Post Prop 8 – Ugly scene in the Castro

I didn’t write about Proposition 8 in CA during the election season, primarily because I had become preoccupied with the general election and the historic campaign. However, as all know, Proposition 8 in CA passed and has set off a firestorm of reaction. Protests this past weekend were widespread nationally (see this link for more than most people will want to read).

However, I want to post this video because I hope it serves as a caution to those on both sides of the gay rights issue. I am saddened by the treatment of the Christian believers who apparently were not there to celebrate the passage of Proposition 8, but as a resumption of an outreach. I also believe that the anger and ugliness reveals the rejection that many gays feel from the Prop 8 defeat. I hope leaders of both sides will step up and call for calm and cooling off.

Rejecting violence while experiencing empathy for the angry is not likely to be a popular position. I watch this video and I wonder, how can we live together? How can such divergent value positions co-exist in a society that often changes by degrees and not by fiat? Mostly, as I watched the impromptu march, I just felt sad and long for a better resolution.

Update: Some reactions to this from both sides of the spectrum. Pam’s House Blend says, “This kind of activism isn’t helping” and this blog offers more from the perspective of the group of Christians chased out of the Castro.

GayPatriot has some good advice for activists…

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  • Pathia

    There is no way to compromise on this, both sides feel harmed no matter the outcome. There is no best solution, only second best ones. No matter what, there will be increased hatred on all sides until society changes completely one way or the other.

  • Mary

    This is not good.

    People have turned hatred on all sides. I understand the gay intolerance and emptiness and defeat. However, I do not agree with this display – were people (so called christians) in the Castro trying to instigate a riot??? Really, everyone knows the Castro or other gay districts in their towns. If they don’t want to be around, avoid that neighborhood. Let people live peacefully.

    And all the protests may be energizing gay americans but even their supporters who are not gay are becoming a little embarrassed to support such displays of “intolerance” by gays. That’s just the word on the street.

  • http://www.tooshytostop.com Laryssa

    Thanks so much for the info! Too Shy to Stop photographer Shaun Bell captured some really great photos from the Prop 8 protest in DC. You can view his photo essay here.

  • Lynn David

    Mary wrote:

    I understand the gay intolerance and emptiness and defeat.

    If you did so understand, you wouldn’t be labelling our feelings at losing a constituted right in California as intolerant.

    And all the protests may be energizing gay americans but even their supporters who are not gay are becoming a little embarrassed to support such displays of “intolerance” by gays. That’s just the word on the street.

    Fine. Fair weather friends we do not need. If all you’re doing it “tolerating” us, all I can do is flip you off virtually.

    ___________________________________

    ___________________________________

    A hypothetical or two for you all. First, a gay Native American and his equally gay Native American partner have married in California during the last summer of 2008. They did so in a ceremony based in their native religions which allow two men to marry. Second, two lesbians Wiccans have married this last summer in their religion’s ceremonial handfasting which allows for the marriage of persons of the same gender.

    Then comes the obvious questions. Do they have recourse based in their First Amendment rights to petition the courts to demand their marriages be upheld as constitutionally protected? And if they do, then do atheists not have the same protections?

    Furthermore, in an interview with the German magazine Spiegel Chief Justice Ronald George is quoted as having said the following:

    If this amendment to the constitution passes, it would prevent gay people from being married, but it would not remove this protection that we put in our analysis. … We’re saying that if you look at a classification of gay people, you must treat it just as if you are classifying on the basis of the color of their skin or their religion. And that is probably the most important thing in the whole ruling, even though the population’s attention understandably has mostly been on the “M word” of marriage.

    As gay people are to be treated the same as any person’s religion or skin color does that mean that a religion or a person of a certain ethnicity can be barred from the institution of California civil marriage? And if they cannot, then how can a person based upon their sexual persuasion?

  • http://www.voiceofrevolution.com Marcus French

    I hope leaders of both sides will step up and call for calm and cooling off.

    That sounds great, but what exactly did the Christians do that warrants a need for them to “cool off”? They weren’t even there to protest Prop 8! We just did a story on it here that tells the Christian’s side of the story.

  • Mary

    Lynn David,

    If the shoe were on the other foot ….? It would be called intolerance. And I guess, Iam responding to some fo the hateful, angry ways that some gays and gay supporters are responding – much akin to the “so called christians” of yesteryear.

    I do understand that the rights of gays are not equally represented in the law and constitution of California. And I am intolerant of that, too.

  • Mary

    Marcus French – mind you – that is the side of some christians. Christians are a vast group of varying opinons. About the only thing we can agree on is the Savior.

  • http://www.voiceofrevolution.com Marcus French

    Mary,

    By “Christians”, I was referring to the Christians that were attacked.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am a gay believer who campaigned and voted against Prop 8. But, I see it as a civil rights issue, not a moral or religious one. I agree with Warren’s feelings on this one: “Rejecting violence while experiencing empathy for the angry is not likely to be a popular position.” But it is the right position.

  • Mary

    Wow! Thanks Marcus. I did not know they had been going into the Castro for several months. I told my mom about this (we are both familiar with the Castro and gay activism) She is a totaly liberal and is appalled by the gay response. This is not what we fought for back in the day.

  • Nevada Blue

    I’m not condoning the ugly behavior, and I would like to see activist leaders remind everyone to calm down. But the anger of proponents of civil rights (I am not gay and am livid) is legitimate. People need to be reminded to put their anger into use as a force for positive change. Getting ugly doesn’t help, but its not like its only gays and its not like its unknown. Every movement has a fringe element that needs to be kept in check.

  • http://www.voiceofrevolution.com Marcus French
  • Lynn David

    I wondered just what JHOP was, then I found that JHOP was founded by Lou Engle, who has written:

    “The Lord also spoke to us several years ago and challenged us with this question: ‘Are you willing to take your intercession into the heart of the plague?’”

    “To this end we have established our JHOPs as close to the “center” as possible. JHOP San Francisco is located on Haight Street where the youth rebellion flourished in the late 1960’s and just a few blocks from the Castro District, which is considered the homosexual capital of America.”

    That Bob Jones gave JHOP a prophetic word that 3 pro-life judges would be put on the court. Bob Jones who said that ‘in the second part of his term (GW Bush) he would do more to end abortion, restrain the homosexual agenda, and put pray(er) back in schools.’ And “eight more years of righteousness” after George Bush, whatever that should mean.

    JHOP which seeks “the transformation of our governments to reflect the Kingdom of God that is built on rightteousness and justice.”

    “God has led us (JHOP-SF) to contend for the deliverance and redemption of the homosexual community, believing that those who have been forgiven much will surely love much. (Luke 7:47) Out of this community will arise extravagant lovers of God who will worship him with creative expression and devotion. We have a mandate to stand against the homosexual agenda that raises itself up against the knowledge of God and seeks to destroy the identity of our generation.”

    The JHOP-San Francisco house that has a link to “The Call” on their website.

    And back to Lou Engle who was founded “The Call” as well as JHOP. Who has said, “California sits within a fog of Jezebel confusion. Recently the Supreme Court of California disregarded the votes of the people and legalized homosexual marriage.” And, “….the implications of this ruling are so far-reaching that it demands an immediate and urgent response from the church.” And, “As California goes, in many ways, so goes the nation. A major prayer leader from Egypt spoke to me and said that he had been weeping over California because he knew that if this law is not reversed by the vote of Californians on November 4, a spirit will spread across the world that will be stronger than Islam. It is a spirit of lawlessness, and that spirit will affect every nation.”

    Seems these are the among the most rabid of “Yes on 8″ people. People who consider their presence in the homosexual community to be in the “heart of the plague.” I would be throwing them out of my community also.

  • Eddy

    Marcus–

    Thanks to the link to the report on the confrontation. While I do fully believe the facts that you presented, I question the method of evangelism that was chosen. In light of what just happened with Proposition 8, I would have recommended a reverse strategy to the one you all employed; I would have opted for personal one on one chats and sharing rather than the ‘open air worship’. When I led street ministry teams to gay areas, we had one team back at the van praying and worshipping while the other team was out ministering one on one. This was over 30 years ago but I still think the logic holds true: no matter how pure and heartfelt our worship and prayers might be, they were misinterpreted by those we hoped to reach.

    Yes, the streets belong to the people, but I’ll ask you some questions I asked of some of our more gung-ho ministers: If it’s really ‘just prayer and worship’, why drive across town on a Friday night to do it in the heart of a gay neighborhood? The answer is obvious and reveals that it was MORE than ‘just prayer and worship’. It was an attempt to confront the unbelievers with the Gospel message.

    Why aren’t there groups praying and worshipping on a regular basis in the heart of the shopping district? My ministry group soon grew to crowd two vans so one week I offered a surprise change-up. We drove to an upper class shopping mall and turned my young evangelists loose. If memory serves, only two of them even managed a single conversation. They didn’t know how to begin without the presupposition “I’m a Christian and you’re a sinner”.

    I grieve for the way you were treated but I understand why they felt that you were doing more than just exercising your right to worship freely. Would you be offended if the gays chose to show up in front of your place of worship every week exercising their right to demonstrate their gay affections within the boundaries of the law? And what if it happened right after you felt a major blow to the cause of righteousness had been dealt by the community at large via legislation? I do believe your response would not have matched the confrontation that you experienced but I also believe that it would have seriously vexed you and tried your Christian patience.

    I realize that your group feels called to challenge the homosexual agenda (it is, after all, right there on your website). Just realize that that is your agenda (along with abortion). To the gays, it is the ‘right wing agenda’, the conservative agenda. Most do not grasp the construct that we see of “love the sinner, hate the sin”; our methods of evangelism must reckon with that. We must demonstrate the love of Jesus rather than just speak it. When the woman caught in adultery was thrown at Jesus’ feet, He treated her like a person, challenged her accusers and lifted her up before she demonstrated any desire to turn her life around.

  • Mary

    Inlight of Prop 8 and the protests being staged throughout the nation, I too, would have advised a different strategy for the evening.

    I do not condone the actions by the gay people in the Castro. I do not think it was wise of the Christian group to go that evening. They knew it would be an eventful evening.

    And thus far it has accomplished nothing. Changed no one’s mind or heart.

  • Ann

    Marcus,

    Thank you for the good work you do.

    I think one of the major complaints from the gay community is that people with religious motivations only show up once in awhile and usually to tell them all the things they are doing wrong according to religiousbeliefs and standards. If people wanted to share their religion and all the benefits of it, shouldn’t they be present and available all the time and as friends in and under any circumstance with an ongoing and consistant interest that is visible and safe? Otherwise one might be reminded of charities and the people who are involved in them participating only around the holidays – how sincere is that? When babies come into the world it is usually when they want to and all the people involved in the birth have to be prepared, available, and ready to meet them – sometimes we tell them when to be born but more often than not, they tell us.

  • Eddy

    Ann–

    Your comments remind me of the story of Perry Desmond, a post-op transsexual once billed as ‘The South’s Most Beautiful Boy’. He worked in a club on Bourbon Street where Christians loved to evangelize. Something got through to Perry and he found his way to the church.

    All of his clothing was female as was the rest of his appearance. He was touched by God and wept throughout the service and then, amazingly, they didn’t have an altar call. They didn’t know what they’d do if he came forward!!

    Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. One of the elders did come to meet him before he left and proceeded to lead him to a salvation experience. The elder was both loving and compassionate but admitted he didn’t have a clue as to what would or should come next in Perry’s walk with God.

    Perry, himself, decided to go back to living and dressing as a man…binding his breasts, wearing three piece suits to help disguise his man-made bosom. I don’t recall much about the rest of his experience until he made the decision to go to Bible school at the school I was attending. They had no trouble with accepting him as a student but were in a quandary as to where to house him. If they put him in the girl’s dorm, it would be an affront to his own conviction that God wanted him to live as a man. If they housed him in the men’s dorm, his female body might be a stumbling block to his roommate. One leader asked my opinion and I suggested that they house him with a guy from a gay background…he’d understand the situation and wouldn’t have the automatic response that most men have to full breasts.

    Reminds me of something I quipped more than once to church groups. “You’re all in support of our efforts to evangelize the gay community but who’s going to be prepared to clean those fish once we catch them?” (Folks: I’m not trying to be rude here, I was playing off the Bible statement most often quoted by evangelists: “I will make you fishers of men.”)

  • Michael Bussee

    Not really about Prop 8, I know, but here is a little ugliness happening in my own hometown tonight: I recieived this notice today from the Jeffery Owens Community Center In Riverside CA.

    The Center was created and named for my best friend who was beaten, kicked and stabbed to death in June of 2002 — just for being gay — within a mile or two from where Phelps will be out spreading a lttle hate tonight. I wonder how many Prop 8 Suppoprters, Churches or individual Christians will show up or speak up about this? Here’s the notice:

    “Fred Phelps is on his way here with his merry band of ugly and hateful

    followers. We need angels, real angels to show up and cover his ugliness.

    They did it in Laramie- we should be able to do it in Riverside! Bring

    white sheets, halos and wings (if you have them) and we will angel-fy

    them.

    >

    >See below, and then please consider coming to RCC this Thursday. Let’s

    show them we are not as divided and ugly as he thinks we are, and that he

    can’t take advantage of the current politics to introduce his hate to our

    community.

    .

    >This Thursday, November 20th, Riverside Community College will hold their

    first performance of The Laramie Project. I got words that The West Buro

    Baptist Church (known for their website http://www.GodHatesFags.com) and FRED

    PHELPS (their leader) will be protesting the performance!

    >To make sure that this was not a rumor, I went to their website and

    checked their “picket schedule” and Riverside, CA was on the list.”

  • Mary

    Remember he is not a Christian but speaking as if he were. He does not represent us.

    God does not hate gay people. This is a small group of people with national attention.

  • Ann

    I wonder how many Prop 8 Suppoprters, Churches or individual Christians will show up or speak up about this?

    Michael,

    Don’t know how much I identify with the above but wish I would have known about the event earlier so I could come. I would come just as a good person without labels and try to facilitate any civility and understanding where I could.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    That is a great story about Perry – thank you – the analogy about fish is very appropriate IMHO.

  • Michael Bussee

    I agree with you Mary: “Remember he is not a Christian but speaking as if he were. He does not represent us. “

    I certainly did not mean to imply that he did — only that hate is alive and well. But that the power of love is greater. They will know that we are Christians by our love — Jesus tells us this. I only wish some (like Phelps, his followers and organizations that tolerate hatemopngers — you know who) would listen.

  • Mary

    I know but whenever a gay person begins to talk about Phelps it would be a good idea to conditon the discussion. We need to continually remind others that Phelps is not considered a Christian by most christians. And that his conduct is not a representation of us.

    He belongs to the church of “My way only and I hate all others who do not see things my way only” That is not a christian church nor a christian model.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: Due to some computer problems, I just found out about it myself. Now, I have a choice to make. (1) Go to regular church choir rehearsal ftonight for our Christmas Cantata or (2) miss rehearsal (where I am one of only two basses in a very small but mighty chorus) and dress up as an angel to protest Phelps? What would you do?

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Based on the two scenarios you gave me, and if I was choosing between them, I would choose the second one.

  • Michael Bussee

    What kind of activism? Furthering the message of the good news through Church programs and outreaches? Worship as activism? Protest? Confrontation?

    When to use which? Would it ever be appropriate to interupt a worship service or protest outside a church? Would acts of civil disobedience be the Christian thing to do? These are not easy decisions.

    I know a gay couple. The guys have been together 15 plus years — about as in love, devoted and “married” as two people can be. They voted FOR McCain and FOR Prop 8. They believe that “marriage” should remain an exclusively male-female arrangement. They fear the backlash that could take place if gay marriage is legal. I voted the other way, but I understand their concerns.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Who are you responding to in post #143962? What post refers to activism?

  • Michael Bussee

    I gues I am asking in general. I am sure the one’s wgho went to the Castro believed in what they were doing — passionately. And the folks who live in the Castro felt passionately about their concerns. I have been ca;;ed “a gay activist” — usually as a put down by people who think that:

    (1) You should not be gay, (2) if you are gay, you should be miserable and (3) if you are not miserable, you should shut up.

    The message is, go back in the closet. Don’t upset anyone. Don’t risk the “backlash”. What kind of activism should be use and when? Where?

  • Mary

    I agree with Ann. Protest Phelps. Although – it gives him attention and then the media spins that into a denouncement of all christians.

  • Chairm

    From the Chief Justice:

    if you look at a classification of gay people

    The marriage law does not classify by sexual orientation. The classificiation is both-sexed.

    Two men, regardless of sexual orientation, are not marriagable because a one-sexed arrangement is sex-segregative by virtue of lacking the other sex.

    No such all-male arrangement could provide contingency for responsible procreation; and where children are present, it must segregate fatherhood and motherhood.

    “Gay union” is not a subset of the conjugal relationship type.

    So the Chief Justice, as he did in his Re Marriage opinion, concedes that he has pressed identity politics into the constitutional jurisprudence of the California Supreme Court. It is he, and the other 3 justices, who amended the constitution unlawfully.

    And, yes, people who voted Yes are well-justified in being both angry and resistant to that usurpation.

    And, yes, this is the foundational social institution of civil society and no branch of the Government owns marriage. At best, society delegates to the governmental authorities the role of regulating the parameters of marriage. The core is off-limits and in two statewide direct votes The People have made that clear.

    If the core meaning of the “gay union” is of significant societal importance, then, those who advocate for a right for government preferential treatment of “gay union” ought to plainly state the core meaning of that kind of arrangement.

    And then list the definitive legal requirements. I doubt you would put “gayness” as a mandatory requirement, but you might surprise.

  • Mary

    Marriage losts the relgious definition when we instituted laws of inheritance, tax, etc… to married couples. It became in an instant a legal institution. One that gays should have access to.

    My cheif complaint is that conservatives still believe this is a christian country and have forgotten that this country was primarily settled by those who wished to be free of governmental influence in their religion. Albeit – they were christians who wanted religious freedom.

    If christians want their view upheld, they had better begin to realize that they should protect the necks of those with whom they disagree to save their own. Lest we all fall. Please read Ben Franklin.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I think the fact that Phelps is staging his fiasco outside the Jefferey Owens Community Center…that cinches it that you need to be there. Under the circumstances, I’m sure the choir will understand.

    Phelps plays the media and I’m sure his intent is to get the gays to act ugly…to turn the whole scene into something confrontational. If it’s not too late, could you come up with some kind of sign that says: I survived the hate attack that killed Jefferey Owens. Be a calming voice to both sides. Let both sides know that there are many Christians who, while they may believe that homosexuality is sinful in God’s eyes, abhor the hate message that Phelps presents.

    It may be a stretch, especially since time is running out…but a symbolic gesture such as offering Phelps ‘troops’ beverages or donuts…could be well-placed. (I’d suggest coffee but they might play off the coffee-throwing incident from Friday’s debacle…or some might be tempted to toss their coffee rather than offer it graciously.)

    Their hate needs to be exposed for what it is and both sides need to see that their view is not representative of much of the conservative Christian world. My thoughts and prayers go with you tonite.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    @Eddy: Likewise on the prayers Michael. Let us know what is up.

  • Michael Bussee

    Well, I prayed about it and went to choir rehearsal. Was not up to confrontation last night, however respectful and non-violent it would have been. I have not heard any news of how things turned out.

    Instead, at choir, we made some beautiful music, “praising God is His sanctuary”. It was good. I asked Him to send some angels of peace and to touch Phelp’s heart. God can do anything.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    My first impulse was that you should do just what you did…keep on with your own life and plans. It was only the fact that they were staging this outside the center named for Jeffery that made me change my mind–and that was because I thought that that connection might weigh heavily on you.

    Knowing that it didn’t turn into front page news and that you had peace with going to choir…that’s all good. You still had our prayers with you and against the negative impact of Phelp’s message. And Phelps, I hope, has moved on and your choir Christmas program is still to come!

  • Mary

    Why isn’t some real christian group protesting where Phelps protests? Now there is a real evil in the world

  • Ann

    Why isn’t some real christian group protesting where Phelps protests? Now there is a real evil in the world

    Mary,

    I don’t know. Just want to add that a group or person doesn’t have to be Christian to protest this man or tell him how off base he is. He and his wife and his tactics and his language are offensive and he should be called out on them everytime there is an opportunity to do so.

  • Mary

    You’re right. Let’s get a motley group of atheist, religious conservatives, humanists, politicians to protest this group!

    Or better yet, “Just say no to MEAN”

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Most do not grasp the construct that we see of “love the sinner, hate the sin”

    Frankly, few Christians seem to grasp that either.

    TRiG.

  • Boo

    Remember he is not a Christian but speaking as if he were. He does not represent us.

    Fine. Then the people in that video aren’t real gays.

    I watch this video and I wonder, how can we live together?

    The same way we keep living together when stuff like this happens:

    http://my.execpc.com/~ajrc/nl6a2.html

  • Mary K.

    Marriage is ordained of God first and foremost. God is no respecter of persons. He loves all, however, he DOES NOT LOVE SIN.

    If God had not ordained marriage between a man and a woman, there would be no need for anyone to marry ever. Point blank. We could all live in communes or whatever we wanted to do. However, just as God put order among the stars, planets and seasons, he put order to family life.

    I have known guys who appear to be gay, yet, marry and carry on the “traditional” family lifestyle, because they wish to follow what God has commanded. I see that as a true sacrifice. We all have weaknesses of varying styles and degrees, however, the farther we get away from what has been commanded by God, the more our society is in turmoil.

    Every action of every human being strives towards light, life and order or darkness, death and chaos.

    Hopefully, we can all choose wisely!

  • Mary

    Wow – Mary K. I am impressed with your understanding of religion outside of your own framework.

  • Eddy

    Mary K.-

    Thanks for dropping in with the mini-sermon. However, this topic was not about the legitimacy of gay marriage. As I recall, the comments weren’t either. The topic was about an ugly scene that erupted when evangelists went to a popular gay area days after the repeal of the rights of gays to marry. The comments, by and large, revolved around how any rational discussion can be carried out by people who’s views differ so radically…and, in a broader sense, is there any way around the hostility? Can you demonstrate how your comments might help to bridge that chasm?

    I’m assuming you came to your convictions because God led you to them. How do we interact with those who haven’t yet felt that conviction? Do we simply club them with the truth God has showed us? And how do we respond when they don’t enjoy being clubbed?

  • jenn

    Warren -

    I’m not sure why any christian would want to join in the “celebration of prop 8,” as you suggest. Even if you believe in traditional marriage, why would you “celebrate” the sorrows of another group?

    What has the christian movement become when we start to see ourselves as so different from our neighbors that we cannot acknowledge their sorrows. Many people who have made the same commitment you have made to your wife, now wonder if they will still be seen as married under the law – what a terrible position to be celebrating.

    I have been disgusted by the behavior of those who supported prop 8. Despite this small, narrow victory for them, they have to know that they are on the wrong side of history. Same-sex marriage is only a matter of time. Even if just a matter of economics, America will allow it nationwide in the next 10 years. check back with me then as to who is celebrating.

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Hi Warren.

    Your point about “celebration” has been expressed very eloquently at College Jay’s blog. (I got there by a link from ex-gay watch.)

    TRiG.

  • Nevada Blue

    Thank you Eddy, for your response to Mary K. As a civil rights loving agnostic, I can tell you that her sermon for me took the whole conversation back to square one.

  • Mary

    Yes, thanks Eddy. I had the feeling from Mary K’s post that someone was throwing their belief system at me.

    Why is it that for many christians, evangelism takes the form of throwing doctrine and scripture at people and not meeting people at their needs?

    Sad thing is that as a conservative christian myself, I make many mistakes, too. I hope this is not one of them

  • Ann

    Why is it that for many christians, evangelism takes the form of throwing doctrine and scripture at people and not meeting people at their needs?

    Mary,

    Therein lies a huge issue, and IMO, a huge problem. Why do they do this? I cannot say for sure except that it sure isn’t what Jesus asked them to do and I believe the Christian religion is based on Him and His teachings. Lots of people have come after Him and hold themselves up as His representitives but again, IMHO, the message sure got lost and diluted along the way. This begs the question – is man’s (or women’s) ego involved when evangilizing? How can we reconcile that with what Jesus taught – meeting people people where they are, listening to their story, letting them know they are loved by God who made them and that they have a unique place and purpose in this world and then going from there?

  • Mary

    I don’t know Ann. Everytime I get on my own high horse – I am humbled by just how little I know about God.

    I know that in many ways we are the first awareness that someone will have of Christ and God. Some of the first “impressions” have lost many souls – quite the opposite of evangelism. I’m trying to make my interactions with others an awareness that God is alive, that I struggle too, that there is hope, etc….although I still too, pontificate.

    Coming down with doctrine loses the quickening of the Holy Spirit to perform what only the Holy Spirit can perform. This old mantra of hate the sin not the sinner is tired and wasted away by mean people who want an excuse to dislocate people out of the family of God.

    I used to work in a restaurant when I was in college. In the back, near the kitchen were all these stupid posters about customer service, cleanliness and just the usual junk. But there was one that made such an impression on me that it has stayed with me all these years. It said something to the effect that not all people know how to be nice …. sometimes we have to show them kindness first.

    So in other words, shut up and start showing the action, that will have a greater influence on others than if we shouted from a mountain.

  • Ann

    Furthermore identifying as Christians to those who have been hurt by ego driven evangelists and to those who have no clue what the Christian phrases and catch words mean can be an immediate turn-off. How can a young adult who has been in foster care facilities all their life possibly understand the lingo used by an exclusive group of people that makes no sense to them when it is used?

  • Mary

    Put your arm around them and take them to lunch or some fun place. One of my mentors used to say – learn the language of youth so you can pass on your exprience. I think we also need to learn the language of others in any cultural context to communicate. You get my shizzizle?? We stop insisting that others understand us and make every effort and insist upon ourselves to really understand others. That does not mean agreeing all the time. It does mean getting inside the life that lives with the drama. the choices, the concepts, the views etc… it will be different than our own.

  • Ann

    It said something to the effect that not all people know how to be nice …. sometimes we have to show them kindness first.

    Mary,

    Well put – I would also like to add that if people feel as though they cannot relate or measure up to those they are interacting with, or if they perceive arrogance or self serving agendas, they will be turned off and not be interested in anything else that the person or group has to say. I feel badly about what happened on Castro Street regarding Proposition 8 but can also understand how and why it happened. Hurt and pain can be feelings covered up and over by anger. Anger can be feelings that cover up hurt and pain. They go hand in hand.

  • Boo

    This isn’t that difficult:

    Let us be on an equal legal footing.

    THEN come talk to us about our “sin.”

    If your interpretation of the Bible is superior to ours, if your way of life is better than ours, if what you have to share with us is so much better than what we already have, then you ought to be able to withstand a level playing field.

  • Mary

    Boo,

    I absolutely agree. Not all christians voted against ( I mean for) Prop 8. And Christians should have enough security in their (pardon me my) religion and my God to be able to withstand a lot of adversity. I don’t see gay marriage as adversity but others do.

    Has anyone ever considered that when God makes a law – we all break it, can’t keep all of them, stumble etc…. What in this world makes us think that our laws are going to make people follow God? We can’t even keep track of our own stuff, on our own terms, with our own church members.

    I told a friend,”Hey, I’ll vote for Prop 8 if you do one thing for me.” “Yeah?” he said. “Yeah. Stop having sex with your girlfriend because it is against God’s law.” He turned me down although he fought with me over the Prop 8 thing. Go figure – huh?

    If we outlawed, banned, or redefined his behavior as illegal, he would still do it – becuase it is illegal according to God and he is doing it. But when it came to gay marriage he was so high on that horse I could barely see a man whom I call friend.

    Boo, I get it. I really do.

  • Boo

    Mary- do you also get that Fred Phelps is, theologically speaking, a lot closer to being a Christian than the Mormons that evangelical anti-gay forces embraced in the campaign against gay marriage? He believes that Jesus was God incarnate, Mormons do not.

    Do you get that it comes off a tad hypocritical to talk as though the (non-violent) actions of a few individuals are representative of “the gays,” but when faced with completely unambiguous hatred and such vile actions as disrupting funerals by screaming profanities, simply declare that the professing Christians involved aren’t “real Christians?” (google “No True Scotsman” fallacy)

    Do you get that the best onion rings in the world are found at Popeye’s Chicken? Do you get it Mary? DO YOU GET THE DELICIOUS TRUTH?!

    When you have massive spontaneous demonstrations taking place all over the country in response to something that has justifiably created a great deal of anger in a population that has already born way more hatred and discrimination than anyone should have to, the truly amazing thing is that one person getting shoved is the worst that’s happened so far.

  • Ann

    Are there any percentages regarding the religions of the people who voted in favor of Proposition 8? I’m not too sure of the demographics but I know there is a very large Asian population in California and most of them are Buddists.

  • Eddy

    Boo–

    Phelps may believe that Jesus was God incarnate. The Bible says that the demons also believe–and tremble. Mary’s point is one that Christians rarely make. In this case, she finds Phelps response so un-Christian that she’s gone so far as to question whether he really is a Christian.

    Her remarks were not intended, in any way, to justify his behavior. They also weren’t intended to take ‘real Christians’ off the hook. They were simply intended to convey that many sincere Christians take serious issue with the hate message he delivers or the judgemental message of folks like Mary K.

    By the way, I’ve never tried Popeye’s onion rings. That’s one more thing to add to my ‘to do’ list for my day off tomorrow.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    I wished you lived closer – there is a GREAT place for onion rings out here as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Ann

    Mary,

    The example of your friend is a good one and all too common of those who judge others while rationalizing or ignoring what they, themselves do. I caught myself doing it yesterday when I was silently observing and judging what someone did and then politely reminded myself that I have done the same thing. I was pleased that I was able to catch myself and keep my thoughts in check.

    Proposition 8 is an equal rights issue not a moral one. After the equal rights part has been taken care of then everyone can think what they may. I know I don’t like divorce but I cannot tell someone they do not have the right to get one. I also have personal thoughts about marriage, however, they are my thoughts and must never impede on the equal rights of others.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Proposition 8 is an equal rights issue not a moral one.

    Are equal rights not a moral matter?

    TRiG.

  • Eddy

    TRIG–

    I don’t know….could you share your thoughts on the rest of Ann’s paragraph so we can better understand how you define ‘equal rights’ and ‘moral matters’?

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Some people seem to have a very strange definition of morality. Let’s look more closely at Ann’s closing sentence:

    I also have personal thoughts about marriage, however, they are my thoughts and must never impede on the equal rights of others.

    Ann thinks it would be wrong (read: immoral) for her to enforce certain behaviour on others. I agree. it is right (read: moral) to restrict other people’s rights only when we have a pressing need to do so. It is wrong (read: immoral) to restrict other people’s rights without a very good cause*.

    Some people seem to have a bizarre disconnect between “right” and “moral”, when they mean basically the same thing. Perhaps it’s the idea some religions seem to promote that morality is all about sex, when in fact morality concerns all our dealings with other people. Affording equal rights to minority groups is certainly a moral issue. How could it not be?

    TRiG.

    * In case you’re wondering, I don’t count My imaginary friend doesn’t like it as a good cause.

  • Eddy

    Trig–

    I think you’re trying to split linguistic hairs here. Most words in our language have multiple uses, often related, but still differing. Notice how in your rebuttal, you put ‘(read: moral)’ after the word ‘right’ almost every time…except you didn’t do it when you said ‘equal rights’. The modifier ‘equal’ made it clear that this use of the word ‘right’ was different.

    Ann modified her use of the word ‘moral’ by her sentences that immediately followed. It is clear from her whole comment that she regards restricting ‘equal rights’ as something that is somehow not right…somehow IMmoral. Her use of the word ‘moral’ was clearly referring to ‘morality’. Morality is ‘a commonly held consensus of what is right and wrong’…the ‘standards’ that are commonly held. She was referring to the traditional sense of the word.

    Now we’d get into trouble with ‘commonly held’…who’s doing the holding? why is their consensus trumping the consensus of others? We could try to slip in the words ‘traditional’ or ‘conservative’ but they still wouldn’t serve us well…whose tradition? is it the view of all conservatives?

    When I read you both in your full context…it sounds like you are in agreement. Am I missing something?

  • Boo

    Eddy-

    I’m one of the sincere Christians who take issue with the hate message Fred Phelps delivers and the judgemental message of folks like Mary K. As to whether Fred Phelp’s name is written in The Book Of Life, no one this side of eternity can say with any certainty. But like it or not, he professes a version of the Christian religion which is a lot closer to historic Christian orthodoxy than the Mormons all the “Bible-believing Christians” were so eager to jump in bed with against The Gays.

    The thing is, and I see this over and over when debating fundamentalists, they take any bad action on the part of any gay person as proof of The Evil Of The Gays, yet when you point out the bad behavior of str8 Christians, they rationalize it away with the “not a true Christian” thing. And bad as this is as far as gay rights, it’s much, MUCH worse for the church. There is a cancer infecting the church in society. One study estimates that as many as 96% of evangelical teens will abandon their faith by adulthood, and is it any wonder when they can see with their own eyes that the gay people they grow up knowing aren’t the evil disease ridden perverts painted by their pastors? Or when they get into a biology class and discover that their pastors lied to them about evolution? Or when they get sick of the bunker mentality that says the minions of Satan are hiding under every nook and cranny and they’ll go to hell if they don’t vote Republican?

    Of course, as a Christian I believe God’s promise that the church will never be extinguished, but if we don’t start calling out this problem in our midst, we’re headed in the direction of Europe’s near-empty churches.

  • Mary

    Boo,

    I might suggest to you that gays have taken the bad action of any christian and blamed the whole group.

    I am a conservative (maybe not a fundamentalist the way it is defined) but am certainly more conservative. I have felt the the rude comments, hateful comments etc… by gays … especially since I am considered ex gay – for lack of a better word.

    So…. the bad press swings both ways. And some of your comments about voitng republican (btw I am a democrat), I do beleive in evolution – but do also beilieve God is behind all of it (and I do not subscribe to all evolutionary theories), I abandoned my faith as a teenager – because that is what many young people do etc….. are just as bias and damaging to the discussion.

    Your comments were certainly meant to hurt someone. They hurt me. And yet, I am not republican, not a creationist, and did abandon my faith at one time. And I KNOW what it is like to be gay and be mistreated by christians. Funny thing is, I also know what it is like to be christians and be mistreated by gays. Who would have ever thought that would happen?

    And I’m the one who made the snarky comment about Mary K not looking beyond her faith to where others are really at. Snarky and inappropriate – but nonetheless the underlying tone was that her mini-sermon was out of place and lacking compassion and understanding of others.

    Can we , those who see homosexuality as a sin and those who do not see homosexuality as a sin find a way to talk? One unlike Mary K and one unlike some that choose to insult my faith?

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Personally, I try not to insult people, but I’m certainly willing to make fun of nonsensical beliefs held in the teeth of the evidence. There’s a difference between respecting a person and respecting that person’s religion. To do the first is right; to do the second is ridiculous.

    TRiG.

  • Eddy

    Boo–

    I believe that our questioning the authenticity of Phelp’s version of Christianity fits right in with “if we don’t start calling out this problem in our midst, we’re headed in the direction of Europe’s near-empty churches.” On one level, we’re saying “We’re conservative Christians and he doesn’t speak for us”; on another, we’re saying that his hate centered message is so contrary to the real Gospel that we doubt he’s a Christian at all. If that’s not ‘calling out this problem’, I’m at a real loss for words.

    Trig–

    It would help greatly if you were more specific in your charges. This is a blog so we can’t see who you’re looking at when you speak. A number of people are speaking so when you don’t cite specific individuals or comments, it’s very difficult to determine who or what you think embodies those nonsensical beliefs.

    Half the time, I suspect that people are visiting other blogs where the conversations are either vile or nonsensical and then come here and unload. Boo, for example, speaks of debating fundamentalists. But, in this topic and its comments, we’ve had very few comments from people who hold to the mindset she details in her comments that follow that statement.

    (On another thread, I’m taking a verbal beating for my support of President-elect Obama. In numerous threads I’ve challenged Christians for trying to legislate their own morality. I’ve cited that many are disguising their personal sin of selfishness by hiding behind Christian beliefs…this goes to my belief that many don’t want to extend equal rights primarily because they don’t want the extra expense added to their health and insurance plans. They have no trouble with the fact that gays are paying taxes to support schools when the majority of them have no children; they have no trouble with the fact that gays aren’t given a break on their insurance premiums based on the fact that they are unlikely to need pre-natal and maternity coverage. Yet they scream about the injustice of having to extend health care benefits to the life-partner or spouse of a gay person. To me that’s both selfish and hypocritical.)

  • Mary

    Trig,

    I’m not sure about the difference sometimes between a ridiculously held religious belief and science that has not fully discovered the DNA and all of it’s components. In fact, we are all (on any notion scientific or otherwise) a few cards short of understanding everything.

    If you think that respecting a person’s religion is ridiculous – then respecting a person’s ideas about himself, where he comes from etc… is ridiculous?

    Just pointing out that.

  • Ann

    There’s a difference between respecting a person and respecting that person’s religion. To do the first is right; to do the second is ridiculous

    Timothy (TRiG),

    Would you be willing to respect the person’s belief about their religion?

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/U612575 Timothy (TRiG)

    Half the time, I suspect that people are visiting other blogs where the conversations are either vile or nonsensical and then come here and unload.

    Eddie, you have a point. Sorry about that. I hang around the CARM messageboard, and it can be quite a nasty place at times (though it’s also strangely compelling). I shouldn’t be taking my frustrations out on you lot.

    You suggest that Ann and I are basically in agreement about equal rights. It seems we are. I’m just not sure what strange definition of morality Ann is using whereby equality is not deemed a moral issue. I think it’s a fundamental moral issue.

    And our morality should, of course, flow from evidence-based thinking.

    Would you be willing to respect the person’s belief about their religion?

    Well, Ann, I suppose it depends on what you mean by respect. I don’t see how I can, or why I should, respect a belief held in the teeth of the evidence, as the vast majority of religious beliefs are.

    I’m not sure about the difference sometimes between a ridiculously held religious belief and science that has not fully discovered the DNA and all of it’s components. In fact, we are all (on any notion scientific or otherwise) a few cards short of understanding everything.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, Mary. You seem to be suggesting that we cannot know everything (true) and that therefore all ideas are on equal footing (false). There is a difference between incomplete knowledge and the “Here be dragons” thinking of the religious.

    TRiG.


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