The Christian right and pornographers: brothers in arms

We’ve all heard the anti-gay vitriol spouted by Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, and all the other right-wing Christian leaders who make their fortunes hectoring and persecuting LGBT people.

What, really, makes such Christians tick? What defines their ethos? What is the true taproot of anti-gay Christianity? Underneath all of their posturing and hyperbole—even underneath their belief that they are only being true to the Bible—what core conviction is really informing the Christian right’s condemnation of homosexuality?

It is that human sexuality can exist separate from the human spirit.

In the mindset of the anti-gay Christian right, same-sex relationships are about nothing but soulless bodies engaged in animal acts. Such relationships must have everything to do with sex, and nothing to do with love.

When’s the last time you heard any anti-gay Christian so much as mention love between two gay people? You never have, because they cannot afford to go there. Doing so would be like flipping on the light switch in a darkroom. Everything would be ruined.

Foundational to the Christian condemnation of homosexuality (and, indeed, of all sexuality) is the conviction that it is possible for a person to divorce their sexuality from their soul—from their heart, from their emotional core, from the very locus of their awareness of who they are.

You know who also bases everything they do and are upon that same assumption? Pornographers. Without the belief that a person’s sexuality can exist separately from their heart and mind, pornographers would also be out of business.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • R Vogel

    Touche! (I don’t know how to add the accent) Brilliant point! Nothing I love more than to see people false beliefs traced back to an uncomfortable conclusions. Religion makes strange bedfellows (pun very much intended!)

    • Sven2547

      I don’t know how to add the accent

      ALT + 0233 (use the number pad on the right side of the keyboard) :)

      • Peter Lake

        Gotta try that. Touche …. nope. Is there a way to do it without a number-pad?

        • Sven2547

          In Windows, the “Character Map” application will work. It’s under Start > System Tools. I forget the Apple equivalent.

          Apologies to John Shore for getting so off-track in the comments.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            No worries…these are important things! Another way is to look up the word online and then copy & paste it with the accent.

  • Dan England

    If
    you do not believe in God and expect nothing but this life then you are
    free to believe that love binds you together and you can force society
    to accept your lifestyle without persecution. But the moment you bring
    Jesus into your reasonings you must change your lifestyle to the one God
    ordained in Genesis :
    “Genesis
    2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and
    be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
    If
    you choose to reject God’s definition of relationship then that is your
    choice and you must live with the consequences. Or rather go to that
    place of forgetfulness. You won’t even be able to remember any good or
    any love or any life. Only those who trust Him for salvation will enjoy
    the love and life and good that comes after a person breaths God’s air
    for the last time.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      So you take a literal interpretation of Genesis? Genesis outlines God’s plan for humankind?

      • Dan England

        Yes. No. Genesis just outlines why humankind is so very dysfunctional and where sin came from and why mankind is depraved and needs a savior. The New Testament outlines God’s plan for humankind in the gospel of His Son Christ Jesus. His life, His death and His resurrection. Believe for eternal life and allow Him to make you new.

    • Peter Lake

      You think that being gay is a lifestyle, Dan? I take it that you are, therefore, gay or bisexual.
      I could not choose that “lifestyle”, especially, given the way our society still treats gay people. The idea of sex with a man is physically impossible to me. If you could make that choice, you’d be well advised to come ‘out’.
      PS. The earth is more than 6,000 years old.

      • Dan England

        Peter, Peter, Peter, wow lol. Do you think everyone who disagrees with you is homosexual? Oh my lol.

  • americanwoman343

    Kind of interesting when you consider they are the ones who taught me that when I have sex, I am joining Jesus to my partner, and that it is always a spiritual act.

  • Michael Zimmerman

    So close, OP. So very close. You’re certainly a lot further along in this than a lot of the fundamentalists you criticize. Chastity is certainly a lot more than “no sex until marriage, straight couples only”. All that’s missing is for you to recognize that chastity is “the successful integration of sexuality within the person”, and is the virtue of honesty in every last aspect of ourselves, both physical AND spiritual. Once you see that the equipment is not an accident, you will be swiftly progressing towards the Catholic position on Chastity as a whole.

    • Elizabeth

      Hello Paul, Augustine, and Luther. Chastity isn’t a successful integration of sexuality within a person. It’s the sacrifice of it. I was chaste until very recently. I reclaimed what was mine. I, um, don’t recommend it. Unless you’re going for sainthood, sex is OK. Do it with your whole heart. Take the risk.

      • Michael Zimmerman

        Once again, you fall to the trap of thinking celibacy is the same thing as chastity. An obscenely common misconception. In marriage, sex is wholly chaste. It liberates me to give myself wholly and completely to my partner (to “do it with my whole heart”, as you say). I can’t do that if I’m preoccupied by worries over what will happen the morning after, what kind of diseases I might be getting, whether she’ll get pregnant and what to do then, etc.

        And yes, I AM going for sainthood. You should be, too. We all should be. That is the only reason we exist, is to become saints. Do you think all saints were celibate?

        • Elizabeth

          I’m named after three queens and four saints. I’m unmarried. That makes me no more or less chaste than you. It means I haven’t settled yet. I deserve someone worthy of three queens and four saints. There are methods to avoid both disease and pregnancy. We’re not living in the Dark Ages. The morning-after guilt is your own problem.

  • f_galton

    You don’t worship God, you worship the male anus.

  • wlad

    John,
    I agree with you assessment about pornography.

    But there is no such thing as homosexuality. There are things that males do with males that are pleaurable, as well as females with females. But are they sexual?

    Consider.
    Sexuality–the uniting of a male and female to form offspring, was the result of evolution finding the best way for reproduction, and making it very pleasurable to ensure it happening.

    Eating–the ingesting of nutricious food to allow male and females to stay alive, resulting from evolution finding the best way for males and females to stay alive, and making it very pleasurable to ensure it happening.

    What if scientists were able to come up with subsances that looked like food, looked like steak and potatoes and vegetables, tasted immensely good, but had absolutely no nutritional value. Would you call it ingesting them eating? If you did, when you asked your anorexic daughter if she ate her supper, and she said yes, would you accept her answer, or would you check is she REALLY ate? Such “eating” might be called “faux eating,” or “fake eating,” but would never be mistaken for real eating, and just called eating.

    Males (or females) engaging in certain pleasurable acts with each other are not engaging in real sex, just pretending, just as the anorexic ingesting nutritionless substances is not really eating, but just pretending.

    • Sergei Kuznetsov

      According to this logic, males and females who use condoms are not engaged in real sex, since no reproduction happens.

  • Todd Reeder

    If there was no sin there would be no need for preachers. Some people think of themselves as super hero’s fighting the evil of sin. If there were no sins to fight against they would be out of a job. And out of a pay check. They have pay check as long as there evil to fight against and the have a medium to use to fight it. And people to give money to support the fight.

  • melissia

    When a lesbian woman is pressured and emotionally and spiritually strong-armed in to marrying a man… she is divorcing her sexuality from her soul, her heart, her emotional core, from the very being that they are. When a gay man is pushed in to marrying a woman in order to fit in to society… much the same.

    This pain, however, is not pain of the lesbian woman or gay man’s choosing. It’s pain being caused by the preachers themselves. I’ve seen the tears… the emotional anguish… the self-hate. It is, frankly, wrong, unGodly, un-Christ-like, to force people in to these sham marriages.

    And it is anathema to Christ– that is, anti-Christ– to try to use guilt or shame to force them in to such marriages.


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