You Are Hereby Granted Permission to Evolve on Same Sex Marriage

“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.”

-Michel Foucault
The Archaeology of Knoweldge

The greatest thinkers change, their thinking evolves. Augustine changed as his theological career progressed — the Augustine of the Confessions is not the same as Bishop Augustine. Some think he changed for the better, I happen to think he changed for the worse.

One could argue that Paul changed, if you read his letters chronologically.

People parse the “early Wittgenstein” and the “late Wittgenstein,” because the greatest philosopher of language of the 20th century changed his mind. The same could be said of any number of great thinkers between Augustine and Wittgenstein.

Last week, President Obama spoke out about his opinion on same sex marriage. He didn’t propose any legislation, and he didn’t do it at a political rally. In calm and even tones, he explained that, while he had previously spoken of his views on homosexuality as “evolving,” he had come to the conclusion that persons in gay and lesbian relationships should be afforded all of the marital rights of heterosexual persons.

Some have opined that this is a weakness in his character. But no, it’s just the opposite. His ability to change his mind on this moral issue is a strength.

Obama said that he came to his current view after talking to his daughters and his wife, watching gay members of his staff in long-term relationships, and thinking of the members of the military who are in committed same sex relationships (but denied many rights afforded to married couples). He also said that he was guided by his Christian faith.

He’d been pressured by both sides of this debate, and he surely had to weigh the political cost of speaking out, or of staying silent.

Regardless of the politics for him — or the politics for you in your workplace, your church, your school, or your family — know this: It is a strength of mind and character to be able to evolve in your thinking on a topic.

Do not be afraid to change your mind.

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  • Carla

    Amen brother. I’m glad I don’t think about everything exactly the same way I did ten years ago and I hope that ten years from now I don’t think about everything exactly the way I do today. To somehow believe that what we believe at any given moment is all there is seems to be to be not only incredibly arrogant (seeing through the glass darkly anyone?) but also a rather sad way to live. I mean, if this is the peak of what I will know and understand, then the next 40 years will be kind of a waste of time. I’d like to think there is much more for me to learn and discover and that my mind will change again and again and again.

  • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve Knight

    As Spencer Burke is famous for saying, “If I don’t disagree just a little bit today with something I believed yesterday, then I’ve stopped learning and growing.” Amen, Tony, evolution is a good thing.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    I’ve been thinking a lot about evolution (both in the biological sense and in the changing believes sense) and the Church. It seems to me that a lot of people just don’t like the idea of evolving. It’s way too scary! So a lot of people try to make things as stagnant as possible.

    But that’s not how life works. In fact, this might be the process theology in me (curse you, Tripp and Bo!), but I don’t even think God’s stagnant, either. So that’s why for the past few years I’m giving myself more permission to evolve.

    And so far it’s working. I’m finally out of the closet!

    • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

      That should be “changing beliefs.” Looks like my grammar needs to evolve!

  • http://www.progressiverenewal.org Gregg Carlson

    Tony:
    I appreciate your words today. Ten years ago I was a moderate evangelical in a denomination that took a right turn. Seven years ago I was serving in a conservative mainline church and went through a divorce. What I learned from both was that if Jesus and being his follower meant anything than it was about unconditional love, unbounded grace and radical hospitality. I am proud to say I evolved and proud of my president.

  • ME

    Agree with what you wrote, but, I think Obama changing his mind showed the same kind of strength as George Wallace changing his mind on the race issue. Too late.

    • Scot Miller

      I don’t follow you here at all. George Wallace was very late to reverse his stand on racial segregation (as was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). A majority of the country had come to accept racial integration and to reject racial segregation by the time Wallace changed his mind. He was on the wrong side of history, and didn’t want to stay there.

      I don’t see how Obama is “too late” to affirm same-sex marriage, especially in light of the recent vote in North Carolina. It’s states like North Carolina and those opposed to same-sex marriage who are on the wrong side of history and morality.

      • ME

        Was George Wallace too late to change his mind? Yes he was, because every day before he changed his mind he was tolerating or promoting a culture that did harm to others. So while Wallace deserves credit for changing his mind, he deserves blame for all the harm he did before changing his mind.

        When did you begin to believe gays should have the same right to marry as everyone else? Probably a long time ago. Obama’s hardness of heart, or ignorance, up until his recent change of mind on the gay marriage issue has done harm to others or promoted a culture of harm, and while he deserves forgiveness for it, he still deserves blame as well.

        • Scot Miller

          ME, I’m confused about your stance on the issue of same-sex marriage (or, more broadly, whether Christians should be open and affirming of LGBTQ persons). This comment about Obama suggests that affirming same-sex marriage is so obvious that Obama was either obstinate or ignorant for not affirming same-sex marriage sooner. (And you are correct, because I taught applied ethics every semester for thirteen years, I had a chance to think about homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and I long ago decided that the moral arguments favored acceptance of same-sex marriage.) On the other hand, in other comments you suggest that Christians should have the right to reject same-sex marriage and ordination, and that rejection can be “loving” rather than hateful. So how can Obama’s prior neutrality on the issue (actually, he favored civil unions rather than marriage for same-sex couples) be harmful to same-sex couples, but Christians who reject homosexuals because they think God regards their behavior as sinful are not harming same-sex couples? Of course, you may be sincerely torn about the issue.

          Also, my argument about the difference between the biblical understanding of same-sex practices and the contemporary concept of homosexuality is not saying that homosexuality must not be a sin because we understand homosexuality differently. My argument is really that the issue can’t be resolved by simply quoting scripture, as if the Bible is directly and unambiguously addressing our contemporary situation. The Bible may be a source for Christian reflection, but the interpretation of scripture is never self-evident. If we ever read the Bible as if it were self-evidently true, we are more likely projecting our own pre-understandings and prejudices on the text rather than letting the text speak. Almost everyone who claims “God thinks X” or “The Bible clearly teaches Y” is imposing or projecting their own thinking on the text. I would never claim to speak for God on any topic, but I would hope and pray that my beliefs and my actions would be consistent with the reality of God.

          • ME

            I’ll try to clarify. The best I can tell, there’s a good chance God does not want homosexual people having sex with each other. If a homosexual person were ever to ask my advice on the issue my advice would be to pray a lot about it and if you get an answer to go with it.

            Ramifications: (1) I think there is enough merit to the argument that if a particular denomination believes it is unacceptable to marry or ordain PRACTICING homosexuals they are still part of what I call the universal church. (2) If a particular denomination believes it is ok to marry and ordain practicing homosexuals I think they are still a part of the universal church, but, I happen to disagree with them on that one issue. If my own church changed its position on the issue I wouldn’t leave the church over it.

            All of that has nothing to do with government. I believe it is best for Christianity if Christianity stays out of government to the maximum extent practical. Jesus was not coercive and I try to practice the same. Therefore, if anyone wants to get married in any way shape or form, even polygamy, I’m not going to force my beliefs onto them because I believe to do so harms Christianity. My beef with Obama is that he was willing to force his beliefs on non-Christians. He tried to get around it with civil unions but to me that is code for “separate but equal.” Yes, to me it is obvious he should never have discriminated based on religious beliefs. That has little to nothing to do with the argument within the church.

            One thing I would like to correct- you wrote about Christians “rejecting” homosexuals. I try to be a Christian and in no way do I reject a homosexual. I know you don’t think this is possible, but, it is. It’s like saying I reject adulterers or reject idolators. I don’t reject either of those just like I don’t reject homosexuals. I just happen to understand homosexual sex is a sin in God’s eyes. For the record, the people I do reject are rich people. I shouldn’t, but, I can’t help myself sometimes…

            Lastly, regarding your last paragraph, I agree with what you are saying. But, what about this, “Almost everyone who claims “God thinks X” or “The Bible clearly teaches Y” is imposing or projecting their own thinking on the text. I would never claim to speak for God on any topic.” I wouldn’t either, but, it seems to me for an issue with so much gray area you have an awful lot of confidence in your interpretation being correct. I don’t have a problem with yours or the other side’s interpretation, I just don’t think either side should claim a lot of confidence.

  • http://psychotheology.blogspot.com/ Chase

    Great post! People will always claim that he did this for political reasons. As president, Obama cannot escape this accusation. (Who knows… maybe he did.) But I would like to believe him that it was a personal decision made through prayer and familial discussion. The opinions of a person in power have influence regardless of if legislation is passed or not. Whether intended or not, every statement becomes political whenever you are president. I pray this decision will expedite the liberation process of these oppressed individuals.

  • http://www.fcb4.tumblr.com Eric Blauer

    Politicians flipping on a position in an election year is now termed ‘evolving’ and hailed as a sign of character development. Wow, that’s spin if I’ve ever heard it. Will the same logic be afforded to opponents? I seriously doubt it. I have no problem with him owning a conviction that wasn’t politically expedient at a certain time but come on be honest about it. It seems pretty gullible of folks to think they are not being played. But hey when it’s an issue one supports, I guess it doesn’t matter. The end justifies the means.

  • http://salamanderslam.com Dave H.

    I like it that this post is not about President Obama’s politics, but instead uses Obama’s political statements as a jumping off place to discuss a larger truth. A larger truth, without which, I would be toast. Thanks, Tony.

  • Frank

    I don’t think evolve is the right word. Denying Gods truth and inventing your own is called pride.

    Not standing up for what you believe only when it’s convenient, or more convenient is called dishonesty.

    When your beliefs, your words and your actions do not line up , it’s called a lack of integrity.

    • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

      So in other words, believing that God loves everyone and yet saying that tax-paying Americans who have a biological same-sex preference are second class citizens is no contradiction. Makes perfect sense to me!

      Forgive me if that was too snarky, but at this point in my life I’m sick of Scripture being used to justify homophobia. Think about it: If God is infinite in wisdom, then God should know that homosexuality/bisexuality is a natural preference and not just some kinky fetish, right? So if God “wrote” the Bible, and those infamous clobber passages really mean homosexuality is a sin, then God needs a science lesson!

      • Frank

        Not sure where to start on this one.

        God did not make anyone gay, sin did. Sin distorts all sexuality.

        God loves everyone and says if you love me you will follow my commandments.

        SS attraction has not been shown to be biological.

        God in His infinite wisdom gifted humanity with free will. There will always be a Godly choice and an unGodly choice. We get to choose. The bible is clear the Godly choice around sexuality is one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant with each other and God.

        Nowhere does the bible condone or bless homosexual behavior. Just the opposite.

        These are inconvenient truths at times. If you want to dismiss them that is your choice based on your own free will. If you want to recreate god you can. If you want to write your own scripture you can.

        Homophobia is fear of homosexuals. Standing up for your biblical belief even when it is not convenient or comfortable and may stand in opposition of culture (popular or otherwise), is integrity.

        • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

          “God in His infinite wisdom gifted humanity with free will. There will always be a Godly choice and an unGodly choice. We get to choose.”

          Out of curiosity, and forgive me the old saw…but when did you choose to be straight? I’m quite sure there’s no “straight” gene, so why does the absence of a “gay” gene mean anything at all to the question of one’s orientation? Many species of animals form homosexual bonds. Not all sex is about procreation. Sexuality is wonderfully, divinely complicated.

          “Nowhere does the bible condone or bless homosexual behavior. Just the opposite.”

          Nowhere does the bible condone or bless the charging of interest on loans. Just the opposite. And yet, we have found that it is possible to build an economy (for the most part) that incorporates the charging of interest without violating the spirit of the commandment, which was about not taking advantage of other people. Used wisely, interest-bearing loans are in fact beneficial. It IS possible to violate the spirit of a law through a blind adherence to the letter. Many Christians have decided that requiring people with a homosexual orientation to abstain from any and all romantic attachments is a clear violation of God’s observation that it is not good for people to be alone. They are not rewriting Scripture, any more than Jesus “rewrote” Scripture when he healed on the Sabbath, and allowed his disciples to pick grain.

          “These are inconvenient truths at times.”

          No, it is not merely “inconvenient”. With these words you are casually commanding an entire group of people to never, ever, ever act on their natural romantic feelings. Could you do that? Could you follow a God who required you to do that? Could you force yourself to never spend too much time with someone you actually feel a spark with, for fear of being tempted to “sin”? Could you never allow yourself to fall in love, for fear of being tempted to “sin”? Could you hold your heart close and hold yourself apart, your whole life, for fear of “sinning”? Heaven forbid you should want to get *married* to the person you in love with!

          How can there exist an entire subset of people that are so “broken” by sin that they must content themselves with purely platonic friendships for their whole lives? Is this the truth that sets men free?

          I’m sorry, but the Bible is quite clear that lifelong celibacy is a *calling*, not a requirement for certain sins. I get really tired of Christians who act like asking people to abandon all romantic relationships, forever, in order to follow God should be, like, no big deal. Ask yourself if that’s a price you’d be willing to pay for Christian fellowship.

      • Dan

        Is it God who needs the science lesson, or you? Homosexuality is not a “natural preference”. Simply look at biology. Two penises does not work. Two vaginas does not work. Biologically. Your reproductive organs were made for reproduction.

        Yes, God does love everyone equally. He desires the very best for you. He knows the pains and pervasiveness that comes in homosexuality and does not desire that for you or for anyone. It’s why what is written in Scripture is in there.

        I’m by no means supporting the way the Church has chosen to address this issue. Beating someone over the head with Scripture and making them feel “condemned to hell” is not the way Jesus would have had this conversation. He would have had it with love and compassion. The way He had compassion on the woman caught in the act of adultery. The Hebrew definition of compassion is “to suffer with”. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” I am by no means claiming that I understand all the hurt and the pain that has caused you to arrive at the conclusion of “coming out”. But it simply is not God’s best for you. He desires so much more for you. Sex is so much more than an orgasmic high. God designed it to be the most intimate experience between a man and woman, and out of that experience, they become one flesh. It’s the way He designed it. Check the science out. Two strands of DNA merge and become one…and life is created. In the most intimate human experience, two flesh become one. Sex was designed for a man and woman. It’s not just affirmed by Scripture.

        I’m sorry for the way the Church has probably made you feel condemned to hell. But I’d like to repeat the word’s of Christ. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus does not condemn you. He simply desires more for you. He loves you intimately. To your very core. It is not a matter of God “evolving”. He is the same. Yesterday. Today. Forever. He is Love. And desires to show you His love.

        The Church needs to take the plank out of their own eye before attempting to take the splinter out of others. If marriage was being upheld to the Biblical standard. If you saw examples of men and women loving each other as God intended. Raising families that loved their fellow man as much as themselves, you would have no doubt of the sanctity of marriage. That sex was God’s idea. Not ours. But you have not seen this. You’ve seen a Church full of hypocrites, with a divorce rate to that equal of the world. A church full of sin and lies, condemning others. I’m here to tell you, that this is not the way God intended things to be. He desires more for you and His Church.

        • Frank

          Amen!

        • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

          “Is it God who needs the science lesson, or you? Homosexuality is not a “natural preference”. Simply look at biology. Two penises does not work. Two vaginas does not work. Biologically. Your reproductive organs were made for reproduction.”

          Not everyone’s. Some penises do not fit certain vaginas, at least not without so much discomfort and pain that it’s not worth it. Some penises and vaginas do not work “biologically” no matter how well they “fit together”, in the sense that many people are unable to have children. Are those people having inferior sex? Are those people any less married than fertile people? The mere ability to procreate does not a Godly relationship make, and the inability does not a Godly relationship break.

          “He knows the pains and pervasiveness that comes in homosexuality and does not desire that for you or for anyone.”

          Um, what “pains and pervasiveness” are we talking about here?

          “Sex is so much more than an orgasmic high.”

          And homosexuality is so much more than just sex. You’re probably straight, right? Imagine, for a moment, that everything you feel for that special someone (if you have one)…every desire for intimacy, every late night talk, every precious moment spent together planning a life, a home, children, what have you…imagine all that being dismissed by well-meaning Christians as a “sexual obsession” and a “sin”. And then being told that “God desires better for you”. All the while your “normal” friends are being praised by Christians for the *exact same feelings and desires*.

          Really?

  • Kevin

    Slavery was supported in the bible. Overwhelmingly at times.

    Ready to put that “integrity” of yours to the test? Say goodbye to crop rotation, shellfish, and poly-cotton blends while you’re at it.

    You’ve got some picketing to do….

    As Jesus himself said in opposition to homosexuality, ” ________________.”

    • Frank

      Yet another post about Levitical laws from someone who clearly has little understanding of them.

      • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

        You want to judge people according to Levitical laws, be prepared for people to judge you using Levitical laws. Eating shellfish was no less to’ebah in that book as men lying with men. “The measure you use…” and all that.

        • Frank

          You do understand what Lecitical Laws were and the different types for different purposes right? Becaus if you did you would quickly give up the shellfish arguement. Or you could continue and just be dismissed as uneducated on the topic. Your choice.

    • John

      Paul says to Timothy that enslavers are sinful (1 Tim 1:10 ), even though he realizes that in a sinful world slavery is not something that can be immediately erased, and so in the Fallen World there is only one command to slaves, to be obedient in order to win people to Christ. In the ancient world slavery was probably preferable to work today in our “modern world” where companies just relocate to places with little to no labour laws (e.g. China, India, Mexico, etc.), leaving behind vast amounts on no employment at all (in Spain unemployment is at 25% of the work force).

      There is a neo-slavery that is re-emerging in the brave new world, and the “rights” of people to real work are ignored while the gay agenda (meaning like 1% of the population) are being pumped by the “world’s” corporate media outlets. The gay agenda is a shrill for the elites while they steal the resources of the worlds peoples. While everyone is focused on a minority issue, the elites loot, rob and steal. Good ploy on their part no doubt about it. Why else do we not hear much in the media about the neo-slavery going on in the world?

  • http://www.samueladamreese.blogspot.com Sam Reese

    I agree that all the backlash the President faced was pretty ridiculous. He is allowed to change his opinion on anything. However, I wonder if he had spoken out for gay marriage in 2008 and now spoke out against it, saying that his thinking had changed, if people would be calling that an evolution or a devolution?

  • http://www.dualravens.com/ravens Patrick O

    Slavery wasn’t supported in the Bible.

    Slaves have always known what the Bible taught about slavery. From Onesimus to the South, slaves have known. That’s why ministers were restricted about how to preach to slaves.

    And more than just the slaves. There’s a reason why the anti-slavery movement was led by those with Christian leanings, from Wilberforce to, for instance, the very conservative first president of Wheaton College, Jonathan Blanchard.

    John Wesley, who protested Anglicans because they weren’t Scriptural enough!, said this to Wilberforce.

    Saying that the Bible overwhelming supports slavery is a canard that doesn’t know the history of Christian interactions with slavery.

    That people have used the Bible to justify slavery, to justify their own benefit, is certainly true. But to do so they had to leave out a whole lot of other passages, from the Old and the New Testaments.

    Slavery existed in Biblical cultures, however, which meant discussions about it were relevant.

    That’s not saying anything about the present debate about marriage, which has an entirely different set of exegetical and historical issues.

    Just saying that using slavery as an equivalent analogy really misunderstands Christian history and its use of Scripture.

    • Scot Miller

      Patrick O, of course Christians led the abolitionist movement. But they didn’t find verses to quote which overturned the practice of slavery. Instead, they appealed to other scriptures (like “love you neighbor as yourself). Christian slave-owners also defended the practice of slavery. They had the Bible on their side, because they could quote chapter and verse on how slaves are to be treated. They condemned the abolitionists as being unfaithful to scripture and contrary to God’s will.

      It’s a bit of revisionist history not to acknowledge that Bible-believing Christians were the strongest advocates for the practice of slavery.

      Some Christians today quote chapter and verse to condemn homosexuality. Other Christians today do what the abolitionists did, and appeal to other kinds of scriptures and the overall movement of grace in the Bible. The Christians who are open and affirming to persons in the LGBTQ community are following scripture in the same way that abolitionists did.

      • Frank

        Scot based on all the evidence its quite shocking that you haven’t “evolved” beyond this homosexuality/slavery comparison. It really discredits you to continue to pursue this flawed line of reasoning.

        Utter failure on your part. Especially when others on this thread have demolished your “argument.”

        • Scot Miller

          There you go again, Frank, blustering about how “others” have “demolished” my arguments, but never specifying exactly how they did. Sadly for you, the opposite is the case.

          So where are the abolitionist scriptures in the Bible, Frank? Specifically, where does the Bible say, “It is wrong to own another human being” or “Slaves should be freed by their Christian slave holders” or anything remotely abolitionist? There aren’t such verses, because they don’t exist. There are ample verses in both Testaments about how the practice of slavery should be regulated, but almost none even daring to question the practice. (About the only verse I can think of that has something bad to say about slavery is in 1 Timothy, and it’s a comment by the writer about slave traders.)

          Frank, the Christians who are open and affirming toward the LGBTQ community are the Christian abolitionists of the 21st century. You’ve got the wrong interpretation of scripture on this one, and your comments prove you’re wrong over and over again.

          • Frank

            Oh Scot what a sad response that is. You are in denial and holding on to something that has no legs. Re read the comments again and see what has been said. If you still believe that you are somehow in the right then its really telling how deceived/stubborn/foolish/in-denial you really are and therefore every word you write should suspect.

            For a smart guy you sure don’t sound smart around this issue. You only reveal either your ignorance or your bad exegesis. You have been schooled here and the tragedy is you don’t realize it.

          • Carl

            Scot, every intellectually honest debater of the issue of slavery knows that the slavery of the Bible was nothing like the slavery of 19th century America. If you can’t even recognize that little fact, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously on the issue as a whole?

          • Scot Miller

            Frank, I’m asking a very simple question. It’s the same kind of question you ask of open and affirming Christians, only I’m asking you about slavery instead of homosexuality. We all know that the Bible assumes that slavery can be an acceptable social practice (e.g., Gen. 9:18-27) if Christian slave-holders treat their slaves nicely (1 Cor. 7:20-24, Eph. 6:5-9, Col. 3:22-25). Now I want to learn from you, Frank, where the Bible criticizes the practice of slavery? What scriptures can you quote that advocate the abolition of slavery?

            And your ad hominems don’t work on me, Frank. I’m rubber, you’re glue, your words bounce off of me and stick to you.

          • Casey

            Scot,

            A few quick questions/comments:

            Within the slavery-framework given in the NT context, what Paul says to Philemon about Onesimus is spectacular. In many past posts/comments you seem willing to just dismiss the differences between slavery in the American South and the NT context. It is incredibly unfortunate for your case; it flattens the reality of the issue and presents a 1-1 correspondence, which simply isn’t true.

            What the NT does do is undermine the entire slave system in the church. If Philemon takes Paul seriously in the church, slavery is dead. And it’s dead because men and women have been transformed, and renewed, and now you’re into a whole presupposed theology that all of us are in the image of God, etc. You want chapter and verse to settle the case, but you completely miss the forest for the trees in order to make your case sound stronger than it really is.

            Do you recognize that Scripture sometimes regulates undesirable relationships without condoning them as permanent ideals? Some examples: Jesus to the Pharisees on marriage/divorce (Mt. 19:8); Paul’s regulation of how Christians sue each other (1 Cor. 6:1-8); and Paul’s regulation of how Christian slaves were to relate to their masters (Eph, Col, 1 Tim, Phil). I’m glad you did not forget to mention that Paul explicitly condemns “slave traders” in 1 Tim. 1:10 as “against sound doctrine.” Don’t minimize the importance of this verse.

            Nowhere does Paul justify slavery by referring to a particular OT text or the created order, as he does the relationship between men and women in marriage. No NT text justifies the institution of slavery. The failure to perceive the differences between the slavery texts and the homosexuality texts cripples your case.

            What is more, Paul informs us that the institution of marriage is patterned after the relationship between Christ and the church. The “mystery” is not that God thought up marriage and then used that relationship to illustrate Christ’s relation to the church (Eph. 5:32). No, it is precisely the reverse. Christ’s relationship to the church has priority, and marriage was always intended to mirror how Christ and the church are related. Interestingly, Paul again argues from a creation ordinance, citing Gen. 2:24 in Eph. 5:32 to justify his view of marriage. You are correct in concluding that slavery is not intended to be in force today, but you fail to see that slavery is not a creation ordinance…and marriage is! Paul makes that very point in Eph. 5:22-33. Again, this is a failure to discern how the final revelation, the NT Scriptures, distinguish slavery from the homosexuality question.

            Finally, if you are really concerned to avoid the mistakes of Christians who defended slavery, we must remember the real possibility that it is not those who understand homosexuality to be sinful, but instead those who condone and extol it who resemble nineteenth-century defenders of slavery in the most significant way: using arguments from the Bible to justify conformity to some very strong pressures in contemporary society (in favor of slavery then, and homosexuality now).

          • Scot Miller

            Carl, since “every intellectually honest debater of the issue of slavery knows that the slavery of the Bible was nothing like the slavery of 19th century America,” then I guess you’ll have to concede that the Bible was not addressing the same concept of homosexuality that we understand today. I’m sure you don’t assume that people in the biblical world had the same concept of sexual identity as someone in the 21st century. You have read Foucault’s three volume work, The History of Sexuality haven’t you?

            But I would argue that owing another human being is fundamentally inhumane, even it it’s a socially acceptable practice. Where does the Bible say Christians shouldn’t own other Christians as indentured servants?

          • Scot Miller

            Casey, where does Paul tell Christians not to own other Christians?

            I’m certainly glad that everyone accepts the fact that when the Bible makes pronouncements about social institutions like “slavery,” it’s really addressing something very different… entirely different from anything that we would label “slavery.” The Bible has a historical context that we need to understand before we make the error that the Christian slave-holders did and defend an immoral practice (if I could only find that verse that said that people who own people are sinning… only the people who trade in slaves are sinners, apparently.).

            But anti-gay Christians aren’t doing anything like the Christian slave-holders when they totally ignore the historical differences between contemporary concepts of homosexuality (a term not even invented until the 19th century) and same-sex practices mentioned in the Bible (which have far more to do with abusive cultic practices than they do with loving, respectful, mutually fulfilling same-sex relationships). Yea, right, you guys are TOTALLY different in how you interpret the Bible….

            Casey, to be clear, I don’t think homosexual relationships are morally neutral any more than I think that heterosexual relationships are morally neutral. The pattern between Christ and the Church that you mention has nothing to do with sexuality or one person having a penis and another a vagina (especially since male human beings in the Church are included as being the bride of Christ). What makes a marriage relationship or any intimate relationship good or right is not the kinds of genitals involved, but in how two people mutually love and respect each other. Are we showing mutual submission and mutual love and respect, or are we trying to use someone else for our personal pleasure?

            Homosexuals and heterosexuals sin when they selfishly treat their partner as an object or when they force themselves on their partner and dehumanize their partner. Particular sex acts (oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, etc.) are not morally right or wrong because of the sex of the participants, but because of the context of mutual love and respect.

            I think marriage is the best context for sexual intimacy, because one is less likely to use one’s marriage partner than a partner outside of marriage. (It can happen, and husbands can rape their wives, which is why sex in marriage isn’t always necessarily morally good.) That’s why it’s important to give same-sex couples a chance to enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of marriage.

          • Frank

            Scot once again biblical slavery was not racial based slavery. Homosexual behavior was the same then as it is now. Sinful then, sinful now. They even had what we would consider gay “marriages” back then in Rome, Greece and China.

            So your comparison of the issue fail once again. There are better arguments you could use as this fails miserably.

            And btw I did not use an Ad hiominem attack as there is no truth in what you say so the term does not apply. I am simply pointing out whats obvious to most everyone else except you.

          • Larry Barber

            And btw I did not use an Ad hiominem attack as there is no truth in what you say so the term does not apply.

            And Frank pulls off the rare double inverted twisting ad hominem of using an ad hominem while denying that he uses ad hominems. I’m impressed, and I’ve been on the Internet long enough that I’m not easily impressed by failures of logic, but you’ve managed to pull it off, Frank. Congratulations!

            Also, anybody who thinks homosexual behavior is the same now as it was in first century Rome is either delusional or ignorant of the social and cultural differences between us and Rome.

          • Frank

            Larry you keep believing that nonsense.

            BTW for something to an ad hominem it needs to be a personal attack in order to deflect the truth of someones position. There is no truth in Scots position. You however just showed us an ad hominem attack. Thanks for clarifying!

          • Carl

            “What makes a marriage relationship or any intimate relationship good or right is not the kinds of genitals involved, but in how two people mutually love and respect each other. Are we showing mutual submission and mutual love and respect, or are we trying to use someone else for our personal pleasure?

            Homosexuals and heterosexuals sin when they selfishly treat their partner as an object or when they force themselves on their partner and dehumanize their partner. Particular sex acts (oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, etc.) are not morally right or wrong because of the sex of the participants, but because of the context of mutual love and respect.”

            Wrong. What makes certain acts good and others evil is whether or not they conform with how God made people to act. God makes it pretty clear in the Bible that he made men for women and women for men, and nothing else. Biblical authors may not have had the same categories as we do for certain sexual behavior, but trust me, homosexual sex still put certain things in certain places, and that hasn’t changed. God condemned it then (and condemned all those who condoned it), and He still condemns it now (and those who teach it).

          • Scot Miller

            Frank, owning a person is immoral and inhumane and wrong. It has nothing to do with race. I am always amused with people trying to downplay the sin of slavery in order to justify their ahistorical misreading of homosexuality.

            Prior to the 19th century, nobody had a concept of sexual identity in the way we understand it today. Sexual practices were separate from someone’s identity. Paul and the rest of the biblical writers were objecting to those practices which they found improper and perhaps disgusting, but it’s unlikely that they would have understood the idea that same-sex behavior is a natural expression of one’s self-identity. It’s very likely that the ancient assumption (even of people who engaged in same-sex behavior) was that all people are heterosexual, but some people are so perverse that they were not satisfied with heterosexual sex. They went beyond the bounds of what was “natural” for them.

            Of course, today we recognize that human sexuality is much more complicated. Some people with same-sex attraction now find their sexual self-identity as “Gay” or “Lesbian” or “Bisexual” or “Transgendered” or “Queer”, concepts which were unimaginable prior to the 20th century. They are parts of the spectrum of human sexuality, none of which is more “unnatural” than another.

            The Bible clearly objects to certain practices (which is why Gagnon doesn’t say homosexuality is bad, only those practices), but not to people’s sexual orientations. Unfortunately, we have now conflated practices and persons, so it’s not just the activity of “a man lying with a man” or “women unnaturally with women,” but it’s the person who is condemned. If you bother to read the Bible, most of these practices are aberrations (like male-male rape as a form of humiliation and domination, which has nothing to do with homosexual love, or same-sex intercourse in cultic practices, which is what Paul apparently is so worked up about in Romans, since he had just been on a missionary journey through pagan cities).

            I can understand why you’re so quick to dismiss my analogy, since it would force you to re-examine your own interpretation.

          • Frank

            Scot you said something important. yes today sexuality is tied to identify. That in itself is a sin! So using that as some kind of justification seems very silly.

            And once again biblical slavery was either; indentured servitude, debt related or the spoils of war. You keep exposing your lack of comprehension.

            And no one is condemning gay people, at least I am not, for how they feel or who they are attracted to. It’s the behavior that counts. And the most important thing of all is whether we encourage that sinful behavior or not. Encouraging sinful behavior is no less than being hateful towards someone. Encouraging people to behave more Godly is the loving choice.

            I dismiss your analogy because its a false analogy not because I haven’t examined the issue. To the contrary I have examined quite fully and it does not hold up. Quite simple really. But keep spinning!

          • ME

            The part I have trouble with is the argument that homosexual identity was different in New Testament times, and THEREFORE with our new understanding of homosexuality same sex marriage is ok.

            I agree homosexuality is understood differently today. But, that does not NECESSARILY mean that God approves homosexual sex, right? Maybe He does, maybe He doesn’t. I just don’t see a strong enough link to be certain either way.

      • http://www.dualravens.com Patrick O

        It’s not revisionist history at all. The history of Western Civilization shows slavery being condemned by Christians.

        Not because of ignoring verses that support slavery. The Bible discusses slavery as an issue in cultures. But there is a huge disapproval of slavery in general and a tendency to address it in terms of limiting its effects–none of which were followed by slave owners who rationalized their behavior with their own proof-texting.

        Essentially, the history of Christian teaching has swayed from slavery is always wrong, to slavery is wrong but some peoples (enemies in war, pagan cultures) deserve it. For instance, we find St. Patrick in the 5th century strongly condemning slavery and slave- trading for much the same reason we find Paul’s more cautioned approach in Philemon. It’s wrong because it does not reflect the equality we have in Christ.

        Again, this isn’t to even touch on the issue of this post, only to say that it’s wrong to say the Bible overwhelmingly supports slavery. Christians have supported slavery using the Bible, but this has never been, in any era, a consistent reading of Scripture shared by the wider church. Like my quote said, Wesley himself strongly condemned slavery, even as many Southerners were nominal Methodists who used the Bible to support slavery.

        The issue of marriage and sexuality simply do not have this same history of interpretation. Which, again, isn’t to say anything about the rightness or wrongness of the present discussion.

        The issue of divorce is probably more fitting.

  • Luke Allison

    I am about 96 percent different in my theological preferences than I was last year at this time. That’s been the pattern form me since I was 27 or so. In 4 years’ time, I’ve even had a Calvinist phase. That was interesting.

    That said, my primary critique with the progressive movement (and I’m considering myself more and more a part of it….A Better Atonement is still making its way around my evangelical megachurch and prompting happy sighs) is that many seem to be elevating “coming out” or being honest about sexual preference to almost a higher plain than belief in God. Almost as though the completion of a person is found in who they have sex with.
    This confuses me, not only from a Jesus perspective but from a human one. The convergence of sexuality with identity is a relatively recent development. Are we sure this is what we want to emphasize constantly?

    Whatever the case, I fully support gay marriage, and resonate with Tony’s “two marriages” viewpoint. This seems like a way forward for not only more liberal congregations but conservative ones as well.

  • JMC

    I am just so sick of people telling me I need to “evolve” or “embrace change.” I study the Word, am able to go back to the original texts and translate for myself, am open-minded to hearing others views, am willing to discuss both my views and theirs. I am also a man of conviction and don’t feel like I have to kowtow to change simply because its popular or what is “needed in America.”

    Those who throw out Levitical law to homosexuals are idiots. Those who throw Levitical law from the homosexual side and say, “Stop eating ham…” or “Stop wearing clothes with more than one type of fabric.” are just as idiotic. Taking the Scripture in its context is paramount to its full understanding. Being able to understand the culture and its mindset at the time of the Scripture writing is just as important.

    If you aren’t willing to go do the homework and just want to make comments based on something you’ve read on the internet or heard someone say and claim conviction because you think someone or some group of people are stepping on your toes or your rights then I think you are making a mistake by claiming conviction. It has been my belief that the more I wrestle with something intellectually the more convicted I get about it… emotionally, spiritually, etc. If I personally only deal with beliefs based on what others of conviction have shared then those truly aren’t my convictions. Firm beliefs come from working ideas out in our hearts, minds and Spirit.

  • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

    Great post Tony. Whenever I feel myself getting defensive, I remember times when I thought very different thoughts.

    I need a vacation.

  • Bob Johnson

    The President did not change his mind, only his public position. He answered a 1996 questionnaire (from an Illinois voter group) that he “favor[s] legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

    He reversed his verbiage for the 2008 presidential election, and doubled back on that position just recently because Joe Biden’s statement forced his hand.

    This is not an heroic act of a self-reflective man who is “evolving.” It is the craven calculation of a political hack. Anyone who believed the President was against same-sex marriage prior to this month was either ignorant, or self-deluded.

  • Rev. Chris Linebarger

    The only problem is, in this case, it’s not evolution. The Church is clear on this matter because the Scriptures are clear on this matter. We are living in a terribly sad age where men and women are confused about the very nature of man, woman, family, nature, the sacraments, and being made in the image of God. For anyone who feels confused about this matter, I encourage you to read (or re-read) Wendell Berry, Alexander Schmemman, Flannery O’Connor, Lewis, Tolkien, John Paul II. Reading these authors will help one to get a handle on creation, incarnation, and redemption. Seriously, this rethinking the morality of homosexuality is utter nonsense.

    • ME

      What did Flannery O’Connor write about homosexuality? I love her to death, just can’t think of anything she wrote on that subject.

    • http://www.exilemusings.blog.com Amaranth

      “Seriously, this rethinking the morality of homosexuality is utter nonsense.”

      Nonsense? Really? Homosexual people can be fired from their jobs, kicked out of their apartments, prevented from visiting their spouses in the hospital, prevented from inheriting their spouses’ property, prevented from covering each other on their insurance, prevented from adopting children, and until recently could be booted out of the military. Just for being gay. They can have their marriages invalidated, their relationships scoffed at, and their children taken away from them. As teenagers they are teased, bullied, harassed, and shamed at school to the point where gay teen suicide is getting to be a huge problem. And what forms the backbone of every single one of these injustices?

      A stubborn adherence to a traditional interpretation of 7 minor Bible verses.

      You *better believe* I’m rethinking the morality of homosexuality. Attitudes have consequences.

  • Matt

    Frank, I’m going to tell you a couple of things.
    1. I am willing to bet that you have posted here around 600 times in the last 6 months or so.
    2. Around 99% of those posts have come in threads that discuss homosexuality and Christianity
    3. Around 95% of those posts have been some iteration of the phrase, “The bible says homosexuality is wrong.”

    From these three facts we can draw some conclusions.
    1. You have a lot of time on your hands. Seriously
    2. You are very, very interested in the subject of homosexuality.
    3. You are not really interested in dialogue or engagement.

    From these three conclusions we can ask you three questions.
    1. Is this the best use of your time?
    2. Since you are so interested in homosexuality and Christianity, do you do anything about it? Do you work in ministry to help gay people? Do you view making posts on Tony’s blog part of a ministry? If so, what can you hope to accomplish?
    3. Is it possible that you are doing this for attention? Do you like riling people up? You have tendency to be rude in your approach to others. You call people names and are dismissive of their ideas. How do you reconcile this with your Christian faith?

    I’m actually interested in your response. I have started to dread these posts from Tony because I know when I see on that has a lot of comments that most or many of them will be from you. So enlighten me.

    • http://patridew.wordpress.com Patricia

      Matt, your questions for Frank are excellent for all of us to consider. It brought to mind a book I’ve read many times, written by John Ortberg, Overcoming Your Shadow Mission. ‘A mission is the highest purpose to which God calls us; a shadow mission is an authentic mission that has been derailed, often in imperceptible ways.’ (Amazon’s description) Ortberg writes, ‘Part of what makes the shadow mission so tempting is that it’s usually so closely related to our gifts and passions. It’s not 180 degrees off track; it is just 10 degrees off track, but that 10 degrees is in the direction of hell.’

  • Frank

    Hey Matt I am happy to answer your questions. Yes I have posted a lot around this subject. I do so because of the lies and deceptions being thrown out there these days. Everyone is afraid to speak into this issue for fear of being labeled (incorrectly I might add) a bigot, hateful and/or a homophobe. To answer:

    1. Is this the best use of your time? Yes it is a good sue of my time to expose the liars and deceivers around this issue.

    2. Since you are so interested in homosexuality and Christianity, do you do anything about it? Do you work in ministry to help gay people? Do you view making posts on Tony’s blog part of a ministry? If so, what can you hope to accomplish? I do. I do. I do. I only wish everyone to have the complete story and the facts and the biblical truths. Every person will make up their own mind on the issues but the deserve to hear both sides.

    3. Is it possible that you are doing this for attention? Do you like riling people up? You have tendency to be rude in your approach to others. You call people names and are dismissive of their ideas. How do you reconcile this with your Christian faith? No I do not need attention. I don’t like riling people up but if a deceiver or liar gets riled up I will not be upset. Yes sometimes I am rude. I am working on not painting with such a broad brush. We are called to call out false teachers and false doctrines. Jesus used what some would consider “rude language” when appropriate and truthful.

    You have been enlightened! :)

  • Christopher

    You know what they say about those who doth protest too much… :-)

  • Colleen

    That was a pretty long post for someone who doesn’t spend time here monitoring how often people post on someone else’s blog…

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    i am SO sick of those of you with bigoted Bible thumping views condemning queers! This is a pluralistic society we live in with a separation of church and state. The founders of this nation were leaving England to GET AWAY from religious persecution and were deists! There have ALWAYS been queer people and society has NEVER fallen! GET OVER YOURSELVES! Queers do NOT ruin families and/or heterosexual marriages! i do NOT follow your Bible. WHY don’t you worry about your own lives and your OWN marriages and your OWN bedrooms, and STAY out of my marriage and my life and my bedroom!

    • Rev. Chris Linebarger

      Because, Existential Punk, none of us live in a vacuum. We have politicians and teachers and philosophers who shape the way we think. You have obviously been influenced by non-Christians. For those of us who have children and care about the society that we’re leaving to them, these issues are important. This whole idea of “if you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone” is not only ridiculous, it’s unrealistic. Let’s be honest here. You’re not interested in leaving people alone. You’re not interested in tolerance. You’re interested in your non-Christian worldview and that is what you are preaching. That’s fine. But let’s just call it what it is.

      • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

        i have very dear friends who are Christians who are actually loving and interpret scripture differently from you! YOU come from a place of STRAIGHT PRIVILEGE! i want to live my life as i see fit. i don’t need your narrow-minded interpretation of Scripture forced onto me. WHO is to say who is correct in their interpretations anyways? YOU could be right or you could be wrong. My friends could be wrong or they could be right. Queers are NOT harming ANYBODY!

      • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

        Also, we do NOT want special rights BUT equal rights! There is NO gay agenda. We all go through the same ups and downs, love and fights, financial gains and struggles the same as heterosexuals. Marriage has transformed over time. It used to be a man was married to more than one woman. Women were also sold into marriage. So, DON’T give me this one woman and one man crap! i don’t really care what your Bible says! WE do NOT live in a theocracy! If you want that, then move to Saudia Arabia or some other nation ruled by theocrats. The Bible is NOT meant to inform the lives of everyone. There is religious freedom here. If you don’t agree with equal marriage, then do NOT marry someone of the same sex. Are there unhealthy queer relationships? Sure, but there are also unhealthy heterosexual relationships as well.

      • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

        Oops, looks like the trolls are on the lose again! Guess I better round them all up here with my cattle prod.

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    i JUST want to pull my hair out over the crap i read from people who condemn my being queer on here and other places. When Evangelical divorces are at a higher rate than the general populace, there is a major disconnect! Pious Christians have brought way TOO much hurt and wounding to many queer folks, including myself. It REALLY hurts and cuts deep when i am told i am going to hell, that i am a second-class citizen who deserves no rights, that G-D condemns me simply for who i am. i have left the Christian faith because i simply cannot take it anymore and do not want to be around hateful, bigoted, condemning, pious people.

  • Susan Frederick

    I don’t know why I’m amazed at all the back & forth about gay marriage. It seems so obvious to me that the only defense for banning it is a religious point of view. The folks who want to keep marriage between one man and one woman want to do so primarily for religious reasons–God says so, the Bible says so. Marriage, they say, is sacred. Therefore, it must be acknowledged as an establishment of religion…which leads us to the conclusion that it is NOT the domain of the state or the federal government in the first place. That’s why Tony’s idea that marriage should be administered by the church as a sacred covenant. If you want to be recognized as a couple by the government, that should be by “civil union”–and it should apply equally to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Divorce also is a civil matter–the dissolution of a civil union. If the church wants to devise a ceremony recognizing the dissolution of a marriage, it can certainly do that. Some will. Some won’t. But marriage and civil unions should not inhabit the same domain.

    • Casey

      Susan,

      “It seems so obvious to me that the only defense for banning it is a religious point of view. The folks who want to keep marriage between one man and one woman want to do so primarily for religious reasons–God says so, the Bible says so.”

      I’d encourage you to give this treatment a look:
      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155

      This was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. It attempts to set forth the best arguments and seeks to answer the best objections related to the nature of marriage from a conjugal-marriage perspective.

      • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

        Are you kidding Casey? This paper is full of assertions, backed by what? Where is the data? Where are the studies? Maybe you don’t understand. Harvard does not have a religious requirement. You can be a Christian and go there. Just because they publish your paper, that doesn’t mean it met their standards, or any standard in the marketplace of the world’s ideas. I hope their will come a day when their aren’t Christian values, Muslim values or Hindu values, there are just values that we all agree on. This paper is not moving us in that direction.

        • Casey

          In the marketplace of ideals, apparently Lausten North is judge, jury, and executioner.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            “ideas” not “ideals”. I’m advocating a system where all people have a voice, where we find ways to determine truth by testing our assumptions, checking our biases, questioning our imperfections. It requires listening to each other and assuming everyone has something to offer. The article simply made statements, truth claims. It offered no evidence. The only reasons were more truth claims. That is the definition of judge, jury and executioner.

          • Casey

            I meant ideals, not ideas. Word play.

            Truth claims are inescapable and necessary for fruitful dialogue. Would you care to interact with the article referenced above? I cited it because of the claim that was made that all arguments against homosexual marriages must invoke scripture. I provided one example, without assigning a value judgment to it, that was to show an articulated position against homosexual marriages that was not founded upon Christian doctrine.

            Statements have to be made, because you have to start somewhere. The authors of the article linked above are engaged in an ongoing conversation with opposition, I could send the links for further investigation if you were interested.

      • Scot Miller

        I’ve read the essay by Girgis, George, and Anderson. While they have an argument, I’m not sure that it’s as rationally persuasive as it is to people who already agree with them. Their essay reminds me of reading Gagnon or William Lane Craig, both of whom are extremely intelligent but excessively overconfident in the argumentative power of their arguments. For example, Matthew Clemente has a pretty impressive argument against the conclusions of Girgis, George, and Anderson. My hunch is that Casey wouldn’t find it very impressive, however.

        I am reminded of Leszek Kolakowski’s Law of the Infinite Cornucopia: “For any given doctrine that one wants to believe, there is never a shortage of arguments by which to support it.” This, of course, does not entail hopeless relativism, since not all arguments are equally good. We can judge the worth of the arguments in the “marketplace of ideas,” which is similar to what Lausten suggested. In spite of arguments to the contrary, we now recognize that child labor is bad, that women should vote, that interracial marriage is good, and that racial segregation and discrimination is bad. These ideas have won out in the marketplace of ideas. The same thing has been happening about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I suspect that within 20 years, Americans will look back on the hostility toward same-sex marriage in the same way we look back to the resistance to women’s suffrage or interracial marriage.

  • http://patridew.wordpress.com Patricia

    I once read somewhere that the word ‘repentance’ means ‘to change ones mind’. I think that the idea of ‘mountains will move’ actually could be referring to repentance of this type. This type of evolution is proof that God exists.

  • toddh

    Let’s stop feeding the Frank-troll. Many others on here are able to disagree and argue productively, but he is not.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Hear, hear!

      • matt

        I actually made a pretty good faith attempt to engage with Frank and he responded by calling all of those who disagree with his particular interpretation of a few scriptures as liars. I think this makes a pretty good argument for simply banning him. What does he possibly bring to this community?

        • Jess

          Frank = Activity
          Activity = Ads
          Ads = $$$

      • Chris

        Isn’t that: Here, here?

    • Frank

      I think you mean to say “since we cannot actually present a compelling case for dismissing the scriptures we do not like let’s all just ignore that part and throw out red herrings, straw men and emotionalism and maybe people won’t notice and those that call us out on it may simply go away.”

      Goods luck with that.

  • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

    Much has been said here recently about the APA and what the “experts” say about homosexuality. I’m not an expert, but here is a thorough history.
    http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/70/Sexual-orientation.html
    Please note that some of the studies, such as the early work of Evelyn Hooker have been found to have some methodological flaws. That doesn’t change the current understanding. The way we discover truth is to openly discuss those flaws, repeat and improve the analysis. That’s how we have grown out of the dark ages of slavery and mistreatment of women.

    Evelyn’s study was the first to examine data from homosexuals that were functioning normally in society, mostly closeted of course, because it was the 50’s. She had psychiatrists who didn’t know which subjects were gay and which weren’t, examine the data. Obviously, they couldn’t tell who the gay ones were.

  • T. Webb

    Saying, “As Jesus himself said in opposition to homosexuality, ” ________________”” is a terrible argument.

    As Jesus himself said in opposition to bestiality, ” ________________.”
    As Jesus himself said in opposition to incest, ” ________________.”
    As Jesus himself said in opposition to orgies, group sex, threesomes+, ” ________________.”
    As Jesus himself said in opposition to fisting, ” ________________.”

    I’m in favor of the president’s position, but stop stupid arguments like this. There are so many other ways to defeat such foolish arguments.

  • Scott Gay

    I’ve evolved…….it is so very complex it is difficult to explain…….My wife wants me to not even talk to our children(4….3 married) on the subject of homosexuality, because they hold traditional views on it being queer. I would say that it is my heart being with our grandchildren almost more than our own children that my change on the subject of homosexuality has happened. Now that is a part of a change in the times, because we don’t have a history of a large majority of people being involved in their lives until they are in their post adolescent years. My grandparents were all passed before my teens.
    Evolving happens on many subjects…but that word is full of misconceptions. Most take it as the idea of being unrolled as a carpet. But I take it as all creation is a breaking off. All creation is separation. It is setting free and letting it run wild.
    Now this evolving happens on so many subjects. I changed on courage before becoming a Christian in war. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. So many of my compatriates couldn’t get to that place. It doesn’t make you bad or a coward if you can’t hold the collision of these two passions simultaneously. Only some really do at times. Or take modesty. The rational position is to walk with your head in the air, but not your nose in the air. But being a mixture of two things it is a dilution. Christianity keeps the opposites, you can hardly think too little of your self, or think too much of your soul. Or take love. It’ a paradox. The sensible know that some people could be forgiven, and some couldn’t. But Christians divide the crime from the criminal. There is room for wrath and love to run wild in it. Hence with Christianity you always get these strange looking opposites together. It is true the church has at once emphasized celibacy and family. At once war and peace. At once trancendence and immanence. Being and becoming. It is a very strange balancing act to hold on to two opposite ideas simultaneously. To let one side of the position become too powerful would seriously upset the balancing of two opposed ideas(hence strong emotion on both sides). I really believe that only in the church can my grandchild find true courage, modesty, and love( and not a diluted, tamed version of the same). Sexual preference is not the issue in creating a beautiful life. If your for peace, you’ll fing people in the church who strongly oppose you. But don’t let the non-believers convince you that only they have the true idea about peace. In having the lion lay down with the lamb, the lion will never have to give up its ferocity in Christianity. The same with your sexuality and your relationship with Jesus.

  • T. Webb

    That said, I’m all in favor of the president’s position. I’m still waiting for y’all to continue evolving your view to allow _bisexuals_ full marriage rights and not force them into your view of marriage only being for _two_ people. A few countries (like the Netherlands) allow marriage between more than two partners. Why isn’t this a part of the conversation?

  • Chris

    For some people change is scary…

    and for some others it is a religion.

  • http://www.spiritfitmusic.com Eric Nordhoff

    This is a large topic of debate, and above all else we should walk in God’s love. Listen to what He says, and obey. Thank you for sharing your views. I’d love to invite you to check out our website at http://www.spiritfitmusic.com ! If you’d like to leave a review of our site or our music, I’d love to bless you with a 25% off on your first Order, simply e-mail me, and I’ll send you the coupon code.
    Bless you,
    Eric

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    i REALLY hope in 20 years we will be finished discussing this issue as it is tired and worn out and circular. My head hurts so much from ALL this certainty from more conservative leaning Christians. Pax to all.

  • Graham Carmichael

    These words are a bit disturbing when it is considered that the writer is a Christian. Is changing our minds and going beyond what Scripture clearly teaches really evolving? Give it a rest! This is not evolving. Read Romans 1. It is nothing less than turning a deaf ear to God’s voice while ignoring His design while also destroying and mocking His image.

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  • The_L

    Thank you for this. I wish I’d heard this as a teenager, when I was first running into issues with YEC.

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