Canyon Ridge Christian Church issues statement on support for Martin Ssempa

Back in November, 2009, I contacted Las Vegas, NV, Canyon Ridge Christian Church as a part of my reporting on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. Canyon Ridge lists the Ssempas as missionaries on their website. Specifically, it has been of interest to learn how American ministries who have significant ties to prominent Ugandan supporters of the bill are reacting. Ugandans have reached out for assistance in significant ways to American churches and the relationships are deep and substantial going in both directions. Some of these relationships have been casualties of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

One Ugandan pastor who had been well connected in the US is Martin Ssempa. As is common knowledge now, Saddleback pastor, Rick Warren first went public with a split from Ssempa and then sent a letter and video denouncing the bill as “unchristian.” Colorado based abstinence education group, WAIT Training initially issued a statement neither supporting or endorsing Ssempa. More recently, however, WAIT Training severed all ties with him. Another American ministry, Teen Mania was slated to begin a youth leadership training ministry in partnership with Ssempa but recently put the effort on hold. Teen Mania issued a statement indicating disapproval of the bill and pledged to evaluate ministry partners in order “to ensure that we are not partnering with or supporting anyone who has advocated for a blanket death penalty for homosexual offenders.” Oral Roberts University, where Martin Ssempa is on the school’s Board of Reference has declined to comment on the bill at all.

Recently, Canyon Ridge Christian Church ended their silence with the following statement from Executive Pastor Mitch Harrison:

Canyon Ridge Christian Church partners with missionaries and ministry leaders around the world, including Martin Ssempa, for the purpose of reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing humanitarian aid where possible.

 

With the oversight of our elders and missions team, we constantly evaluate our ministry partners and their activities. We will only support those who engage in and promote activities consistent with the redemptive and grace-filled purposes of Jesus Christ in the world.

 

Canyon Ridge Christian Church does not wish to enter into the debate over the legislation in Uganda. We do encourage those involved to seek God’s leadership in humility and grace and to follow Jesus command to love one another as they wrestle with this difficult issue. Our prayers are for the good of the people Uganda.

The bill continues to be a difficult issue for American Christians to navigate. Many leaders I have spoken with are torn in their feelings. They really dislike the bill but they have come to trust their Ugandan brothers and sisters who are among the most vocal supporters of the bill. Make no mistake, I oppose the bill but I do understand the difficulty it is to separate with someone you have considered a friend over an issue of conscience.

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  • Mary

    but I do understand the difficulty it is to separate with someone you have considered a friend over an issue of conscience.

    Money. Relationship. Access to those resources.

  • Michael Bussee

    Conscience must come first.

  • Michael Bussee

    “There is an ongoing battle between conscience and self-interest in which, at some point, we have to take sides.” ~ Robert Brault

  • Michael Bussee

    I am becoming more impatient and disappointed with “Conservative Christians” every day. How come it’s usually the “gays” and the “liberals” that are the first to stand up for human and civil rights — and the others are more worried about how their friends might feel?

    Moral cowards.

  • David Blakeselee

    The bill continues to be a difficult issue for American Christians to navigate. Many leaders I have spoken with are torn in their feelings. They really dislike the bill but they have come to trust their Ugandan brothers and sisters who are among the most vocal supporters of the bill.

    The continent of Africa is a frightening place to have a sexual compulsion…especially if you are a minor who becomes its target.

    The 70′s and 80′s made it clear that “private consensual acts” have broader public policy implications than we would wish…first for heterosexuals.

    @ Mary,

    Have you ever lost a friend over an issue of conscience…their conscience?

  • Mary

    I am becoming more impatient and disappointed with “Conservative Christians” every day

    Wow! In spite of the effort shown here on this blog?

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes.

  • Eddy

    Mary–I’m with you. I was drafting the following while multi-tasking and thought I’d better check for new postings before posting.

    Wow. I would have thought that after a Conservative Christian pretty much spear-headed the efforts to confront the anti-homosexuality bill…after large numbers of Conservative Christians joined that effort via the facebook group…after a number of Conservative Christian organizations did sever ties with Sempa…after other Conservative Christians contacted him and his cronies directly to express their disapproval of the bill….well, I would have thought that would have encouraged more patience rather than impatience and more approval rather than disappointment. Seems like a case study for optimism vs pessimism.

    I grow very weary of unfounded generalizations like it’s usually the gays and the liberals that are the first to stand up for human and civil rights. I see some gays standing up for gay rights…but not any great numbers showing much concern for other human and civil rights that don’t advance their own quest. Perhaps, though, I’m blinded by my bias.

    And where is the foundation for the judgement:

    the others are more worried about how their friends might feel? Moral cowards.

    The group above did not state the reason behind taking no position. Is being ‘worried about how their friends might feel’ the only possible motive? If that judgement goes beyond them to Conservative Christians in general, again…is that the only possible motive?

    Michael is entitled to his pessimistic and judgemental opinion…just so we know that that’s what it is.

  • concerned

    Eddy,

    You have hit the nail on the head, but that will not stop the call for the victim mentality to continue on the part of those who realize as long as they continue to play that card they can continue to step on the rights of others who do not see things as they do. So much of it depends on who is dictating what is moral and what is immoral. Relativism is a very dangerous path to follow. Will the most powerful be allowed to say who is right and who is wrong. Is that power to be dictated by prestige, wealth, politics, religion, brute strength, or nature and our ability to repect the natural law without trying to change it to meet our own desires.

  • Michael Bussee

    Pessimistic. Yes. Judgemental. Sure. How did expressing that “step on the rights of others? Just saying I am underwhelmed. You may think that conservative Christians have been doing a bang up job. I don’t.

  • Michael Bussee

    Many leaders I have spoken with are torn in their feelings…Make no mistake, I oppose the bill but I do understand the difficulty it is to separate with someone you have considered a friend over an issue of conscience.

    What’s more important? Their feelings or their priniciples?

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren says many American Christians continue to find this issue a hard one to “navigate”. They are “torn in their feelings”. They find it “difficult” to separate from their Christian friends over an “issue of conscience.” Christians afraid of acting according to their conscience because they don’t want to lose a friend?

    What good is their “religion”? They need to strengthen their moral backbone. I have little patience or sympathy for their “feelings”. I am more concerned about those who may lose life and liberty for being gay.

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Eddy

    Separating from a friend and losing a friend are concepts that get muddled especially when talking at an organizational level. Once you cut off a friend, your chances for impacting them in any way are greatly, greatly reduced. It’s not something to be done in haste and it’s also not THE solution everytime you disagree.

    “My way or the highway” is generally unproductive…no matter who endorses it.

  • http://www.carlwlaur.com Carl Laur

    I would ask us all to consider that “separating” from the Ugandan proponents of this bill can be easier than remaining in contact. With contact one may remain able to influence, but at a price.

    Anyone can pray from a distance; those with developed relationship can pray in their face. A public neutrality – as abhorrent as that may seem in this matter – may yet allow a vigorous in-person challenge to this evil legislation. But this is the price: a person in such a role will be villified by outside observers and set upon by those he is trying to speak truth to. It is a lonely place.

    Yes, I know. It is nowhere near as lonely or as deadly as victims of the attitudes behind this legislation find themselves in. Granted. There is no comparison. I am trying simply to see God’s hand in this – and to do my part to speak out.

    I will trust and pray that the Spirit of God will bring results that we cannot. This will happen through actions overt and covert. I will not get to see it all, or know all about it. I will do everything that I can. I appreciate what Warren is doing to make this issue visible, visible and visible. Americans think Canada is a faraway place. Sometimes even it’s Kansas. Uganda is distant. And very, very present.

    I will continue to share the love of Jesus Christ.

    In Matthew 28: 19, 20a, Jesus says more than what Pastor Harrison is quoted as saying above. Of course, what we have above is only a few words, not the sum of pastor’s mind and heart.. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

    Sometimes teaching can be hot as fire. We must not think that maintaining relationship equals condoning behavior. It can be confronting the evil and calling it by name. It can be face-to-face where the battle is the hardest.

  • David Blakeslee

    Getting lively…not Scott, just the discussion: Good.

    I think Warren has done an amazing job engaging on this topic…simply amazing.

    I think the polarization around homosexual behavior within the Christian community and the Gay Advocacy community has been Temporarily repaired…

    Under the rubric of human rights.

    I think Warren has exposed, with credibility, the polyannish behavior of some at Exodus and with Brundidge as well as the corrosive bigoted behavior of Lively, and sadly, Ssempa.

    I think the argument in the Christian community is beginning to shift; away from a distorted simplistic view of Sodom and Ghommorah, away from raising homosexual behavior above other proscribed sexual behaviors…away from a coercive social gospel (convert…or die).

    Maintaining the tension, while people drag their feet is necessary; just maintaining the tension of the inhumanity in the name of Christianity…

    Must maintain the tension…not succumb to hopelessness, or to negativistic conclusions.

    That is my motto.

  • Eddy

    David–

    I wish I could believe this:

    I think the polarization around homosexual behavior within the Christian community and the Gay Advocacy community has been Temporarily repaired

    …but the evidence seems to be to the contrary. That dike has already sprung a leak as evidenced in some of the preceding comments.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think the argument in the Christian community is beginning to shift; away from a distorted simplistic view of Sodom and Ghommorah, away from raising homosexual behavior above other proscribed sexual behaviors…away from a coercive social gospel (convert…or die).

    David, I sincerely pray this is so. What might be causing such a shift?

  • Eddy

    I like to think that some of what we ex-gays have been saying repeatedly for the past 30 years is sinking in. Yes, we think it’s a sin but NO we don’t think it’s bigger than any other sin…we don’t think that God has it on His radar for judgement over any other sin.

  • Michael Bussee

    Perhaps. Too bad the ex-gay message didn’t play that way in Uganda.

  • Eddy

    There you go again! Purposely seeing only one piece and representing it as the whole. I would think that the letter sent by Alan and others to the leaders in Uganda is also ‘the ex-gay message’.

    And, depending on how far you stand from that forest, your perspective can be altered. Sound to me like the proposed bill was pretty much a done deal but that they did dupe some people into being voices. Yes, bad, very very bad.

    But, it still sounds to me like the proposed bill was indeed pretty much a done deal. It would have been put forth whether the infamous conference took place or not. And, now, largely because of the ill-informed involvement, I believe we were made more aware of and more sensitive to the implications of this bill…thereby drawing a more widespread outcry and the more intensive efforts of others. In short, the blunders of the conference encouraged some of the clear and forthright messages that have since been sent to the Ugandan leaders.

  • David Blakeslee

    There is animosity against the Christian community for a lot of things, false promises, hypocracy, differential judgment, distortions of science…

    but there is also animosity for some (no references here) because Christianity stands in judgment for morals generally…

    For them, any errors (real) that Christian make are justification for a general rejection and marginalization of the faith and those who practice it.

    Without the law, we would not know what sin is…it is no surprise that those who endorse sin, which to discredit the source of the law.

    We must understand that repentance for Christians away from Ugandan type laws and attitudes is necessary…but without the expectation that it will sway opinions…that is not why we do it…we do it to keep all of the law (the TAO as CS Lewis calls it)…simply.

  • Mary

    Perhaps. Too bad the ex-gay message didn’t play that way in Uganda

    Too bad some gays in america didn’t hear the message either.

  • David Blakeslee

    Maybe Christians sabotaged the Facebook page on Uganda :).

  • David Blakeslee

    Michael,

    I think the shift…however brief…is due to your hard work here; frankly…but you left off the shift on the other side…by accident?

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

    Good motto – might be hard to get on a t-shirt but I bet you could try :)

    Sorry to new commenters who had to wait through moderation. I have been driving to DC and have stopped at Panera Bread (LOVE this place). Snow is falling fast here, it is like driving through a snow globe.

  • Michael Bussee

    Careful out there Warren.

  • Eddy

    Toasted Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with the Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, please.

  • Michael Bussee

    @David: Re your idea that Christians may have sabotaged the FB group — Warren and I both considered that. I know he upset folks on both sides. Not pro-Christian enough. Not pro-gay enough. I know the feeling.

  • Michael Bussee

    In short, the blunders of the conference encouraged some of the clear and forthright messages that have since been sent to the Ugandan leaders.

    Perhaps I should send thank-you notes.

  • Eddy

    I wrote a rather lengthy reply to that but have concluded you’d rather stew in your judgement, anger and unforgiveness. Have at it.

  • David Blakeslee

    I have read posts on the facebook site that harangue Warren and warn readers that this is just some “maneuver” of the far right to fake sincerity….etcetera…

    Resentments are difficult things and they sometimes masquerade as righteousness…

    Talking about myself here; but asking Michael to consider it.

  • Michael Bussee

    I will.

  • Michael Bussee

    I oppose the bill but I do understand the difficulty it is to separate with someone you have considered a friend over an issue of conscience.

    I have done this. And I have had people separate from me over matters of their conscience. Warren is right. It is a very difficult experience either way. Necessary sometimes, but still difficult.

  • Michael Bussee

    Maybe that’s how moral courage develops. It’s a grief process.

  • David Blakeselee

    @ Michael,

    As a conservative, which also means a traditionalist, I have a built in structure to intellectually defend what is…it is like the starting blocks of a sprinters race…

    I assume liberals have a competing structure, with a similar race in mind (short, fast, I win!).

    After the sprint of ideas, as we slow down, we realize the conversation cannot be over…

    And thus begins the slow jog and the long walk of WThrockmorton.com.

    If we travel at the right pace, we can talk without our conversation being dominated gulps of air.

    The sprint against the Ugandan legislation has been coordinated and admirable; it may end up stopping it all together.

    In the long walk afterward we can regale who should have done more, who distorted facts, who sought to discredit falsely those not involved, and celebrate who took the most risks for the most vulnerable…

    That conversation is a long walk and prepares us better for the next sprint…which is coming and may be about the virtues of publicly admiring those who identify as ex-gay.

  • Mary

    DB,

    Well written. Thanks.

  • Michael Bussee

    If organizations for “those who identify as ex-gay” would establish official policies against criminalization and forced therapy, support equal civil and human rights — and promise to stay out of countries like Uganda, I might feel more admiration. I have never had a problem with people making the choice to live in accordance with their values — as long as they give others the same right.

  • Eddy

    Loving the switch…David commented about being able to admit admiration for “those who identify as ex-gay” and Michael switched it to the ‘organizations for “those who identify as ex-gay”‘.

  • Mary

    Some of us ex gays don’t belong or have never attended such “organizations”. Go figure, there is another voice out there.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorry. Same goes for the individuals.

  • Michael Bussee

    I admire any person who is willing to extend to others God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • Michael Bussee

    Some folks apparently think that I have some resentment or animosity towards individual ex-gay persons — or ex-gays in general — for choosing not to “identify” as gay and not act on their “SSA”. I have never had a problem with that. Not my path, but why would that upset me?

  • Michael Bussee

    It seems to me that we would amire a person’s character and the qualitity of their caring for others. How they “identify” warrants no particular admiration in and of itself. Phelps “identifies” as Christian.

  • Mary

    Phelps identifies as conservative christian – as do I – and we are obviously not in the same boat.

  • Michael Bussee

    That’s my point. Admiration has to be based on something more than how a person “identifies”. The words “gay” or “Christian” tell us almost nothing about the person behind the label. I admire any person who lives in accordance with his or her own values — and who respect the rights of others to live in accordance with theirs.

  • Mary

    Except MIchael you have slurred everyone when you say and lump conservative christians into one group and as being one minded. You did it just a few posts ago – or did you forget?

    No offense, but you seem to slip and slide along in your conversation almost without paying attention to something you posted at an earlier time. Is that your intention or are you aware that you do this?

  • Eddy

    Again we dance. I tend to believe that, if a person did something admirable or demonstrated admirable character, AND they happened to be identified as ex-gay then any admiration would be tainted with something like ‘a very admirable person except that they’ve chosen to identify as ‘ex-gay’.

    I also believe that Michael, who admits to having issues that he just can’t define with me, would enjoy and admire the hell out of me and all of my feistiness and exactness if only I weren’t ‘ex-gay’. (Granted, part of that may be how I identify and part may be simply that we are often on opposing sides.)

    Feel free to make that other point but I think this may come closer to what David was trying to shine the light on. David: by all means, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong or to further elaborate on what you were suggesting.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: The conservative Christians I was referring to were the ones who seemed reluctant to stand for their conscience for fear of losing their friends — the original topic. I grow impatient with them. I was frustrated. Tired of folks wringing their hands when they need to roll up their sleeves and do something.

    Time comes when you have to stand for something, even at the risk of separation from friends. Didn’t Jesus seem to indicate that this might be part of the cost of following HIm? I seem to recall something along that line…I know it’s hard, but important things usually are.

    In any event, I really should try to always begin my statements with “some” — as in “some conservative Christians” or “some ex-gays” or “some gays”. Generalizations are generally inaccurate.

    Yes, I am aware that my attention shifts. Usually it’s not intentional. Some folks would call it Adult ADD. It has always been a problem of sorts. It frustrated parents and teachers. What was the question again? :)

  • Michael Bussee

    I tend to believe that, if a person did something admirable or demonstrated admirable character, AND they happened to be identified as ex-gay then any admiration would be tainted with something like ‘a very admirable person except that they’ve chosen to identify as ‘ex-gay’.

    Believe what you will. You would be wrong. I have no problem with a person “identifying” as “ex-gay”. I think it’s a confusing term and can be intentionally or unintentionally misleading, but it’s the person’s character that counts.

    I also believe that Michael, who admits to having issues that he just can’t define with me, would enjoy and admire the hell out of me and all of my feistiness and exactness if only I weren’t ‘ex-gay’

    Again, you would be wrong. Not liking you has very little to do with the label you choose. I can define what I don’t like about you. List all the things that annoy you about me. The list would be very similiar. I admire your fiestiness and your intellect. I admire your faith. I admire your persererverance. Being “ex-gay” is low on the list of things I dislike about you.

  • Michael Bussee

    It might suprise you, but lately I have had more to dislike about “some” gay activists than “ex-gays”. Since cooperating with Conservative Christians and Ex-gays against the Uganda Bill, I have been called some pretty vile names by some “gay activists”.

    They call me “traitor” and say I have “blood on my hands”. One called my deceased partner a “fag queen”‘. They say I am responsible for the suicides of many people and that my apologies are “lame”.

    I would have expected this stuff out of the mouths of Westboro Baptist church members — but never from members of my own “community”. Character, courage matter to me. Not how a person “identifies” or whether or not they choose to act on their “SSA”.

  • Mary

    Then Michael – you might begin to identify people by their given names instead of the lump into a group mentality. When you say conservative christians – you are talking about me – even if you meant something else. You need to clarify.

  • Eddy

    I am becoming more impatient and disappointed with “Conservative Christians” every day. How come it’s usually the “gays” and the “liberals” that are the first to stand up for human and civil rights — and the others are more worried about how their friends might feel?

    Moral cowards.

    Michael, that’s the example that fueled this detour. No qualifier of any sort…just ‘Conservative Christians’. It was in the context of your ‘becoming more impatient and disappointed’….‘every day’. So it was NOT hooked just to the example presented in this topic.

    Then you went on to compare them as a group to gays as a group…disdaining their overall lack of concern for human rights and commending the gays for their overall championing of human rights.

    I’ve often said that generalizations don’t serve us well at all in these conversations. I suppose in forums where people are like-minded, you can get away with them…but they simply don’t work here.

    And, as I commented before, you then went so far as to judge what the motive was (I believe the chances of that being a faulty judgement are huge) and then pronounced ‘them’ to be ‘moral cowards’ based on your judgement. If your judgement of the folks of the lead topic is true, then the assessment of ‘moral cowards’ would likely fit. Beyond that though, you have 2/3 of your statement that is generalized and half a sentence that seems like it may have been directed at the folks of the topic. So, the judgement sure sounds and feels like it’s going towards ‘Conservative Christians’ as a whole.

    Beyond the generalizations, I keep thinking we’re running into problems with your ‘inner debater’. You clearly love ‘zingers’…you want to come across as pithy…you want to set the ‘other side’ on the defensive. This leads to statements packed with punch but also with a bit of spin attached. Like the generalizations, almost any spin is counterproductive to our conversations. At least IMHO.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary, I PROMISE I will always try to say “some”.

  • Mary

    Thanks Michael – in addition – you might want to consider how your switching topics and skewing focus has interfeered with your social skills and your social interaction here. You are responsible for reading and knowing what you wrote a few posts ago. Without an ability to stay focused – interacting with you becomes a mish mash of reminding you what you wrote and trying to interact – it’s tiresome.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am becoming more impatient and disappointed with some “Conservative Christians” every day. I sometimes feel that some “gays” and “liberals” are more willing stand up for human and civil rights — and that some others are more worried about how their friends might feel. I tend to think of some of them (not all conervative Christians) as moral cowards. Of course, some “gays” could fit this description as well.

    Better?

  • Michael Bussee

    I did not think I was switching topics. Warren was commenting on the reluctance of SOME Christians to take a stand and I was expressing my frustration with that. I thought it was on topic.

  • Michael Bussee

    The bill continues to be a difficult issue for American Christians to navigate. Many leaders I have spoken with are torn in their feelings. They really dislike the bill but they have come to trust their Ugandan brothers and sisters who are among the most vocal supporters of the bill. Make no mistake, I oppose the bill but I do understand the difficulty it is to separate with someone you have considered a friend over an issue of conscience.

  • Mary

    Better. Now let’s try to keep our shoes tied. It’s dangerous to walk around when your shoes are unlaced.

  • Michael Bussee

    That’s what I was responding to. I am impatient with folks like that. Perhaps I should not be, but I am.

  • Michael Bussee

    Was that necessary Mary? Or you you trying to lighten the mood?

  • Mary

    That’s my point. Admiration has to be based on something more than how a person “identifies”. The words “gay” or “Christian” tell us almost nothing about the person behind the label. I admire any person who lives in accordance with his or her own values — and who respect the rights of others to live in accordance with theirs

    That’s where you skew off, Michael. You understand that it is the indivual that is to be looked at but you continue on your rant against conservative crhistians. Yes. you must be clear everytime you write about a group or person.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. Got it. SOME. It might be unfair, but sometimes, it feels like MOST. NOT saying it IS, just that it SOMETIMES FEELS like it. It FEELS like they have to be pushed. That was the frustration I was venting.

    I admire the ones who do stand up. I just have little patience with those who don’t. Following Christ calls for it.

  • Mary

    In addition Michael, you have taken me to task for not being clear when I spoke of gays or gay christians etc… so stop playing victime here.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think if we look back at the history of the fight for things like non-descrimination in employment, the end of sodomy laws, the push to decriminalize homosexuality , the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and similar issues, it would be safe to say that the fight has not been primarily spearheaded or supported by impressive numbers of conservative Christians.

    SOME, I am a sure, have been part of the fight, but it FEELS like many conservative Christians have been on the opposite side of these issues, trying to block these things — so much so that it FEELS like it’s the “Conservative Christians” vs. “Gays”

    Would that be fair to say? Or am I “spinning”?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    The reworded comment with the bolded some is much better. Although, ‘every day’ would still make me wonder just what it was yesterday that provoked you…what it was the day before that…what it was the day before that?

    You’re saying “more” and “every day”…which implies that you are encountering more on a daily basis. And, it still troubles me that your ‘more every day’ doesn’t seem to be tempered at all by all the good and positive stuff you must have seen and heard from Conservative Christians in the Facebook group. Seems like the theme is ‘Accentuate the Negative’.

    But, overall….much better. Had it been written like that, I likely would have refrained from commenting…I’d have been curious about the ‘more every day’ but likely would have let it go.

    Mary–

    I’m with Michael on the shoelace comment. Hoping it was an attempt at humor but, giving the tension of the dialogue, it had little chance of succeeding in that vein.

  • Eddy

    It is fair to say AND it is spinning. Your original statement went to ‘human rights’; in order to make this new statement true, you had to delineate specifically gay issues. The spin is in the indirect association to the other statement while changing its essence. While there are overlaps between ‘human rights’ and ‘gay rights’, they are not true synonyms.

  • Michael Bussee

    The “more everyday”, had to do with the original post. It really saddened me. So has the news of some “conservative Christian” groups acutally supporting the Bill. Posts from some Christians calling for the mass extermination of gays. I have felt discouraged lately. I have to admit it. I feel like yelling, “Who cares about your friend’s feelings? Boo hoo. Buck up.”

    I felt very enthusiastic when the FB group started. Happy that conservative Christians and gays were finally working side-by-side for something that mattered. I felt hope every time a milestone was reached — even though I know it annoyed some people when I announced the numbers. I stayed up all night to see the count reach 10,000.

    But sad news about some Christians actually supporting the Bill and conservative Christian people calling Dr, T. vile names for working alongside gays to oppose it have been very disheartening. The slowness of some Conservative Christian groups to take a stand has angered me. I try to keep my spirits up. I do not mean to focus on the negative. I suppose I should be more grateful for what the “some” are doing.

  • Michael Bussee

    While there are overlaps between ‘human rights’ and ‘gay rights’, they are not true synonyms.

    I of course disagree.

  • David Blakeslee

    “The Next Race”: What I am referring to.

    There have always been “ex-gays”…recent political pressures have simplified and marginalizes this group.

    “Internalized Homophobia”

    “In the Closet”

    “Repressed”

    “Inauthentic”

    “Sexual Uncle Toms”

    …perhaps Mary and Eddy can find other terms.

    Mostly hateful, pathology oriented labels.

  • Eddy

    A ‘true synonym’ is one where the words or terms mean exactly the same thing.

    But if you consult Wiki for the definition of human rights, you get:

    Examples of rights and freedoms which have come to be commonly thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and equality before the law; and economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to participate in culture, the right to be treated with respect and dignity, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education.

    When you search for the definition of gay rights, you get a definition far less broad in its scope. That’s why I maintain that they are not true synonyms. Considerable overlap…and all gays deserve full human rights…but they are not synonymous terms.

    Nothing to belabor here. If you get what I’m saying, fine. If you don’t, I can live with that too.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think I get what you are saying, but perhaps you could give me an example of a “gay” right which is not also a “human” right. If we got all the human ones we might not need or want the gay ones.

    Regarding David’s list, no need to revile people choosing not to identify as gay or act on their “SSA”. They choose to behave and identify in a particular manner because of their persona/religious values and commitments. Good for them.

    Nothing wrong with that. Just as there is nothing wrong with being and identifying as gay. They (ex-gays) should feel no pressure to have gay sex or call themselves gay if they don’t want to.

    It is wrong to make them feel that they should. But, if ex-gays truly want admiration or tolerance, they must give the same — not engage in activities to deny gays human rights.

  • David Blakeslee

    “If….then”

    But, if ex-gays truly want admiration or tolerance, they must give the same — not engage in activities to deny gays human rights.

    This seems to be the mantra of GLBT advocates, the justification for their anger; more intense since Proposition 8…(or H8 as they like to refer to it).

    Some of those in the GLBT want to broaden the definition of marriage…a definition nearly already made useless in the last 40 years.

    I think this is a stretch…Alan Chambers being an advocate of DOMA (is this what you are referring to above)?

    Ex-gays have to squelch their views about marriage and public policy?

  • Eddy

    I think you’ve got it Michael. You won’t find a gay right that is not a human right but you will find a human right that isn’t a gay right…not in the sense that that right doesn’t apply to gays TOO but that that right extends beyond gays and sometimes, in all likelihood, would apply to non-gays more than to gays.

    Don’t know if you’re familiar with set logic. Where you draw two circles…label one ‘human rights’ and the other ‘gay rights’. The circle labelled ‘gay rights’ would fit completely within the circle labelled ‘human rights’ with a lot of space left over for other circles…women’s rights, racial rights, etc. Those circles would overlap in places. There are gay women…so there would be some overlap between that circle and the gay rights circle. There are gay black women and there would be a place where all 3 would overlap. But since there are women who aren’t gay or aren’t black, parts of their circle would not overlap at all with gay rights but would, like gay rights, be contained within the larger circle of human rights. ANYWAY, that’s how I learned to distinguish a true synonym.

    Let’s say our words were ‘women’ and ‘humans’…all women are humans but not all humans are women. And, if we changed the word ‘women’ to ‘female’…we’d find that there are females in the animal kingdom as well so it would NOT be true to say that all females are human. Like I said, it might not be worth belaboring…I may have pursued set logic way beyond it’s natural boundaries.

  • Michael Bussee

    No David. They are entitled to their views. And people should not call them names. They should treat them with tolerance inasmuch as they are willing to give tolerance to others. “Admiration” may be a taller order. SOME gays may not “admire” them for taking steps that SOME gays percieve as an effort to take away the basic civil and human rights that they believe ALL people should have.

    It may be a mis-perception on the part of SOME gays, but somehow (maybe irrationally) SOME gays have SOMEHOW gotten the impression that SOME Christians do not want SOME gays to have the same rights they do. That tends to make SOME gays angry at SOME Christians. Or it could be that SOME gays are just feeling “convicted” of their sin.

    .

  • Michael Bussee

    David, wouldn’t YOU be a little bit angry if SOME people were trying to deny you of equal rights?

  • Eddy

    David has made a reference or two to marriage and Michael appears to be referring to them without saying so specifically. Some random thoughts as evidenced by the numbers. I’m not even sure they require response…but the conversation stirred them up so I thought I’d spill them out.

    1) The right to marriage isn’t being ‘taken away’…it’s a right that didn’t exist…so the sense in which it’s being denied isn’t the same as being ‘taken away’.

    2) Some want to afford all the rights of marriage without deeming it ‘marriage’, can they be admired?

    3) At what point do we weigh in on the lack of success of gay marriage? Several notable and newsworthy gay marriages (Ellen, Rosie to name a few) have already failed and this is a ‘new thing’. Is it less than admirable to take caution from this?

    4) Gay marriage and family involves a few ‘tricks’ to make it happen. Both partners consider themselves true parents but often, only one has blood ties. What additional expense will be incurred trying to accommodate all the ‘tricks’ if the marriage ends in divorce? (I have two lesbian friends, still doing pretty well so far, but their child was conceived using the sperm of A’s brother in B’s uterus. Standard custody in event of divorce would favor B who provided the egg and uterus. However, if B were deemed unfit and it wasn’t A’s sperm, whose rights prevail? Remember we’re talking a divorce. Would it be A as the parent in action? B’s family by blood ties? Or A’s brother by sperm rights?)

    5) The list from the Wiki definition did not include marriage as a ‘human right’…perhaps it was inferred. Wiki’s list of gay rights issues didn’t mention half the things that they considered to be basic human rights. To many gays, though, marriage is among the top spoken rights…can’t have a discussion about ‘gay rights’ without discussing ‘gay marriage’. So, in human rights it might be inferred and in gay rights it pretty much leads the list. Let’s make no mistake: “Human Rights” and “Gay Rights” are not true synonyms.

    6) The notion that those who object to gay marriage do so out of homophobia is a false generalization. Many object out of a sense of historical conservatism…we’ve seen the definition of marriage eroded in our lifetime and it appears that society is already paying a huge price for that erosion. Some are invested in damage repair…others in damage control.

    7) The greatest strength of our nation is depending on the balance created by diverse viewpoints. For a historical conservative to vote against their conscience that demands caution–that would be less than admirable. In fact, it would be the same moral cowardice that Michael accused some conservatives of earlier. Having consciences that scream out for caution they take no stand? Why? For the distinction of being labelled ‘politically correct’? For curring favor with the gay community?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael and Eddy,

    I think this is the next race for us…it is a difficult one.

    My view is similar to Eddy’s that human rights are broader than gay rights, or religious rights.

    I also agree that the current political argument in the GLBT advocacy community is the elevation of marriage as a human right (that logic breaks down already, certain folks are denied it, without allegation of bigotry, bias or second class status) and that is their measure of equality under the law.

    I don’t agree that Ellen G. or Rosie are examples of what to expect from GL marriage…there are better sources for this than anecdotal information. I believe research suggests there is a small “pent up” pressure for marriage among Gays and Lesbians, but that the rate of marriage seeking in this population is quite low, compared to heterosexuals and that the rate drops significantly after this pent up demand is met.

    It is probably too early to extrapolate divorce rates…I doubt they are lower than heterosexuals…but….

  • Michael Bussee

    I wasn’t talking about gay marriage. I was talking about Uganda — life, liberty the pursuit of happiness — basic HUMAN rights. I don’t know any gay person or gay group that favors this law. Yes, I know some conservative Christians oppose it and I am very proud of them for that.

    But many Christians do support it. Others may not actually approve of killing or imprisoning gays, but they don’t want to alienate their friends by taking a public stand against it. That’s too “difficult”. Some gays (like me) are unsympathetic about that — even angry.

    I have noticed that Mary, Eddy and David seem to bristle at the suggestion that much of the “gay anger” against Christians may be justified. At least, that is the feeling I get . So I would be interested to hear your ideas as to why so many gays are angry with Christians in general. You think they’re mad because of how you “identify” or because you choose not to have gay sex? Who cares?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    We veered off that course some time back…and you engaged there. Unless you can demonstrate that there are ex-gays who are trying to deny the human rights in Uganda. From your 4:41 post:

    But, if ex-gays truly want admiration or tolerance, they must give the same — not engage in activities to deny gays human rights.

    Please don’t act like we are the ones who slipped gears. David mentioned marriage quite specifically and you engaged in that vein for several comments.

  • David Blakeslee

    I don’t feel like I am bristling…

    If the issues you describe about Gay Rights have to do with Uganda, I think we totally agree.

    I don’t know of many “conservative” Christians that endorse the Ugandan legislation…Scott Lively?

    Canyon Ridge is sitting on the sideline…for now.

    You have mentioned Fred Phelps before…as if he is representative of some identifiable prominent Christian sect (a slur “conservatives” with his name); he is beyond marginal…

    But my impression is that some invoke his name as if he is representative of fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and conservatism…he is none of these things.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. I give. Tell me why you think so many gays are angry with Christians? I will listen.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    According to Wikipedia, Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church has 71 members, 60 of which are family members. It is an independent Baptist Church…it is fair to call it a cult.

    …and it is fair to say he is not a Christian.

  • David Blakeslee

    I cannot speak for why some Gays and Lesbians might be angry at Christians, I know some who are not, I can only say I dislike the way some tarnish and mock those who identify as ex-gay (with all the human struggles that go with it) and present distorted science and anecdotal information as a way to pathologize those who are ex-gay.

    In recent years I have given less attention to the unstated motives of others and asked folks to behave morally,compassionately and responsibly with their anger.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK, maybe I should do this question by question:

    (1) Do you think that many gays are angry with “Christians” and “Christianity” in general? (I do.)

    (2) Do you think there is any justication for this feeling? (I do.)

  • Michael Bussee

    I do not think it is appropriate to “mock” ex-gays. I hate the term (because I feel it has been intentionally and unintentionally misleading at times), but I respect the right of “ex-gays” identify as they wish and respect their choice not to have gay sex. There is nothing “pathological” about that.

    As for “distorted science and anecdotal information as a way to pathologize those who are ex-gay” — the “ex-gay” movement has been doing that for as long as I can recall — to pathologize gays and to try to prove sexual reorientation. I think you even referred to it as “tarnished” science — since the APA won’t let them do good science.

  • Michael Bussee

    I cannot speak for why some Gays and Lesbians might be angry at Christians, I know some who are not.

    Why can’t you? Ever wonder? Ever ask yourself why? And it’s not “some” gays and lesbians. It’s many. Trust me on this one.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think you can’t say it, because you don’t want to face the painful truth.

  • David Blakeslee

    ?

  • Eddy

    Some have anger/fear/distrust because they have a strong aversion to the unknown.

    Some have it because they resent the happiness these people seem to have.

    Some have it because they’ve heard crap and believed crap about Christians all their lives (even before the identified as gay)…that they’re stupid, non-thinking, brainwashed and brainless.

    Some have it because they resent any type of authority or restriction.

    Some have it because they’ve grown accustomed to playing the victim…and they need a perpetrator–whether real or imagined–to justify their victim portrayal.

    Some have it because they’ve never dared to know one…and, if they meet one that seems to be the exception to what they’ve heard, they choose to believe their generalization rather than explore further.

    Some have it simply because they live in a world of unfounded generalizations, not wanting to be judged by the actions of a few, they forget all that when it comes to others and happily judge them by the actions of the vocal and visible few.

    Some have it because they believe the spin pushed heavily by the gay activists and media…somehow they trace every act of violence perpetrated against a gay person as inspired or committed by a conservative Christian.

  • David Blakeslee

    The reasons one gives for one’s anger, as you and I both know in the clinical office, may not actually turn out to be the cause of their anger.

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks Eddy. I just knew it had to be the gays’ fault.

  • Michael Bussee

    I should have known. Trying to get either of you to say, “Ya know? Maybe they are mad because we may have really blown it when it comes to presenting real Christianity to gays” is like trying to pull impacted wisdom teeth.

    And BTW, I accept that everyone one of the reasons Eddy gave have some validity.

  • Michael Bussee

    Come on, would it kill ya to say, “Maybe they’re mad — at least in part — because we Christians deserve it?”

    This is why we started Exodus in the first place — because the church had failed — miserably — in reaching out to gays with love and hope. Not saying it’s the ONLY reason that gays think Christians are their enemies — but it certainly a really BIG one, whether the two of you want to face it or not.

  • Michael Bussee

    Where do gays get their impressions ex-gays? By looking at the world’s largest coalition of them — Exodus. The organization that hyped “sudden, radical and complete change”. The one that got chin deep in right-wing republican politics. The one that lamented when the last sodomy law was struck down.

    The one that wanted to block hate crime laws. The one still affiliated with NARTH. The one that recklessly disregarded good warnings and went to Uganda anyway. The one that had to be pressured by Dr, Throckmorton and others to FINALLY take a public stand.

    Perhaps this isn’t fair. But they do.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    Where do you get your impression about ex gays? Do you consider yourself a christian or a gay man first? You seem to be separating them out quite a bit.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    It is my impression that Gay and Lesbian anger at Christians predates Exodus, by decades.

    Furthermore, it appears that that anger has now lazered itself to Exodus and FOTF.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I’ve apologized enough over the years for the ‘failure of the church’…I’ve moved on. I’ve grown to see that that answer was too simplistic…that so many other factors are in there…you, however, have been banging the same note ever since I reconnected with you here. The fact that you keep bringing it up does not mean that I’m going to keep apologizing…you got your apology when we were still working together at Exodus. I’m really not big on apologizing on the behalf of someone else anyway. To me, that’s PC bullcrap. I’ll own my stuff and the stuff of people I’ve influenced. The rest, I’ve got no choice but to leave with my Savior…with their Savior. The fact that you keep bringing it up doesn’t make it especially true either….I firmly believe that there is far less hateful stuff being done by the conservative church now than ever…I firmly believe that that is largely due to the efforts of Exodus and ex-gays. Gays may have impacted society-at- large and the liberal church…but it took Exodus and the ex-gays to impact the conservatives. I don’t care how blind you remain to that or how cynical you choose to be. That’s your pit. I feel very sorry for you in it as you pick your emotional scabs repeatedly and then wonder why we won’t join you in your victimization party.

    I had a lot of pain in my life too…and a number of bashings. It wasn’t conservative Christians who did it. They were kind to me…they watched out for me. Like David, i think you grab non-examples like Phelps to shore up your unfounded beliefs. I live in a small town now that has 5 conservative Christians churches…hasn’t been one anti-gay sermon, one march, one rally, one gay-bashing…no ones painting hate messages anywhere…been none of that…not in the year since I’ve been back…no stories of it in the years I was gone…and none when I grew up here. I firmly maintain that your insinuations against conservative Christians as a whole are delusional. You can firmly believe in, hold onto and spread your delusions but, while I’ve got life, breath and a keyboard, I will continue to speak the truth in the face of those delusions. I’ve given up hope on convincing you but it may not be too late for others.

  • Mary

    . I firmly maintain that your insinuations against conservative Christians as a whole are delusional. You can firmly believe in, hold onto and spread your delusions but, while I’ve got life, breath and a keyboard, I will continue to speak the truth in the face of those delusions. I’ve given up hope on convincing you but it may not be too late for others.

    I second that.

  • Pingback: BBC report on Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 — Warren Throckmorton

  • David Blakeslee

    Prior to issues of Gay Liberation, Christianity was ridiculed as archaic, reactionary and oppressive of women for its sexual values…before GLBT advocacy, it was Hugh Hefner, the Pill and antibiotics which would relegate Christian values about sexuality to the dustbin…

    This is an old war of values…between Paul and the Ephesians (remember how mad they were at Paul?); between Christian ideas of sexuality and Greek ideas of sexuality.

    In 1978, while at Biola, a friend from home called me, frantic about his SSA, I did not hate him, or tell him lies about being cured, I got on the phone and called and called and gave him some names in his area for support about this specific issue…I cared as energetically as I could.

    I have had one friend in 35 years of Christian practice who has been overtly and repetitively critical of gays and lesbians, but it is not personal, he behaves the same toward mexican-americans and african-americans…none of it is Christian. He dislikes people who challenge his heterosexual white wishes. I would never recommend him as a model of Christian charity.

    The majority of Christians I have met are trying to live life consistent with Scriptural demands, to include the greatest commandment. Their concern about the sexual behavior of gays and lesbians is similar to their concerns about heterosexual promiscuity and infidelity. For them, all of these are against God’s intended design for sexuality.

    @ Micheal…

    I am not sure we are connecting well right now, but I am trying to jog alongside you and not breath too heavy while I share my perspective.

  • Michael Bussee

    Never mind. I give up. This could go on for eons and you’ll never admit that gay anger against Christians is justifiable. It fits your prejudice to think it must be their problem. Christians have not vicitimized gays.

    Gays are delusional. Gays are just jealous of Christian happiness and defensive about you calling them sinners. It MUST be that. I can tell you that “Who us?” attitutde is one of the things that makes gays mad. It comes across as arrogant and self-righteous.

  • Michael Bussee

    As long as you insist that gay anger is delusional, I don’t suspect there will be much jogging any time soon.

  • Eddy

    I used the word ‘delusions’, David did not. (One quarter spin.) I expressed that this belief of yours is a delusion; I did not characterize YOU as ‘delusional’ as a whole. (Another quarter spin.) And I was speaking to you directly not characterizing gays as a whole. (And we have ourselves another spin!)

    It doesn’t quite qualify as a delusion if the only evidence a person has been allowed to see all points to one reality. Most gays are simply misinformed. You, however, have had access–both long ago and in recent years–to evidence that counters your broad-sweeping claims against the conservative Christians…yet you haven’t budged an inch in your assessment.

  • Mary

    I’ll ask again.

    Michael,

    Where do you get your impression about ex gays? Do you consider yourself a christian or a gay man first? You seem to be separating them out quite a bit

  • David Blakeselee

    I am not saying “who us?”

    I am saying, “not me and not the overwhelming majority of Christians I have met in my life.”

    Fred Phelps is a distorted Icon projected on the face of every Christian…that is partly our fault, a leading group of pastors should have repetitively and publicly condemned him 20 years ago…

    But he is a useful icon for some GLBT advocates…

  • David Blakeselee

    I met a person the other day who hated Christianity because of its oppression of women…

    I could argue all day the way Christianity elevated women compared to their secular peers (placing it in cultural context) and much more…I don’t think it will soften their view.

    I have met many people who believe Christianity endorsed slavery and they hate it because of that belief….

    Global blame for Christians is just as distorted as any other type of global blame; my understanding of psychological maturity is the ability to see the many facets of things and to tolerate ambivalence and to choose.

    Minority groups of all types have rightly demanded abandoning simplifying stereotypes…

    Christians hating gays is a simplifying stereotype.

  • Eddy

    Sometimes I wish I had the gift of ‘succint’.

    Christians hating gays is a simplifying stereotype.

    I think this sums things up very well.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I am not against gays and how they want to live there life. The issue, to me, seems that if someone does not see any harm in their own life with respect to acting on SSA and then wants to claim that no one else should see SSA behaviour as harmful we have a judgement being made. I have a aquaintence who has recently revealed to me that he had be told years ago by a councelor that promiscuity in gay men was just the norm so he sould not get worked up over that in his life. He is now HIV positive and working hard to break the desire to act on those feelings.

    The idea that we are not to look at any form of behaviour as being sinful or harmful is such garbage and is the most condemning thing you can tell anyone. It is time we call a spade a spade if it is harmful to someone they need to know, otherwise they may continue to live in complete denial until it kills them or someone close to them.

    Some Christians may be less than compassionate towards gay people out of a real concern for the well being of that person. I do realize that this lack of compassion can also be very harmful, but to stereotype all conservative christians as being uncaring and homophobic is just bigoted.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned, I never made the claim that “all conservative Christians are uncaring and homophobic.” NEVER.

    David, I never said “Christians hate gays”. NEVER.

    Mary, I am Christian first.

    Eddy, I have acknowledged that all of the other reaons you gave for why gays might be so angry have merit.

    To all, If you hang out lots of gay people (as I do) you are struck by how intense and how deep the negative impression of Conservative Christians and Christianity really is. You guys seem to think that gays are mostly to blame for that. I don’t.

    I think there is somthing else. So many gays have had such negative experiences with Christianity that it is very hard to convince them that Conservative Christians really care about them and have their best interests at heart.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    And I have acknowledged that there are homophobic Christians out there…the question I answered from you is if there could be other reasons.

    I too have had lots of exposure to gays. Most, when they learned that I had been a minister, said ‘Oh, you were a priest’. That’s how lame their understanding was of Christians. When I’d try to explain that only a very few religions had ‘priests’, they’d glaze over and plead “TMI”…’too much information’. But they held lots of negative opinions. So, I began questioning where their negative perceptions were coming from and found that they’d been fed a healthy dose of negativism from activists. They couldn’t cite specifics to support their negative views…almost always they’d toss up Fred Phelps or some group that protested with ‘God Hates Gays’ signs at the State Capitol. Reason it out, will you?

    The Twin Cities regional population is approximately 2 million people!!!! Yes, there are a number of liberals but there’s a goodly number of conservative Christians too. So, the gays hold a rally at the Capitol and a hundred sign waving anti-gay, Christian-identified protestors show up. They, of course, make the news. My gay friends wanted to see them as typical…as representive of the attitudes of conservative Christians and I said to them what I’m saying to you: HOGWASH!

    You have asked us not to judge all gays by the more visible actions of some. You question those that try to make the visible gay-bar revellers representative or indicative of the majority of gays. I adamantly maintain that you are doing that very thing in reverse. And, in the process, you slander thousands upon thousands of your Christian brothers and sisters.

    And your slander, along with the slander of the gay activists, fuels the perception that those friends of mine catch wind of. Truth is that most of them don’t know diddly about Christians other than what they’ve been fed. And, you are among the feeders.

    I’m very very sorry that you can’t see it. It grieves me every time I hear you pronounce that unfounded judgement on your fellow Christians.

  • Michael Bussee

    I stand by what I have said about the way many gays feel about many Christians. They think that Christians are their enemies.

    I believe that is largely due to the fact that Christians have done a poor job of showing them otherwise.

    You want to blame that on gays and gay activists. I don’t think either one of us is going to convince the other whose view is more delusional.

  • Michael Bussee

    As a Christian, I would love to say that Christians have done a bang-up job. It grieves me to point out that they have not.

  • Eddy

    You’re right. It’s just that we’re backing up our reasoning and you’re just saying it’s so because you think it’s so.

    Re your second post. Nice to see that you’ve summarily discounted even the liberal Christians now. Discounted all those churches that have become ‘affirming congregations’…those that have wrestled with the issues of ordination and come out in favor in gays…those that did speak out against the Uganda legislation…those that did lend their voices to the Facebook group…those that do have AIDS ministries and outreaches…those who have enough love and compassion to qualify as an Exodus referral (who may, in your mind, be misguided…but it’s compassion we’re talking about at the moment)…

  • Michael Bussee

    You are right. Excuse me. I should have clarified that I was speaking of the impression I get from many, many gays about many, many conservative Christians. There are exceptions, but many gays do seem to see the liberal or affirming Christians as more “Christ-like”.

    In contrast, they tend to believe that conservative Christians, in general, do not really care about them. More than that, they tend to view Conservative Christians as self-righeous, rejecting and even hateful.

    They do seem to have a higher opinion of the affirming congregations and of liberal Christians. Again, you maintain that the negative impression they have of conservative Christians is primarily their own fault — or the fault of gay activists.

    I am certain that is part of if, but I believe most of it is due to the negative experiences they have had personally with conservative Christians — and to the poor job conservative Christians have done to actively demonstrate the love of Christ.

  • Eddy

    And let’s not forget that they simply don’t like anyone who dares to believe that it’s sin…regardless of whether the response to the sin and the sinner is compassionate, loving and caring. Much like a child who’s momma says “NO” and the child screams “I hate you!”

  • Michael Bussee

    Yeah, people tend to get touchy when you tell them that. Or that they are broken. Or diseased. Or defective. Or disordered. Or that their parents were defective. Or that they could really become straight if they wanted to. Or that they don’t have enough faith if they don’t change. Or that they might have to remain celibate all their lives or just masturbate to gay images privately at home. Or that their sexuality is sin worthy of death. Or that they are going to Hell if they don’t stop.

    No matter how “lovingly” you say it –those messsages can make people angry. Not surprising. They don’t tend to get those messages from the liberal or affirming Christians. So it might be something the conservatives are doing after all that makes them dislike the conservatives — and not just the brainwashing of gay activists. The liberal and affirming churches don’t tell them these things.

  • concerned

    No Michael,

    They don’t get those messages from liberal gay affirming people they get HIV and other diseases that could be prevented if they did not believe that the behaviours they were ingaging in were completely harmless.

  • Eddy

    concerned–

    Not sure what you are saying here. Who are you blaming for them getting ‘HIV and other diseases that could be prevented’? AND does that same blame apply to straights who ‘get HIV and other diseases that could be prevented’? In an age when we have AIDS and other STD’s, NO sex…other than sex between two virgins(I assume including gay ones) should be considered as ‘completely harmless’.

    You and I are often on the same page but I’ve been laboring against unfounded allegations and spin as detriments to productive conversation…and this recent comment of yours seems tainted with both.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: No one I know promotes unprotected sex or believes that uprotected sex — gay or straight — is “completely harmless.” And no liberal or affirming group or church I know does either.

    On the contrary, many of these groups and churches have been on the front lines of HIV prevention, education and HIV care from the beginning — while SOME conservatives stood back, shook their heads and said, “Well, they are just receiving the due penalty of their error…”

  • Michael Bussee

    And before anyone accuses me of painting broad brush, I know many conservatives who have been on the front lines as well.

  • concerned

    Eddy,

    I am still very much on the same page as you on much of what you are saying. My frustration comes out of the revalation by my friend who has just reveal his HIV status. It is not just his revalation that upsets me but what he revealed about the the attitudes of a councellor who would even suggest that someone who is gay must therefore automaticallly be promiscuous. To me giving the message that having SSA means someone is going to be promiscuous and therefore must accept that as just the way it is and therefore cannot do much about it is unacceptable and extremely unprofessional. Yet this is what he is saying has happened. Perhaps I have over reacted, but I know I had a similar experience myself a number of years ago by a very progay councellor that I had been directed to by a health professional who I had revealed my own SSA to. I am thankful today that I walked out of that councellors office never to return.

  • Michael Bussee

    It is not just his revalation that upsets me but what he revealed about the the attitudes of a councellor who would even suggest that someone who is gay must therefore automaticallly be promiscuous.

    What an irresponsible, unethical and unprofessional thing to suggest to a client! I hope he got his money back — if indeed that is what the counselor told him.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    All you can say is he hopes he got his money back! Unbelievable.

  • Eddy

    A great starting point. Some Conservatives are bad and set back the cause; some gays are bad and set back the cause. BUT THEY AREN’T HERE! (Thank God!)

    We conservatives won’t demand that you go fix all the bad gays before we can proceed with productive conversation; you, in turn, ought not demand that we fix all those invisible bad conservatives before we engage in productive conversation. You are doing what you can within reason and so are we.

    One of my goals with conservatives is to show them that gays are reasonable, open-minded, and ready to engage in productive dialogue…unfortunately I can’t point them to any evidence of that. I used to recommend this site and invite them to follow the dialogues. I don’t do that anymore because we’re more polarized than productive. It’s a real Catch-22.

    You want us to change those homophobic Christians and, as for me, I have a very limited sphere of influence except here on the web. I blog here. I impact Exodus when I can. I inject my voice where I feel it might do any good. I think that’s true of the other compassionate concerned Christians who blog here. As I hinted in my last paragraph, I’d love to invite them here…love to have them meet some gays online who profess a love for Christ…shake ‘em up a little bit…jostle their perceptions. But it’s not yet feasible. I fear you’ll only be saying ‘some’ for a day or two and then forget. I don’t want them to have Christian-bashing or conservative-bashing as their first exposure to gays…Christian gays at that. It would set the cause back rather than advance it.

    You feel it’s necessary to remind us over and over again about those nasty conservatives with their unchristlike attitudes…you justify it in the discussion of Uganda. Conversely, we could drag up again and again those nasty gays, the ones we all know exist, who live for the moment…for the next trick…we could justify that in the discussion of Uganda…how does Uganda protect itself from that influence when they have a serious AIDS epidemic on their hands. But, discussing those nasty gays doesn’t further the discussion…doesn’t foster productive dialogue and so we don’t. We know they are atypical. We are simply asking the same consideration in return. We don’t demand that you answer for promiscuous gays; please stop demanding that we answer for those atypical conservatives.

    Both sides can debate how atypical the nasties are. Are there more nasty conservatives than I believe? What of it? Are there more nasty gays than you believe? What of it? Gays tend to believe that most conservatives are harsh and judgemental; conservatives tend to believe that most gays are a bit promiscuous. We can debate our opinions for hours on end and still not move on from square one… THIS is a unique forum…one that has incredible potential…it’s up to us all to determine if we want to live up to that potential.

  • Eddy

    concerned–

    I hear you. My problem was with how you were laying it at Michael’s feet. He didn’t do that…he wouldn’t do that.

    Tensions have run a bit high here but Michael was not trying to demean your friends situation. In saying “I hope he got his money back.”, I don’t believe Michael meant to overlook the tragedy of your friend now living with AIDS…he was saying…that’s unethical and inappropriate…such a counselor or therapist is not worthy of the money paid.

    Yes, Michael’s response could have been a bit more compassionate BUT we all bring our feelings into the room sometimes. You brought yours in…feelings related to your friend’s tragedy…and were a bit terse in your earlier comment to Michael. That may have set Michael up for not seeing or hearing all of your pain and anguish over this.

    The therapist, it seems, committed two big offenses. One was in encouraging promiscuity; the other was in not educating about safe-sex practices. I don’t condone encouraging promiscuity…BUT…in this day and age, encouraging promiscuity without educating about safer-sex is reprehensible.

  • Mary

    LOL!!!

    All Christian are to blame – of course – except for Michael and whom he deems so.

  • Michael Bussee

    No. That wasn’t “all I said”. I said it was completely irresponsible, unethical and unprofessional. As you said, competely unacceptable. I agree. Completely contrary to education and professional standards. Sometimes clients don’t hear correctly, but…

    If your friend was indeed ecouraged by a counselor or be promiscuous and/or have unsafe sex, I think your friend should have filed a formal complaint with the threrapist’s employer/supervior or with whatever board issued the counselor’s license — and yes, he SHOULD demand his money back.

    I would! It’s outrageous. Why would a counselor suggest such a stupid and life-threatening thing? Now, your friend has to face dealing with a chronic and potentially fatal disease. I think a therapist (as a health professional) has a moral responibility to advise clients to take good care of their health — not jeopardize it!

    I do not want to add to his suffering, but why woud your friend follow such advice? Was he not aware of the dangers of promiscuity and unprotected sex? Had he not heard? Most people nowadays are fairly well educated about the dangers, although many take risks anyway.

    And it also appalls me that you recieved simlar advice. I hope you did more than walk out and never return. I hope you filed a complaint and got a refund, too.

  • Michael Bussee

    For the record, Mary, I have never, NEVER said that “all Christians are to blame.” I don’t appreciate you attributing to me things I have never said. I said that I was getting “more and more frustrated” with Christians every day — in response to the original post.

    I have said that I think many gays are angry with conservative Christians for good reason, but I have NEVER said that “all Christians are to blame”. I would not say that because I simply do not believe that.

    I have close relationships with family and friends who identify as “conservative Christians”. On most points, theologically, I tend to think of myself as one. I know that many coservative Christians have done many loving, charitable and self-sacrifical acts of love.

    I was talking about Christians who are afraid of taking a stand on matters of conscience for fear of alienating their friends. I agree with Dr. Throckmorton that it’s sometimes difficult to do — but that does not relieve them of the moral responsility. That was what I was reacting to. I see that as rather cowardly. I did not mean it as blanket condemnation of “all Christians”.

  • Michael Bussee

    One of my goals with conservatives is to show them that gays are reasonable, open-minded, and ready to engage in productive dialogue…unfortunately I can’t point them to any evidence of that. I used to recommend this site and invite them to follow the dialogues. I don’t do that anymore because we’re more polarized than productive. It’s a real Catch-22.

    Do you take any responsibility for that, or is it just me? You don’t see that you have also been unreasonable, close-minded and unwilling to engage in productive dialogue? You don’t think your attitudes and arguments have been polarizing? You say that I have issues with you that I “just can’t define” ? On the contrary, I could give you a very specific list if you’re interested, but I don’t think it would be on topic here.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    re an earlier post (not too far back)–I’m assuming the one Mary responded to.

    I’m really sorry that the Bible says “The wages of sin is death”…I’m very sorry that it talks of eternal judgement. Although I’m not quite sure what that is…it seems that the matter was serious enough that God ‘sent his only begotten Son’ to redeem us…to buy us back from sin and its penalty.

    I wish it had said that the wages of sin was a stubbed toe…that the penalty was a 20 minute timeout. But alas….. So, if I take my Savior seriously, I presume that he saved me from something. I presume that ALL people need to be rescued from that something. And if they’re not rescued…guess what….they’re not rescued. Whatever it is…whether it be Hell or a life on earth not tempered by the grace of Christ…whatever it is, they’re not rescued.

    I happen to believe that homosexual behavior is one of those things dubbed sin; even if I were persuaded that some homosexual behavior (i.e. monogamous within a loving and committed relationship) were not sin, I’d still have concerns for the level of promiscuity that exists particularly among gay males. Sex is pleasurable. Sex without committment feels like a free ride. Males, whether they be gay or straight, are attracted to a pleasureable free ride. Straight males would be far more promiscuous if only women were, in general, as loose as they were. All that said, whatever disagreements we have over homosexual behavior, per se, being sin…I believe it’s clear that promiscuity is sin. So, yes, there are many, many in need of the rescue…in need of being bought back from sin.

    So, by all means, mock and disdain any concern for eternal welfare…get mad as hell when people who believe in Hell suggest that that is the punishment for sin. “The bridge is out! The bridge is out! Stop! Unless you’ve got wings on that car or have plans to turn off somewhere mighty quick, you’re gonna die.” “Listen to that dude ranting over there. He doesn’t want us having any fun! Wants us to die! You heard him!” Yup! There will always be people who interpret a warning as judgement…there will always be people who interpret concern for meddling…who will question motives and outcomes. BUT, you know what, even if I only heard that the bridge is out. If I was reasonably sure that was so, I’d holler out a warning…and I’d let ‘em know how serious the consequences might be. Why? Because I care! And, as for them, let them think of me what they will. Let them judge my motives. Let them think of me as a spoil sport. At least I’ve done my best to warn them.

    Just like the often offered phrase ‘in my opinion’, when I share my beliefs, I cite that this is ‘how I see it’…or this is how it seems to me. Trying to encourage more Christians to take that approach…even the gay ones.

  • Eddy

    Nah….actually I think I’m being reasonable to a fault. And very open minded. It’s just that you don’t offer anything to put into my open mind. Where’s your substance? You continually ask us where do we think those negative feelings that the gays have are coming from but do you show evidence that those negative feelings have real foundation? The best you’ve been offering is ‘those negative feelings have to be coming from somewhere.’ Sorry, dude, I was here when the gay bashing stories were discussed and–although there was no mention of religion or church affiliation–I heard the responsibility being indirectly tied to the conservative Christians. No evidence. No quotes. No direct links. Just an appeal to ‘where do you think they got their homophobic attitudes?” That’s what’s unreasonable. Even now, you have suggested that ‘calling it sin’ is unloving. Just for a moment, consider something that IS sin…that we all agree is sin…and write a parallel paragraph.

    ‘What would you think of someone who told you that your lying is sin? That you could go to hell or face eternal punishment if you didn’t turn from it? When they suggest that you tell the truth even if it means losing your job or your girlfriend? When they suggest a lifetime without lying? You don’t think that sounds unloving and uncaring?! blah blah blah.”

    But whatever. I’m outta here. It’s karaoke night and I need to warm up the pipes.

  • Michael Bussee

    Didn’t think you would see it. Myopia. Have fun singing.

  • David Blakeslee

    To all, If you hang out lots of gay people (as I do) you are struck by how intense and how deep the negative impression of Conservative Christians and Christianity really is. You guys seem to think that gays are mostly to blame for that. I don’t.

    I think there is somthing else. So many gays have had such negative experiences with Christianity that it is very hard to convince them that Conservative Christians really care about them and have their best interests at heart.

    I agree…

    And will continue to advocate for compassion and tolerance.

    But there is a logical distrust of Christianity by Gays and Lesbians who know that their identity is “eternally condemned” by conservative Christianity.

    Regardless of our behavior, it would be nearly impossible for someone to feel safe or loved in the context of such a “threat” (consequence).

    Some in the GLBT community view this belief as a core form of oppression and intimidation…

    We can assure them that we are not “singling them out”…but the origin of sexual sensations is so mysterious and so core (and SSA folks so misunderstood and avoided) that it does not feel like other sinful behaviors or thoughts.

    Many with SSA do not feel the accompanying sense of “I am like you” when a OSA christian talks about their sinfulness…SSA folks have an experience that makes them still feel an “otherness” than pushes them to the periphery of human christian identity…and churches may want them to stay at the periphery.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    If you want a good laugh – re-read what you wrote – everything.

    You rewrite everything and reword most of everything and say something different by the end of your long drawn out whatever. It’s not ADD that you have – it’s called switching up and changing what you are saying so you don’t have to be responsible for what you previously said.

    I am too tired, now.

  • Michael Bussee

    David: Thanks. You articulated beautifully what I have been unable to convey.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: I needed a good laught after all of this, so I took your suggestion. I just re-read all my comments. I didn’t laugh. I also do not think I “switched or changed” my central theme. I tried saying the same thing in different ways. I felt I was repeatng myself, not veering from my points.

    I had two main points:

    (1) I am disappointed in those Christians who are more concerned with their friends feelings than they are with standing for conscience. I think that is a very sad trait in a “Christian”.

    (2) I firmly believe that conservative Christians are largely responsible for much of the anti-Christian anger than many gays feel towards them. I agreed with Eddy when he pointed out that there might be other reasons.

    I added “some” at your suggestion (a good one) so that I could be clear that I didn’t mean “all” conservative Christians” — just the ones too cowardly to stand by their conscience or the ones seem to be more concerned with moral purity than with love.

    I am not trying to avoid responsibility. I am perfectly willing to stand by everything I have said here. Apart from modifying some comments to be less sweeping (adding “some”) I think think I pretty much repeated the same thing over and over – ad nauseum. Eddy refers to it as “pounding one note”.

    Yes. I try saying it different ways — you call it “switching and changing”. I see it as trying to get the point across by trying to speak your language — but some have already made up their minds about me and about what I have to say. For example, you accusing me of saying that “all Christiansd are to blame” when I said no such thing. Find any comment that I have made in this thread, and I will stand by it. I accept full responsibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    Many with SSA do not feel the accompanying sense of “I am like you” when a OSA christian talks about their sinfulness…

    I agree and here’s the difference. Straights have a way to express their sexuality in a way endorsed by both society and church. Gays do not. ANY physical, person-to-person, genital expression of their sexuality is “sin” and can land you in Hell if you keep it up.

    With the exception of those who are already bisxual or those few who may develop “spouso-sexual” feelings, they cannot court, romance, fall in love, have sexual intercourse or marry the person they love. Straights can do ALL these things–with the blessing of the state and church.

    Like straights, God gives gays fully functioning sexual apparatus, all the necessary hormones, the same powerful drive for sexual contact and bonding — but gays must NEVER use these. If they are not attracted to the opposite sex, what can gays do with their sexual drive? Deny it. Supress it. Take up a hobby. Re-define it. Re-channel it. Vow never to act on it. Maybe masturbate alone — “like enjoying a good book”. Maybe, but even that is suspect.

    Straightness does not come with the expectation of lifelong celibacy or attempting to have or pretend to have feelings they so not possess. What practical solutions or suggestions do you offer to the millions of gays with no “OSA”? Go to Exodus? Narth? Psychotherapy? Prayer? Fasting? Beat pillows with tennis rackets?

  • Michael Bussee

    I think this is one of the reasons gays get mad at Christians. They are told that all gay sex is sin and might very well result in eternal torment, but no one seems to provide a reasonable, here-and-now alternative.

  • Eddy

    One reasonable alternative, for a Christian, is to draw on the grace and strength provided by a supernatural God who is in touch with all of our weaknesses and all of our longings and desires.

    Young men, with hormones raging through their bodies, survived Bible school…two years, four years, six years without going mad denying their body’s demands for sexual release. Christian men and women, who for one reason or another, remained unmarried…endured without having sex. I can’t find records of the insanity rates–can you?

    Are those who are straight who are called to a life of celibacy doomed to insanity? Doomed to miserable lives? Does God not reward them for their sacrifice? Does genital pleasure surpass what God can provide by his grace and riches?

    Some men cringe at the thought of committment; other men cringe at the thought of celibacy. Truth is that men cringe. Can a Christian trust Christ to control the crises of the cringes?

    I would relish the opportunity to compare the pain and anguish of celibacy to the life of one who pursued the gay path? Has your path, Michael, been free of frustration, pain, anguish and uncertainty? You paint the problems associated with celibacy well yet you didn’t travel that path. Why not paint a true picture of the path of your own life? How can you go about painting dismal portraits of the lives of others when your own portrait would also be one that NO ONE would freely choose. We all have our paths. If someone would have told you that you’d meet a man, the love of your life, and after x number of years he’d die tragically and leave you alone…would you opt for that? Before that relationship began, could you have even fathomed him ever being gone from your life? And once gone, could you have even imagined moving on to another? NO!

    But, day by day you live. Day by day you survive. Day by day God grants you the grace to live through that day and move on to the next. I daresay that the pains you have suffered make your complaints about a lifetime of celibacy pale by comparison. The only difference is in the expectation. One who chooses–or feels doomed to–celibacy sees a lifelong picture that, for all intents and purposes, covers the rest of their life. It looks bleak and dark. You chose a path that looked pretty damned rosy, in many respects, but it didn’t turn out that way. You’ve been hurt a few times since–by gay men NOT by conservative Christians. Yet you hold on to those rosy dreams. They may be true dreams; maybe not. You’ve had a lot of pain but you expect that the pain will end. Experientially, the person who chose celibacy when you chose to go back to the gay life, has suffered far less pain. The likelihood is that, in the future, the patten will continue.

    That’s just my way of saying “Don’t play the ‘terrors of celibacy card’ on me.” I agree it may at times appear horrendous but 1) we’ve got an indwelling Savior to help us through….yes, even til death do us part and 2) you’re not a very good example of the joys and thrills of the alternative.

  • David Blakeselee

    @ Michael and Eddy,

    I think this is one of the reasons gays get mad at Christians. They are told that all gay sex is sin and might very well result in eternal torment, but no one seems to provide a reasonable, here-and-now alternative.

    They can’t…for many Gay men. As women’s sexuality is more fluid, there are more options.

    I have a very good friend with SSA. He is a remarkable person. He is gifted interpersonally, in his chosen profession, he is generous and compassionate…in a word, he is “Alive.” And Christian, and celibate.

    He is not a member of Exodus; he is authentic about his identity as an SSA Christian, he leads bible studies;

    I could go on.

    He has built an authentic community in an Evangelical world without demonizing or pathologizing himself or anyone else.

    Like me, he is neurotic; but he is not tormented.

  • Mary

    What practical solutions or suggestions do you offer to the millions of gays with no “OSA”? Go to Exodus? Narth? Psychotherapy? Prayer? Fasting? Beat pillows with tennis rackets?

    Really? How about a relationship with God in line with your faith and values? Why does it always have to boil down to having sex? Not everyone is guranteed a good sex life. Straight or gay or whatever.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    What you may find is that by denying the pleasures of sexual intimacy for the pleasure of true friendship and fellowship the sexual desires you speak of may become deminished and less of a focal point. Each time we feed our sexual appetite with sexual activity it reinforces in us that we cannot live without it.

    That is how so many have managed to live a celibate life without going insane. They focus that energy on other things such as service to others rather than the meeting of their own sexual needs.

  • Michael Bussee

    To all of you, I expected the answers you gave — and I respect that many ex-gay folks have found happiness and a sense of personal and spiritual integrity by walking the path you suggest. God bless them. They must walk according to their own beiefs and values. It is not the path for everyone and there are other ways that have as much validity and meaning — even though you might not agree.

  • Eddy

    Whether those other paths have meaning and validity is tempered both by whether it is or isn’t sin and by whether the individual believes that it is or isn’t sin. That tosses a few variables into the mix that precludes any of us from being the ultimate judge.

  • Michael Bussee

    David, I never said that ex-gays were “neurotic” or “tomented”. I do not “demonize” them. I never said that they were not generous, gifted or compassionate. I never said they were “inauthentic”. I know better.

    Eddy, I never claimed that those “who are called to a life of celibacy doomed to insanity” or “doomed to miserable lives”. I never suggested that celibate homosexuals were “insane”.

    I never suggested that the gay life was “free of frustration, pain, anguish and uncertainty”. No one’s life is. I never claimed that the gay life was “rosy” or without pain”. No one’s life is. Perhaps choosing your path would have brought more happines. Who knows?

    I have had deep pain AND profound joy. I have grief and regrets. I think all people have. I have been injured by gays, straights, ex-gays, Christians, atheists — but I have also been blessed by folks in each of these groups. It is NOT true that I have been hurt “by gay men NOT by conservative Christians.” I have been hurt by BOTH.

    Yes, I do “hold on to those rosy dreams”. And I intend to KEEP holding on to them. You may think that’s foolish, but I can’t help it. I am a romantic and an idealist by nature. I always have been. As you said, “they may be true dreams; maybe not.” Yes, I have had a lot of pain.

    So have many faithful Christians, gay and straight. I do not, as you suggest, “expect that the pain will end”. I am also a realist. Pain will not end until I see my Savior face-to-face. No person, SSA or OSA is guaranteed happiness. And I have NEVER held myself up as proof that they gay life (on any life) is a bed of roses.

    Mary, I do have “a relationship with God in line with my faith and values”. Being gay-affirming and having a relationship with God are NOT mutually exclusive. It does not “always have to boil down to having sex”. My life is much more than that. I know that “not everyone is guranteed a good sex life. Straight or gay or whatever.”

    Concerned, I never said that celibacy and suppression of gay feelings would make a person “insane”. I said it’s not a practical solution for millions and millions of people who are homosexual. If it works for those who feel called to that path, more power to them. But is not the ONLY path to integrity, wholeness or relationship with God.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: These arguments we have — at the root — always boil down to whether or not you believe that all gay sex is always sin. That is the “great divide”.

    Question: I know you guys base your belief that it is always sin on the Bible. Tell me this, do you REALLY believe that God REALLY commanded all of the things that Old Testament writers say he commanded?

  • Eddy

    Sorry Michael but I’m not about to embark on that detour with you. It misses the point of what I just said….arguing about whether it is or isn’t sin has been going on for years and years and will likely go on for years to come.

    The meaning and validity of a Christian’s life–however they choose to live it–must be tempered by their relationship with Christ above all other influences. If we’re right that it is sin, then meaning and validity are compromised from a Christian standpoint. The life might have meaning and validity on a number of levels but it will be missing the full meaning and validity provided by the one who is both Creator and Redeemer. HOWEVER, God looks on the heart…He does this far better than we do. So, even if it is sin, if a person fully believes that it isn’t, then they aren’t necessarily offending their conscience and obstructing that all important relationship with Christ. FURTHER, if it turns out it isn’t sin but a person believes that it is, pursuing that behavior offends their conscience and obstructs the relationship with Christ. AND, yes, then they would be missing out on the intended full meaning and validity for their life by their mistaken belief…but, at least, their relationship with Christ would not be compromised or obstructed.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    For me it boils down to the question does the action give life or bring death. Is it a life giving force for myself and all of those affected by my action who are important in my life or does it lead to death (physical or spiritual) and the objectification of others in order to meet my own selfish need.

    I am not passing a judgement here because I have to say that I do not alway succeed in living up to this standard myself, however, I do believe that it is a higher standard that I am being called to rather than the lower ones that I am to often ready to settle for. The standard as I see it is not one set down in the Old Testament but one that was reestablished in the life and death of Jesus the Christ.

  • Michael Bussee

    At least none of you suggested that sexual reorientation from gay to straight was a workable alternative for the many millions of people who have no “OSA”. I have to give you credit for that.

    You suggested celibacy, religious devotion, denying sexual pleasure, enjoying friendships, service to others and focussing on other things. I respect any person who feels “called” to that path and finds the grace and power to do it.

    Throughout the ages, members of reliigious orders have taken and maintained similar vows — and have lived full, healthy, meaninglful lives, contributing greatly to humanity.

    “Know what you are offering. … You are NOT offering heterosexuality… [but] the power to come into celibacy.” — Robbi Kenney, one of the founders of Exodus, once advised her fellow Exodus leaders. I think she had it right decades ago.

  • Michael Bussee

    I understand how you believe. I used to believe it myself. I respect your right to live in accordance with your beliefs and values. I don’t think you are crazy, neurotic, tormented, inauthentic — or any of the other things David listed several post back.

    I don’t agree with all of your beliefs and I think some of them have cause a lot of pain for a lot of people — but you will say that my beliefs have done the same. Ultimately, God is judge. He alone sees our hearts. He sees mine through the lens of Christ’s holiness.

    I expect to see you all there — even though some of you think I might not make it. I appreciate your concern for my eternal destiny. You need not worry. He has me in His hand. Until then, we will walk the paths we feel called to walk and honor God as we understand Him — praying for His guidance along the way. That is all any of us can do.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy, I didn’t really want to take that detour (the Scriptural deabte) anyway. It has never been productive. I was just pointing out that (at the core) this argument is really a debate about the Bible. You know it. I know it.

    But I do appreciate this comment very much: “So, even if it is sin, if a person fully believes that it isn’t, then they aren’t necessarily offending their conscience and obstructing that all important relationship with Christ.” Thanks. I believe that too.

  • Eddy

    LOL. You qualified the millions as having NO OSA and this conversation has been convoluted enough, tossing the prospects of reorientation into the mix would have only sabotaged productivity further.

    Frankly, I think OSA has already become a loaded term. It focusses on the genital aspects of sexual attraction only and ignores our largest sex organ, the brain. But we won’t go there…just another tangent.

  • Michael Bussee

    So now OSA is out? I was using that one (and SSA) becuase I thought you guys perferred it. Gay and homosexual always seemed to cause disagreement as to their meaning — so I have been trying to use “SSA” and “OSA”. Are any terms usable?

  • Michael Bussee

    How do we talk about this feature of human experience — of being primarily attracted (sexuall/romantically/etc) to one gender or the other. Tell me what would be preferrable and I will try to use it. I am really confused.

  • Michael Bussee

    I feel like the terminology keeps shifting.

  • Michael Bussee

    How do we refer to a person who is not heterosexual?

  • Michael Bussee

    I am honestly trying to understand.

  • Michael Bussee

    When I have used the terms, Gay, straight, homosexul, heterosexual, SSA and OSA I have not been referring primarily or exclusively to the “gential aspects of attraction”. I have ben talking about the gestalt — the whole, complex, msyterious experience of romantic/emotional/sexual attraction to one gender or the other. What terms, if any, can we use to refer to this aspect of human experience?

  • Eddy

    I was just pointing out that (at the core) this argument is really a debate about the Bible.

    I disagree. Perhaps the last few comments have gone there but the larger argument was about gays judging conservatives as homophobes and bigots because they believe its sin. (Remember your big question…Why do you think they feel that way?) Believing that it’s sin is NOT homophobic or bigoted. Neither fear (phobia) or hatred (bigotry) are inherent in ‘believing that it’s sin’. Some who believe that way ARE homophobic; some ARE bigoted…but simply ‘believing that it’s sin’ does not justify those intense feelings of disgust and distrust that most gays have for conservative Christians.

    So the core argument isn’t whether it is or isn’t sin, it’s whether we can disagree on that big issue and still find common ground….still find a way to respect one another despite our difference of opinion. Not just us here on the site…but the uncounted conservative Christians who aren’t homophobic and bigoted although they believe it’s sin AND the uncounted gays who are trying to live godly lives as gay people. It involves no one, on either side, demanding anything of the other. Respect does not demand. It involves not taking potshots or making generalized or globalized negative comments about the other. Towards that end we are making some progress but we’ve still got a long, long ways to go.

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

    FWIW – OSA and SSA both refer to the brain. Attraction takes place in the brain and actually begins to effect the rest of the body before we become aware of it.

  • Michael Bussee

    .

    I had two main points:

    (1) I am disappointed in those Christians who are more concerned with their friends feelings than they are with standing for conscience. I think that is a very sad trait in a “Christian”.

    (2) I firmly believe that conservative Christians are largely responsible for much of the anti-Christian anger than many gays feel towards them. I agreed with Eddy when he pointed out that there might be other reasons.

    Not ONCE on this thread have I said that believing that homosexual sex is sin makes someone “HOMOPHOBIC” or “BIGOTTED”. Not ONCE.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Where did I say OSA was out? I said it was a loaded term. What do we do with loaded terms? Class? Class? Anyone?

    Oh, I remember. We realize that the term has it’s limitations. We recognize that it might not mean the same thing to all people present . We understand that it’s a term…a shortcut…used to label experience. We know that experience is never precisely the same for any two individuals. We clarify what we mean when we use it. Kinda like those words ‘change’ and ‘freedom’.

  • Eddy

    No, you didn’t say the words ‘homophobic’ or ‘bigoted’. I was trying to capture whatever the labels would be that are dramatized in this piece of our dialogue. My apologies for the bad word choices. Still can’t come up with the word(s) but this is what I was responding to:

    Eddy ~ Feb 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    And let’s not forget that they simply don’t like anyone who dares to believe that it’s sin…regardless of whether the response to the sin and the sinner is compassionate, loving and caring. Much like a child who’s momma says “NO” and the child screams “I hate you!”

    Michael Bussee ~ Feb 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Yeah, people tend to get touchy when you tell them that. Or that they are broken. Or diseased. Or defective. Or disordered. Or that their parents were defective. Or that they could really become straight if they wanted to. Or that they don’t have enough faith if they don’t change. Or that they might have to remain celibate all their lives or just masturbate to gay images privately at home. Or that their sexuality is sin worthy of death. Or that they are going to Hell if they don’t stop.

    No matter how “lovingly” you say it –those messsages can make people angry. Not surprising. They don’t tend to get those messages from the liberal or affirming Christians. So it might be something the conservatives are doing after all that makes them dislike the conservatives — and not just the brainwashing of gay activists. The liberal and affirming churches don’t tell them these things.

  • Michael Bussee

    Remember that stuff you copied? The stuff Throckmorton deleted? Re-read it. It still applies.

  • Michael Bussee

    Christians who won’t stand up for conscience are cowards and Gays have good reason to be mad at them. I stand by it.

  • Eddy

    Okey Dokey, then. Later. Bye.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    David, I never said that ex-gays were “neurotic” or “tomented”. I do not “demonize” them. I never said that they were not generous, gifted or compassionate. I never said they were “inauthentic”. I know better.

    I was not trying to imply that you had made that assertion….

    I was trying to tell a story about a happy (not Gay :) ) man that I know.

  • Michael Bussee

    And, David, as I have said many times, I have no doubt that there are such people.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Shall we now have a debate as to whether christianity should be punished by 14 years in jail as it is now, or whether imposing the death penalty is a bit extreme, but boosting the penalty to life imprisonment is acceptable?

    Because that’s what I hear now are the gay positions here.

    Personally, I’m very much against punishing christianity by law at all, it should not be illegal, and don’t think the Gay and Lesbian Alliance or Human Rights Campaign go nearly far enough in condemning this proposed new law. As for those Gay groups that support the extermination of christians, we should ALL speak out vociferously to condemn them.

    OK, their ritual cannibalism and propensity for killing “sinners” are obvious social evils, but those are already punished by existing law.

    No wonder some christians are angry at GLBs for us treating them this way.

    Oops, sorry, got my semantic symbols mixed up. Still, it illustrates why gays as a whole tend not to be very impressed by institutionalised conservative christianity. It’s so…. un-Christian.

  • Eddy

    Shall we now have a debate as to whether christianity should be punished by 14 years in jail as it is now, or whether imposing the death penalty is a bit extreme, but boosting the penalty to life imprisonment is acceptable?

    I don’t think so. It’s not specifically tied to this topic or to anything anyone seemed to be talking about.

  • Timothy

    you need jesus you man

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  • http://facebook richard ralston

    I find it Apalling as a ordained minister that any enlightened christian church could possibly react this way. My lord and Saviour Loves ALL his children equally without condition. even misguided sanctimonious ones,full of hypocrisy and shortsighted loathing. For He is as ready to love and forgive misguided churches as anyone else. rom14:22 Do you have faith?Have it to yourself before God.Happy is He who does not condemn himself in what he approves.23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats because he does not eat from faith, for whatever is not from faith is sin. Remember whoever and however you are you are fearfully and wonderfully made. be blessed my brothers and sisters In His Holy name! Be Blessed Brother Richard R


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