are coming out at a much younger age these days, that means that their age mates will have more connection to their gay peers.
    You get to hang out and have fun–gay and straight kids together, which was virtually impossible in my youth. So this issue of gay is really in the face of fundamentalist christian youth in a way it never was before–maybe part of the hysteria on the part of right wing parents perhaps–just guessing here.

    No right wing church will ever be acceptable to me. The language is sexist and the ideas weird. So no, I will never agree with any right wing conservative on issues that deeply matter to me, ain’t never gonna happen in this century :-) That said, I believe individual straight people will come to know gay people, and not demonize us. But let’s see you challenge right wing radio talk shows– comparing gay people to prostitutes and the mafia… making gay people criminals. Last time I looked, the legal code outlaws prostitution and the activities of the Mafia. That’s a common thing said on right wing radio that I wish Marin would get them to stop doing.
    That might be a start.

  • Dora

    As I’ve said many times, conservatives have gotten it wrong on every major civil rights issue of the 20th and 21st century year to date. They look like fools and racists as history marches on, but that never stops them from attacking a new group. Gays and lesbians are simply the new kids on the block out in the streets. God supported slave owners, god supported the subordination of women (they still think this), god supports keeping gays from getting married.
    America is about the expansion of rights, and the one time we tried to restrict rights in the constitution, it was a miserable failure– Prohibition.

    The expansion of civil liberties has always been hard on authoritarian patriarchal systems. Authoritarian male dominated systems like right wing christianity are always pretty problematic. And it is always the oppressed who eventually rise up and find their voices. The people who are standing firm for gay and lesbian civil rights without equivocation are going to be the heroines and heros of history, the people who sit on the fence are going to lose their place in history. It’s pretty simple. You can dialogue all you want, but in the end, it comes down to access to power, jobs, social security benefits, property rights and social rights.

    Civil rights for blacks–men and women, women, and lesbians and gays are not negotiable. There is no “dialogue” about this. You either support gay freedom or you don’t.

    Again, history will be a harsh judge. The people who compromised with the oppressors are not going to look very good. And conservative churches are going to look as bad as white supremacist churches of the old south. It’s just that simple.

    • AdamN

      I agree with you Dora that history is not going to look kindly at people who remained neutral during our civil rights struggle. We already see the evidence of that in the past with black and female struggles for equality.
      The thing is, I don’t really see why Andrew seems to either not understand this or sees taking up a position as against his faith. He already mentioned that he believes marriage equality is inevitable so from there its pretty obvious that gay people are on the verge of achieving equality under the law in the next 10-20 years (my guess is more like 10 or less). Just like most of the racists eventually gave up saying that the Bible supported slavery after African American’s gained equality in the 60s, Evangelicals are going to begin to walk away from gay hate speech and their “sureness” of the bible condemnation of homosexuality of sin. They will have to do this if only out of self preservation in a society that is becoming more equal and inclusive and, I feel, in a couple of decades its going to look like an embarrassing history of bigotry that most Christians are not going to want to talk about and that the will deny as anything to do with true Christianity. Why not be a part of the force that really helps get them sooner? Its in the best address of both gay people and the church really.
      As for not taking a stance as a Christian position, I’ve already mentioned Dr. King as a powerful example of a false this idea is.

      • AdamN

        ackk! Sorry for the horrible grammar, missed words and typos (address=interest). I really got to get better at checking these things before I post them.

  • Sally

    Hello all,

    I am so sorry to hear that none of you have read the Bible for yourselves to see what the Bible says about all these things. Anything filtered through a human is bound to be interpreted badly.

    It doesn’t really matter what any human thinks is a sin or not. Anytime one is not being kind to another human in any form it is a sin, ie. not sharing or rumor spreading. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin. There is no listing in the Bible that states that one sin is worse than another. You might be surprised to see what the first four of the Ten Commandments actually are. (A quick Google search here may be in order.) Sin is sin.

    Of what are we absolutely certain? That each of us will die. That each of us has sinned. Men will not judge us once we die, God will. So maybe you think there is no God and you will not be judged. Look at the intricacies of our plante, the stars and DNA – are you ABSOLUTELY certain there is no God?

    You may enjoy gambling. This seems like a very foolish bet to me. If you are right and there is no God, you lose. If you are wrong and there is a God, then you really lose.

    So you argue that you win during this life because you lived as you liked. Or did you? As you well know, if you go beyond the rules and the law there are surely consequences. These rules and law are there to save you from these bad circumstances. If you break the law, you lose your freedom one way or the other: jail, addiction, loneliness, sickness.

    The good news is that Jesus has paid the bond for our release. If you are sorry for your sins and accept His free offer and His outstretched hand, He will save you.

    Too good to be true? Wouldn’t any good father offer to bail his son or daughter out of jail, especially the first time? Why wouldn’t the creator of your soul want to show His love for you and save you?

    Is there a catch? Yes, you become a different person and allow God to get rid of your sins one by one so that they no longer control you, so that you no longer feel like you have to or so that you no longer even want to do them.

    It is a lifelong process, this is why Christians do not necessarily look any different from the average person- for a very long time. This is why they seem like hypocrits. They know what goodness is supposed to look like and they want to help others find Jesus. They are still in bondage to some sins in their own lives until God can free them from each one, one by one slowly so that they are really free not temporarily free.

    If a person had to wait to share Jesus until all their sins were overcome, no one would be able to share his/her story about finding Jesus.

    If you are brave enough to jump into reading the Bible for yourself, you may want to start with the book of John in the New Testament. Of course, the Bible can be complicated. God is complicated- look at the world. Imagine the largest library in the world. God knows every word on every page – and everything about every author. The Bible is relevant and helpful to everyone, from the person just beginning to someone who reads the Bible everyday for 100 years.

    If the Bible is too daunting for you or you want to be sure that you should read the Bible versus the Koran or other religious book- I recommend reading A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. God does not ask us to check our brains in at the door. The Bible is truth and it is provable.

    Do your own research and quit pointing to Christians as an excuse to justify your own behavior. It wouldn’t work in a court of law, it won’t work in the ulitimate judgement.

    Why is it so hard to believe that the One who created you loves you, yes, you! despite the mess you’ve made of your life!!! Why wouldn’t He do anything to help you fix your problems? Give Him a chance. Don’t push Him away. Ask Him if He’s there and if He loves you!!! He’ll answer you.

    He can use whoever He wants to get His message of love to you -even this short response through this hypocritical, way-less-than-perfect, Jesus follower. I pray that God shows you all this week through His amazing signs and wonders that He loves you!

    • AdamN

      Sally,
      I am not sure what the point of your comment was in the context of this conversation or if there was really any point at all. Against all better judgement, I am going to respond to your comment even though I am it seems like quite a silly endeavor on my part.
      First you assume that others here have not read the bible. I had a bar mitzvah and read quite a lot of the old testament in Hebrew. Did you? I have also read the new testament. I have read Hindi, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist and other religious texts as well. All have interesting things to offer but personally I don’t believe in organized religion and instead am interested in understanding reality in a kind of spiritual/scientific/humanistic way. Its my path and my truth. However I would never be so rude, bold, or inconsiderate to force my non-religious, atheistic/spiritual beliefs on you and fail to understand how it is somehow excusable from your position to do that to me.
      A lot of your ideas of sin and heaven and hell are inventions of Christianity and are not nesc. applicable to the religion I grew up with, which is much more ancient and, in it’s many follower’s minds, a much more authentic and “true” understanding of G-d. That’s part of the problem many fundamentalists have in this kind of conversation, what is “true” and “real” to you is based on YOUR religion and is not at all true and real to anyone else. Your specific religion, no matter how much you personally believe in it, is not the reality for anyone else. When you talk about systems of belief, you have no business in speaking about truth or reality, which exist independently of your beliefs. (You can accept that fact and still believe in your religion by the way)
      Again I really feel “blessed” to have grown up with Judaism. Judaism, for the most part in the contemporary world, is a religion without proselytizing. Jews are the “chosen people” and a minority. To be a Jew and be proselytized to by an Evangelical Christian is quite an experience. Christians have no idea how insensitive and disrespectful they come across when they do this, just like Mormons who “convert” dead Jewish Holocaust victims. Its insane and morally wrong to FORCE your culture on others and tell them that it, and it alone, is the truth. How would you like it if a Muslim or a Jew did that to you? Your truth is YOUR truth, your god is YOUR god. You have to learn to believe in what you believe but still understand and be RESPECTFUL that others may not share your belief system and that that is OK, otherwise there is no way we can all get along because you have set yourself up as an antagonist to everyone else.
      Personally I have no need for a religion that believes that my sexuality is a sin, something I know with every fiber of my being is an absolute and total UNTRUTH. I have no need for the god of the old testament or Christ or Buddha or anyone else beyond the cultural/historical interest of learning about them. I have found my truth and my reality in nature, art, science, humanity. I don’t believe we are born in sin (what a sad thing to believe in my opinion!) What you believe rings entirely false to me. But I am fine with you believing it as long as you don’t push your beliefs on me. Hows that for bridge building?

  • Dora

    I’m not sure who you are addressing Sally— AdamN or me. I think AdamN said he was atheist or agnostic. As for me, I am very well versed in the bible, my partner has been an ordained minister for over 15 years, and has written extensively on christian ideas. So maybe it’s AdamN you are talking to, I don’t know.

    What typically happens with conservatives, is they get on the wrong side of history. Then as history changes, they pretend that they never held these views or just kind of keep quiet about them. The father of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley was a vicious racist, his writings in the 1950s about black people are horrifying. Later in life, he admitted that only the federal government could have intervened to end segregation. He was a conservative christian. And I believe he was still a racist, he just kept quiet about it later.

    This kind of wrong side of history behavior has been going on in the US for a very long time. When you come out in favor of civil rights of any kind, you are taking a huge risk during the early days of the movement. You risk death.

    Taking a position on contemporary civil rights issues still takes considerable courage. Back in the day, I risked my entire career and being rejected by my family to come out of the closet. I suffered many tangible career set backs for being an out lesbian. My partner simply didn’t have the economic opportunities taken for granted by mainstream christian ministers. We both worked about five times as hard as your average white straight man. We are both very very good at what we do as a result of having to work that hard. Believe me, I have no patience at all for inferior straight men getting preferential treatment in my work place; they so obviously do.

    So this comment about humans being sinful is in reference to gay people?
    Or is this just a comment about all of humankind Sally? I’m not really getting the tie in to the kill the gays legislation in Uganda, and its right wing supporters in American churches.

    One thing I do notice, is that it is easy to condemn a foreign country for its laws– even Bush I and II supported AIDS education in Africa, as long as it didn’t address gay sexuality. It’s far easier to say that gay marriage will become a done deal than to have the courage to say that gay people as a group have a right to as much family protection as straight people, and that children of gay parents deserve security on behalf of their kids too.
    Gay marriage provides security to gay families, and protection for children in those families. You don’t want the state of West Virginia confiscating your kid.

    We are not talking about murder, theft, or drug addiction— sins. We are talking about gay people, who are fighting for civil rights. The two simply can’t be logically equated unless you believe being gay is inherently a sin.
    Straight people are fond of thinking the bible says this. Gay people say this is simply an excuse to discriminate, drive gay people from god, and create more hatred against gay people.

    Why do conservatives always remain on the wrong side of early civil rights struggles? Because a conservative person hates change, and wants belief fixed and unchanging. Christianity is not fixed and unchanging, it has changed dramatically over the centuries, and so has the institution of marriage. The nuclear family is new on the scene.

    I can tell that the gay and lesbian cause is gaining true traction because straight people are now appearing in larger and larger numbers at our protests. More and more straight people realize that this is a part of American tradition, and that to reject human rights or civil rights is ultimately futile. Once a movement is born, and a people united, the will of the rather indifferent majority changes in time.

    Most straight people are too busy to hate us. They are just overworked, their kids might be struggling with drugs, they might have a home in forclosure… so gay rights is about as real to them as walking on the moon.

    There really will be no reconciliation between conservative anti-gay christians and gay people. Eventually, they’ll just kind of die down and pick some new group to attack… Muslims might still be a viable target for them, or unsubmissive wives is always a topic.

    Dr. Martin Luther King had no use for fence sitters or liberals. He lead his people in the streets, and thousands were jailed and killed. Believe me, most southern white christians were totally opposed to black freedom, just as they are totally opposed to gay marriage today. There are plenty of straight people who will say: “Some of my best friends are gay!” This is often a response gays get here as an excuse for questionable beliefs or tactics. Martin Luther King did build bridges, he fought for civil rights and invited everyone to join him. Many whites took up his call and paid for their lives. But fence sitting and “dialogue” were not MLK’s tactics.

    Moral courage knows no compromise, but there are people who can’t face this reality. They’ll point out their support for gay and lesbian civil rights after the fact, just as right wing conservative christians will finally drop the issue… probably when it isn’t a potent fundraising tool. Maybe they’ll return to anti-abortion activism. They are still closet racists and sexists, so maybe they’ll be closet homophobes, who knows?

    • Eugene

      “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

      –Martin Luther King, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

  • Sally

    I am truly sorry that I have offended you all. It is interesting that you all believed that I was trying to convert you to some religion. On the contrary I was trying to introduce you to Jesus so that you could have a personal relationship with Him.

    Frankly, the only truth I pointed to was that we all will die and that none of us is perfect. (I continually pointed to myself as a sinner frequently so I do not understand how you, Dora, misinterpreted my statements to apply to gays only.) I do believe that Jesus is the only hope I have. I was merely attempting to share the peace I feel with all of you. My comments were not directed to anyone in particular. I think everyone needs to hear and be reminded that they are loved unconditionally every once in awhile.

    Adam, I am grateful to get the Jewish perspective, thank you for your answer. The Bible is clear that your people are the chosen people of God and that His promises to them are unconditional. We can clearly see from history that a nation/people that bless Israel is blessed while those that curse her are cursed even to this day.

    My brother-in-law is Jewish. It is interesting how we can talk about Abraham’s near sacrifice of Issac but as soon as I mention God’s sacrifice of Jesus he changes the subject.

    I am studying the Jewish feasts and must confess that I have a lot to learn. I find it fascinating that the spring feasts parallel Jesus’ first coming, the empty summer months-the spreading of Jesus’ message and the fall feasts parallel what Revelation describes regarding Jesus’ second coming. Jesus was Jew who celebrated the Jewish feasts. Most Christians are Gentiles and are not as blessed as you to have been brought up with your knowledge. It is a pity that Jews are hesitatant to share their knowledge with Christians (not that I don’t understand their distrust of outsiders especially Christians). Messianic Jews are truly blessed in my opinion.

    I am curious. I understand what you have against Christians. What do you have against Jesus?

    • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

      Most of the time, people don’t have a problem with Jesus. It’s his followers that’s the problem.

    • AdamN

      Well first off, thanks Sally for acknowledging the offense. That’s already a promising leap forward in attitude from most Evangelicals I have spoken to.
      Here are some things though:
      Its pretty impossible to read “I am trying to introduce you to Jesus” as anything other then an attempt at conversion. There is an assumption in that statement that one is already unfamiliar with Jesus, that one”needs” to be introduced and if one is introduced he/she will find “the light”. That is still a pretty fundamentally insulting way to speak to others of different view points and cultures.
      I also feel I need to remind you that I am only a Jew culturally and don’t believe in the religion. I don’t believe in the idea of Jews as “chosen people” (note the quotes here and above) and in fact find the entire concept of anyone being chosen above anyone else truly immoral. I am also not a Zionist. (Many religious Jews are also not Zionists) My position on Israel is complex but I certainly don’t believe any group has a fundamental right to a piece of land based on ancient religious texts.
      Maybe your brother changes the subject because he believes at that moment in the conversation like you are about to attempt to convert him? I know I would!
      I don’t think Jews are at all hesitant to share their knowledge (well at least not Conservative or Reform Jews, or anything to do with the Kabbalah) Just go to a synagogue and check it out. Speak to a Rabbi. Just don’t try to “introduce anyone to Jesus’s love”.
      I have nothing against Jesus, I never said that I did. I just don’t believe in him just like I don’t believe in Zeus.

  • Dora

    I think if you are writing on a christian site Sally, you should not insult the intelligence of the people on the site. We’re all well versed in the bible, some of us have been christians far longer than the founder of this site has been alive, and we’ve had the added stress of dealing with really hostile hating people in churches.

    Nothing annoys me more than that arrogance or ignorance of people who think we don’t respect Jesus. Jesus is great. We have a problem with right wing christians who think we don’t have a right to marry, raise families or even have a supportive prayer environment. We have to put up with non-stop hate speech against us, and a multi-million dollar gay attack industry– in which the attackers use the name of Jesus against us.

    It’s pretty serious. We are literate well educated people, with considerably more political activist experience than most straight people who come here, unless they come directly out of the civil rights movement or feminist movement. Straight people were not in the streets with us in great numbers until very recently.

    And I think you should read Letter from a Birmingham jail, which AdamN so helpfully quoted above, because this is what we are talking about. We are talking about the cowardice or indifference of the “moderates” who think gays should know their place and not get out and battle for our civil liberties. It is a war, and the oppressor misuse the bible and attack us.
    We are not going to stand still and let this happen. Now you are dealing with a whole new generation of gay people who have true rage over the passage of Prop 8 – anti-gay marriage — the very young people who passively and naively thought that this would not happen. They have now become activists, and this is what the issue is. It’s not whether we believe in Jesus or not. Most of the comments here are from either christians, some are atheists defending our community, but I believe the site is about christianity, and whether it will support or degrade gay life.

    Pay attention and read Sally. You are not reading carefully what we said about our lives. What did I say? I said my partner has been a minister over 15 years, and that we believed god blessed our union. When straight people don’t listen, what can you do?

  • Dora

    You have to be careful of this concept of “introducing people to Jesus”– I have Jewish relatives, and they found the efforts of evangelical christians in their neighborhood patently offensive.

    I think one of the aims of this site is simply to clean up the acts of evangelicals, because this behavior toward the gay community, is only going to make out proud gay people hate evangelicals more, or tune out any attempt to tell about Jesus. It’s an attempt to have a truce for awhile in the midst of a war.

    Why it reached such a warlike pitch, or how the homophobia became so out of control on right wing radio is really anyone’s guess. Obviously the idea that gay people exist, that we don’t follow majority norms can be highly threatening to a church that always was in denial about real human sexuality and its complexity.

    I like to quote Frank Pastori, because he is such a shining example of a man who doesn’t really get what gayness is, and someone who really doesn’t know very much about women’s sexuality either. He says all kinds of things about gays that aren’t true, he’s had Marin on his show, and he still doesn’t get it. He words about women’s sexuality and women in general are usually condescending at best and down right ignorant at worst.

    He doesn’t hang out with women who are christian feminists, doesn’t hang with gay guys, just is pretty ignorant.

    The point of this site is to say that another form of conversation could happen. I’m not holding my breath that men of a certain generation are going to get all that much about me and my partner, because our lives aren’t part of heteronormative worlds. We largely don’t socialize with men all that much either, don’t have to, don’t see how we have all that much in common with most straight men, and perhaps a little more in common with gay men.

    That said, it would be a good rule of thumb for the majority to actually listen to the minority, to really get where we are coming from. Why is it that gay people feel so disenfranchised from conservative christianity in the first place? How is the bible abused throughout history?

    I think the whole point of the “I’m sorry” campaign was just to acknowledge that a christian group is going to show up and hold up positive signs. Every gay parade I’ve ever been to always has a contingent of 5-10 conservative christians yelling hate at us, and holding up hate signs. It is a tribute to our community that we never once attacked them or killed them.
    There may have been a few close calls in West Hollywood, when conservative christians came in, and we were on the verge of attacking them, only to have our MCC pastor intervene with them.

    All those years I marched past the hate yellers, it was kind of scary, even though we had thousands of gay people on the streets. This small group of “I’m sorry” christians was simply trying to rectify the past.

    Remember, even George Wallace, the primary racist in America long ago, apologized to black people in their own church.

    Evangalicals are not good at communicating with gays and lesbians, and never have been. They are not good at communicating with feminists either, and show no interest in women’s rights or women theologians.

    What can happen is the majority tries to speak in a different voice or try to learn. I meet many gays and lesbians who are christians, I know a few christian converts, I know a lot who simply left the church and became buddhist or hindu. The Dalai Lama is really much better at communicating progressive messages than evangelical christians, and he isn’t even American. If a Tibetan Buddhist Lama can get feminism, and declare himself to be a feminist, what does that say about American born religious people who can’t even use the word “feminist.” So I know if straight people tried harder, they’d see something different.

    It is the nature of authoritarian and literal world views to not get things, not get why people would want a world free of christian domination, or why aggressive in your face bible people would offend us. I think with me, it is the constant assumption that I know nothing, that my life has no value, that my long term marriage means nothing, and that the bible bashers are christian, but won’t acknowledge that my partner and I have a huge history of this. It is the silence and lack of respect for gay and lesbian lives that is so profoundly offensive to me. Again, it must be the sin of pride or arrogance– but it is real.

    I don’t expect much to change. I do see huge progress in secular laws and the courts. I see gay people successfully winning this war, mainly because the rest of the world doesn’t understand why evangelicals are so sexually obsessed all the time. I have to smile sometimes at the absurdity of their sexual ideology– hey, I never had sex with men outside marriage, I don’t ever have abortions, don’t use birth control, never married men… pretty good by right wing standards :-)
    Having a woman spouse…ooops… Can’t win with these people :-) Just have to really laugh at this stuff sometimes :-)

    • Anonymous

      Is anyone besides me reminded of the teacher on Charlie Brown?

  • Dora

    Charlie Brown– how 20th century

    • Anonymous

      Yes, and your 1960′s style militant lesbianism is so current. We’ve all moved on, perhaps you should, too.

  • Dora

    Amd just what would you know anonymous about anything of interest? You need to move on buddy boy.

  • Dora

    Or maybe ship off to Babes in Toyland or Boyland as the case may be.

    • Anonymous

      HAH! That’s cute. Seeeeeee, Dora? You can be brief. I knew you could though your endless dissertations here wouldn’t prove it.

      Brevity, my dear girl, is the soul of wit!

  • KeyWest

    Over and out — and about. And meanwhile in Uganda, what have we?

    Fundamentalism always leads to some new and exotic death penalty for gay people somewhere in the world. Only now it is funded by US churches?

  • http://gayhomophobe.wordpress.com/ Sans

    I’m so saddened reading all of these comments on so many of Andrew’s posts. I stayed away for two weeks thinking it would die down, but no one wants to let it. This is ridiculous on both sides. Nobody is convinving anybody on the other side of anything, so why not just leave it alone?


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