New Barna survey reveals spiritual attitudes of gays

George Barna has made a career of surveying people regarding Christian related issues and attitudes. In this new survey, he aims to provide a spiritual profile of gays with comparisons to a comparable group of straights. Here is his summary and then some highlights:

George Barna, whose company conducted the research, pointed out that some popular stereotypes about the spiritual life of gays and lesbians are simply wrong.

“People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture. “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.

Specifically, the survey found:

Although most adults affirm the importance of faith in their life, regardless of their sexual orientation, straight adults (72%) were more likely than gay adults (60%) to describe their faith as “very important” in their life. And even though most Americans consider themselves to be Christian, there is a noticeable gap between heterosexuals who self-identify that way (85%) compared to homosexuals (70%). Another gap was then noted among those who say they are Christian: about six out of ten heterosexuals say they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith, compared to about four out of ten among homosexuals.

And even though a majority of adults have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today,” such a relationship was more common among non-gays (75%) than among gay adults (58%). The research also revealed that straight adults were nearly twice as likely as gays to qualify as born again Christians (47% compared to 27%, respectively).

There were substantial differences in some core religious beliefs, too. Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; two-thirds of heterosexuals believe the single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, significantly higher than the half of all homosexuals who embrace the idea; and about half of straight adults and one-third of gay adults contend that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith.

One of the most basic beliefs has to do with one’s understanding of God. This proved to be one of the biggest differences noted in the study. While seven out of every ten heterosexuals (71%) have an orthodox, biblical perception of God, just 43% of homosexuals do. In fact, an equal percentage possesses a pantheistic view about deity – i.e., that “God” refers to any of a variety of perspectives, such as personally achieving a state of higher consciousness or maximized personal potential, or that there are multiple gods that exist, or even that everyone is god.

For other findings, read the whole report. Barna added that gays and straights who value religious affiliation interpret the Bible differently on key passages but adds:

“It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles – but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles. Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.”

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  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Interesting. The survey also cites the number of gays and lesbians as being 3 percent of the population, but does not say how that figure was derived (unless that is mentioned somewhere later in the text).

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

    2-3 percent is the generally accepted number deriving from several surveys but most notably Laumann’s survey.

    I think I saw that 4% of the voting pop identified as gay or lesbian in the last election.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.”

    And perhaps, just perhaps, the differences could be explained by the fact that gays have been routinely ostracized — and may therefore find more “orthodox” views distasteful — even dangerous to their well-being. I wonder what the stats would look like if this had not been the case? What if they had felt welcomed and loved by the mainline church?

  • Michael Bussee

    “Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.”

    Very interesting choice of words here: “…that the BIble is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches…”

    I don’t think non-heterosexuals have less faith in what the Bible teaches. I think they doubt what they have been told that it teaches. There is a big difference. I have no problem with the BIble. It’s the folks that are absolutely sure what it means for the rest of us.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    2-3 percent is the generally accepted number deriving from several surveys but most notably Laumann’s survey.

    I think that we have discussed before that this is at the lower end of the spectrum.

    I think I saw that 4% of the voting pop identified as gay or lesbian in the last election.

    Yes, as it has been for the past three presidential elections.

    Also the CDC survey resulted in over 4% for gay/bi whether using attraction, behavior, or identity.

    If Barna is speaking specifically of gay (and not including bi) then 3% isn’t a bad number. Even including bi, 3% probably isn’t far off.

    For the purposes of his study, I’ll assume he used a representative sample and not worry that he says 3% or 4% or some other number. It isn’t relevant to the results.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    I’m not much surprised by the study.

    It was my gut feeling that gays were less Christian and less traditionally religious than straights. Indeed, as Michael pointed out, considering the level of expulsion, rejection, and even hostility from some portions of the Christian family it would be shocking if they were not.

    But I also watched the LA Pride Parade last weekend and the church groups far outnumbered anyone else. In addition to the many “regular” churches that serve the spiritual needs of gay mainstream Christians, there are all of the mostly-gay churches that are modeled on more conservative denominations that are set up to meet the needs of those who would attend a conservative church if they were not gay.

    So yeah, “Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.” sounds about right to me.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    But I also watched the LA Pride Parade

    The LA what Parade?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    pride (prd)

    n.

    1. A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.

    2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association: parental pride.

    There are, of course, other meanings. But the LA Gay Pride Parade isn’t refering to a family of lions, the mettle of horses, a troup of acrobats, or hautiness.

    Why do you ask, Debbie?

    Were you, by chance, being snarky and hateful?

  • Lynn David

    “People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture.

    Gee…. you do your best and what does it get you but one silly little line that’s more than dismissive

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    I’m a little troubled by Barna’s “Other Measures”

    The research also explored some attitudinal and demographic elements. Those measures produced a mixture of the expected and unexpected results.

    Most gay adults are male (60%) and few are married (19%). Gay adults are considerably younger than average: half are under age 40 compared to just three out of ten heterosexuals are under 40. Gays are less likely than heterosexuals to be white and are also much more likely to earn less than $30,000 annually. (That can be partially explained by being younger and thus less experienced in the marketplace.)

    Some of his info is just flat wrong. Take “just three out of ten heterosexuals are under 40

    Actually, according to the US Census estimates, July 1, 2008, there are 83.0 million Americans aged 20-39. Extrapolating for 18 and 19 year olds gives you 91.4 million adults under 40. There are 138.4 million aged over 40. That’s 39.7%.

    So in the general population, Four out of ten adults are under 40, the same as his gay sample.

    As for gays being less likely to be white, if that were true, Barna would have found a discovery that would put him on the cover of every magazine in the country. Imagine if he really discovered that something about ethnicity determined orientation. WOW.

    More likely the gays in his survey were less likely to be white.

    Finally, if 19% of gay folk are married then I’ll eat my hat. Currently (today) only three states perform marriages with three more scheduled to do so. No way have nearly two million gay couples gotten married.

    And his math on voting doesn’t add up. He said gay folk are less likely to be registered. And that gays are only 3% of the population. Yet exit polls show that 4% of voters identify to some stranger with a clipboard that they are gay.

    Which means he may not have a very good sample.

    But his results showing that gay people are devout and religious people while probably numerically incorrect do show a more accurate depiction of gay people than many conservative Christians knew.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    I’m not surprised by the study but think many conservative christians will be floored to find out how many gays are very religious and spiritual. I ache over the idea that gays have been kicked out of their churches and not welcomed. Considering the degree of hatred spewed in their direction, I’m surprised at how high the numbers are – I always felt gays were religious but not as high as reported.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Come to think of it…

    If Barna’s sample include older heterosexuals than are in the general population (70% over 40 instead of 60%), then the groups may be less dissimilar than he reports.

  • Michael Bussee

    What’s wrong with a little pride — as long as it’s not the feeling of superiority over others — or the stubborn refusal to accept the sovereignty and love of God? As I posted on another thread, there is good pride and bad.

    Good pride is:

    1. A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect. 2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association: parental pride. 3. Satisfaction with self: the happy satisfied feeling somebody experiences when having or achieving something special that other people admire — as in “He took great pride in his work”. 4. A proper sense of one’s own value: the correct level of respect for the importance and value of your personal character, life, efforts, or achievements; as in “Defeat didn’t damage her pride.”

    Spiritual “pride” (in violation of the two great commandments) is bad pride We are warned that that kind of “pride” is sin — and tends to come before a fall.

  • Michael Bussee

    From Wikipedia on “gay pride”:

    “The word pride is used in this case an antonym for shame, which has been used to control and oppress LGBT persons throughout history. Pride in this sense is an affirmation of ones self and the community as a whole.”

  • Michael Bussee

    A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.

    It’s one of the ways we cope with the oppression and efforts to shame us back into the closet. If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31. If it were not for my faith, I would have crumbled long ago.

    The experience of being a gay Christian, of being despised and rejected by the conservative church, (being told I am “not really saved”, “not really a Christian”, “bound for Hell”, a “child of Satan”, etc.) has actually strengthened my faith — not weakened it. I suspect this is true of many other SSA Christians as well.

    Since accepting Christ as Lord and Savior in 1971, I have never doubted that God loves me — gay, ex-gay or ex-ex-gay. SSA or not. Jesus love me. This I know — for the Bible tells me so…

  • Mary

    Yeah – I think the median age in the US is something like 35?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Why do you ask, Debbie?

    Were you, by chance, being snarky and hateful?

    I ask because I think it’s a worthwhile focus. It seems to me pride has become its own euphemism, since its original meaning offends our human (prideful?) sensibilities. In fact, Webster’s now lists self-esteem as a synonym in the third definition. The first, however, has a negative connotation (“a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit or superiority”).

    In the Bible, pride is regarded as the highest form of sin. In fact, all other sins are said to spring from it. It’s what made Lucifer and a third of the angels fall. “Pride makes impossible a right perspective toward both God and man,” according to Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary.

    Even when Paul uses the word in 2 Cor. 5:12, it is only to indicate that he wants the Corinthians to have an answer for those who “take pride in appearance, and not in heart.”

    While I understand why the gay community has adopted the word pride to offset the shame and pain that has been heaped on them, I still think it is not the image they are best served in projecting.

    So, no, I am not being snarky or hateful. I am speaking out of concern for what represents the gay community in a negative light. The pride parades do just that. They offer a platform for the peculiarities and ugliness the gay community does not need to be promoting. It goes back to “After the Ball.” Gay pride parades are anything but a blending-in activity. They are one of the only forms of sanctioned public nudity and debauchery, regardless of any other positive aspects. What people see speaks louder than what the gay community may be trying to say through these venues.

  • Jenn

    A couple of points here.

    I agree that likely most heterosexuals see their faith playing a greater role in their life. (72% vs. 60%). This is likely due to the fact that even if you are a gay christian, it is often difficult to find places of worship, be a part of a christian community, and have that integrated in your life. You often find yourself practicing, teaching and reviewing your faith at home…which makes the faith a lesser role than, let’s say, going to Bible study, adult sunday school, services, and social events with the church. It’s a shame, but I don’t think the church realizes by discouraging same-sex couples, they are impinging on people practicing their faith.

    I also understand why gay/lesbian americans tend not to believe that the Bible is 100% literally accurate. They are a more educated group, possibly (knowing that carbon dating clearly marks the human race as more than 3,000 years old), but also that they as a minority, have watched as the “literal bible” has been used to justify inequality in the past “slaves, obey your masters” (used to justify slavery). We now wear poly/cotton blends in our clothing (I actually prefer it), and we know that we don’t kill adulterers, etc…

    Overall though, I do think Gay and Lesbian groups are misrepresented as being absent of faith, when they are not. I remember sitting in a Grove City College classroom and being shown a “Gay Pride Parade” on a video and talking about the “gay lifestyle” in reference to this. It was not accurate, and thank God I went to graduate school. I think it is easy to demonize people if you can see them as so drastically “different” than you. But, most gay/lesbian couples and families I know are monogamous, christian, moral and normal. Most don’t even go to pride events. My college experience was like video taping a fraternity party and saying that “this is what all heterosexuals are like.” Ridiculous.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    So, no, I am not being snarky or hateful. I am speaking out of concern for what represents the gay community in a negative light.

    With all due respect, I doubt anyone here can read this and not laugh with incredulity. I’ve not seen an instance in which you did not seek to present the gay community in a negative light, as the rest of your paragraph illustrates.

    But, while we are on this thread, Debbie, I have a question:

    What do you think of Barna’s observations about gays?:

    60% describe their faith as “very important” in their life.

    70% consider themselves to be Christian

    About four out of ten are absolutely committed to the Christian faith

    58% have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today,”

    27% qualify as born again Christians

    Any thoughts on that?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    With all due respect, I doubt anyone here can read this and not laugh with incredulity. I’ve not seen an instance in which you did not seek to present the gay community in a negative light, as the rest of your paragraph illustrates.

    I can’t control what you infer from my comments, Timothy. Methinks you read selectively sometimes. That gay pride parades are what they are is not my fault. Yours either. Their reputation is shaped by the negatives aspects. Sorry.

    I choose to look at individuals within the gay community rather than paint them all with a broad brush. Of course, you are a patchwork quilt of many colors and shapes, like all communities of people. Talking with some of you gives me a window into your lives, as you have into mine. I enjoy our chats here, for the most part. There are many, many decent people among you.

    My social commentary is not an indictment of every gay person just as yours is not an indictment of every evangelical. We are both entitled to point out problem areas. It’s my hope that you would see me as something other than a clone of every objectionable evangelical you have met.

    Sincere debate is fine. Shouting contests are not.

  • Michael Bussee

    While I understand why the gay community has adopted the word pride to offset the shame and pain that has been heaped on them, I still think it is not the image they are best served in projecting

    I disagree, Debbie! Good ‘pride”, in the sense of:

    1. A recognition of one’s own proper dignity or value, 2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, 3. The happy satisfied feeling somebody experiences when having or achieving something special, 4. A proper of respect for the importance and value of your personal character, life, efforts, or achievements;”

    is exactly the image we should be projecting!!!

    Debbie is zeroing in on the “pride” parades — which only happen once a year, not on the day-to-day achievements and contributions of gays and lesbians across this country — which are usually not celebrated, at least not in a way that catches the disapproving eye of Christian Conservatives or the hungry media looking for its most provocative clip of a particularlyt flamboyant drag queen or a jock-strap-clad hottie for the evening news.

    Is Debbie talking about the bawdy, half-naked hunks who do dirty dancing on some of the Pride Prade floats (actually an advertizement for the most popular bars and discos in the area)? If she is, then maybe no. That would be like the straight community using strippers and pole-dancers to portray their community in it’s best light.

    But you will also see, in gay Pride Parades, groups of gay doctors, teachers, marching bands, choruses, religious organizations, gay veterans, AIDS support organizations, gay engineers, PFLAG, etc. Lots of different gay folk, proud of their resilience as a community and celebrating their contributions to both gay and straight communities.

    I find those “naughty” floats distasteful sometimes too, but ususally just boring. I recall a Simpson’s episode where one such guy in the Springfiled Pride Parade, shouts out “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!” to which Lisa blandly responds, “We are used to it. You do this every year…”

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    60% describe their faith as “very important” in their life.

    70% consider themselves to be Christian

    About four out of ten are absolutely committed to the Christian faith

    58% have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today,”

    27% qualify as born again Christians

    You also asked for my thoughts on Barna’s survey results, Timothy. I don’t see any major surprises there. I know a lot of gays have come out of oppressive church and home environments, so I would suspect those histories are reflected in the lower numbers of faith commitments relative to heterosexuals. I also think that the gay Christian movement’s theology gives them permission to be less evangelical.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Is Debbie talking about the bawdy, half-naked hunks who do dirty dancing on some of the Pride Prade floats (actually an advertizement for the most popular bars and discos in the area)? If she is, then maybe no. That would be like the straight community using strippers and pole-dancers to portray their community in it’s best light.

    Perhaps a better analogy, Michael, is to blacks marching in solidarity during the civil rights era as heteros don’t band together and march for straight pride. Would Dr. King have allowed any walking ads touting the base nature of his oppressed people?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Yes, there are “lower numbers of faith commitments relative to heterosexuals”.

    But aren’t you joyous to learn that the majority of gay people are Christians who have a personal relationship with Christ and consider their faith to be very important to them?

    Doesn’t it bring gladness to your heart to learn that the average gay person out there joins you in the Body of Believers?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael and Debbie,

    What a glorious sight it is to see parent marching in support of their children, to see politicians out meeting their constituents, to see churches proclaiming the extravagant welcome of Christ to their community, to see local merchants showing civic pride, to see hundreds of organizations coming together to renew their commitment to equality and justice – I just brings joy and delight.

    If there are a tiny handful of clowns looking for a laugh or bars expoiting baser instincts, well I can deal with that. I’ve seen about the same on television commercials this week.

  • Michael Bussee

    Heteros don’t band together and march for straight pride because they have never been systematically oppressed and mistreated, kicked out of their churches, fired from their jobs and denied basic human dignity and civil rights, just for being straight.

    If they had been, I would suspect there would be “Straight Pride Parades” — and some of the floats would have hot girls in bikinis shaking their booties, trying to entice bored and thristy straight guys to stop by the local pubs to dance and drink — after the more respectable entries passed by.

    You can stop clutching your pearls now, Debbie. Try to adopt Lisa Simpson’s attitude.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    You are mistaken. Heteros do band together in pride.

    For example, in Riva Latvia a few years back they banded together to throw excrement at some gay folk attending a church service. And this week in Bulgaria they marched in opposition to the right of gays to march later in the week. And in New Orleans they celebrate heterosexuality annually by flashing their boobs and throwing beads.

    Of course none of these things are really equivalent to gay pride parades. They don’t have at least one float blaring “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    But aren’t you joyous to learn that the majority of gay people are Christians who have a personal relationship with Christ and consider their faith to be very important to them?

    Absolutely.

    And in New Orleans they celebrate heterosexuality annually by flashing their boobs and throwing beads.

    Correction. They celebrate debauchery. Of all kinds. Wrong analogy again.

    Perhaps a better analogy, Michael (and Timothy), is to blacks marching in solidarity during the civil rights era as heteros don’t band together and march for straight pride. Would Dr. King have allowed any walking ads touting the base nature of his oppressed people?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    The marches following Proposition 8 are probably comparable to the marches of Dr. King. They were both political in nature and in response to the public’s unwillingness to acknowledge the civil equality of some of its citizens.

    But the Prop 8 protests, like Dr. King’s marches, were dissimilar to the pride parades. They did not have floats or advertisements for bars or anyone dancing in a swimsuit. They have a different purpose.

    You are correct, however, in pointing out that Mardi Gras is not a good comparison to pride parades because, unlike pride parades, Mardi Gras celebrates debauchery. Thanks for that correction.

    So back to my question

    Doesn’t it bring gladness to your heart to learn that the average gay person out there joins you in the Body of Believers?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I answered your question,Timothy. I guess I cut and pasted Part A. I said I was delighted to know that so many gays say they are Christians, even born-again believers.

    Your Part B is only slightly different but my answer remains the same. We are one body, just not all believing the same things, as the Barna survey points out. There is common ground, and we’d both like to focus on that, I’m sure.

  • Michael Bussee

    I was delighted to know that so many gays say they are Christians, even born-again believers.

    Debbie: Were you surprised? There are many folks (like Frank Worthen, EXODUS’s patriarch) who believe that it is impossible to be both gay and Christian. You have to be “ex-gay” to be Christian — or at least “SSA” and Christian, but never “gay”. I guess that sounds too “proud”.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    I’m glad we have found an area in which we both find joy.

  • Mary

    I think Joe Dallas’ opinion is that you can’t both either.

  • Michael Bussee

    Here’s the deal. They won’t settle for “gay Christian” because, for them, the word “gay” means you (1) like it and/or (2) you don’t believe it’s necessarily “sin”.

    “Ex-gay” and “SSA” are preferred — because they do not signify #1 or #2. In any event, all of the terms refer to homosexual persons, not heterosexual.

  • Michael Bussee

    I guess there is some difference within EXODUS. Some think what you call yourself is a salvation issue. SSA is OK. Ex-gay is OK. But “gay Christians” go to hell.

    Some may even think it is OK to call yourself a Christian homosexual as long as you make clear that you don’t think that gay sex is.

    Some apparently think it doesn’t matter ( in terms of your eternal destiny) what you call yourself as long as you don’t act on your SSA or approve of those who do.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Timothy,

    “For example, in Riva Latvia a few years back they banded together to throw excrement at some gay folk attending a church service. And this week in Bulgaria they marched in opposition to the right of gays to march later in the week. And in New Orleans they celebrate heterosexuality annually by flashing their boobs and throwing beads.”

    Your quips are cute…if distorted and offensive.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    I know a woman who refers to herself as a Catholic Lesbian. She is “out” but believes it is not God’s will that she be in a Lesbian relationship…Her religious practice is her identity and supersedes the identity associated with her attractions.

  • Michael Bussee

    Her religious practice is her identity and supersedes the identity associated with her attractions.

    So does mine.

  • Michael Bussee

    @ David: Did I answer all your questions? DId you answer mine?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    You were saying in a previous post that you can’t call yourself a gay Christian; apparently you can without the response you cite.

    Regarding earlier Q’s about masturbation: there are no biblical injunctions against it.

    I think that answers your question…I am willing to elaborate further if you have more specific questions.

  • Michael Bussee

    So it the Bible does not specifically prohibit something, then it is OK to follow my best understanding of God’s will, the Bible, the Two Great Commandments and the dictates of my own conscience? If that is what you are saying, I get it.

    But what about when some believe that the Bible prohibits something and others don’t agree that it does? For example, some devoutly believe that the BIble prohibits blood transfusions.

    I know that you probably can’t understand how on earth I can’t see what you seem to see so clearly. To you, it seems as obvious as the nose on your face. I must just be stubborn — trying to excuse what I know very well is sin. Is that what you think?

    I am asking this on a very personal level: If, after years of study, prayer and seeking out wise counsel I am still not convinced that the BIble prohibits all forms of homosexual expression, what am I to do?

    Is there anything else I can do but follow my best understanding of God’s will, the Bible, the Two Great Commandments and the dictates of my own conscience? Do I take a vote and obey the majority opinion? Do I obey you? Eddy?

  • Lynn David

    David Blakeslee……. Regarding earlier Q’s about masturbation: there are no biblical injunctions against it.

    .

    I think that answers your question…I am willing to elaborate further if you have more specific questions.

    So masturbation isn’t fornication? Ok… then…..

    .

    Are you saying that if two guys are masturbating while only eyeing each other they aren’t committing a Christian sin?

    .

    Or if they were to each trail their free hand over to the inside of the other’s thigh while masturbating themselves would that make it a Christian sin?

    .

    If now each of these guys were to kiss before their masturbation, would that make it a Christian sin?

    .

    Finally, if each were to masturbate the other, would that make it a Christian sin?

    .

    If none are Christian sins, one can go on from there to other homogenic acts each of which could be considered nothing but mutual masturbation. So where in the spectrum of acts do you draw the line at “sin?” If it has to do with the mindset of the person, then that mindset exists even in the absence of any act. One would then be demanding that homosexual thought be sinful.

    .

    If you’re not going to call masturbation a sin/fornication, then you do not have that absolutism demanded of a ‘godly morality.’ If masturbation is not a Christian sin, then neither is homogenic sex.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    If we go the “this specific action is a sin” route, many Jews believe that anal sex is the only sex act forbidden in the Torah between two men. And that the Torah does not forbid sex between women.

  • Lynn David

    Timothy Kincaid…. many Jews believe that anal sex is the only sex act forbidden in the Torah between two men.

    Yikes! The g0y movement.

  • Michael Bussee

    @ David:

    Then, is it only OK for straights to masturbate? Can they think about something when they do? If they think of a female form or image (other than their wife), are they committing sin?

    Is it OK for gay guys to masturbate as long as they don’t “think of anything” — as some in EXODUS have suggested — “just to relieve the sexual tension” so that you don’t sommit sin with someone else? Is it even possible to masturbate — gay or straight — without thinking of something?

    Surely masturbation must be sin sometimes. Under what conditions would it be “morally neutral” — akin to having a good meal or reading a good book?

    David, it seems to me that you first declared that gay sex was sin because it wasn’t one-woman-one-man, straight,married sex — the only kind the Bible allows. All gay sex was therefore immoral. Then, you make you exception for masturbation because the Bible doesn’t say we can’t. I am confused.

    Is anything that the BIble does not specically prohibit then a matter of individual conscience? Is pot smoking OK? How about donor-insemination?

  • Michael Bussee

    Here’s the point I am trying to make, David. I am certain that you do not do everything the BIble commands (for example stone your kids if they are disobedient — as we are told to do in Deuteronomy 21:18-21) or avoid everything the Bible condemns.

    I am certain that you make exceptions. You obey the ones you agree with or understand. You search the Scriptures. You think. You pray — but eventually, you have to decide — based on the dictates of your best understanding of God’s nature and His will for all of us. I must do the same.

    The Bible is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. I wish it were that simple! Somethings are not black-and-white. Some passages are not entirely clear. Somethings you have to weigh against a larger, over-arching moral principle. Morality is not the behavior. It is the motivation.

    Why is something “sin”? Isn’t it sin because it violates the Two Great Commandments? Isn’t that the point Jesus was trying to make when they tried to trap Him in a debate over the letter of the law?

  • Jayhuck

    Michael,

    I am certain that you make exceptions. You obey the ones you agree with or understand. You search the Scriptures. You think. You pray — but eventually, you have to decide — based on the dictates of your best understanding of God’s nature and His will for all of us. I must do the same.

    Forgive me for jumping in, and please tell me if I’m wrong, but what it sounds like we are ALL doing is INTERPRETING scripture.

  • Michael Bussee

    It all boils down to that eventually, Jayhuck. That’s what all the squabbling is really about. Whose understanding of the BIble is correct… Or at least, giving each other space and grace to live according to our conscience if we can’t absolutuely determine something like that.

  • Michael Bussee

    Here’s what i am convinced of: Jesus love us. All of us SSA Christians are His Sheep. He has lots of different kinds of sheep. Some go along willingly and some need a push, but He takes care of us.

    He is our Good Shepherd. We belong to Him now. He bought us with His blood. He will not let one of us perish. We have His Word on it. He laid down His life for it. He rose from the dead for it. For us. We have His forgiveness and His love. We are His now.

    Why? Because He wanted to. That’s the way He is. He is love and It is a gift. We don’t deserve it. He gave it to us anyway.

    Now, He just wants us to show a little gratitude by treating Him with all the love and respect we can muster — and then help feed the rest of His sheep. If we go astray (and we will,) His rod and His staff will put us back on the path HOME. He has prepared a place for us there.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, as you know, there are many question we will never be able to answer here. We can only go so far in our teaching or exhorting as our understanding of God’s truth will allow us to go.

    The Christian life is a daily taking up of our cross and dying to self. As we do that, God gives us more insight. I believe the Holy Spirit will check us if we are veering off course. So, the only way we can remain rightly related to God is to remain open to his nudges. We have to be willing to let Him sort it all out in the end. One look at the depravity of our own lives ought to be enough to keep us from judging others. But we are stodgy sheep who are slow to get that. :)

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael and Lynn David,

    Well, this is getting interesting.

    And Timothy…your ability to find exceptions to the rule is exemplary.

    It reminds me of another saying of Jesus’…straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

    Nevertheless, your arguments seem Clintonian in nature…what is the definition of “is” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman….”

    What a fascinating fragmentation of the sexual act…

    Since Wiki is so cherished…here is there definition: Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation, especially of one’s own genitals (self masturbation), often to the point of orgasm.

    I assumed you meant an auto erotic act. If you want to have a party while masturbating or invite others to help…

    I think that might be scripturally suspect…although Aramaic and Hebrew were tiny language and may not have had the words at the time to describe specific forbidden acts accurately.

  • David Blakeslee

    Regarding the two great commandments and my conscience:

    I understand your rationale Michael and wish you God’s grace and wisdom (me too). I see things differently than you.

    Old Testament Law reveals Sin….Christ is the Fulfillment of the Law…Our sinfulness exposes the Goodness and Grace of God…God’s goodness and grace does not “De-list” sins…it merely makes reconciliation possible through forgiveness and repentance.

    To continue: The call of Christ to those on the byway and in the hedges to come to the feast; to lay our burdens down…but also to take up the yoke and the cross. I can come up with exceptions and special conditions…never the less, as a heterosexual I am falling short of God’s standard…and do daily.

    I don’t seek to alter that basic fact by presuming God is satisfied with my deductive reasoning skills…failure is failure; regardless of the reasons and thank God, his lovingkindness endures forever.

    In this regard, I especially struggle with endorsing permutations of God’s ideal, using our conscience and parts of the Bible, and then presenting it as another facet of God’s ideal plan….I just think it is incredibly presumptuous…as if loving, gay monogamous people did not exist at the time of Christ; or better yet, that loving heterosexual couples had sex before marriage and God thought this was good, but forgot to mention it.

    The logic breaks down, Michael.

    The Law exposes sin and drives us to seek Mercy…which is readily available to all who ask…It makes us all equal and hopefully, humble.

    Currently, I cannot endorse a broad extrapolation of God’s idea of marriage that you advocate. I do think that God extends his loving grace to all of us with our infirmities, sinfulness and very difficult decisions…but God’s grace is not God’s endorsement.

    I welcome your response.

  • David Blakeslee

    We are all capable of being Henry VIII…and to have well-meaning people support us.

  • Michael Bussee

    I understand your rationale Michael and wish you God’s grace and wisdom (me too). I see things differently than you.

    Thanks. I understand your rationale and I wish you the same, David.

    God’s goodness and grace does not “De-list” sins…

    I don’t think it does either. I just wonder how you, personally, decide which sins are still on the list and which commandments we must all still obey. And what to do when something is not on “the list” — or when people understand “the list” differently? What then?

    The call of Christ to those on the byway and in the hedges to come to the feast; to lay our burdens down…but also to take up the yoke and the cross.

    I agree with you, of course.

    I don’t seek to alter that basic fact by presuming God is satisfied with my deductive reasoning skills

    Neither do I. . I know my reasoning may be off the mark. I trust HIm to show that to me.

    I especially struggle with endorsing permutations of God’s ideal, using our conscience and parts of the Bible, and then presenting it as another facet of God’s ideal plan….

    This is the sticky part, isn’t it. You think you know and clearly understand “God’s ideal” — and speak as thoug there is no room for undstanding things differently.

    Like me, I think you use your conscience and parts of the Bible” But, then then you present it as those it were indisputable fact and not just your understanding of presenting it as “God’s ideal plan.”

    People who understand things differently than you do are not necessarily “endorsing permutations of God’s ideal”, they are disagreeing with you, not God

    We who disagree with you may wonder about “God’s ideal”, but you know it for sure — so that anything that differs from your understanding of it is “endorsing a permutation”. That, with all due respect, strikes me as a bit arrogant. You may be wrong, David. You may be wrong.

    …as if loving, gay monogamous people did not exist at the time of Christ; or better yet, that loving heterosexual couples had sex before marriage and God thought this was good, but forgot to mention it.

    I don’t think Jesus “forgot” to mention anything. He wasn’t preoocupied or absent-minded. I just don’t think He mentioned everything. I don’t think it was His intent to “mention everything” — just the essential things that would show us the way to Him.

    Currently, I cannot endorse a broad extrapolation of God’s idea of marriage that you advocate.

    Once again, you presume to know “God’s idea” of marriage. It must be wonderful to be so certain of the Mind of God. By the way, I don’t really endorse gay marriage — or straight marriage for that matter.

    I think the state should stay out. Civil unions for consenting adults. “Marriage” ceremonies and “marriage” I see as primarily religious — and are between the couple and God.

    By the way, you neatly by-passed the question of how you decide on the sinfulness of something when something is not perfectly clear Scripturally — and what makes something “sin” or “not sin” in cases where there is legitimate disagreement between believers. How do you, personally, decide?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    It is exhausting and hurtful being repeatedly called arrogant…please stop….if you see similar behavior on my part in assessing your motives, please draw it to my attention.

    I haven’t “neatly bypassed.” I have discussed what concerned me.

    There are several ways I assess sinfulness: direct biblical prohibitions (murder), implied prohibitions (slavery), subjective prohibitions (to eat meat sacrificed to idols).

    Are you saying gay marriage may be a subjective prohibition?

  • Michael Bussee

    I am sorry. I will stop calling you arrogant. I just wish I was as certain of my knowledge of God’s will, intent, plan, ideal as you seem to be. To the best of my recollection, you have never admitted that you may be wrong about this.

    You speak as though it’s all completely self-evident and that anyone who disagrees with your understanding of the Bible is trying to “excuse” obvious sin or “permutate” God’s ideal — or shirk their responsibility to take up the cross.

    Maybe I need another word. Maybe not arrogant. Maybe just very, very, very sure of yourself. You understand God and I don’t. “Implied” and “subjective” prohibitions involve your ability to reason, your individual conscience — and your personal, limited understanding.

    Is there a book somewhere that neatly lays out what is the correct, indisputable, self-evident teaching of the Bible?

    Are you saying gay marriage may be a subjective prohibition?

    No. I am saying that I do not believe the BIble clearly condemns all forms of homosexual behavior. And when the Bible does not clearly condemn something, that we then have to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in our individual lives, asking HIm to enlighten our understanding and direct our behavior in a loving, empathetic, truly moral way.

    As I said, I am not a proponent of gay marriage — just of civil justice and equal rights.

  • Michael Bussee

    I hues what I am asking is “how do we know what we know”? It comes down to epistemology, I guess.

    “…concerned with the definition of knowledge and related concepts, the sources and criteria of knowledge, the kinds of knowledge possible and the degree to which each is certain, and the exact relation between the one who knows and the object known.”

    I do not believe the Humans can “know” with certainty. I believe that each of us is unique and that we always filter “what we know we know” through the lens of our own experience. And no one’s lens is perfect.

  • Michael Bussee

    I meant, “I guess I am asking…” Darn my vision! Like my understanding, my lenses are limited.

  • Michael Bussee

    There are several ways I assess sinfulness: direct biblical prohibitions (murder), implied prohibitions (slavery), subjective prohibitions (to eat meat sacrificed to idols).

    That helps. I guess you see any and all homosexual behavior as a violation of a “direct Biblical prohibition” — outlawing any and all forms of gay sexual expression. And, I see it as as “subjective prohibition” in that I think the BIble prohibits certain forms — but not all forms.

    I doubt that I will be able to convince you otherwise — and vice versa. Therefore, I suppose we should respect each other’s individual conscience before God — since neither us can say — with abosolute certainty — that we have it right.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    And Timothy…your ability to find exceptions to the rule is exemplary.

    It reminds me of another saying of Jesus’…straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

    Nevertheless, your arguments seem Clintonian in nature…what is the definition of “is” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman….”

    What a fascinating fragmentation of the sexual act…

    WOW.

    That’s quite some response to a random comment about what folks in another faith believe. If you have a problem with the “Clintonian nature” of Jewish interpretation of the Torah, take it up with them.

    As for you and Michael arguing over the minutia of scripture, I’ll leave that up to you. I find it usually counterproductive to argue over the interpretation of scripture.

    From my perspective, the history of scripture and of the Christian faith since then has been one of God saying “love me and treat people decently” and man trying to find exceptions.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    Best to you…we’ll see how all this turns out.

    @ Timothy,

    My compliment is real, you are especially good at finding exceptions to the rule. I just don’t think you can build a coherent moral system around exceptions.

    ….and, regarding ‘minutia’ of scripture…it seems it is hard to maintain differences without moving into devaluing others and their efforts.

  • Michael Bussee

    I just don’t think you can build a coherent moral system around exceptions.

    Neither do I. I, for one, was not trying to do that. The Two Great Commandments, around which I try to build a coherent moral system, are not “exceptions’ but the very bedrock of any true “moral” system. At every point, we must ask oursleves: “Does this honor God as God? Does this honor others as HIs children?”

    I am not making “exceptions” or trying to build a system around them. I am disagreeing with you, taking exception with you – not God. There is a big difference, David. Once again, you are acting and speaking as though you have it absolutley right.

    You seem to be suggesting that the rest of us really know it — but that we are trying to wiggle out of it somehow by making exceptions. That seems very, very, very self-confident of you. You may be wrong. Why does it seem so hard to get you yo admit that you just might, just might, be wrong?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    I think if you look carefully at my last post, the comment about exceptions was not addressed to your value system…it was addressed to Timothy’s style of debating.

    It is possible, possible, that you are misinterpreting my assertions as facts. It is possible, because I use a similar language, that I remind you of rather opinionated, self-righteous and arrogant people…

    Not me.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    I was going to let it pass…

    My debating style is NOT looking for exceptions.

    Rather, I look at some riduculous statement made by someone who hasn’t the faintest clue what they are talking about but instead are just mindlessly repeating some homophobic nonsense they’ve heard and THEN pointing out just how wrong they are. Usually I use real life illustrations.

    That you CHOOSE to believe the stereotype and just TELL YOURSELF that these are exceptions to the rule says a whole heck of a lot more about your own perceptions and ability to process what disagrees with your preconceptions than it does about by debating style.

    (yes, as you can see, that slur on my intellect annoyed me)

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    .. about my debating style…

    I’ll agree, however, that my typing is pathetic.

  • Jayhuck

    Tim,

    I may very well have these printed up on T-shirts – giving you all the credit of course ;)

    From my perspective, the history of scripture and of the Christian faith since then has been one of God saying “love me and treat people decently” and man trying to find exceptions.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Where in the Bible does it speak of direct, implied and subjective prohibitions? It may have told us it was ok to classify different prohibitions as such, but I missed that passage.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Currently, I cannot endorse a broad extrapolation of God’s idea of marriage that you advocate

    That’s great! You have every right to believe whatever you like. Let’s talk more about the ethics of trying to legislate your BELIEFS though David – especially when you are impacting the lives of people who do not believe as you do.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Would you really like to get into an extended conversation of ALL the problematic and/or ignored verses in the Bible???

  • Michael Bussee

    It is possible, possible, that you are misinterpreting my assertions as facts.

    Yes. I think I may have. I am sorry.

    Believe it or not, I actually admire the strength of your convictions. Most waffle a bit. You seem very solid. Men of strong faith are like that. :)

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Timothy,

    No slur…just an observation…

    But your reaction discredits your intelligence. People disagree and cite their reasons for much broader reasons than your simplistic, reactive homophobic allegations.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    All our ethics, values and religious beliefs go into the melting pot of free speech to shape more than public opinion, but social policy and the law.

    I do not ask you to be silent about your values…or to not “impose” them on others. I certainly will not stand by silently when a democracy welcomes all opinions.

    Judges, legislators and government executives will ultimately make these decisions, not the Taliban, HRC or Liberty University.

    Ultimately somebody’s values with be IMPOSED on the culture.

    That is how the Law works.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    I am a member of a religion which can easily move to dogmatism…No apology necessary.

    I respect your struggle and dilemmas and wish you well.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ultimately somebody’s values with be IMPOSED on the culture. That is how the Law works.

    Let’s hope those laws extend freedom and equal justice to the largest number of folks possible, regardless of the differences in their other values… I think that’s what our founding fathers had in mind.

    Sadly, we had to make it clear by amendments later on that the “inalienable rights” bestowed by our Creator included, other races, women — perhaps someday SSA people too.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    I think the direct, implied and subjective prohibitions of scripture is a form of exegesis that disciplined biblical scholars are required to adhere to…I think I gave examples of each in a prior post.

    2 greatest commandments: irrevocable and absolute of Christians; the second commandment a good ethic for secularists…not required (go ahead get even if you want or only treat the people you like nicely).

    10 commandments: specific to the Jews, implied for Christians, probably beneficial for secular culture.

    Levitical commandments: specific to Jews (Timothy may know more about it’s application for current Orthodox Jews); implied for Christians, some irrelevant for secular culture; some irrelevant…certainly all optional

    Eating Meat offered to Secular Idols: Subjective for Christians, depending on the workings of their own conscience.

    None of the Bible applies to secular culture as a demand, including the two greatest commandments (hat tip to Michael); Secular law and culture has no requirement to apply any Biblical prohibitions or demands: from murder to monogamy to forgiveness to truthfulness and so on.

    Jewish law was for Jews…but to demonstrate to the world through the Jews what God was like.

    Christian ethics are for Christians…to demonstrate to the world what a Just and Gracious God looks like.

  • Michael Bussee

    @ David: Ah, yes, but here’s the rub:

    I think the direct, implied and subjective prohibitions of scripture is a form of exegesis that disciplined biblical scholars are required to adhere to

    Trouble is most folks trying to live a good Christians life are not “disciplined biblical scholars” and have no idea what “exegesis” means. How are they to make all the decisions you have made about “direct, implied and subjective prohibitions of scripture”?

    One has to use one’s own powers of reasoning, the dictates of one’s own conscience before God, study, prayer, the Guidance of the Holy Spirit — and some, basic, profound, over-arching moral principle – like the 2 Great Commandemts — to make these decisions. That’s why there is legitimate disagreement between true believers. That is why I cited the reference about the “sovereignty of conscience”.

    Jewish law was for Jews…but to demonstrate to the world through the Jews what God was like. Christian ethics are for Christians…to demonstrate to the world what a Just and Gracious God looks like.

    This I agree with. That’s why it troubles greatly me when those who claim to “take the BIble literally” don’t really do that. Instead, they want to impose Old Testament rules and regulations on me – while they pick and choose which OT laws they choose to obey — and which ones they have decided no longer apply.

    Levitical commandments: specific to Jews…implied for Christians, some irrelevant for secular culture; some irrelevant…certainly all optional…

    Once again, how does the common person (those who are not schooled in the fine art of BIblical exegises — who are not “disciplined biblical scholars” — decide to how live a live that is both pleasing to God and in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience before Him?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    I agree that most folks are held to the interpretive demands of Biblical scholars…but Jayhuck asked the question; and that is the way I break it down.

    One of the hardest things about this discussion, since our legal system is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian ethics, is how those ethics made it into secular law? I believe it was based, in part, on biblical exegesis.

    So, I like the Bible, but I am not entitled to apply every demand or every prohibition to others; certainly not without filtering the demands through the above analysis first…and then applying it to myself rigorously first (before others).

    A second dilemma is many Christian values applied to our secular culture are difficult if not impossible to keep without divine intervention…asking secularists to live a Christian value filled life is not what God tells us to do.

    Nevertheless, we have a legal and civil code that is irrevocably linked to Judeo Christian values….

    Not out of hate….

    Not out of bigotry….

    But because it seemed a superior addition to extant secular law in order to form a civil society.

    Judeo-Christian values have all sorts of benefits for secular civil society…secular civil society has the right to reject or apply any and all of them.

  • Michael Bussee

    So, I like the Bible, but I am not entitled to apply every demand or every prohibition to others; certainly not without filtering the demands through the above analysis first…and then applying it to myself rigorously first (before others).

    Very well said. And I don’t think most of the laws that limit the freedoms and rights of gay people were necessaril enacted out of hate or bigotry. Not that blatant or malevolent. Self-centeredness and fear mostly. Difficulty seeing the “other” as a co-equal Child of God.

  • Michael Bussee

    “…not without filtering the demands through the above analysis first

    That is the first commandment — obeying God and worshipping God alone — to the extrent we humans are capable of that — analyzing, praying, studying — using all our heart and soul and mind…

    and then applying it to myself rigorously first (before others).

    That would be the second commandment.

    The “filter” I use are those two commandments we keep talking about. I try not to do anything that does not honor God as God, or that puts something or someone else in His rightful place in my heart, soul or mind. I fail, but I try…

    I then try to treat other people the way I would like to be treated — with empathy, love, compassion, justice. I do not always succeed. That’s why the Lord’s prayer says “daily” bread — and then ask his forgiveness for our (daily) trespasses. Thank God He is a loving, righteous amd merciful God.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Nevertheless, we have a legal and civil code that is irrevocably linked to Judeo Christian values…

    yep – and those values aren’t static. They change and they are different depending on which Christian groups we are speaking to. So which interpretations get to be made into law – if any?

  • Jayhuck

    Christian ethics are for Christians…to demonstrate to the world what a Just and Gracious God looks like.

    Oh David – then my next few questions would be: Which Christians are we talking about – which group’s Christian ethics are you speaking of – which Christian groups?

    For the record, it should be mentioned not all Biblical scholars are believers!!

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    You seem to dismiss all non-Christian ethics as secularist – there ARE other religious faiths other than the Christian one you know! ;)

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Ultimately somebody’s values with be IMPOSED on the culture.

    There is a more important question to be asked though – something along the lines of how much do we allow religion, especially in a so-called free society, to determine our laws – especially when those laws denigrate and deny a class of law-abiding and tax-paying citizens equal rights.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    My understanding of Biblical exegesis is that the products of that discipline vary depending on who you speak to.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Darn my vision! Like my understanding, my lenses are limited.

    Michael, do you realize the profundity in this little aside? :) Yep, this is true of all of us.

  • Michael Bussee

    Yup. it was a little double entendre… :) I Cor. 13:9

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    :)

  • Michael Bussee

    My understanding of Biblical exegesis is that the products of that discipline vary depending on who you speak to.

    Indeed. And that explains why there are so many splits, schisms, denominations, etc. Debate over “true doctrine” and proper application of Scripture is as old as man (and woman)… :) Ours is (and always has been) a robust and contentious faith.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    “…and those values aren’t static.”

    Sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.

    I get your argument about variety and change and diversity and vagueness…as well as the repetitive, “Whose values, which Christians, what scriptures” and so on.

    And yes, Jayhuck, there are other faiths…but they are not obliged to apply Christian or Jewish directives.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    “There is a more important question to be asked though – something along the lines of how much do we allow religion, especially in a so-called free society, to determine our laws – especially when those laws denigrate and deny a class of law-abiding and tax-paying citizens equal rights.”

    The way you frame the question…demands the answer you seek.

    What equal rights does your hypothetical class of people seek that they are now being deprived of?

    Are there other hypothetical classes of people who are similarly denied those same rights?

  • Michael Bussee

    @ David: I cannot marry the man I love. You can marry the woman you love. Gays are not a ” hypothetical class of people”.

  • Eddy

    And I don’t think most of the laws that limit the freedoms and rights of gay people were necessaril enacted out of hate or bigotry. Not that blatant or malevolent.

    Just my opinion, but I think we’ve gone to the abstract to the point where the posts are sounding almost Confucian. (Please, don’t jump on that part…that is not and will not be the true point of my post.) I’m very curious about ‘most of the laws that limit the freedom and rights of gay people’. The word ‘most’ suggests that there are quite a few. Can we actually list say 3 or 4 of these laws that limit the freedom and rights of gay people so that we can see the implementation and the direct implications of the hate or bigotry? (Snarky responses will not be tolerated. We seem to be talking about a ‘given’, something we should all know…so it should be easy to cough up 3 or 4 examples for discussion that should help bring the conversation back to earth.) My apologies in advance. Abstract talk fascinates me but I’m always more fascinated by ‘where the rubber meets the road’…how do those abstractions play out? What can/should we do to correct them…and how?

  • Michael Bussee

    I’m very curious about ‘most of the laws that limit the freedom and rights of gay people’. The word ‘most’ suggests that there are quite a few

    Sorry. I should have said “most of the laws that used to limit…” Past tense.

    Sodomy laws are gone. Some years ago, I was fired twice — just for being gay — but now there are laws in California that protect me against that sort of limit to my freedom and rights.

    Apart from not being able to marry the person I love, I can’t think of another example. Maybe someone else can.

    What I meant is that I don’t even think the old legal structure (that criminalized gay behavior or permiited job discrimination/termination) was necessarily built on hate or bigotry. More like fear and a failure to see SSA folk as deserving of equal treatment under the law..

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your clarification.

  • Michael Bussee

    You’re welcome. And I didn’t half to cough up anything, speak abstractly or be snarky. I am getting better with age I think. :)

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    Regarding “hypothetical”…Jayhuck was not being specific; I was hoping he would do so and in the process I wondered allowed, what others “classes” of persons are being denied the “same rights as others.”

    And…

    Am I misreading your position as being for civil partnerships and against gay marriage?

    Thanks.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Everyone,

    Is the church supposed to reflect the culture…or shape it?

    (I think you can use the affirmation of gay marriage to justify both positions).

  • Michael Bussee

    Am I misreading your position as being for civil partnerships and against gay marriage?

    I am for civil partnerships. I am not against gay or straight marriage.

    Is the church supposed to reflect the culture…or shape it?

    I vote for shape it.

  • Jim

    The author said that: “People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,”. However, the study did not measure “people’s” opinions about gays as: 1. godless; 2. hedonistic, and 3. “Christian bashers”??

    Please join me in asking the author to document who these “people” are. General claims are not warranted.

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

    Barna might have done better to identify who he meant however, it is not too hard to find them. Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), the Illinois Family Institute, Family Research Institute, Scott Lively and his organizations, frequently, the American Family Association, Traditional Values Coalition, etc.

    Subscribe to the Christian Newswire and you will find plenty of what Barna was referring to.