The American Family Association and the KKK

The American Family Association (AFA) is in a tizzy because the U.S. Army listed them as a hate group in a training presentation. The Army identified the AFA as a hate group based on information from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Of course the AFA thinks that designation is false and slanderous—they’re simply standing up for “traditional” Christian values, they say; they’re simply doing the work of God. But the SPLC doesn’t arbitrarily identify groups as hateful. The SPLC’s listing for the AFA makes sadly clear that the AFA very much hates homosexuality, hates “the homosexual agenda,” and is doing everything in its power to limit the rights of homosexuals.

The AFA doesn’t want to be lumped in with white nationalists, black separatists, racist skinheads or neo-Confederates. But the substance of their message differs little from many of those groups. The reasons those groups are widely reviled are precisely the same reasons the AFA and the FRC are identified as hate groups. And if any Christian feels uncomfortable with that, he or she should pay heed to that feeling of discomfort—or even better, pay heed to the feelings of others. It’s easy to lash out and blame the SPLC, the Army and the liberal media for the AFA being labeled a hate group, but the words and actions of the AFA speak for themselves.

It’s time for Christians to own up to the hate that’s being perpetuated in their name. The AFA needs to realize that “standing up” for supposedly “Christian” values—when those values are in reality nothing of the sort—has consequences. The AFA has every right to continue spewing its message. But it’s time to stop pretending that message is one of anything but hatred.

Image Photoshopped by me.

Dan WilkinsonDan Wilkinson
Dan is a writer, graphic designer and IT specialist. He lives in Montana, is married and has two cats. He blogs at

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  • Richard Williams

    I don’t know much about what they’ve said. What is it that you and the SPLC think is hateful about what they have said?

    • Richard: Perhaps you missed in the article the link to the SPLC, which takes you to these statements from the AFA:

      “Homosexuality is a poor and dangerous choice, and has been proven to lead to a litany of health hazards to not only the individuals but also society as a whole.”
      –AFA Action Alert, July 20, 2012

      “[Islam] is, in fact, a religion of war, violence, intolerance, and physical persecution of non-Muslims.” –Tim Wildmon, March 6, 2012

      “The homosexual movement is a progressive outgrowth of the sexual revolution of the past 40 years and will lead to the normalization of even more deviant behavior.” – Don Wildmon, AFA website, 1999 (still posted as of 2011).

      “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” – Bryan Fischer, AFA director of issue analysis for government and public policy, 2010

      “If President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and homosexual activists get their wish, your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals who may very well view them with sexual interest.” – AFA press release, February 2010

      “Homosexuality is not only harmful to homosexuals themselves, but also to children and to society.” – Stephen Bennett, AFA writer, 2004

      “As with smoking, homosexual behavior’s ‘second hand’ effects threaten public health….Thus, individuals who choose to engage in homosexual behavior threaten not only their own lives, but the lives of the general population.” – Gary Glenn, president of Michigan chapter of AFA, 2001

      “[T]he homosexual lifestyle is characterized by anonymous sexual encounters and celebration of sexual obsession and perversion unparalleled in any other social group.” – Richard Howe, “Homosexuality in America,” AFA publication, 1994

      • Richard Williams

        How many of those statements are actually accurate warnings? I would not call statements of accurate warnings statements of hate.

        • Right, just like the KKK is only issuing “warnings” about the mixing of races, and neo-Nazis are only “warning” us about the Jews. No hate there at all…

          • Richard Williams

            I think you associating the AFA with the KKK is going over the line a whole lot. I seriously doubt the organization’ s official stance comes from hatred, although I don’t think any of us can speak for the individual members.

          • I’m just gonna go out on a limb here, Richard, and guess that you’re a Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin, which is why you think these statements from AFA are “actually accurate warnings.” Call me crazy.

          • Richard Williams

            This entire question is pertinent to me because for I was a Christian I visited a church my brother was going to and I met someone who was dealing with the issues of homosexuality in his own life. We became friends, however I really wanted to know what I should do in response to it. What I had discovered is not the rhetoric of people who were completely ignorant of human relationships, but of those who were concerned where certain decisions lead our society. In interacting with those who have struggled with their sexuality I can hear that they have deep seated issues from their past that they have a difficult time reconciling. Their lifestyle is a choice not something they are born with. I also know someone who was involved in homosexuality and is now happily married. Homosexual behaviour is a sin because it misses the mark of what is best for human beings. That is what sin means.

          • So Richard, you are, in fact, a Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin. Yes? Do I have that right?

          • Richard Williams

            Did you read my comments?

          • Richard, I’ve read your comments. I vehemently disagree that “Homosexual behaviour is a sin because it misses the mark of what is best for human beings.” Given that fundamental difference between us, I doubt there’s much room for constructive dialogue on the topic.

          • Richard Williams

            You may disagree, but do you only talk to people that agree with you? I would not consider that constructive.

          • If we have foundational and irreconcilable differences that inform understanding of a topic, I see little reason to continue the discussion. I don’t think it’s constructive to repeatedly bash my head against a brick wall.

          • Richard Williams

            I am pretty open to listening to anyone, however, you may not enjoy that I will still disagree with you regardless of what you say because my opinion is informed by the truth of God.

          • N.S.D.

            Richard: Tell me exactly where in your Bible it claims homosexuality is a sin. If I’m right, you don’t even know where to find said verse. So, if you need to, Google it. And from there, read the other laws that exist in the same Book of the Bible, in almost the exact Chapter. Then I want you to tell me why Christians, particularly hateful ones like the AFA and WBC single that verse out.

            From there, I want you to explain to me why we should use the Bible to guide our country, to form our laws, or as a framework for our lives. I want you to tell me why groups like AFA/WBC exist. I’ll give you a hint: it’s because they’re god is a god of war, wrath, and hate.

          • “my opinion is informed by the truth of God.” Way to go for the nuclear option. I guess that settles it.

          • Sheila Warner

            Richard: I talk with people with whom I disagree all the time. You say homosexuality is a choice because of very limited anecdotal evidence. You have not bothered to read the science on this issue. You are unaware of just how many so-called “ex gays” return to homosexuality because sexual orientation is fixed at birth, and the mental suffering by those who try to change due to guilt inflicted on them by other people is overwhelming. You should start reading blogs about gays. I highly recommend “Registered Runaway” and “Just Because He Breathes”. Make yourself aware of too many gays who were terrified of having same sex orientation because they were born again Christians who tried EVERYTHING to change. They poured their hearts out to God, searched the Bible for answers to help them change, went to gay conversion counselors, or to groups like “Exodus International.” It was not, and is not, a choice. You can’t read stories such as these over and over and over again and believe that being gay is a sin. And, since being gay is not a sin, then gays have every right to a lifetime of love and happiness.

          • So you’re just not going to directly answer this simple question, are you? That’s weak, Richard. At least be proud of what you believe.

          • Richard Williams

            I already did answer it. It’s weak to try to use that tactic of questioning by trying to treat me like I am ignorant and I don’t know what I am talking about.

          • Here’s another accurate warning.

            “Christianity is evil because Christians kill people. Lots of them.”

            I’m sure you will vehemently disagree with me, but doing so will only make you the worst type of hypocrite.

            EDIT: This comment was meant for Richard Williams. NOT John Shore. Apologies.

          • How ’bout: “People are evil because people kill people. Lot’s of them.”

          • That wasn’t meant to be taken as an actual accurate warning, merely sarcasm. I have lots of battles to fight with Christianity but I can come up with a better argument than that.

            EDIT: I now realised that I caused confusion by responding to the wrong person. I haven’t had coffee. Apologies.

          • Richard Williams

            Definitely because I could say there are atheistic nations that have killed quite a few people. I think what Dan says is accurate. People are sinners. There could be an argument regarding what people define as “Christians” because there are many who have tried to call themselves that, but are a misrepresentation of the Christian faith, and I can argue that quite successfully.

          • No worries. We’re all a little confused around here. 😉

          • If their stance, their purpose and their comments are not stemmed from hatred, then please tell us what in the hell are they doing.

          • Lee

            I think saying that homosexuals are responsible for the Holocaust is going WAY OVER THE LINE a whole lot. You seem to not understand the difference between disagreement and absolute hate. This is exactly the same garbage that Westboro Baptist teaches.

            This is no different than the KKK targeting blacks, telling lies about them which eventually can result in violence.

          • Richard Williams

            I looked it up – some homosexuals were partially responsible for the Holocaust, but so were all kinds of sinners. Where the AFA goes wrong is by only singling out those members of the Nazi party that were gay as if to grasp at some kind of argument that isn’t directly related. I certainly don’t think it is necessary because there is enough wrong with homosexual behaviour in itself.

  • 11B

    So because the AFA stands on Biblical principles and disagrees with homosexuality as it is a sin as discussed in the Bible they are to be lumped in with groups who’s vile discourse is not even a fair comparison. If we are to make this comparison then we must also lump in those who have made such racist and vile comments in the past. The SPLC’s own Morris Dees has a history that is nothing to be proud of. His own past is one of defending a KKK member among other things. Morris Dees and the SPLC are the last group I would trust as my only source for the definition of hate groups. But I digress…

    The AFA doesn’t hate the homosexual but the activity of homosexuality. They believe it to be their Christian duty to try and bring the homosexual back to the heterosexual lifestyle and since it can be done they are not trying an unproven tactic. It is the homosexual ACT that is seen as an affront to God and this is what they have stated. God despises SIN but loves the SINNER.

    Yes I am a Christian and I listen to AFR daily. I also have a Lesbian niece and a former Brother in Law who is Gay as well as a good friend who is also Gay. I love them all without regard to their chosen lifestyle but I do not agree with their chosen lifestyle.

    • Oppressing, marginalizing, excluding and denigrating people because of their sexual orientation isn’t a Biblical principle — it’s hate.
      Of course the AFA thinks it’s their “Christian duty” to fight the “homosexual agenda,” just as the KKK thinks it’s their Christian duty to preserve white power. But just because you think you’re right doesn’t mean that you are — or that your words and actions aren’t bigoted and hateful.
      The fact that you think homosexuality is merely a “chosen lifestyle” says to me that you’re unwilling to face reality, that you’d rather follow a particular understanding of the Bible and of Christianity that refuses to acknowledge scientific facts, that refuses to grant basic human rights to all people, that refuses to recognize the inherent dignity in people as God made them and that steadfastly refuses to love others yourself. Call it what you will, but in my book that’s hate.

      • Sheila Warner

        Not to mention the name calling. Listen to some of the sermons preached by these types of haters. Gays referred to as degenerate, fags, perverts–it’s disgusting. I’m ashamed that gays were barred from military service until the 21st century. If a man or woman is willing to die to protect our nation, does it really matter what the sexual orientation of that person is? The whole gay-hating mindset is dead wrong, and not at all what Jesus taught. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Period. Jesus put no exceptions to his command.

        • 11B

          u are correct that Jesus taught us to love one another. I said it in another post that as Christians we are not to hate the SINNER but the SIN.

          That being said does this excuse anyone from using the same tactics as they accuse the AFA of using?

          • BWF

            How does accusing gay people of causing the holocaust fall under “hating the sin but not the sinner”?

          • 11B

            People aren’t perfect and I can’t explain what anyone other than myself is thinking. As I have stated before every point of view has it’s own extremes. Christians are no different. If they were we would not have the WBC attending funerals with their vile speech.

          • You do realize that the doctrine of hate the sin, not the sinner is not a Christian one.

          • Richard Williams

            The Bible says hate what is evil and also it says love your neighbour as yourself.

          • Sheila Warner

            No one should use those tactics. But do you not realize how it harms a person when you say I love you but I hate your sin, when the person believes that who he is as a gay person is wrong? When you say that, the I love you part is not even taken in. All they hear is that who they are makes them unworthy of God, and, in some cases, unworthy to be alive at all. Many gays commit suicide because they end up hating themselves for who they are.

          • Here’s the problem with hating the sin, not the sinner. It rarely works that way. Why? Because people do not seperate a perceived sin from the person. It becomes the entire representation if that person, not just a supposed behavior the person displays at time.

            Then you get to sin itself. A person doesn’t gossip continually, neither do they steal or commit murder, those are actions. With someone who is gay, the hate the sin means that their very existence is continually, actively sinning…their actual actions are irrelevant. It is patently in just to view a gay person by completely different standards than anyone else.

            And as one doesn’t hear hate the sin, love the sinner any other time but when addressing homosexuality, it displays it for the lie that it is.

    • Sheila Warner

      Being gay is not a choice. But those who believe the way you do will never accept that fact. And, since you follow AFR so closely, you know that gays are referred to as degenerates. Good ol’ Jerry Falwell even nick-named Ellen DeGeneres “Ellen Degenerate” when she came out as a lesbian. It’s okay for you to hang onto your views, but it is not okay to deny gays basic civil rights. I remember getting newsletters from Focus on the Family in which the group wanted to deny gays the right to serve in our military, the right to teach in schools, and even the right to cohabitate in apartments. This is hatred at its core.

      • 11B

        Perhaps when you can show me scientific proof that being homosexual is NOT a choice and this proof is accepted by the majority of the scientific community then I will believe that being a homosexual is not a matter of choosing to live that lifestyle. It has not been proven to any degree that choosing the homosexual lifestyle is nothing more than just another choice. If this were not the case then choosing to leave that lifestyle would not be an option as the person is genetically disposed to return to the lifestyle.

        I did not say I followed them closely I merely said I listen to them. In my part of the country when I listen to AFR it is mainly music and not any of the other programming. As for Jerry Falwell well much like my feelings about the SPLC I have similar feelings about Falwell.

        As with any group there will always be those who are further to the extreme than many and it is those who will earn the time on the nightly news because they are more vocal about the chosen subject matter. FotF, Jerry Falwell, Islamic Terror groups and others like these, all make the nightly news simply because they are the loudest “dog” in the yard and not necessarily for what it is they are saying.

        • Sheila Warner

 One of the scientific research papers published. There are more. This one is particularly interesting. It goes back to the womb and how different fetuses respond to sex hormones at the genetic level. Hope this helps.

          • 11B

            “A team of international researchers has completed a study that suggests we will probably never find a ‘gay gene.’ Sexual orientation is not about genetics, say the researchers, it’s about epigenetics. ”


            The authors of this study are also listed as authors to your study. They agree that sexuality is not genetic. For each one you find that claims otherwise I can find one that will refute it. If/when it is ever discovered to be genetic I expect the MSM, as well as leading medical and scientific journals, will have it blasted all across the universe.

          • Lee

            I am puzzled because whether it is on the genetic level or not, the study DOES CONFIRM that homosexuality is not a choice. It has to do with hormonal development in the fetus.

            You are aware aren’t you that all fetuses start out anatomically as females, until the male hormones start production? There are actual cases of women who actually have male DNA because something went wrong in the womb. And every once in a while there is even a hermaphridite born.

            It isn’t just genitalia that can be affected, but also brain development. Men and women’s brains are different which is why some people experience gender confusion. The brain is the biggest sexual organ of the body. If hormones mess things up then I see no reason why we should assume that a person has a “choice” in the matter.

          • Sheila Warner

            Lee, you are so right. I had a friend whose pregnancy was a stillbirth. The baby had both genitalia, and so its gender wasn’t identified until they ran a blood test on it. And, I agree that gender is in the brain, not our physical reproductive organs.

          • Sheila Warner

            I won’t get involved with dueling studies. However, just because a genetic profile hasn’t been found, doesn’t mean it never will be found. However, I still do not believe that being gay is a choice. I’ve read too many blog entries by gays who spent years on their knees, pleading with God to change them outright, or at least guide them to a way out of being gay. Their attempts included gay reversion therapy, intense Bible reading & devotions, getting involved with their church youth group, attending church, and so on. It was never a choice for them. They did all the “right” things that those who are anti-gay suggested they do. They remained gay.

        • The overwhelming scientific consensus is that homosexuality isn’t simply a choice. Are you really unaware of that fact?

          • 11B

            Consensus is not proof that homosexuality is a genetic factor. I’ve seen nothing in the MSM nor read anything published in leading medical/scientific journals that makes the claim by leading members of the community that it ia genetic fact.

    • Lee

      “We don’t HATE homosexuals…oh heaven’s no! We only hate the *fact* that they are responsible for all the evil in the world and are out to destroy civilization and the entire human race! We have ample *proof* that they were responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews and that they are *dirty child molesters*. But it is SO UNFAIR that you would accuse us of HATE.”

      Want some WHINE with your cheese?

      Edit: I read below that you do not follow AFA closely. So perhaps you do not endorse what I just said. But the fact is that what I just wrote is EXACTLY what they say. If you defend them without being aware of what they teach then it sets you up to be attacked. I am not deleting the top part because this is essentially how a lot of Christians act, at least the ones from the far right.

      • Richard Williams

        Apparently it is true that Hitler seemed to surround himself with homosexuals, the problem is that they weren’t all homosexuals so to target them as the sole people responsible for the Holocaust would be wrong.

        • Lee

          Richard, you are badly misinformed. Hitler killed homosexuals along with all the other “undesirables” such as the Jews.

          But what you are saying though is that yes homosexuality was a factor in the Holocaust. The people who claim this say it is because gays are brutal evil people who like to inflict pain, more so than heterosexuals. Is that your viewpoint?

          If it is than just come right out and identify yourself as a gay-hater.

          • Richard Williams

            I think all people are equally sinners and I am making the point that the AFA is wrong if it only is pointing out to homosexual involvement in the Holocaust. Apparently there were leaders in the Nazi movement that demonstrated homosexual behaviour. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there would have been hypocrisy demonstrated in the Nazi party. Wasn’t Hitler part Jewish?

          • Lee

            Rumors and innuendo, including Hitler’s Jewish heritage.

            Homosexuals should not be blamed AT ALL for the Holocaust. You are implying that they were partially at fault. Even if you were right that a few were homosexual, that is not the same as saying that their homosexuality HAD ANYTHING AT ALL to do with their actions as Nazis.

            Actually you could make the argument that Christians in large part were responsible for the Holocaust since it grew out of the Christian Socialist Party. Hitler identified himself as a Christian in Mein Kamf and made his arguments based on a creationist point of view. He believed that the Aryan race descended from Adam and Eve, but the other races were created separately and were inferior. He was not a social Darwinist as he was trying to PRESERVE the Aryan race, not create it. Much like the neo-Nazi movement we have today. You do know that the KKK identifies themselves as a Christian organization, right?
            It may be disputed as to whether Hitler really was a Christian or not, but there is no doubt at all that the majority of the citizens of Germany were Christian and supported him.

            This is not to condemn ALL Christians but there is a MUCH BETTER case for Christian envolvement in the Holocaust than homosexual involvement.

            What group has historically been the most discrimitory against Jews? Christians. HItler was a great admirer of Martin Luther, who advocated killing any Jew that taught his religion and taking their children to be raised by Christian parents.

            Of course the muslims have had a bad record on that also but they have inherited that attitude from where? Christian influences. And of course they were not involved in the Holocaust, although I am certain many approved of it.

            This again is not an indictment of all Christians but Christians do not want to acknowledge that in fact fundamentalist religious beliefs played a big role in what happened. And just to be clear, I think ALL fundamentalism is destructive, whether it be Christian, Muslim, or any other religion.

            If fundamentalists of ALL religions spent most of their time cleaning their OWN houses instead of condemning others then we would not have half as many wars and conflicts as we have now. This is what Jesus taught and I doubt he would approve of the modern day Pharisees we have now.

          • Richard Williams

            If you can believe the wikipedia article on Ernst Rohm, then there is evidence that there were homosexuals involved in the Nazi party. I was not saying that homosexuality is the main cause of the Holocaust. I think that there is evidence that there was animosity towards the Jewish people because of the economic state of Germany and that is what helped to lead to the Holocaust.

            If you are talking about the Christian Social Party, it was lead by Adolf Stoecker who was a Lutheran. His messages seemed to be more focused on politics than they were the Christian message – makes me question if he really was a Christian, but many have used that label for themselves throughout the years. The Roman Emperor Constantine was the first major leader in world history to give himself that label and I wrote a paper on whether or not he was a Christian. The evidence suggests that he used it to unite his empire and was not really so concerned about adhering to the beliefs of it. I would say the same sort of thing for the likes of people such as Adolf Stoecker.

            The Bible says that many will misuse the name of God for their own advantage and that is what you are seeing with these examples that you give. If anything, it demonstrates a recognition by people that there is power in the name of Christ and some of them abuse His name quite openly.

            The reality is that the first Christians were Jews and there were some who did protect Jews, however, I think it could be argued historically that the Roman population generally had an inner-racism against Jews from the outset and it was easy for them to point fingers at the Jews rather than back at themselves for the death of Jesus.

            As for Martin Luther, it is to my dismay, to say that he had serious flaws in his attitude towards the Jews and some of it goes back again to blaming Jews solely for the death of Christ when that is totally unbiblical, and therefore, can not be blamed on the Christian faith itself.

            I think the whole human population will take an easy opportunity to blame others for the problems in the world and I don’t see the examples given as any indicator that someone from a so-called “religious” background is any worse than someone from a “non-religious” one. I think you are right that people should be concerned about dealing with themselves, however, whatever I do effects what goes on in the world just as much as the actions of anyone else does so why should I not also be concerned about that? For me it has nothing to do with condemnation because we all deserve that.

  • Sheila Warner

    As long as the servicemen and women in the armed forces are given a brief reason why groups are on the hate group list, I have no problem with it. Each troop is free to agree with or reject the presence on the list in the first place.

  • Sandi Moiseoff Hancock

    As Christians we are to love the sinner & not the sin. My sister is an alcoholic, I love her very much! But I hate that she drink’s so much everyday cause it’s killing her. See that’s it, love the sinner but hate the sin.

    • Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism is a tired tactic that fails on virtually every level. For example, see:

      • Richard Williams

        This argument misses the entire point. There is a sin of the heart in question that makes both sins the same. It does not matter if you engage in either behaviour. If you believe that engaging in that behaviour will dull your pain you are in sin because you are rejecting God’s ability to bring fulfillment in your life.

        • Alcoholism is not a “sin of the heart.”

          • Richard Williams

            A desire to drink your sorrows away is a sin of the heart. It isn’t a mere “disease” like people try to argue. So-called “science” can not prove that although it will make claims to that end to deny personal responsibility. Scientists bring particular biases to their studies. This is one of the reasons I mentioned someone like Nicholas Cummings elsewhere. He was a president of the APA and knows the inside scoop as far as what goes on in “scientific” organizations. People can be gullible.

          • Addiction of any sort isn’t simply a matter of personal responsibility. I suppose you also deny human contributions to climate change, think that vaccines cause autism, deny the moon landing, and think the Earth is 6,000 years old. Do you also deny the “science” that tells us the Earth orbits the sun? What about the the “science” that purports to predict the weather? You’re certainly right, people can be gullible …

          • Richard Williams

            I don’t know why you mentioned human contributions to climate change because that is a matter of human responsibility. As far as autism is concerned, I don’t know what causes it, but I am sure human responsibility comes in there somehow as well. As far as the moon landing is concerned, I would say that was a huge waste of money, although some argue that the benefits of it is that we use some of the technology that was developed for that flight (but then why not just develop that technology for earth use?). As for the age of the earth is concerned, I am not really sure scientists can prove that because they are going beyond the extent of their capabilities (you can not reproduce the beginning of the universe – that is why scientists keep coming up with new theories about it – it almost seems that the Big Bang theory that people have held on to as “fact” for so long is almost on the verge of being replaced). And all I can do is chuckle about the whole common argument that people try to argue about Christians and science and the whole orbit situation. I am not Roman Catholic so that church does not represent me, but I think if you look back in history, I don’t think that there was a widely held view by every Roman Catholic – that whole thing is a myth.

          • Sheila Warner

            There are scientific studies of how the brains of alcoholics respond in a different way than non-alcoholic brains, but somehow I doubt that you would consider those to be accurate, given your disdain for the scientific studies of our universe’s age. The only thing that can really alter a person’s mindset, if that mindset is in error, is personal experience with the issue which was previously rejected out of hand. There are verses in the Bible that portray alcoholics as drunkards, layabouts, and lazy, but the Bible was written before science knew about alcoholism. In the OT, if a man struck a woman who was pregnant and she miscarried, he only had to pay a fine. If the woman died, he was put to death. No one knew about fetal development back then. The idea that a premature baby could receive medical care and survive was so foreign that causing the death of a fetus was not considered murder, or even manslaughter. Abortion is not mentioned at all in the Bible, even though it surely must have existed. When you read the Bible, you have to understand it in the context in which it was written. Religion, including my own Roman Catholic faith, is often slow to accept what science reveals. That’s the problem of confining your world view to ancient societies. Religion does best when it can apply principles of love and mercy to today’s new discoveries. Jesus told his disciples that there were things he could not tell them at the time because the disciples could not bear them. This is why doctrine is developed over a period of time. We aren’t supposed to check our brains at the door–we need to apply them as good stewards.

          • Richard Williams

            Science has not proven that certain parts of the brain control human behaviour, all that it has shown is that certain parts of the brain “react” under certain circumstances. When some parts of the brain have been removed that have normally “reacted” under certain circumstances, other parts of the brain have shown to start reacting that were not before. This demonstrates that certain parts of the brain are not necessarily in control as people think. Scientists sometimes assume things based on the data without actually having established solid evidence and people who look at their research sometimes quickly assume that they are providing facts when they are not.

          • Sheila Warner

            You obviously have no idea about science. Do you suggest that people should have the portion of the alcoholic brain that is malfunctioning removed? Do you further contend that other parts of the brain will then malfunction? Have you seen the genetic studies out there, which demonstrate a strong hereditary link for alcoholics whose other family members are alcoholics? I have a few family members who have battled alcoholism. They have received copies of scientific articles regarding the reality that alcoholism is a disease. The reason why most alcoholics say that they are “allergic” to alcohol is that alcohol triggers the malfunctioning part of the brain, resulting in the powerlessness over alcohol which AA states. I have high blood pressure. I eliminated nearly all salt out of my diet years ago, but my high blood pressure is likely something I inherited, since both of my parents and my maternal grandmother had it. I take medication for it, and will for the rest of my life. No one accuses me of any nefarious behavior being responsible for my hypertension. Why do so many believers continue to say alcoholism is a choice? A great many alcoholics seek treatment because it is such a miserable way to live. They didn’t choose to become addicted. They have the disease of addiction.

          • Richard Williams

            I don’ think you were listening closely to what I was saying about the brain. I don’t think it has anything to do with what a person’s choices are.

          • Sheila Warner

            “When some parts of the brain have been removed that have normally “reacted” under certain circumstances, other parts of the brain have shown to start reacting that were not before.” So just what WAS your point when you said this? Did I prove to you that alcoholism is a disease? Of course not. I didn’t even cite my sources. Why? Because you dismiss scientific research on alcoholism out of hand. Alcoholics who seek treatment are indeed taking responsibility for their drinking. Those who cannot overcome their addiction and remained untreated are those that you believe are choosing to be addicted. Addiction by its very nature is very difficult to overcome, especially with the DTs and other side effects that occur when someone attempts to not drink. It is a physical dependence on the abused substance, be it alcohol or other drugs. There isn’t enough will power in the world to overcome an entrenched addiction. The addict needs help from the medical community to overcome the side effects of stopping the abuse. It’s a physical ailment.

          • Richard Williams

            My point was that just because a certain part of the brain reacts under certain circumstances, that does not prove that it has control over any particular aspect of human behaviour.

          • Richard Williams

            As well citing sources does not prove a thing if those sources themselves are in error.

          • Richard Williams

            The whole aspect of the weakness of the will demonstrates the weakness of the human condition when it comes to sin, that is why AA suggests turning to a higher power.

            I have had two step-fathers who were alcoholics. There was weakness in terms of coping with life, it had nothing to do with having a physical disease.

          • Richard Williams

            Is alcoholism really genetic or learned behaviour?

          • Richard Williams

            You have not presented any solid evidence that alcoholism is a disease and not a choice.

          • Richard Williams

            As well this represents a whole problem within our society of trying to suppress the idea of personal responsibility and to try to come up with physiological excuses for human behaviour.

          • Richard Williams

            As for your point about the woman who is pregnant, if you read the passage closely, it does not talk about specifically just the woman being seriously injured, but about there being serious injury.

          • Sheila Warner

            Interesting article that I read:
            Apparently I had it wrong–the passage seems to mean a premature birth. Of course, premature babies surviving back then was rare.

          • Richard Williams

            As well, the Bible talks about humans being formed in their mothers’ wombs.

          • Lee

            If it were not a disease then people would not get the DT’s and other withdrawal symptoms. And you are arguing against the most successful alcohol program in this country, AA.

          • Richard Williams

            Over-consuming anything will give you adverse physical reactions – that isn’t what signifies a disease. The action of over-consuming is an action of the heart – trying to dull your emotional/spiritual pain. As far as I know, AA teaches that overcoming alcholism does not involve a physical response, but a spiritual one.

          • Sheila Warner

            The alcoholic admits that he is powerless to stop drinking on his own. Does that sound like a choice to you? POWERLESS over alcohol. The alcoholic has to first and foremost STOP DRINKING. That is the physical means by which the alcoholic takes the power away from the alcohol. But, alcoholics realize that they are powerless to do so. They turn to a higher power to assist them. Not everyone who follows AA believes in God. There are those who have a higher power other than God. It may be the love of a spouse, or a new grandchild they want to see grow up, or the rays of the sun, or whatever. The 12 steps refer to “God as we come to understand him”. You really do not know what you are talking about. Alcoholism is not just about dulling pain–it is about insisting on being in control, instead of realizing that there are times we can’t control what goes on around us. It’s as much about anger and fear as it is about pain.

          • Lee

            The book of AA specifically states that alcoholism is physical in the forward written by a doctor.

            One of the slogans of AA is “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.” This means that the alcoholic can NEVER drink in moderation so they remain abstinent.

            Although AA was founded in the 1920’s modern science has born out their conclusions.

            It all has to do with tolerance, which is a physical response. Ever know an alcoholic who could drink everyone under the table? The reason why is that the body has become tolerant of the effects of the alcohol so they need more to get the same effect.

            Another example is pain pills. A person may have a legitimate need for them but in some people, not all, the body becomes tolerant and so they need more in order to get the same level of relief. Eventually they may develop a problem with them.

            Your dismissal of very evident withdrawal symptoms makes no sense. They do not occur when the person drinks too much, only when he stops.

            Yes of course there are often emotional reasons that play into this, but not always. For instance, most people who abuse pain pills do so not out of an emotional need, but simply to treat their physical pain. They also are trying to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

        • So by that logic, using anything to dull one’s pain is rejecting God’s ability to bring fulfillment into your life.

        • Sheila Warner

          Alcoholism is a disease, not a sin. All addictions are diseases. The accurate phrase is “alcohol/drug allergy.”