Killing us with kindness

Last night I was hanging out at the corner of faith and sexuality. There I witnessed a violent mugging. The perpetrator pretended to befriend his victims before suddenly attacking them with a crowbar. He smiled his toothy grin, and assured his victims of his love for them—and then left them bloodied, broken and writhing on the ground. It was monstrous.

I was alerted to the crime scene by the ever-awesome blogger John Shore. On his blog, John prepared to respond to a series of chapel talks on the subject of homosexuality at Bob Jones University (BJU). (See Waiting for Bob Jones’s huge gay bomb to drop.) BJU has refused to post these talks on their website as they normally would (so John never had anything official to respond to), but there are bootlegged versions of the talks made available online.*

The first two talks, delivered by BJU president Stephen Jones, were unremarkable. The first was the expected traditionalist riff on what the bible “clearly” says about homosexuality (thanks for clearing that up, Stephen; now all those scholars and theologians involved in the raging debate can pack it in). The second talk was a warning against pride and arrogance in this conversation, as we are all sinners. Ignoring Jones’s usual fallacious comparisons of gay people to alcoholics, I thought it a decent enough message.

But then came the third talk delivered by Jon Daulton, the school’s dean of men. He acknowledged that there were gay people “struggling with same sex attraction” in the audience, and offered compassion for their struggle. Then he went on to confidently explain the three reasons people are gay—what he calls “the contributing factors to the cultivation of same-sex attraction.”

First, he parroted the reparative therapy claim that poor parenting and detachment from the same-sex parent causes homosexuality. This is thoroughly debunked junk science that has broken apart families and done untold harm. Daulton is either being willfully ignorant or intentionally deceitful.

Next he said that people who feel unloved and intensely lonely find unconditional approval in the gay community. In other words, it’s not a desire to live an authentic life with integrity that motivates gay people to embrace their sexuality, it’s the acceptance and love of other gay people that meets their emotional needs. I’ve heard this complaint before; it always makes me scratch my head. When did accepting people for who they are become a bad thing? I find it exceedingly ironic that the un-Christ-like, intolerant church is blaming “immorality” on the gay community’s unconditional love and inclusion (the type of community created by Christ Himself).

Finally, Daulton said that being gay is a reflection of our sin nature—that gay people are paying for the sins of our fathers. This is the same-ol’ poisonous notion that gay people are created deeply flawed, and are unworthy of the blessings that flow from romantically intimate relationship.

This is unsurprising and infinitely harmful traditionalist doctrine. What was shocking in this instance of its being trotted out is the length to which Daulton first went to pathologize people who are gay. To him, it’s not enough to say “God said so.” He first had to gin up a sense that openly gay people are depraved. He doesn’t concede that there are possible biological or genetic causes of homosexuality. Instead, he paints gay people as too weak-willed to overcome a deleterious environment.

Delivering this harmful message to trusting students—some of whom are certainly gay—is bad enough. But what really got my ire up was the ostensible compassion with which Daulton delivered it. He said that he empathized with the “struggle” of gay people, and admitted the profound loneliness and despair engendered by traditionalist doctrine. He was modeling for the crowd how to give themselves a moral pass: “We know our dogma requires you to suffer; but we feel really, really bad about it because we love you.”

I reacted to Daulton’s talk in the same way I had earlier to a sermon by a guy named Josh Howerton, pastor at The Bridge Church in Spring Hill, TN. Howerton described an email from a gay congregant who was having difficulty believing that God required him to be alone for a lifetime. “If I believe what you are saying” the gay man writes his pastor, “I am sacrificing my ability to grow old and share my life with someone.” Howerton described that email as “sobering” and heartbreaking—and then he went on to compare the gay man with the rich young ruler in Mark 10.

With the utmost compassion and empathy, Howerton called the gay man an idolater who has forsaken Jesus in pursuit of selfishness. He wet his shame speech with crocodile tears. It was revolting.

I need to be absolutely clear: this is not a criticism of everyone who holds to the traditionalist doctrine. I’ve engaged with many people who are faithfully trying to reconcile their lived reality of gay friends and family with a doctrine that says those loved ones are depraved. I get it. I had to walk through that space on my journey too. No one should be pitching a tent in ambivalence, but that tension-filled space it sacred and necessary as the Church moves towards inclusion.

I am repulsed by men like Jon Daulton and Josh Howerton. They don’t come alongside their congregations and help them discern God’s will. They round up the gay people in their pastoral care and sacrifice them on the altar of sanctimony. They feign compassion and empathy for the same people they are mercilessly branding with a hot iron. They whisper softly into the ear of the 14-year-old gay kid, take him gently by the hand, and lead him to the communion table, where they serve him bread and the juice of fruit made bitter by their own hatred.

* Bob Jones has now made available here the audio files for its four-part chapel sermons collectively titled “The Biblical View of Homosexuality.”

This post originally appeared on Ford’s Words, and is reposted and revised with permission.

Christians and Spank Culture: How and Why to Stop It
A Navy SEAL’s life-changing secret
Denied a birth certificate and SSN# by her fundamentalist parents
Progressive Christianity won’t give you measles
  • Emily Herrington Ohland

    I have walked the campus of BJU. A music performance group I was a member of practiced there. It is the most uncomforably eerie place I have ever been aside from the 9th Ward in New Orleans post Katrina. I have been to many places through my lifetime and have experienced a sense of awe and peace. BJU, in contrast, gave me a sense of unsettlement and skin crawling.

    • JenellYB

      Perhaps you have a spiritual gift of the discernment of spirits, Emily. I have read/heard those of such gift sense such unpleasant feelings and sensations when in the presence of great evil and/or places where there has been great suffering.

    • allegro63

      I’ve been there twice and felt unsettled the entire time. I don’t know why, but its just an eerie place.

    • Sheila Warner

      Do they still have separate doors for men and women? I am 58. Back in the 60s when I was growing up, there were several young people who attended BJU. A married couple in the church met at BJU. In addition to separate doors, a chaperone had to be with every couple during their “dates”, making certain they did not touch at all, not even holding hands. This couple related how the chaperone kept a ruler with him/her to make certain the knees of the couple were at least 12″ apart while seated opposite at a table. One night there was a power surge, which knocked out the lights in a student lounge. When the lights came back on, a chaperone asked who took advantage of the lights being out and sneaked a kiss from his/her boy/girlfriend. A couple of brave students raised hands. The chaperone looked at the rest of the group and declared “those of you who didn’t raise a hand are lying.” Definitely not a place I would ever have considered attending. It seemed as if BJU was obsessed with sex.

  • Dan Wilkinson

    Thanks so much for this insightful and sobering analysis.

  • Sam

    First off, I want to affirm the fact that there has definitely been a great deal of abuse of the gay community in our churches. Many of the points you have raised are valid on a general scale about how we claim to love but instead wind up casting a ballot of judgement. However, I think that what needs to be acknowledged is the fact that the traditionalist view has every bit as much biblical support (if not more so) than the progressive interpretation of texts regarding homosexual practice. It needs to be realized that people do not simply interpret scripture as condemning homosexual practice because they have a homophobic agenda, it may well just be the best reading of the text. I don’t want to read the text this way, but it makes the most contextual and historical sense. Your closing statements criticized the essence of men who you barely know, accusing them of falsely portraying love to the gay community. I think you need to realize that they are essentially struggling with the same conundrum that the entire Christian community is- what does it really look like when grace and sin collide. This applies to more sins than just homosexuality, and the sad fact is that our cultural taboos have pushed this particular issue to the forefront. I respect so much of what you said, yet your depiction of these preachers as monsters is not merited. Their theology is informed from just as biblically legitimate position as yours is. Don’t judge them for attempting to make sense of one of the many paradoxes scripture forces us to live in.

    • Ford1968

      Sam –

      I totally agree that the traditionalist doctrine is not made up of whole cloth and good, faithful people subscribe to it. I also sincerely appreciate your call for charity, and I generally share it in the broader conversation. This case is different.

      “Your closing statements criticized the essence of men who you barely know, accusing them of falsely portraying love to the gay community.”

      Spouting patently harmful, dis-proven science claims is not a loving action. Spewing vile lies about “the drug-saturated gay culture” is not a loving action. Painting gay people as psychologically ill or emotionally unstable is not a loving action. Deliberately shaming gay people, and teaching their flocks how to shame gay people, is not a loving action. If we’re known by our fruits, what is one to deduce from these men’s words?

    • JenellYB

      Grace and sin do not and cannot “collide.” Grace covers sin. And grace resolves paradox.

      • Sheila Warner

        Of course they collide. How else do you explain conversion? Our sin collides with God’s grace. Once that happens, the person has the choice to accept the grace or walk away. But I contend that those of us who are believers can point to many times in our lives when our sins collide with God’s mercy and his grace.

        • Sheila Warner

          Kind of like an epiphany, when you realize you have to snap out of it!

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Sam.

      The fact is traditionalism on LGBT love is not Biblically-supported. The six verses that mention it are:

      1. Leviticus and Paul. Not Jesus. Just ask and we can discuss them one by one. What Jesus replied is, “This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one, only Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (New Jerusalem translation. I’m not Catholic, but it’s my fave.)

      2. In those instances, the verses referred to what we would call rape of servants or prostitutes today. Not consensual acts between equal adults.

      3. Ergo, LGBT love is not a sin.

      • Sam

        Hi Elizabeth,
        I really appreciate your reponse and I want to clarify- I want to believe these things to be true, but I think you get into slippery territory when you start to say that everything not specifically spoken by Jesus is not revelation. I am not yet decided on which interpretation of scripture I would lean toward, but Paul clearly condemns the act, and you really have to do some exegetical dancing to get around it. I guess it depends on what manner you believe scripture is divinely inspired in.

        • Elizabeth

          Revelation is tricky. I mean, if you’re a practicing Christian — and I am — your every thought has the Word of God in mind. Does that make me trustworthy?

          Here’s my humble take on Paul. He was an angry zealot, intent on killing Christians, until his conversion experience. But then, instead of fully grasping the enormity of Jesus’ acceptance, he became His PR man. He made Christianity stay long-term. He worked. Hard. He traveled. He made rules. He wrote tons of letters.

          What he was trying to do was protect Christians. Back then, that could still get you killed. Now, though, those rules about homosexual relations are as obsolete as his rules on women’s obedience or the rules on shellfish in Leviticus. That’s praise of Paul’s abilities, not criticism. He succeeded in Christianity’s survival.

          • Jill

            That is by far THE best support I’ve ever heard for Paul, while acknowledging of his, um… failings. I don’t like hanging at the corner of All or Nothing, and that is exactly where I’ve stood over the years on his canonized words.

            This is the very change of pace I’ve needed. So, why aren’t you tutoring me this kind of thing every day, Elizab?

          • Elizabeth

            Because I AM NOT HERE. I am playing with images (Dan Wilkinson even gave me some!) on my website to drum up more work. :)

            It’s easy to hate on Paul. But you don’t midwife Christianity into the world at large and become Augustine’s major influence if God doesn’t LIKE you.

          • Jill

            Good story there, my girl crush. Keep telling us all how not here you are. ;)

          • Elizabeth

            It’s like a drug! A nerdgasm. Stop encouraging me.

          • Jill

            So many addictions, so little time. Like you’re the only one… xoxo

          • allegro63

            nerdgasm. LOVE that word.

      • Steve Russell

        umm 6 verses? The New Testament actually never uses the word for homosexual, so don’t blame Paul for mistranslations. :) Paul is really a good guy if he’s translated right. But the Leviticus verses really do have to do with Temple prostitution. I don’t get how people can’t see that.

        • Elizabeth

          LOL. Yeah, homosexual wasn’t even a concept until the 20th Century. We were all straight who did a slave on the side. I don’t read Greek, so I can’t say for certain, but three Pauline verses are the common clobber passages.

          • ThisIsSad

            Are you sure Homosexuality was not even a concept until the 20th century? Please explain Romans 1 and the history text books of India, China, Ancient Middle Eastern countries etc.

            Homosexuality was a prevalent practice from the old ages. It was culturally frowned upon by almost every society except a few select nations.

          • Elizabeth

            Yup. I’m as sure as I can be. People had homo sex. They didn’t label themselves “homosexual” until very recently. Far from being frowned upon, the Romans encouraged it. It was almost a sport for “straight” men to rape. Think: gladiator combat, only rather than attacking an animal or trapped criminal, it’s another man. It permeated the culture. That’s the horrible behavior Paul warned Christians against, not consensual and loving relationships.

            And there’s no way Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines guarded by eunuchs without them fooling around with each other. Guaranteed. You didn’t call them lesbian or bisexual, but they were.

            Re: history text books, I’m not going to throw World Religions 101 at you. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Mesopotamian masterpiece. It’s a breath-taking love story between two men. King Gilgamesh is so distraught over the death of his “special friend,” he abandons his country and visits the Underworld to find him.

            It’s an Ur (or source) text for the Pentateuch. Not to mention the Greeks’ Hades and Dante’s nine circles of Hell. I studied the Herbert Mason verse translation in high school. Cool, right?

          • Sheila Warner

            Way cool. Now, you are speculating on whether or not those 1000 women of Solomon “fooled around.” Of course it was possible. But the bigger point is that Solomon could not possibly truly care for all of them. Love was most definitely not an ingredient in acquiring woman after woman. Sometimes I wonder if that whole passage of the Bible is to be taken literally. But, supposing that he had multiple wives–that’s patriarchy for you. We don’t ever read about women in the Bible who had more than one husband, right? That, to me, is the bigger problem.

          • cajaquarius

            Wives with multiple husbands was and is very rare because women mature and men don’t. Even as a gay man, I have the privilege of never having to grow up. Men are basically bigger boys. We always have been. The older men who complain that the boys of today are sitting around playing video games were still painting faces on the noses of their aircraft in World War II. Nothing changed about us at all, really.

            Mind you, this isn’t meant as insult, but simply because we have no consequences for our actions by comparison. If a woman goes on public transit and isn’t careful, she risks creepers violating her boundaries and, perhaps, worse. If a woman has sex with many men, she carries the baby. If a woman marries or dates a dangerous man she can wind up dead. This rarely goes in reverse.

            Men tend to be bigger and can walk away from a baby at any point. The problems we do suffer are caused by systems we set up (eg the family court system many men like to bemoan was set up to favor women in divorce by men). Thus, we can grow up to become people who acquire wife after wife; like overgrown boys who want more toys than all of their friends.

            Part of the blessing of being a gay man, I feel, is being able to see this pathetic situation for what it really is. I am happy to be partially free of it but, even still, I am a man and recognize that I am still subject to the system in many ways as well.

          • Sheila Warner

            Well said. Men collecting women as toys. That’s how I see the stories of polygamy in the Bible. It was forbidden for women to have any other man than her own husband. It’s still taboo. And, you’re right–the situation as it pertains to women is pathetic. See, this is why I love my gay friends, especially the gay men. You are supportive, kind, and lots of fun at parties, too! At least, my gay friends are! When I was partying myself, in my early 20s, the gay bars were the best. Every type of person was there, and every person had a story and some great trait to share.

          • Steve Russell

            Romans 1 for the first 300-400 years of the church was taught that unnatural sex was anything that did not produce children. That includes a lot of things that we ignore today. Yet some still teach it, for example, by saying any birth control is wrong.

          • cajaquarius

            Homosexuality is frowned on in any society that is dominated by men (patriarchal). In less patriarchal societies you see less issues with homosexuality. It is an issue for these societies because controlling women’s bodies is the cornerstone of creating powerful armies and in post agrarian societies, powerful armies were paramount. The concept of love and moral good are new concepts.

            When the Bible refers to Good it uses the word in Hebrew called Tov which means “functional” and not a denotation of morality as it is commonly understood by us. Abomination, similarly, means “not functional” and doesn’t carry the same immoral connotation. And, if you think about it, for a warmongering people like the ancient and classical era peoples, this sort of denotation makes perfect sense: gays don’t make more soldiers from their unions.

            Homosexual love and love, generally, hasn’t been a factor until very recently in human pairings. In fact, it is very odd to allow women to choose their mate (or men, for that matter – traditionally, this was done for them).

          • Sheila Warner

            Excellent! Thanks so much for that explanation!

        • Gordon

          Paul was a psychopath.

          • Steve Russell

            I’m guessing you’ve never been taught the real Paul. Understand that Paul didn’t write 1 or 2 Timothy and Titus, which many people use against him. His books were about Grace and getting along with one another.

  • BJU News

    Thanks for linking to us! Just a reminder that we transcribed all five of the sessions in case listening to them isn’t possible for you.

  • americanwoman343

    I know you’re probably tired of the discussion. But my lens is Jesus. So what do you do with how Jesus describes what marriage IS, grounding it in creation? That the male and female are made one flesh by God? If Jesus hadn’t said that, I’d struggle less with your arguments.

    • John Shore

      Just because male and female are made “one flesh” does not mean that men and men, or women and women, cannot also be “made” the same. I made soup tonight, and it was good. That does not mean I can never make anything else.

      • ThisIsSad

        Sorry, how do men and men, or women and women biologically ensure continued existence of life in a natural way, ie without use of Artificial Insemination etc?
        Please enlighten.
        I think there is a great lack of clarity on both Christians who support gay marriages and on Christians who stigmatize gays.
        Firstly, God is against homosexual practices, not homosexuals per se.
        Secondly, God is against murder, lying, etc, not murderers, thieves per se.
        Thirdly, a lack of clarity in the distinction between the person and his deeds leads me to understand that many of the articles posted by unfundementalist christians are motivated by emotions with very little consideration for biblical logic.

        Fourthly, the lack of love in many christians towards LGBT communities because of their misdeeds leads me to understand that they are very well motivated by legalism, with very little consideration for emotions.

        So in conclusion, I believe there must be a balance drawn.

        • anakinmcfly

          So basically you’re saying that the only people allowed to fall in love and/or have sex are those capable of producing kids? Everyone should be tested for infertility beforehand, then, and the infertile relegated to lives alone? What about intersex people? Is every intersex person doomed from birth to celibate singlehood because they’re either infertile or don’t qualify as typically male or female? I know an intersex woman with weird sex chromosomes born with ambiguous genitalia and raised as a boy (though she never felt like one), when later in life her body spontaneously developed into a mostly female direction; she’s infertile, I think, and attracted to women. Is she allowed to become one flesh with another woman? On the one hand you might consider that homosexual because they look and behave like two women and can’t procreate; on the other hand, there’s no shortage of people who believe she’s ‘really’ a guy because she was raised as one and has some semblance of male genitalia, such that if she liked guys, those people would consider it gay and a sin.

          Along similar lines, what about transgender people of varying sexual orientations? I’m a gay trans guy who could technically procreate with a non-trans guy (it would just be messy and risky and cost a lot, given that I’ve hormonally transitioned), but to you we would look like any other gay couple. Or you might go the transphobic route and declare that I’m “really” a girl, in which case I guess I have your blessing to pursue a relationship with other gay guys, and when people complain or throw homophobia my way, I’ll just point them to you.

          I am honestly interested in your reply. I’ve asked countless anti-gay people about how their view applies to the trans and/or intersex communities, and have never received an answer other than ‘well, such cases are rare’. Such cases are my life, and it would be nice if people stopped being evasive.

          • Ted Garvin

            I am infertile (I have a diagnosis of Kallman’s Syndrome, but I wonder)–I enjoy sex. I must be depraved. :)

          • Matt

            “She-male” is a deeply offensive and disgusting slur against transgender women. One of these women is my future wife, some are my friends, and all are my transgender sisters. That kind of language is never appropriate.

            “Non-cishet?” Not cisgender and heterosexual? You mean, like me? For I am neither. Here’s a newsflash: “Hermaphrodites” (another offensive and obsolete term) don’t actually exist. The word you’re looking for is “intersex.” No human being has both functional sets of genitals, and that is okay. It is okay to have ambiguous genitalia, chromosomes, and/or hormonal levels. It is okay to have a gender that does not match one’s physical body at birth. It’s not a death sentence or a life-ruining condition to be transgender. We are just as complex, just as functional, just as stable, and most importantly, just as human as anyone else.

            Once you manage to use appropriate grown-up language that respects your fellow human being, then you can be allowed to have this discussion.

          • Matt

            I ask you no questions, and so receive no lies. Deal?

            You’ve been blocked before. I think it’s time for it to happen again.

          • Sheila Warner

            I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful gay man at my job many years ago. I was raised in a fundamentalist home, and when I met this person, it was like a breath of fresh air. I endured rigid thinking, no socializing except with children of fellow church members, and general legalism out the wahoo. This man was so kind and generous, and his friends were the greatest people I met. We hung out and laughed and had so much fun. Fast forward to my job at a state prison (I was a nurse). I met really great transexuals who were inmates. They were usually upbeat, and we had fabulous conversations with them about their lives, their hopes, and their dreams once they were released. 99% of my interaction with gays/trans has been more than positive. I have found more joy and laughter in the LGBT community than I can recount. You hold your head up high! God doesn’t make any mistakes. Trust him to guide you. There are tons of us out here who are not condemning.

        • allegro63

          Why does any sexually active couple need to ensure the continued existence of life?

          What the heck is a “homosexual practice”?

          I find it ironic that a God who is supposedly so against liars, murders, drunks and thieves, tended to pick those kinds of people in the bible to do some pretty extraordinary things.

          What misdeeds are LGBT people supposed to be doing?

      • Sheila Warner

        I totally agree. Not every straight person is fertile, for one thing. So, God creates infertile people. God also creates mixed-sex individuals, transexuals, and of course, gays. Let’s expand it a bit further: God creates people who are blind, are deaf, have spina bifida, and other disabilities. Each human being is precious to God, no matter the size, shape, color, or sexuality. Yes, it’s the scientific norm for procreation to be done between men and women, but just because there are variances among humans regarding sexuality, fertility, or any other outside of the norm traits, does not mean that those people are somehow offensive to God. I just don’t get why people don’t think this out logically. Variety is the spice of life, remember?

    • Ford1968

      Hi Americanwoman,

      First, I appreciate that your lens is Jesus. Mine too. Let’s start with that understanding.

      For the purposes of this discussion, let’s leave the harm of the traditional sexual ethic to the side. We can debate whether or not God demands that gay people repress their sexuality another day. This conversation has nothing to do with that.

      This conversation is about people in charge of pastoral care of others:
      1. Knowingly spreading harmful falsehoods about the cause (and therefore cure) of homosexuality.
      2. Knowingly spreading vile lies about LGBT people (I.e., the “gay lifestyle” is drug and alcohol fueled and gay people want to party rather than commit themselves to serious relationships).
      3. Shaming and judging gay people into believing that they are somehow less human than straight people and
      4. Doing all of the above while claiming empathy, love, and compassion.

      This has nothing to do with the conservative sexual ethic and everything to do with stigmatizing and marginalizing people who are gay.

      Jesus never stigmatized or marginalized anyone. Ever. Not even when he rebuked.

  • Eve Fisher

    They don’t treat women very well, either. (I love being defined by my empty womb.) And their attitude towards people of other races has only recently, barely, become “accepting”. But they are the chosen people, and will never recognize their whitewashed sepulchres, lovely on the outside, full of filth and bones within…

  • CoolHandLNC

    “Hatred” is too strong. People like Daulton and Howerton don’t hate gay kids any more than a wife-beater hates his wife. Indeed, the abuser may believe he loves his wife. A thief may not hate the person he robs. A serial killer may not hate his victims. A pedophile may not hate the children he molests. In each case, they are just putting their own needs, problems, or desires ahead of the other person. That isn’t hate, is it?

    (Drat! Poe’s Law requires that I disclaim this as sarcasm. Somebody somewhere really believes this.)

    • Elizabeth

      Nice pseudonym! The logic’s a little flawed. A wife-beater does love his wife. He was probably beaten himself and never learned another way to handle his anger. A pedophile probably loves the child, and the thief probably just doesn’t care about who he robs.

      We all fail at perfect love. God big fat loves us anyway. That in no way means it’s healthy or right.

  • Jane Spickett
    • Priscilla Ballou

      The Boston Church of Christ is a well-known cult in the Boston area. 30 years ago campus ministers were trying to get it thrown off area campuses. Back in those days I went “undercover” to a couple of their services/functions in order to get a sense of them to help the leadership at the parish where I was very active and where we did campus ministry. The BCoC was (and is) patriarchal, sexist, narrow, fundamentalist — and a cult who surrounded, isolated, and brainwashed lonely young people, then cut them off without any friends if they didn’t conform themselves entirely to the groupthink of the “church.” Several kids attempted suicide, if I remember correctly. I find it very sad that they are still around spreading their poison.

  • Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

    And people wonder why I honour the gods of some of my ancestors than to follow Christianity.

  • Guest

    Very interesting. Islam is so much like Protestantism, with a variety of groups which hold to differing ways of observing the faith. Depending on whether you are a Sunni or Shiite (or Baptist or Presbyterian) you live your life in that manner. If I could, I’d take this course for myself. Dialogue is so much easier when we have a better understanding of what others believe.

  • Sheila Warner

    This is very sad. It’s too bad fundamentalists don’t consider what they sound like with their platitudes. It’s amazing that homosexuality is carved out as some kind of uber sin. In the meantime, the divorce rate is the same for Christians as it is in the rest of the population. And we haven’t even touched on patriarchy. There is plenty of wrong doing within fundamentalism when it comes to sex, but it seems all they want to do is condemn gays.