Christianity Today stands somewhere on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

In a “Where We Stand” editorial, Christianity Today urged readers to “Listen, then Speak.” 

Overall, I am disappointed and puzzled by the editorial. The closest the writer gets to telling us where CT stands is near the end of the article:

We join many other American voices in our concern over the way the proposed legislation can hamper ministry and harm children of God. But we are also grateful for the African voices who are calling us to pay attention to how Western society may be undermining our own zeal for preserving God’s gift of sexuality.

I am unclear how the Ugandans are calling us to see sexuality God’s way when they swallow the camel of polygamy and strain at the gnat of homosexuality. Perhaps this way of ending the article seemed balanced to the writer; give a little here, take a little there, but I am unclear what the writer thinks we can learn from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  

To get to the conclusion, the article meanders through some thoughts on cultural relativism, pointing out some conflicting possible reactions from Western Christians.

Now Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill has put Western Christian leaders in a bind:

(1) The leaders’ commitment to human rights (based on the Golden Rule and the image of God) leads them to oppose harsh penalties for consensual adult homosexual activity; (2) their belief in the traditional family leads them to support Ugandan Christian resistance to sexual liberation movements imported from the United States and Europe; (3) their belief that churches need to minister to homosexuals leads them to oppose legal penalties for those who don’t report homosexual activity; (4) their belief that the fight against HIV/AIDS requires confidential testing leads them to oppose laws that could expose HIV-positive people to harsh penalties; (5) their belief in the ability of African churches to make mature decisions prompts them to remain silent on legislation that African churches are still pondering; (6) their commitment to ongoing engagement in missions and social service with African churches makes them extremely cautious to interfere in general.

I suspect these possible reactions do seem confusing for many evangelicals. However, it is clearly possible to respect the Ugandan’s right of self-determination while at the same time, disagreeing with the proposal before their Parliament. I also take issue with what is listed as the first possible response and would say it this way:

The leaders’ commitment to human rights (based on the Golden Rule and the image of God) leads them to oppose harsh any penalties for consensual adult homosexual activity.

Responding to the Ugandan bill, I believe Rick Warren had it absolutely correct when he wrote about criminalization of homosexuality:

I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God.  Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.

We know where Rick Warren stands. Where does CT stand on criminalization? To me, it is not clear.

The editorial continues:

For American Christian leaders, both silence and open condemnation end up violating important missional and human-rights principles. There is no escaping this dilemma, but several points are worth reflection.

What missional and human rights principles? I don’t think it is difficult to say that the sentence of a life time in jail for touching “another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality” is wrong. What missional or human rights’s principles are violated by saying what Rick Warren said to his Ugandan brothers and sisters?

Then adding insult to injury, the CT writer uncritically invokes Scott Lively’s reckless charge of racism toward those who found fault with the Americans who spoke at the March anti-gay conference in Kampala. 

First, when American media reported on the proposed legislation, they assumed an inordinate amount of American influence. Media outlets tried to “expose” the power of American evangelicals who had spoken about gay issues in Uganda. Such assumptions were racist, said Scott Lively, one of the speakers. If anything, Ugandan legislators did not follow his advice: He had urged them to favor rehabilitation rather than imprisonment in crafting a new law on homosexuality.

If I understand CT here, I think this is more a criticism of the reporting by American media than a vindication of the March, 2009 ex-gay conference in Uganda. However, as presented, that distinction is vague. One could interpret this paragraph as agreement with Scott Lively’s charge of racism, obfuscating the Americans’ responsibility for what was presented at the conference. This, of course, is offensive and fails to confront the substance of Scott Lively’s remarks to the 10,000 or so people he claims to have addressed. Yes, Lively advised rehabilitation (as if that is an enlightened option) in the context of continued criminalization, but in no particular order, he also said that

  • Nazi atrocities were animated by homosexuality,
  • amoral homosexuals were probably responsible for the Rwandan holocaust, and
  • homosexuals prey on vulnerable children.

Hearing this, it is not a surprise that the Ugandans did not heed his call for rehabilitation. Nor is it a surprise that Christians are horrified that such slander was presented in the name of Christ.

CT’s advice is much less specific:

We counsel patience as Ugandan leaders sort out among themselves the best way to preserve their culture’s sexual mores. We also caution them against punitive strategies, as we believe that capital punishment for homosexual behavior goes well beyond the limit.

The reference to capital punishment is pretty safe since even proponents of the bill suggested the removal of the death penalty in December, 2009. However, is life in prison a “punitive strategy?” What is the limit? I think it is, but from this article, I cannot tell where CT stands.

I know where I stand.

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  • Eddy

    I agree that the statement made by Christianity Today is incomplete…I’m thinking that, as an organization, they spoke only that on which they had an overall consensus.

    Regarding incomplete statements, it appears we are one-sided here. I took note of Rich Warren’s statement which seems complete with regards to homosexuality, however, if examined in a broader context…it seems to fall short.

    I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.

    This statement would support the decriminalization of most every behavior that occurs between consenting adults: Prostitution? “The freedom to make moral choice is endowed by God.” Drug Abuse? “The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God.” Do you disagree? “Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for ALL, even when we disagree with their choices.”

    I’m not saying that I support the proposed legislation in Uganda; what I’m addressing is the valid charge that we are, at least in part, being motivated and maneuvered by a spin. While we pick apart every response to the legislation that falls short of our expectations, it seems we accept without criticism every voice that comes out against it.

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

    Eddy – Rick Warren was speaking about homosexuality, not prostitution or drug abuse. Since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not about prostitution or drug abuse, he didn’t comment on policy regarding those two issues.

    Prostitution and drug abuse do not to me seem to be analogous to private consensual, uncoerced by money or addiction kind of behavior.

    And who are we? You refer to we. If you mean me, then say so.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, I hope to post a more thought-out response both to your post and the CT article when I’ve had a chance to digest them both fully.

    Just a quick response, though, about the racism thing. This is how I hear and interpret it … the reductionistic meme of the pro-gay side – that evangelical, conservative teaching by a couple of guys at a conference was a direct causation of the anti-homosexuality bill – is racist in that it doesn’t credit the Africans with the ability to make up their own minds. “Paternalistic” would probably have been a better word choice than “racist” to describe that attitude.

    It’s rampant in the Mainline Church. You only need to google “John Shelby Spong” and “African Bishops” to find some of the “enlightened” comments the good Bishop made after the Africans held the line at the most recent Lambeth gathering.

    Lively may have sounded a bit reactionary, but I think we’d all do well to make sure our white, Western paternalism doesn’t color our assessments.

  • wister

    I find it stunning that an ANGLICAN bishop in Uganda would dare to complain of “liberationist sexual politics exported from the West” being some kind of “cultural imperialism.”

    Scott Lively is to be believed about nothing. The man is a fraud and a fool. I think it speaks volumes for the poverty of what passes for thought in the US that he has managed to attract a following.

  • Ann

    I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.

    ok, I really like Rick Warren and what he said here, however, I have been hearing for years now that homosexuality is not a choice. I think he is referring to same gender sex, however, not sure how others see it, especially those in Uganda. Is he referring to same gender sex and identity or identity without same gender sex, or sporadic incidents of same gender sex while identifying and living as heterosexual. Of course there are also individuals who used to identity as gay and no longer do, used to engage in same gender sex and no longer do, used to think there was no other alternative and now know differently. I have heard it said that even if an individual no longer identifies as gay/homosexual, no longer engages in same gender sex, no longer dwells on their attractions/desires, and are lving lives they value instead, they are still homosexuals. What does this imply and how does it affect those in Uganda with these varying descriptions?

  • Eddy

    Yes, Warren, Rich Warren was speaking about homosexuality but, his logic in defending his stance was more global.

    The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.

    Are you saying that when he said ‘for all’…he meant ‘for all’ except those ‘we disagree with’? (i.e. the prostitutes and drug abusers)

    They make moral choices but we criminalize those choices. But Rich’s statement suggests that ‘THE freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God’. Why didn’t he say ‘we must protect it for all homosexuals’? He said ‘for all’. Neither did he restrict the ‘moral choices’ to sexual ones. I’d like (but won’t demand) for Rich to qualify his statement. Did he only mean homosexuality? If he meant beyond homosexuality, where do we draw the line and how do we draw it?

    I did take refuge in the proverbial ‘we’. I did include you in it but it is not you alone. I was very clear in stating it as an opinion…leading with the words ‘it seems’. If it makes you happy, let’s make that read ‘it seems to me’.

  • Mary

    There seems to be a lot of amibiguity around moral choice, how that has an effect on oneself and others, and the selection of sinful behavior. To define these from any cultural stance is difficult and I understand some of the Ugandian logic and concern. I don’t agree with their methods nor do I come to the same conclusions as how to deal with sexual morality issues.

    As for Rick Warren’s comments – while he may be directly speaking of homosexuality, his logic and speech encompasses many other moral issues and not just homosexuality, as Eddy pointed out. Speaking of homosexuality in isolation specifically would have been more clear and direct, but his remarks take one along a whole other path of moral questions.

  • David Blakeselee

    Can’t somebody create a visual graphic of what kind of moral choices there are, which one’s are criminalized, which one’s are merely stigmatized and which ones are encouraged and even glorified?

    Is there a legal, moral, ethicist in the house?!?!

    And can anyone tell me why the “slippery slope” seems to fall off in all directions?

  • Ann

    David,

    Can you tell me what post(s) you are referring to?

  • David Blakeselee

    Eddy – Rick Warren was speaking about homosexuality, not prostitution or drug abuse. Since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not about prostitution or drug abuse, he didn’t comment on policy regarding those two issues.

    Prostitution and drug abuse do not to me seem to be analogous to private consensual, uncoerced by money or addiction kind of behavior.

  • Eddy

    To me, it sounded like he was saying: I oppose the criininalization of homosexuality and here’s why: THE freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Had he said ‘their freedom’ rather than ‘the freedom’ perhaps I would have read it differently. Had he not followed up with the words ‘for all’, again, I might not have read it as I do. It’s a point I won’t push further.

    I was not likening homosexuality to prostitiution or drug abuse…I don’t even liken prostitution TO drug abuse. Their use as examples is only because they do share in being moral choices among consenting adults that society feels compelled to criminalize. (‘Drug abuse”, by the way, conjures up images of thieving crackheads and burned out junkies while the term also includes recreational pot smokers of whom I’ve known–and appreciated–many over the years of my life.)

  • Mary

    There are drug abusers who are just regular folks who are truly addicted to a chemical. They are not anything but addicted. They don’t live in crack houses or burglarize to support their habit.

  • Eddy

    LOL. Not trying to introduce addiction into the mix. Was simply explaining that I wasn’t equating homosexuality with prostitution or drug abuse…they are simply examples of instances where we do justify criminalizing moral choices.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi all,

    I haven’t posted on this blog for a while, but have been reading most of the information about the Ugandan legislation. For some reason, the CT article has made me do a lot more thinking about criminalization issues.

    Is anyone here willing to have an indepth conversation about it? I tried doing that on the Ex-Gay Watch site, but for a lot of reasons it isn’t going to happen there.

    Here’s a recap of what I posted there.

    I haven’t read the whole bill; I’ve read SOME about what others are saying about the bill – mainly on the Throckmorton, Ex-Gay Watch and Exodus blogs. (By the way, anything I post here is my own opinion and not necessarily Exodus or Transforming Congregations.)

    I’m clear about two things.

    One, I unequivocally oppose the death penalty or life imprisonment as punishment for homosexual behavior. Not all Christians agree about this, obviously, but I think it’s probably the majority opinion, at least within Western cultures.

    Two, I also believe, on the other hand, that society has the right (and responsibility) to sanction or regulate sexual behavior. As to what that regulation should look like or whether Christians should try (or not) to influence the outcome, I’m not certain yet – especially as it applies to another country of which I have very little knowledge.

    I hope to get more clarity about this, but frankly, I haven’t read or heard anything persuasive from a Christian/Biblical/Theological perspective about the “criminalization” aspect. Those who support criminalization (or recriminalization in the US) have only been allowed sound-bites (Hardball, for example) or have misinterpreted Scripture about grace and law.

    Those who oppose it haven’t offered any solid argument either, just the catch-all “consenting adults” stuff, which has no basis whatsoever in Scripture.

    So, I am sincerely interested in help in trying to find clarity about this. In addition to some challenging dialogue, I’d also appreciate links to websites that might have substantial articles or suggestions for pertinent books or other writing.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen said:

    Two, I also believe, on the other hand, that society has the right (and responsibility) to sanction or regulate sexual behavior.

    On what basis do you believe that?

  • Michael Bussee

    I haven’t read the whole bill.

    If you would like to be well-informed about it, Warren can supply a link to the entire bill — and excellent commentary too.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Here is the FULL TEXT.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen: If you want to get a pretty good start on arguments for pluralism, see this and this.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Karen said:

    Two, I also believe, on the other hand, that society has the right (and responsibility) to sanction or regulate sexual behavior.

    And Warren asks … On what basis do you believe that?

    I don’t know. Almost 60 years of Western cultural/philosophical upbringing, I suppose.

    From the knowledge I have of anthropology and history, it seems to me that every culture has regulated sexual behavior in some way – running the gamut from persuasion (as one of your suggested articles put it), to statutory offenses, to public order crime with its attendant penalties. It’s the way people choose to order their communal life for the broader good.

    I’d ask you in return, Warren, don’t you believe societies have the right and responsibility to do so? And if not, why not?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks for the article references, Warren. I’ll try to read them sometime over the next couple days. If I don’t post back right away, it’s because I have a number of ministry projects I’m working on and I won’t have the freedom during the day to be online a lot.

  • David Blakeselee

    Governments sanction, regulate sexual behavior;

    Businesses sanction regulate sexual behavior;

    Schools sanction, regulate sexual behavior;

    Religions sanction, regulate sexual behavior.

    “Consenting adults” is the area where Governments and most businesses cease their regulatory powers…unless it is consenting adults with money exchanged…then various governments handle it differently.

    Religion endorses sexuality not on consensual acts, but on authorized acts.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    David writes … “Consenting adults” is the area where Governments and most businesses cease their regulatory powers…unless it is consenting adults with money exchanged…then various governments handle it differently.

    I think that’s true in the US, of course, and the majority of contemporary Western cultures. But it isn’t true every where. I saw a Wikepedia article that listed illegality of homosexual behavior by country, and it looked about half and half, with most of the Moslem areas and Africa, and some portions of South America as “consenting adults” holdouts. And it certainly hasn’t been true in all time periods either.

  • Charles Thomas

    Society has a right to regulate sexual behavior? No it doesn’t, for the simple reason that “society” as such does not exist.Society is an abstraction,a mere figure of speech denoting a collection of individuals.Society doesn’t have rights;only the seperate and diverse men and women who compose society have rights.Rights are attributes of individuals,not of collective entities.Since society is only a number of men and women,the belief that society has a “right” to regulate sexual behavior can only mean that whichever group happens to attain the status of majority can regulate any kind of sexual behavior it wants,and for any reason it wants, simply because it has the power to do so.It is true that individuals have both the right and the responsibility to make sure that government is empowered to punish criminal behavior,i.e.,behavior which violates the rights of others.But sexual behavior between two men or two women behind closed doors does not constitute criminal behavior by any factual definition of that term.When religionists attempt to offer purely secular arguements against homosexuality,they sound more like collectivists and utilitarians who think it is moral to sacrifice the rights of gays and lesbians for the so called greater good of society.

  • Eddy

    Society has a right to regulate sexual behavior? No it doesn’t

    Wow! Can’t regulate prostitution (that’s sexual behavior)…can’t regulate sex with children or vulnerable adults (that’s sexual behavior)…can’t regulate child pornography (that’s sexual behavior)…can’t regulate HIV positive persons having unprotected sex (that’s regulation)…can’t regulate limiting the number of offspring (that’s regulation that may be in the future)…can’t regulate those receiving welfare from producing more offspring (that’s regulation). Whew! I’m glad we’ve settled all that so quickly by deeming society to be an abstraction.

    Just as the term ‘society’ is an abstraction, the terms ‘gays’ and ‘lesbians’ are abstractions…terms used to label complex, multi-faceted individuals by their sexual preference, and, in their plural sense, implying a collection or ‘society’ of like-minded individuals. I don’t, for a minute, mean to suggest that ‘gays’ and ‘lesbians’, either individually or collectively, don’t exist. I simply think the logic behind discounting ‘society’ as an abstraction is equally nonsensical.

    It is true that individuals have both the right and the responsibility to make sure that government is empowered to punish criminal behavior,i.e.,behavior which violates the rights of others

    One individual, standing alone, might have the right and responsibility to attempt to impact government but logic tells us that it’s only a sizable collection of individuals that can ‘make sure that government is empowered’. Call that collection what you will but ‘society’ shouldn’t be ruled out in the word choices.

    i.e.,behavior which violates the rights of others

    The abbreviation i.e. typically means ‘for example’ yet you seem to be indicating that it is the only example. Are there other examples of things which the government ought to deem ‘criminal’?

    Is it, as David suggested, when money changes hands? That would cover prostitution. It would also cover most of our drug laws although it would not address individuals who grow marijuana for private use. (I have heard that Alaska actually allows for the growth and possession of a personal-sized stash of marijuana.) It addresses child porn except that which is available free on the internet. AND child porn would also be covered under ‘violating the rights of an individual’. Most of the list I mentioned above could be covered under ‘violating the rights of an individual’ although restricting family size (whether to control population growth or as a welfare restriction) would tread into murkier waters…they don’t violate individual rights as much as they oppose a burden on the abstraction known as ‘society’.

    But sexual behavior between two men or two women behind closed doors does not constitute criminal behavior by any factual definition of that term.

    What is a ‘factual definition’ of criminal behavior? At first glance, a factual definition would be anything that is deemed by the law or government to be a crime. Possession of marijuana is, in fact, a crime in most states but, as I mentioned earlier, in Alaska, it isn’t. The term ‘factual definition’ reads like precise speech but I find that it also appears to be an abstraction. I’m guessing that, in your use of ‘factual definition’ you are again alluding to behavior that ‘violates the rights of others’. I’m sensing that that is the key…am I right?

    I realize I can be blunt but I’m trying to wrap my mind around the big picture. I do consider myself to be a conservative Christian but I have spoken out on this blog and in other public forums re my opposition to prayer in schools. It’s not a common stance among conservatives but it violates the rights of individuals who don’t believe in God or who don’t believe in the same God that I believe in. I like the opportunity to pray in school; I favor that. (I think many schools offer a ‘moment of meditative silence’.) But leading prayers in schools and subjecting students who aren’t like-minded to that is a violation of their rights. And, with that in mind, I believe we’ve often gone too far. Schools are afraid to allow students to meet for extra-curricular Bible Study or Prayer Groups. This, I feel, violates their rights to freely assemble.

    One concern that conservatives have is promotion and advocacy. It’s one of many areas addressed in the Ugandan legislation. Here in the US, students can be required to attend an assembly sponsored by the likes of PFLAG or GLSEN while conservative viewpoints are given no space. They wonder why the laws are interpreted to protect us from conservative promotion and advocacy while they favor liberal promotion and advocacy. Our lines and distinctions aren’t clear here. To me, it’s obvious that we haven’t really thought it through. Even discussions or attempts to ‘think it through’ are frequently derailed.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks for the response, Eddy. I’m trying to get my head around the big picture, too, and not just how it relates to LGBT people. That’s why I like CT’s admonition to listen first before speaking. (Even though I don’t obviously always follow that recommendation.)

    I find it interesting that Warren didn’t ask me on what I base my belief that the death penalty or life in prison for homosexual behavior is wrong. To me, that’s self-evident from a humanitarian perspective. But I haven’t taken time to seriously think it through from a Christian moral/ethical or even secular philosophical basis. (Though I trust all three would be in harmony.

    Hopefully this post will not be taken as an invitation to denounce and publicly humiliate me because I humbly acknowledge that I don’t have it all figured out yet. Ironically, “having it all figured out” seems to be what I get criticized most for on this and other blogs.

    Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.

    Other than getting a better handle on what I personally believe/understand about this, I’m also trying to figure out how I might best respond, particularly within the United Methodist Church where I serve as a minister. Since I oppose this bill, what can I practically do there among a people that are as diverse in worldview as the variety of evangelical responses CT described.

    Whatever it is, I will need solid Biblical/theological foundations and arguments. Passionate appeals from humanism or personal experience will not be enough.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I’ve had the time to read through the CT article again, and I agree that their statements about opposition to the death penalty are not very strong. Still, they are there:

    “We also caution them against punitive strategies, as we believe that capital punishment for homosexual behavior goes well beyond the limit.”

    “We join many other American voices in our concern over the way the proposed legislation can hamper ministry and harm children of God.”

    The rest of the article may be somewhat confusing because I think they’re trying to be nuanced in reporting the variety of opinions within the evangelical community. Nuance is not going to sit well with folk that want a more clearcut statement of concern.

    I also think Eddy’s on target about the possibility of lack of consensus in CT being the cause of the perceived mushiness. Rick Warren can make statements as an individual, but I haven’t seen anywhere that he’s necessarily speaking for the church he serves. Warren can make statements, but that doesn’t mean he is speaking for Grove City College. Making a statement on behalf of an organization is very tircky.

    And Warren, I think your comments about the Church of Uganda and polygamy miss the mark. (And your tone is snide and judgmental as well.) They aren’t “swallowing the camel” in regard to polygamy, per se; they are struggling with how to handle it pastorally when a new convert is a polygamist. (Do you see the difference there?) The article is saying that if the choice is between continuing in polygamy or destroying families by divorce, how do you decide which is the lesser of two evils. Apparently there isn’t consensus on that within the Ugandan Christian community. Go figure.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Oh … that “tircky” should be “tricky.”

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Charles Thomas, I have a question about something you posted. You wrote … When religionists attempt to offer purely secular arguements against homosexuality,they sound more like collectivists and utilitarians who think it is moral to sacrifice the rights of gays and lesbians for the so called greater good of society.

    Were you referring to me? If so, I think I acknowledged that my belief about society’s right and responsibility to regulate/sanction sexual behavior wasn’t arrived at from a faith perspective because I hadn’t sufficiently thought it through that way. Plus, I wasn’t referring specifically to gays and lesbians; you made that jump on your own.

    If you were referring to other “religionists,” did you have anyone specifically in mind? I’m not trying to trip you up; I’d really like to know what other Christians (or folk from other faith traditions) have said.

  • David Blakeselee

    When religionists attempt to offer purely secular arguements against homosexuality,they sound more like collectivists and utilitarians who think it is moral to sacrifice the rights of gays and lesbians for the so called greater good of society.

    This is an interesting observation…

    …except that whenever you ask someone to narrow the support for their positions, it makes them look less like what they are; well rounded, thoughtful people.

    Ask us to defend our thoughts without our beliefs, without history, without culture (as manifested in religious practice) and they will have their flaws.

    …by the way, what is a “religionist”?

    Main Entry: re·li·gion·ist

    Pronunciation: -?li-j?-nist, -?lij-nist

    a person adhering to a religion; especially : a religious zealot

    religionist – a person addicted to religion or a religious zealot

    …what is it’s opposite?

    Irreligious…arbitrary…insincere?

  • Michael Bussee

    Would someone please explain why consensual gay sex between consenting adults in private should be regulated or criminalized in any way?

  • Eddy

    Not me. Involved in a more focussed conversation at the moment.

  • Mary

    @ Eddy ~ Feb 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Oh – I understood that. My comments were for those who see all drug addcits in the same single vein.

  • Charles Thomas

    Karen,when you say society has the right and the responsibility to regulate or sanction sexual behavior during a conversation about a bill in Uganda which would criminalize homosexuality,it is only natural for me to conclude that you were specifically referring to the sexual behavior of gays and lesbians.I apologize for jumping to that conclusion.

    I’m interested in what kinds of sexual behaviors you believe society ought to regulate, and why you believe those behaviors should be regulated.

  • Michael Bussee

    I would also be interested in hearing Karen’s thoughts on the question raised by Charles. I would especially like to know if Karen believes that consensual gay sex between adults in private ought to be “regulated” — and if so, why? Do any of those who have commented so far believe that it should be?

  • Charles Thomas

    If there is no victim there is no crime.That may be a platitude,but it is also true.If there is no factual evidence(by ‘factual’ I mean physical or empirical)that a behavior is endangering the lives,liberties,or property of others,then the only justification you have left for wanting to criminalize homosexuality is that it offends your moral sensibilities.

    It really is that simple.

    As long as what my neighbor does doesn’t result in broken legs or picked pockets,then why should society or government be concerned about how people conduct thier sex lives?

  • Eddy

    I believe we have some talking points but that there are still some significant gaps.

    If there is no victim there is no crime.

    But, if I park in my neighbor’s designated handicapped parking space even when I know he’s off on vacation, do I have any right of appeal when I’m caught ‘breaking the law’ by parking there.

    I mean physical or empirical)that a behavior is endangering the lives,liberties,or property of others

    While I agree in essence, this would make private, recreational drug use non-criminal.

    On first reading, I thought of a few crimes that don’t endanger the lives of others. But I realize that the sentence goes on to include endangered liberties and endangered property. Lives and property are relatively clear terms but ‘liberties’ leads us down some interesting paths.

    But first lets go back to endangering lives. With that as a premise, wouldn’t it then be appropriate to legislate HIV positive persons who are engaging in unprotected sex?

    Where would sex of an adult with a minor come in? Is that to be interpreted as endangered life or endangered liberty? What if the minor was ‘looking for it’? (From age 13 on, while occasionally ‘fooling around’ with friends, I was looking for some ‘established’ homosexual to ‘show me the way’. Would such a helpful adult be non-criminal?)

    I realize that Uganda already has laws in effect that address sexual behavior with minors (in fact, they don’t even stipulate an adult perpetrator…I believe the wording is ‘anyone who has sex’ with a person under the age of 18.) Once we deal with the current proposed law, will the simple logic of ‘there has to be a victim’ and there has to be a ‘factual crime’ endangering the life, liberty or property of another, be our guide in rewriting existing laws.

    My biggest complaint with our outspoken objection to the proposed law in Uganda is that our approach seems to be absolute. “It stinks. It’s wrong. Get rid of it.” It’s my nature to want to present reasoned thought behind my objection; it’s also my way to seek points of compromise. By your definitions, it would seem that both unprotected sex on behalf of HIV positive persons and sex by an adult with a minor would indeed be factually criminal. (If I’ve got that wrong, please let me know and explain how these behaviors should not be factually criminal.)

    If they are indeed factually criminal. what then is the barometer we use to determine the severity of punishment? I agree that the proposed penalities in Uganda are extremely severe; what penalities could we recommend and how can we support the level of penalty that we suggest?

  • Michael Bussee

    Should there be ANY legal penalties for private, consensual, gay sex between adults? If so, why? And what should those penalties be?

  • Eddy

    Ah, sweet persistence. Karen has clearly expressed that she is the process of formulating an opinion…not that she’s formulated one. Yet you keep asking for a conclusion to the conversation before the conversation has run its course.

    Other questions, also burning, have preceded yours. Is the standard for what is deemed criminal what Charles suggests and is it as simple as all that?

  • Michael Bussee

    I wasn’t asking you, Eddy. If someone else has an opinion, I would like to hear it. If they don’t have one, would rather not say — or have not yet formulated one — that’s OK too. I was just asking a question, not trying to stop conversation. I would like to know how others stand on this issue — if they care to respond.

    To Ann:

    I have heard it said that even if an individual no longer identifies as gay/homosexual, no longer engages in same gender sex, no longer dwells on their attractions/desires, and are lving lives they value instead, they are still homosexuals.

    If they still have only SSA and no OSA, I think that’s true. Unless we want to define homosexuality differently.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    It is so very important to separate the attraction to ones own sex and the behaviour of consemating that attraction by homosexual behaviour. These are two very different things and the Christian teaching has a completely different response to either of these.

  • Charles Thomas

    The problem I and many others have with the this bill in Uganda is that it conflates homosexuality with pedophilia and other behaviors,such as knowingly infecting another person with HIV.I’m sure there are plenty of heterosexuals in Uganda who have sex with minors,or have HIV, yet continue to have sex with unsuspecting or uninformed partners.That being so,the law should punish them for pedophlia or knowing infecting others with HIV regardless of thier sexual oprientation.But I don’t think that is the primary purpose of this bill.It’s primary purpose is to criminalize homosexuality,to treat gays and lesbians as inherently criminal.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: I understand the distinction.

    Charles: I agree with you. There is no need to mention the gender or sexual orientation of the “criminal” if this were not the case.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael B … Eddy is right. I haven’t formulated an opinion on criminalization of homosexual behavior. I’m trying to figure it out. But among some folks, I’m condemned as a hate-monger for even raising the issue or asking questions. I hope that can be done on this blog, because I’ve found the thread so far to be very helpful.

    BTW – I recently saw a YouTube video of you about the history of Exodus. You’re very well spoken.

  • Michael Bussee

    Tnanks. I am curious a to why you would not have an opinion about it — making consensual, adult, gay sex a “crfime”. What is there to “figure out”?

  • Charles Thomas

    Karen,does it actually suprise you to receive a negative reponse from gays when you suggest that homosexuality be criminalized?

  • Michael Bussee

    I don’t think she’s suggesting it. I think she hasn’t made up her mind about it, right Karen?

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen, I am curious. How you formulated an opinion on the criminalization of private, consensual, adult heterosexual behavior?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Charles asks … I’m interested in what kinds of sexual behaviors you believe society ought to regulate, and why you believe those behaviors should be regulated.

    I’m still figuring that out for myself, too.

    I think that throughout history societies have regulated sexual behavior, and in Western culture at one time or another have penalized anything that was a violation of heterosexual marriage, including adultery and fornication. Penalties could be anything from shunning and shaming (Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter comes to mind), to monetary fines, to imprisonment, to the death penalty (ancient Old Testament Hebrew culture, for example.)

    Sodomy laws used to refer only to behavior and to apply to both gays and straights. (When I was in highschool in the 60s, I knew an elderly woman who was raped and sodomized by the perp. It was an aggravated offense because of the sodomy. I don’t even know if they’re on the books anymore for a situation like that.)

    The “consenting adults” worldview is a very recent development and seems to me to have evolved out of Western Culture’s sexual revolution. You get a graphic picture of the world-wide differences here on the wikipedia site I referenced earlier. Most of the countries that have legalized homosexual behavior have done so only within the last decade with the earliest being in the 60s – other than a few French-related islands that did so in the late 1790s.

    While many would argue legalization is a more “enlightened” approach, about half the world would argue otherwise – that it’s not enlightened, but rather decadent.

    I am personally trying to figure out what I think, how much of that is culturally conditioned (child of the 60s), and how Christian faith fits in. Methodists are encouraged to address complex issues through the lens of what we call “the Quadrilateral” – looking at it through Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.

    That’s what I’m tryng to do.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I think that last, long post may have answered Michael and Charles’s questions. If not, let me know.

    I’m surprised at the negative response (hostile would actually be more like it) when I acknowledge I don’t know. I’m certainly less inclined to be persuaded when I’m personally attacked and insulted. (Not here; elsehwere.)

  • Michael Bussee

    It didn’t really answer mine, but that’s OK. Not hostile, just puzzled I guess. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Private, consensual, adult sexual behavior is not a crime. Government has better things to do — like fixing potholes.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    Maybe there in lies the problem, it seems so easy for you to decide for yourself and them impose your belief upon everyone else when it is not nearly as cut and dry as you have come to believe.

    Consensual may not always be what you think it is and in other cases there are others who are being affected by the actions of the two people who may feel completely justified in their actions. What if these relationships fail, who deals with the aftermath of that.

  • Michael Bussee

    For me the underlying question is: Is it the proper role of government to impose a conservative Christian moral code (regarding adult, consensual, private sexual behavior) on the rest of society? Should everything the Bible seems to teach about sexual behavior be codified into civil law?

    Perhaps that is one of the reasons (besides being afraid of alienatiing or offending their fellow conservative Christians) that so many conservative Christians seem to be so ambivalent about clearly and strongly opposing the Ugandan legislation. Many conservative Christians seem to believe that is the proper role of the state — not just the church.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: I am not sure what you are talking about. Adultery?

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

    concerned said:

    Consensual may not always be what you think it is and in other cases there are others who are being affected by the actions of the two people who may feel completely justified in their actions. What if these relationships fail, who deals with the aftermath of that.

    Can you give an example here? I can’t really grasp what you mean. And how is this situation different because two people involved are gay?

    I can think of no Christian principle that would require a state to criminalize homosexual conduct.

    At a loss to see it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concenred: What kinds of private, consensual, adult sexual behavior do you believe should be criminalized — if any — and what do you believe the legal penalties should be?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    In my reading this week, I found this wikipedia article about public order crime very helpful in thinking this through. It addresses some of the questions raised about “victims.”

    Here’s a portion of it …

    In criminology public order crime is defined by Siegel (2004) as “…crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently”, i.e. it is behavior that has been labeled criminal because it is contrary to shared norms, social values, and customs. Robertson (1989:123) maintains that a crime is nothing more than “…an act that contravenes a law.” Generally speaking, deviancy is criminalized when it is too disruptive and has proved uncontrollable through informal sanctions.

    Public order crime should be distinguished from political crime. In the former, although the identity of the “victim” may be indirect and sometimes diffuse, it is cumulatively the community that suffers, whereas in a political crime, the state perceives itself to be the victim and criminalizes the behavior it considers threatening. Thus, public order crime includes consensual crime, victimless vice, and victimless crime. It asserts the need to use the law to maintain order both in the legal and moral sense. Public order crime is now the preferred term by proponents as against the use of the word “victimless” based on the idea that there are secondary victims (family, friends, acquaintances, and society at large) that can be identified.

  • Michael Bussee

    I can think of no Christian principle that would require a state to criminalize homosexual conduct. At a loss to see it.

    If you are talking about private, consensual, adult homosexual conduct — neither can I. But many conservative Christians seems to think it should be — or are mighty ambivalent about it.

    They seem to imply that their understanding of the Bible should be imposed upon everyone else as civil law complete with criminal penalties — because they believe it’s “God’s law”. Too bad if others don’t share their faith. Frankly, that blurring of church and state scares the hell out of me.

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

    Karen said:

    Public order crime is now the preferred term by proponents as against the use of the word “victimless” based on the idea that there are secondary victims (family, friends, acquaintances, and society at large) that can be identified.

    Can you think of a public order crime (to use the euphemism) which we all accept? Might be good to start with an example.

    And then how does private homosexual conduct match up with this definition. Keep in mind, there are many secondary victims from divorce, pornography, drinking, unfaithful spouses, etc.

    Some countries in the world consider Christianity to be a public order crime.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen, you might not have made up your mind about criminalizing private, adult, consensual homosexual conduct, but I am sensing that you are leaning in the direction that it should be criminalized in some way. Is my sense mis-directed?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Perhaps not completely germane, but Warren wrote “I can think of no Christian principle that would require a state to criminalize homosexual conduct.”

    Can you think of a Christian principle that would require a state to legalize it?

    If a state isn’t required to legalize it, then is the only option to ignore it? How does a state compassionately codify it’s moral beliefs?

  • Michael Bussee

    How does a state compassionately codify it’s moral beliefs?

    Not the state’s job.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael, please stop pushing me about this. I’m not “leaning” toward anything. I’m trying to figure things out and I’m asking some provocative questions to get there. And get prepared for this … I may not come to a conclusion.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael, did you really mean that last statement … it isn’t the state’s job to codify moral behavior? Did you really mean sexual behavior? There’s a difference.

  • Michael Bussee

    That’s the great divide. Those (like me) who think that is the job of the Church — and those who believe the state should impose “morality” — compassionately or not. In my view, the state should strongly protect me from the imposition of your moral/religious beliefs — while at the same time strongly protecting your right to live according to those beliefs..

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen: If you honestly have no opinion on the criminalization of consensual, private, adult gay sex, please forgive me for suggesting that you have. Personally, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. It seems obvious to me that it should not be.

    I am also quite prepared for the possibility that you may not reach a conclusion. That is certainly your right. I believe that is part of the ambivalence that the conservative Christian church seems to be having on this issue. I don’t get it, but I acknowledge it.

    Yes, I mean that it is not the state’s job to codify moral behavior. I think it is the states job to protect rights. Morality belongs to the church and individual conscience.

  • Eddy

    to impose a conservative Christian moral code (regarding adult, consensual, private sexual behavior) on the rest of society? Should everything the Bible seems to teach about sexual behavior be codified into civil law

    Numerous times since we first began discussing this bill it has been cited that conservative Christians are NOT the only ones with moral concerns re homosexuality…Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists generally hold to a conservative viewpoint not based on Christian values. Those Jews who are like-minded are also not espousing a ‘Christian viewpoint’ per se. Spin, however, wants to tack it all on the conservative Christians.

    Karen,

    I appreciate your Wiki findings re laws and victims within our American culture.

  • Michael Bussee

    Fair point. I’ll amend it.

    “For me the underlying question is: Is it the proper role of government to impose a conservative religious moral code regarding consensual, private, adult sexual coduct (for example, the conservative Chrtistian moral code) on the rest of society?”

    Is that the legitimate job of government?

  • Mary

    An interesting article about the criminalization of homosexuality -

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100216/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_gays

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks for the clarification, Michael.

    And Eddy, thanks for the reminder about moral worldviews from other faith traditions.

    I’m signing off now for this evening. I just got the third season DVD of The Tudors and Henry VIII is calling to me. (Speaking of codifying sexual behavior …)

  • Eddy

    I haven’t watched the Tudors but recall that my one niece was rather disturbed when ‘they killed off that nice Mary’. “I liked her”, she said, “they should have kept her.” Ah…the media generation!

    The new statement is a considerable improvement although I presume that anytime people grouped together based on morals…whether they believed in a higher power or not…we’d brand it as religious based on the fact that it had a focus on morals. So, whenever we talk of people with a shared moral base, we always brand it ‘religious’ regardless of how different the actual religious beliefs of those involved might be. And, of course, the words ‘religious’ and ‘conservative’ are weighted with a negative vibe.

    When people who have a religious belief adhere to a lenient moral code, we almost never use the word ‘religious’ to describe them. It appears that the meaning of the word ‘religious’ has gotten muddied in the culture wars.

  • Michael Bussee

    Should private, consensual, adult homosexual conduct be regulated by the state? Why are those who “identify” as “liberal Christians” not “struggling” as much with this question? The answer seems obvious. No.

  • Charles Thomas

    I don’t think homosexuality should be legalized or criminalized,for the simple reason that I don’t think sexual behavior between consenting adults is an issue the government should address,nor be empowered to address.The primary purpose of government is to protect the rights and liberties of individuals ,not to uphold traditional or modern codes of morality or ideal defintions of terms like “marriage” in the minds of traditionalists,by restricting or violating the rights and liberties of men and women who live by a different code.The government is not the keeper of my morality,and neither is the church or society(other people).

    The ‘consenting adults worldview” is not a worldview in and of itself,rather it is one of the fundamental ideas derived from the essentially libertarian ethos on which this country is founded.

  • Jayhuck

    Charles,

    I agree with you on certain points but the libertarian sentiment does not really deal with the reality of the situation.

    The primary purpose of government is to protect the rights and liberties of individuals

    If that is true, then there may be a time when having the government “legalize” homosexuality and/or heterosexuality is the most powerful way in which it can protect those rights and liberties.

  • Jayhuck

    Karen,

    Most of the countries that have legalized homosexual behavior have done so only within the last decade with the earliest being in the 60s – other than a few French-related islands that did so in the late 1790s.

    And? Does it matter when it was done?

    While many would argue legalization is a more “enlightened” approach, about half the world would argue otherwise – that it’s not enlightened, but rather decadent.

    What half of the world are you talking about? You could go back in history and find any number of points where large groups of people felt that a minority did not deserve the same rights as them. What’s you’re point here?

  • Jayhuck

    you’re = your

  • David Blakeslee

    Can you think of a public order crime (to use the euphemism) which we all accept? Might be good to start with an example.

    drugs, prostitution…public drunkenness…Minor in Possession of alcohol (18-20 year old)…polygamy…

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

      Is it illegal to be publicly drunk, or publicly drunk and causing someone a problem?

      Not sure, just asking.

      Anyway, those are are fine examples although it could be argued that polygamy hurts women in general.

      Now, how does homosexual behavior between adults compare to those?

  • Jayhuck

    Do we really ALL accept those? Regardless, they are all technically illegal, homosexuality is not.

  • Jayhuck

    Some countries in the world consider Christianity to be a public order crime.

    Indeed Warren – Excellent point – and it would fit that very vague and nebulous definition on Public Order Crime that almost anyone could interpret to fit their despised group of choice

  • Eddy

    Homosexuality is legal here in the US and is illegal elsewhere. In an attempt to discover where people draw the line…in an attempt to discover our own thoughts and their possible influences (i.e. conservative religion, ‘child of the 60′s’, religious liberal)…some are discussing questions that go beyond the pat responses. With this in mind, ‘Regardless, they are all technically illegal, homosexuality is not’ is non-responsive. It goes right up there with “What’s your point?”

    Karen,

    For what it’s worth, it was a noble attempt at productive conversation but I do believe we’ve stretched the limits of open-minded conversation. A number of the recent posts have come across with a very strong ‘so there!’ attitude and that’s always been a warning sign that ensuing comments will be more combative than productive…more challenge than communication…more debate than discussion…more ‘my side vs your side’. If I’m wrong, I’ll catch up to you here within the next few days. If I’m right, I pray I’ll have the sense to disengage. It was good hearing from you again.

  • Eddy

    But why oh why did that poor recreational pot smoker sitting in their room grooving to music and contributing to the economy by consuming junk food ever become a ‘despised group of choice’? Who’s doing that despising? Is it the conservative Christians? Or perhaps the over-achieving Yuppies? Is it a Democrat thing? Republican? So many riddles…so many pat answers.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    For what it’s worth, it was a noble attempt at productive conversation but I do believe we’ve stretched the limits of open-minded conversation.

    I’m curious – would this conversation be considered productive or the attempt to have it a noble one if we were talking about other, legal, disenfranchised minorities? African Americans perhaps?

  • Mary

    Public drunkeness is only observed when it becomes a public nuisance (I think).

    Anyhow, prostitution is not a viticmless crime when STD’s are spread from one adult to a non-consenting partner who does not engage in prostitution. Nor is it victimless to other women who are not prostitutes who must endure the “attention” of customers when you are being treated like a prostitute and you are not one.

    I can see the argument that homosexuality hurts others beyond the consensual relationship of two people because it exposes one to an “immoral” behavior. If you don’t think it is an immoral behavior or if you have security in the lessons you teach your children and trust in God, this should not be threatening to anyone’s moral life. Each person or individual can make a decision based on their own belief system and not be persuaded by those around them.

  • Charles Thomas

    I don’t think any person should take an “open minded” approach to any issue in which the lives and liberties of an entire group of people are being threatened simply because of what they think and feel about the same sex.

    Indeed, on any given issue one should have a critical mind,not an open mind.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Well, all of Henry VIII’s first three wives are dead and he’s on to number 4. (She’ll outlive him when he sends her in disgust to a nunnery, one of the safer places for women back in the day.) The man was a monster, but a fascinating one at that. In his paranoia he reminds me a lot of King Herod (the Great, not his sons) who was another notorious wife-killer.

    I just wanted to check in to see where the conversation is going. Eddy, I think it’s still fine though we’ll see where it goes over the next few days.

    Jayhuck writes about the legalization of homosexual behavior within the last 40 years And? Does it matter when it was done? Yes. In the greater scheme of things, it’s a very recent development and one I perceive to be very culturally conditioned by our sexual revolution. Many folk think that the newest “revelation” is the most enlightened and best. I don’t necessarily agree with that. And as I stated before, I’m trying to sort out how much what I believe about sexual behavior in general has to do with my cultural upbringing and how much because I’ve thoroughly thought it out.

    My other point is that half the world does not believe that homosexual behavior should be legalized. Again, are they just unenlightened or is Western culture just sexually decadent? And again, how much of it has to do with cultural conditioning?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Charles, the bill is not about “what they think and feel about the same sex.” It’s about what they do with the same sex. The language of the bill is very careful to define terms and it specifically addresses behaviors.

    I know that in regard to homosexuality many people do not make a distinction between thought, feelings and behavior, and don’t want other people to do make that distinction. But the bill does.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    That last line should read … I know that in regard to homosexuality many people do not make a distinction between thought, feelings and behavior, and don’t want other people to make that distinction. But the bill does.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    And Warren, I’m not going to answer any more of your questions until you answer mine.

  • Jayhuck

    Karen,

    In the greater scheme of things, it’s a very recent development

    Again I say, so what? Minorities have to gain equal rights and recognition at some point in time – that it is recent is irrelevant.

    and one I perceive to be very culturally conditioned by our sexual revolution.

    Well of course you do Karen – its easier to dismiss that way! It would be just as easy to make a cultural conditioning argument for the eventual acceptance of equal rights for African Americans

  • Charles Thomas

    The fact is that all behavoir is preceded by thought and feeling.Homosexuality isn’t just a disembodied behavior floating out there in space completely severed from individual gays and lesbians.The act precedes the actor,so to speak.The best you can claim about this bill is that it leaqves gay free to feel and think what they want about the same sex as long as they don’t act on those feelings and thoughts.Call me a cynic if you will but I think this law seeks to criminalize gays for who they are,period.All the behavoirs it seeks to address are practiced by heterosexuals as well as homosexuals.Why should it even mention the sexual orientation of the offenders,or conflate crimes like pedophilia with homosexuality?

  • Eddy

    Always with the spin. It’s not martyrdom to suggest that repeated short, one point only posts…that repeatedly challenge ‘what’s your point’ while the person is still conversing, are dismissive and are blatant attempts to bully the conversation.

    It is close-minded when someone repeatedly wants the answer to just one question, expresses that they can’t believe that the person could even question the matter. What is that other than saying 1) the discussion is reduced only to your answer to this question and 2) you should not even be questioning or considering this. Uh, sorry boys, but I’m not up with all the new definitions. If it’s wrong to even consider or question a POV, even if the motive is simply to gain a better understanding of periperal issues, isn’t that what ‘close-minded’ is. We are closed to even considering the questions you pose.

    Charles,

    I am appreciating your involvement here. Your comments are more engaging and less dismissive than the comments I was criticisizing.

    Mary,

    Public drunkenness and nuisance are terms that are open to interpretation. Is being inside a bar (a public place) and drunk criminal…it’s rarely considered as such. Instead is regarded as a matter of bar discipline. Re ‘nuisance’, that’s a sticky one. In some places, a person who’s been ‘overserved’ and elects to leave their vehicle behind, CAN be ticketed as they stumble down the street…whether there are others on the street to notice or be confronted by their intoxication. It does seem to be one of those laws that’s ‘on the books’ but is rarely enforced.

    Warren, David,

    Of the examples presented, I’m thinking polygamy might offer the best base for discussing parallels. It can be loving, responsible, private, consensual, victimless…and yet, it is criminalized. It even has the added twist that it seems to be most often practiced, in our country at least, by religious conservatives…usually perceived as the ‘killjoys’…the proverbial bogeyman stomping on the rights and freedoms of others. I favor it as an example because it crosses the traditional ‘us/them’ lines that frequently crop up in these discussions.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Charles, I agree with Eddy and also appreciate your contributions. I also agree with you about the bill being wrong in conflating homosexual behavior with pedophilia.

    Eddy, I think you are a gentleman scholar. Thanks.

    Jayhuck, I think almost everything we think, say and do as Americans is culturally conditioned. As a Christian I try to be congnizant of that because of Jesus’ call to be countercultural. My personal inclination, derived largely from my own wild sexual past, is toward “live and let live.” My Christian inclination is not. I’m trying to sort out the two in regard to issues raised in this thread.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Polygamy or polyamory, which doesn’t assume a legal agreement.

  • Ann

    Would someone please explain why consensual gay sex between consenting adults in private should be regulated or criminalized in any way?

    Michael,

    When you say gay sex, are you referring to sex between individuals of the same gender or sex between opposite gender individuals who engage in similar sexual preferences?

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

    Karen asked:

    Can you think of a Christian principle that would require a state to legalize it?

    If a state isn’t required to legalize it, then is the only option to ignore it? How does a state compassionately codify it’s moral beliefs?

    1. Freedom of conscience. Each person is an image bearer of God with the freedom to choose. A state must have a compelling interest to restrict freedom to make those choices. I don’t see the compelling interest to restrict most sexual practices between adults who are able to give uncoerced consent. Certainly, specifically, I don’t see how homosexual relationships give rise to compelling state interest to restrict the conscience of adults.

    2. I don’t what you mean by legalizing it as if that is something more than not criminalizing it. On the second point, I am wary of anything like moral beliefs from a state. You may prefer that when the state codifies your beliefs but when they codify beliefs that regard Christians as opponents of the state, I don’t like it so much. I don’t think state’s have moral beliefs beyong those framed in the founding documents. Those grant equal protection under law and individual responsibility and individual freedom. The majority protects the rights of minority and so on. I do not want the Mosaic law in place any more than I want Sharia law in place or even Pauline teaching to be the law of the land. I want moral decisions made based on personal conscience. Coerced righteousness is no righteousness at all.

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

    PS – A case for compelling state interest in criminalizing polygamy is the potential harm to children and in the public order sense to women. Women in such communities may feel pressured to engage in coercive relationships and may not have equal treatment before the law if they want to leave such relationships. Their ability to come and go in such relationships are not equal to the male. It is a weak argument and may not eventually stand up to the equal protection test. The other aspect of this is that I do not think there are laws against simply shacking up with multiple partners. The rub is when you make it a legal marriage with more than one wife. However, when two people have claims to the same estate as in the case of two women married to the same man, then have enough mischief and potential for abuse, that the state has an interest in preventing those problems.

    I don’t see any good parallels there to homosexuals who want to live together and engage in intimacy. Does anyone see any?

  • Ann

    Michael,

    In an earlier post, I commented

    I have heard it said that even if an individual no longer identifies as gay/homosexual, no longer engages in same gender sex, no longer dwells on their attractions/desires, and are lving lives they value instead, they are still homosexuals.

    You responded

    If they still have only SSA and no OSA, I think that’s true. Unless we want to define homosexuality differently.

    My question still is this – how does Uganda regard an individual who used to engage in same gender sex and no longer does, used to identify as gay and no longer does, used to consider their same gender attractions strongholds and now have a different perspective? If they are still regarded as homosexuals by others, then how does Uganda regard this aspect of homosexuality?

  • Ann

    I want moral decisions made based on personal conscience. Coerced righteousness is no righteousness at all.

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    Amen

  • Eddy

    I believe that consensual sex between adults should NOT be criminalized. However, I have reservations about unsafe sex practiced between consensual adults (particularly when there are serial partners) and I’m for ‘taking a step backward’ and criminalizing adultery…whether the adulterous transgression be heterosexual or homosexual. Simply because I see at least one victim here…the spouse of the adulterer.

    That spouse, quite literally, ‘bares all’ based on a legalized ritual where their partner has declared to ‘forsake all others’. Not only do they bare all emotionally but the intimacy of the bedroom is, in some ways, justified by the promise that the partner is not exposing himself or herself (and, hence, their spouse) to an STD or AIDS. (Within the confines of a heterosexual marriage, requiring one’s partner to wear a condom for reasons other than a mutual goal of contraception is an improbability.)

    ——–

    Trying to sort out whether ‘legalization’ and ‘criminalization’ are truly interchangeable in our conversations. I like what Charles said…that neither legalization nor criminalization ought to be in the hands of the government. Somehow when I hear ‘legalization’ I also hear ‘legitimization’…not simply that we’ve deemed it to be ‘not a crime’ but also that we endorse. I’m thinking that it’s quite possible that when some people talk of ‘legalization’ they simply mean ‘not criminal’ but others have a goal of ‘legitimization’.

    Having experienced the ‘upward mobility’ efforts that started in the 60′s or 70′s, I fear that if ‘legitimization’ is an ultimate goal then we may, at some time in the future, come up against situations where we might actually favor the rights of the homosexual over the rights of the traditionally conservative i.e. compelling a religious organization (especially one that isn’t a church, per se, e.g. a publishing house) to have the appropriate number of homosexual employees. This does not change my view that consensual sex between adults should not be criminalized but it is a concern I have when I consider whether there’s more to this current battle than meets the eye.

  • Mary

    I want moral decisions made based on personal conscience. Coerced righteousness is no righteousness at all

    I 2nd that!

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, thanks for answering.

    Eddy, thanks for your explanation about “criminalization” and “legalization.” That’s pretty much the distinction I would make, too.

  • Eddy

    Warren–

    I see two parallels.

    1) You lead with the appeal to the impact on the children and to the public order rights of women. There are already discussions going on discussing the possible impact on the children raised by same sex parents. Clearly, we don’t know what they are or if there even are any…and some have grown up even stronger as a result of such parenting. I think the same can be said of polygamy.

    2) The rights of women (from above) and also tangent to your last point. Just as there are real complications when someone desires to leave a polygamous relationship, there are complicated issues when someone tries to leave a homosexual marriage. Which one is entitled to the so-called ‘spousal benefits’ that typically favor the wife in a hetero marriage? What is the heirarchy of custodial privilege if there is a child–or several children–in the homosexual marriage. Womb rights? Primary care rights? Sperm rights?

    And this is a sub-point, but just as it isn’t fair to open discussion to equate homosexuals with pedophiles, I believe it isn’t truly appropriate to equate ‘consensual sex’ with ‘committed relationship’. Some consensual sex is within the confines of a committed relationship but I believe the jury is still out on whether that’s the norm.

  • Ann

    Regarding the criminalization of any behavior / action – doesn’t the law have to intervene if the actions of an individual has a negative effect on another? I know it is a fine line sometimes as to what constitutes a negative effect, however, that will probably be an ongoing debate and change according to the the generations and times as it always has.

  • Mary

    Spousal benefits have shifted over the years to be more equitable to both partners. Currently, the shift in income earners from husband to wife has been pronounced with the job losses in typically male industries – construction and middle managment to name two. Deciding how to divide marriage property, children and financial responsibilities is no more difficult in a gay union than a straight one.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    neither legalization nor criminalization ought to be in the hands of the government.

    I agree, but you do realize he was talking about both homosexuality AND heterosexuality, right?

    Warren,

    I want moral decisions made based on personal conscience. Coerced righteousness is no righteousness at all

    Amen!

  • Eddy

    I agree, but you do realize he was talking about both homosexuality AND heterosexuality, right?

    Yes, I do. What’s your point? :-)

  • David Blakeselee

    “Coerced Righteousness” is the essence of public law…as a moral vacuum exists in the mind of a perpetrator…we coerce righteousness to protect unlikely victims.

    We are arguing, however, which moral acts the government has the right to coerce.

  • Jayhuck

    “Coerced Righteousness” is the essence of public law

    Not necessarily – I think we are talking about morality outside of personal religious beliefs. Religious beliefs do not necessarily equate to what we might consider moral!

  • Jayhuck

    I think Warren was talking about Righteousness as its understood within a particular religious context – not that righteousness that is secular – even though there might be and often is some overlap

  • Eddy

    Mary–

    I’m not sure I agree with your conclusion that it’s no more complicated legally to sort out the results of a gay marriage…especially when I cited the issue of the children involved. I believe I stated mine in the form of unique questions that need to be addressed; you stated yours as a fact. Can you link to anything that supports that? I will admit that it isn’t something I’ve studied in any depth. My conclusions are largely based on a few topics on this blog and observations of several gay friends with children and speculation as to what might happen if their union didn’t last.

    I was comparing those complications to that of polygamy. Is your conclusion that the dissolution of a polygamous marriage is more complicated, as a rule, than the dissolution of a homosexual marriage? If so, can you cite in what ways? (My hunch is that since a polygamous marriage is not sanctioned by the state, we are all speculating as to the difficulties of a legal disentanglement. How do you legally disentangle something that wasn’t legally sanctioned in the first place? I’m only guessing that the first wife is the only one with legal entitlements…although a subsequent wife, since the marriage itself isn’t legally sanctioned, would hold the trump card with respect to custody of the children she bore.)

    Weird afterthought. Are there any polygamous situations where it’s a wife with multiple husbands?

  • David Blakeselee

    excuse me “likely victims.”

    How about we add laws relating to financial manipulation (gambling on the street); pyramid schemes, “same day loans.”

    These are all entered into by consenting adults.

  • Ann

    Religious beliefs do not necessarily equate to what we might consider moral!

    Aren’t The Ten Commandments the foundation for basic moral beliefs and aren’t they considered religious?

  • Ann

    Weird afterthought. Are there any polygamous situations where it’s a wife with multiple husbands?

    I would consider this a very interesting afterthought.

  • Jayhuck

    How about we add laws relating to financial manipulation (gambling on the street); pyramid schemes, “same day loans.”

    I’m not exactly sure where you are going with this, but you know it would be easy to make an argument that Religion is harmful and should be regulated – I don’t believe it in any way should but there are plenty ” victims” of religion – presently and in the past

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    I said do not necessarily equate, I did not say never – I said there was overlap – that’s where the 10 commandments fit in

  • Eddy

    I’m assuming David was adding to the following that was posted last evening.

    Can you think of a public order crime (to use the euphemism) which we all accept? Might be good to start with an example.

    drugs, prostitution…public drunkenness…Minor in Possession of alcohol (18-20 year old)…polygamy…

    If David is indeed adding to a list of ‘public order crimes’ that ‘we all accept’, then religion would really stretch the definition of a ‘public order crime’ since it has not yet earned crime status here in the US.

    Before someone takes exception to ‘that we all accept’…there are crimes which a large percentage of us would feel obliged to report or attempt to stop: burglary, rape, arson, assault. The crimes David cited are those that we know exist…that we sometimes witness…but we tend to dismiss as ‘none of our business’ (unless it moves into our neighborhood or the house next door).

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    I’m not exactly sure where you are going with this, but you know it would be easy to make an argument that Religion is harmful and should be regulated – I don’t believe it in any way should but there are plenty ” victims” of religion – presently and in the past

    This is a completely worthy observation and I am glad you made it. There are some laws on the books which restrict some religious practices and require certain kinds of financial records and limit political speech.

    These laws are written to protect the weak and vulnerable consenting adults from religious exploitation.

    I believe gay rights should be argued from the same position as religious rights…as the experience is subjective, personal and highly aligned with identity.

  • David Blakeslee

    Religion is regulated more severely in China, Russia many Muslim countries as well. Religious expression by public officials is regulated in various Western Democracies. Religious expression is regulated in France, in the public schools.

    These are a collection of examples that Warren has asked for…and I believe Eddy has been trying to identify in this rightly heated outrage over the death penalty for Gays in Uganda.

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren is wrong to assume that polygamy hurts women…polygamy can work both ways, men with multiple female partners and women with multiple male partners. All consenting adults.

  • Jayhuck

    These laws are written to protect the weak and vulnerable consenting adults from religious exploitation.

    I believe gay rights should be argued from the same position as religious rights…as the experience is subjective, personal and highly aligned with identity.

    I don’t see a problem with this, as long as we include heterosexual rights in this equation. It is subjective, personal and aligned with identity, and there are exploitive heterosexuals?

  • Eddy

    David–

    Is this a concept of ‘polygamy’ as ‘having multiple partners’ as opposed to ‘being married to multiple partners’? I’m still trying to think if I’ve ever heard of a woman being openly married to several men…the whole picture of shared household, etc.

  • Jayhuck

    Muslim countries as well.

    There are plenty of Muslim countries that are theocracies though, where religion IS the law of the land. You’ve seen what happens there

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    David said:

    Warren is wrong to assume that polygamy hurts women…polygamy can work both ways, men with multiple female partners and women with multiple male partners. All consenting adults.

    I guess it would be partly empirical to prove that but I was only making what I thought was a decent argument. I think sorting all of that out is much more messy than sorting out gay relationships which are serially monogamous.

    I wonder how likely it will ever be that polyandry would catch on.

    and he also said:

    I believe gay rights should be argued from the same position as religious rights…as the experience is subjective, personal and highly aligned with identity.

    Ditto. Said more crisply than I have been saying it, but I agree.

    And yes, on coerced righteousness, I was referring to religious value not civil value. I don’t really care why the greedy man fails to act on his greed when I am walking with money in my pocket on a dark, lonely night. I just want him to avoid hitting me over the head. His failure to act on his wish, if only done because of fear of getting caught earns him little with God (filthy rags I think it is called). I brought that up because the usual impulse to regulate private sexual behavior comes from religious teaching. Take that out and why would you keep two men from kissing in their living room?

  • Ann

    Warren is wrong to assume that polygamy hurts women…polygamy can work both ways, men with multiple female partners and women with multiple male partners. All consenting adults.

    David,

    Have you ever heard of a 12-16 year old young man being forced into a marriage with a 50-60 year old woman within a polygamous community?

  • Eddy

    I don’t see a problem with this, as long as we include heterosexual rights in this equation.

    I agree with this as long as we are including them in the equation without assuming that they are, in all points, identical. Just one example of how they are non-identical. In a straight bar, a man who continues to pursue sexual experience with different female partners is admired by some but disapproved by many. A woman who pursues sexual experience with different partners meets more disapproval and is commonly thought of as a ‘slut’. In a gay bar, the judgement bar seems to be at a different level. I’m not sure if this is a pervasive double standard and am also unsure of how much it affects our rationale going further down the line. (I appreciated what Karen has alluded to several times…not sure how much of my ‘liberal’ thinking comes from being a ‘child of the 60′s’ just as I’m unsure how much of my ‘conservative’ thinking comes from my religious beliefs. It was very weird, in my hippie activist, non-Christian identified days, to admit that I was anti-abortion. I had rejected most of what the church of my youth said about morality, drugs, drink, etc. but couldn’t shake my anti-abortion beliefs even though they were unpopular with my peers. Made me realize that, in the midst of the many moral influences that surrounded me, there seemed to be yet another moral barometer…that of my own heart. That barometer is even more subjective than the others but who knows when sometimes subjective isn’t wrong?)

  • Jayhuck

    I’ll agree with that Eddy, as long as we go a step further and acknowledge that there can be great differences between heterosexual relationships, that gay bars can differ greatly depending on which one you go t, that many gay people, like straight, don’t even go to bars and that often, gay couples and straight couples have more in common than not

  • Mary

    Polyandry – woman with several husbands.

    Eddy – no specific examples. Just an observation that marital separation does not favor the “wife” anymore when it comes to the placement of children.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I think some women in polygamous relationships would argue from personal experience that they aren’t harmed by it. (I almost converted to Mormonism 25 years ago, so I’ve done a good bit of reading about it. But please don’t ask me for current citations; I don’t have them and I don’t have time to look them up.)

    Admittedly, we mainly hear of its more abusive aspects – when the clan partriarch coerces sexual arrangements, for example. But some women do enter into it consensually, and they say that they are well taken care of, appreciate living in close relationship with the other women, etc.

    So, does their personal experience of “no harm” trump our society’s majority opinion that polygamy is harmful and should be outlawed? If not, whay not?

    Much of the argument I read for legalizing/legitimating homosexual and other sexual behavior is almost exclusively based on an argument from personal experience.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, off topic, but is your “clock” for this blog still on EST daylight savings?

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

    Karen: What is the case the private homosexual behavior is harmful to society?

    Are there any arguments against it that cannot be made against heterosexuality outside of marriage on a social basis?

  • Eddy

    I’ll agree with Jayhuck’s one step further with the proviso that the last phrase

    ‘that often, gay couples and straight couples have more in common than not’ also concedes that often they don’t.

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

    Karen – re: the time – apparently not as it is 1:08 here. I will look into it.

  • Eddy

    I’m also in Pennsylvania…it’s 1:11 PM but the time stamp I get for Warren’s recent post is 2:08.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    I am aware of coerced polygamous relationships with minors…awful. Not what I am talking about, but an important point to make.

    @ Warren and anyone else who will listen,

    The genetic argument and the animal model argument for normalizing homosexuality is weak at best…it is the one that has bit put forth first by the sciences and then by advocacy groups with the greatest energy…but the data itself, over time, has significantly weakened the arguement…

    During that time a whole group of SSA have sought to understand the meaning and origins of their SSA and have, unfortunately, authoritatively internalized these arguments that are significantly flawed in their logic and science.

    Making the world safe for SSA folks is paramount…honoring their search about how to understand their SSA is important…as we move out of junk science and advocacy based science…helping people have as many accurate facts as possible is the kindest thing we can do.

    Genetic determinism and animal models have been highly deceptive; as has the global promises of reparative therapy.

  • David All

    CT’s strangely vague editorial is a prime example of Western Political Correctness in action. So guilt stricken by past bigotry, the PC liberal is afraid to criticize any action no matter how outragous by a Noble People of Color, especially if they are Black. This idealogical rigidity results in the PC liberal accepting behavior from non-Whites that he would never accept and rightly denounce as bigotry when done by his fellow Whites. The failure by CT to clearly criticize the proposal to outlaw homosexuality in Uganda is one such example of this PC Double Think double standard.

  • Eddy

    David All–

    Your railing confused me and I had to re-read it a second time to find out what was so offbase about it. Your statements are widely accepted truisms but throughout you were railing about PC liberals but in the end did a twist…you see, as far as I know, CT has rarely been qualified as ‘liberal’. It kinda pulls the punch from the rest of your allegation.

  • Ann

    I am aware of coerced polygamous relationships with minors…awful. Not what I am talking about, but an important point to make.

    David,

    So sorry – after reading your post again, and with a more open mind, I see the point you were trying to make. Polygamous relationships are not always confined to coerced adult/minor sex or just men with multiple wives.

  • Ann

    Making the world safe for SSA folks is paramount…honoring their search about how to understand their SSA is important…as we move out of junk science and advocacy based science…helping people have as many accurate facts as possible is the kindest thing we can do.

    David,

    Do you think we ARE moving out of junk science and advocacy based science?

  • Pam

    I linked here from CT and want to thank everyone for this good discussion and trying to be civil. I have become increasingly convinced that homosexuality has become one of the target/popular sins of our day (abortion is also right up there) that Christians too often are tempted to step over the line in terms of wanting to publicly condemn the sinner and/or legislate it away. As mentioned in some posts, we do not have this same fervor when it comes to sins like divorce or adultry, which are widescale occurences (unlike polygamy) and also cause real physical, emotional, and eonomic harm to innocent parties. Actually, I’m not convinced that homosexuality is a sin, but that is a topic for another day.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    I think we are turning a ship very slowly…

    It is possible, that it is too late; that the doors will be shut after the horse is out of the barn.

    That is why I think religious values are protected…they respect the right of a person to choose a belief system regardless of the facts…

    And, I think SSA and identification according to one’s attractions, can be based on sensations, real facts and false facts…just like religion.

    It is likely that junk science will persist…it is seductive and fun and provocative. It will always feed “man bites dog” storyline, whether from GLSEN or NARTH.

    I am encouraged by the recent APA panel affirming self-determination. I am encouraged by BTB values on monogomy in human pairing and attempts to get the facts right. I am encouraged by some of NARTH’s movement away from some odd contributors. I am encouraged by Exodus’ repetitive efforts to improve their message and associations. I am greatly encouraged about Warren’s site.

    I am not encouraged about GLSEN…or the HRC.

  • David Blakeslee

    Oops, you know your in trouble communicating when you start mixing your metaphors…

  • Charles Thomas

    I agree with Warren that moral decisions should be made based on personal conscience,but would add to this that personal concience be informed by reason,facts,and consideration for the rights of others.But to force a person to act contrary to his own moral values and his own independent perception and judgement of reality,is tantamount to an act of spiritual violence against that person.

  • Jayhuck

    The genetic argument and the animal model argument for normalizing homosexuality is weak at best

    Only as much as it is for heterosexuality – animal models can only speak so much to human interactions – LOL

  • Jayhuck

    That is why I think religious values are protected…

    First Amendment?

  • Eddy

    Only as much as it is for heterosexuality – animal models can only speak so much to human interactions – LOL

    Once again, Jayhuck tries to equate homosexuality and heterosexuality in all ways (see his use of ‘only as much’) completely overlooking that David’s comment spoke directly to using these arguments to justify ‘normalization’. In reality, it can’t be ‘only as much’ since heterosexuality does not need to be normalized…it’s been the norm throughout history.

    Beyond that, though, while the debate over the’normalization continues, even Jayhuck admits here that the efficacy of animal models to fully explain or justify any human interactions is rather limited. It appears he was attempting to counter David’s point but, in the process, he supported it instead. Much appreciated.

    Was this another pithy one liner?

    First Amendment?

    Maybe I’m reading into this one, but it appears that Jayhuck is trying to poke at David’s argument. But David simply said:

    That is why I think religious values are protected…they respect the right of a person to choose a belief system regardless of the facts…

    I have a hard time believing that Jayhuck is really asking where the protection David spoke of is found. Even for someone who doesn’t know where that protection is granted, it’s one of the easiest Google searches I can imagine. If Jayhuck was asking this on behalf of the unenlightened, rather than asking David to further refine his comment to mention where those rights are protected, this would have been a good place to demonstrate good will…’for those of you who don’t know where this freedom is granted, see the First Amendment to our Constitution’.

    If Jayhuck is indeed raising some valid objection, I believe productive conversation suggests that he state those objections and make a case for his point rather than make us all ask something that he asks others, “What’s the point?”

    (There were a few other comments in my inbox this morning–the joys of subscribing to a post–but I don’t see them here yet. I don’t know if they are stuck in moderation or if they got moderated. In any event, I won’t respond unless or until they appear.)

  • David Blakeselee

    @ Charles Thomas,

    But to force a person to act contrary to his own moral values and his own independent perception and judgement of reality,is tantamount to an act of spiritual violence against that person.

    Criminal and Civil law are created to protect us from the impaired perceptions and judgment of others. We are rightly creating “spiritual violence” against a person whose perceptions and judgment would allow them to exploit.

    This leads to an interesting possible discussion:

    The value in the West on the individual and identity, I believe this is a third century AD idea (a worthy one, I might add)

    vs.

    The value in many other places on the person’s fit in the larger culture, an older idea (tribal, communitarian).

    Are criminal and civil law attempts to codify the rights of the individual within the context of the needs of the community (in essence a never ending balancing act)?

    Probably getting esoteric.

  • David Blakeselee

    @ Jayhuck,

    Again you make a very good point…animal models for human sexuality generally break down…that is why they are a poor support for homosexuality.

    But to look at how they break down for heterosexuals: for many in the animal kingdom, love and sex are not combined. For many in the animal kingdom, promiscuity is adaptive. For many in the animal kingdom, monogamy has not appeal. For many in the animal kingdom, offspring become independent so quickly that only minimal parenting (weeks, months, maybe a year) is required.

    Animal models for human sexuality have strongly eroded centuries of moral taboos that made the world safer for children and for women. The naive, optimistic and open-minded application of such models by scientists to human sexual pair bonding has been a boon for a capitalistic culture that can leverage sexual excited into sales.

    Heterosexuals and homosexuals have been lied to for the last 60 years using animal models to promote harmful variances in human sexuality.

  • David Blakeselee

    cf Bonobo monkeys who, when frightened, engage in discriminant sexual stimulation of each other (regardless of age or sex).

    Using this as a model for homosexual relationships ignores so much about what the Bonobo’s do; and how odd it is in the animal kingdom as a coping strategy for fear (masturbation is a much more common behavior as a form of soothing; but even more is comforting and cuddling in the animal kingdom).

    Odd ideas are out their by propagandists on all sides: Kinsey was the first and most effective, and proved that if you operate outside your areas of expertise you can write scientifically sounding rubbish.

  • David Blakeselee

    ‘indiscriminate”

  • Ann

    David,

    What part does instinct play in human sexuality?

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I think you’re missing the point when it comes to animal models and homosexuality though. Examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom have only been used to show that it does occur in nature, that it is “natural” – this was used to counter arguments that were initiated by anti-gay folk who said it was unnatural – that is all. I’m all for realizing the obvious limits of such models but not for ignoring the reason they were used regarding homosexuality, or for jumping off on a tangent about how such models may or may not have been used to promote “harmful variances” of sexuality, which homosexuality is not – anymore than heterosexuality is anyway :)

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Just because animal models are imperfect does not mean they don’t have their uses – animal models are used to support heterosexuality all the time -

  • Jayhuck

    Beyond that, though, while the debate over the’normalization continues,

    What debate over normalization? Are we continuing to debate something that is already decided? And what in the world do you mean by “normal” – it would be helpful to define these terms. Obviously homosexuality has existed throughout history as well, and in some places, including the U.S. homosexuals have been persecuted for who they are and normalization has been slow to come, but there are places in time where homosexuality has been “normal” or accepted, not just tolerated, if that is a better word

  • Jayhuck

    There are many groups/races and even pairings that have been persecuted throughout history because they have not been considered the norm or because they have been seen as different – If I’m emphasizing the similarities between heterosexuals and homosexuals it is to make people realize that they exist and because when we try to make a disenfranchised minority like homosexuals be seen as different, or other, it is easier to continue to justify intolerance, prejudice, inequality, etc… – not because I do not think that there are differences – there are differences between all minority groups – each often brings with them a culture or subculture if you will

  • Ann

    Examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom have only been used to show that it does occur in nature, that it is “natural” – this was used to counter arguments that were initiated by anti-gay folk who said it was unnatural

    Silly me – I almost forgot that having a different perspective and discussing it in a civil way made one anti-gay. Thanks Jayhuck for reminding us of that.

  • Eddy

    What debate over normalization?

    The one you answered to. David said:

    The genetic argument and the animal model argument for normalizing homosexuality is weak at best

    You replied:

    Only as much as it is for heterosexuality – animal models can only speak so much to human interactions – LOL

    Are you troubled by my use of the word ‘debate’ rather than ‘argument for’?

    What in the world do I mean by ‘normal’…by ‘normalization’? Since I used the term ‘norm’ also, I’ll toss that one in for free.

    Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual

    Normalization: to make or establish as normal

    Norm: a standard model or pattern

    Like it or not, heterosexuality is the ‘usual’. Homosexuality, celibacy and even ex-gay are not the ‘usual’.

    Discussions about whether homosexuality should be considered ‘usual’ or ‘standard’ seem to fit the definition of ‘normalization’. The same would apply to discussions of celibacy or ex-gayness.

    Homosexuality is a model of a form of sexual expression, however, it is not the ‘standard model or pattern’. Neither are celibacy or ex-gayness.

    You seem to think the words are ‘charged’ somehow; I simply find them to be descriptive. My apologies for that. When you answered to the term ‘normalization’ without objection when David used it, I assumed that that term and it’s relatives were appropriate. If you can offer other terms to substitute for these that would be beneficial to the type of discussions we have here, I am certainly open to your constructive suggestions.

  • Jayhuck

    Like it or not, heterosexuality is the ‘usual’. Homosexuality, celibacy and even ex-gay are not the ‘usual’.

    If those are the working definitions then I would agree with, but there are other definitions of normal – Using these being African American, Asian, etc in this country would not be seen as normal either.

    That homosexuality is a normal variation of sexuality has already been decided – whether or not it should be considered normal seems like a different discussion.

  • Jayhuck

    Normal can also mean; free from mental disorder, natural, of natural occurrence, etc

  • Eddy

    There are many groups/races and even pairings that have been persecuted throughout history because they have not been considered the norm or because they have been seen as different

    I believe most, if not all, of us here agree with this but thanks for the reminder. I’m sure we’ll be discussing historical persecution and present day bullying again in the future as we have in the past. At the moment, though, it’s tangential to the conversation. The folks engaged in this dialog are predominantly against the proposed bill. Most of them have spoken out clearly against persecution and bullying. For that reason, I’m not sure what your point is?

    It seems to be that this conversation, in and of itself, is inappropriate. Karen resurrected it somewhat explaining that she’s trying to sort out her own thoughts on the matter…trying to sift through whatever biases she might have from her ‘wild days’ and from her Christian beliefs. Is your point that she must accept your point of view whole and not explore the issue of potential bias?

  • Eddy

    Normal can also mean; free from mental disorder, natural, of natural occurrence, etc

    Yes, I’m well aware of that. That’s why I further explained my usage by using the term ‘norm’…a word you yourself used in a subsequent post.

    Please, either come up with some other terms or provide some substance to your nitpicking over word choices. Sometimes the picking is justified (i.e. ‘change’, ‘freedom’); in this instance, I believe I was speaking quite clearly and elaborated where necessary.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck

    Examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom have only been used to show that it does occur in nature, that it is “natural” – this was used to counter arguments that were initiated by anti-gay folk who said it was unnatural – that is all.

    understood…But this is a simplification of the argument. Using animal behavior as models for human sexuality mostly preceded gay vs. “anti-gay” arguments. It was first applied to heterosexuals.

    Just because animal models are imperfect does not mean they don’t have their uses – animal models are used to support heterosexuality all the time -

    I think if you read my comment above you see I have made a very similar argument…saying animal models are imperfect is an understatement…they are often poor…for heterosexuals (Remember the March of the Penguins and ‘fatherhood?’).

  • David Blakeslee

    I am regretting using the word normalization…Sorry Jayhuck.

  • Jayhuck

    This is the reason I offered those additional definitions:

    If you can offer other terms to substitute for these that would be beneficial to the type of discussions we have here, I am certainly open to your constructive suggestions.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I think if you read my comment above you see I have made a very similar argument…saying animal models are imperfect is an understatement…they are often poor…for heterosexuals (Remember the March of the Penguins and ‘fatherhood?’).

    I don’t know that I would go so far as to use the word “poor” – I suppose it would depend on how and why we were using the animal models – but generally I agree with you :)

  • Eddy

    LOL. In response to this request

    If you can offer other terms to substitute for these that would be beneficial to the type of discussions we have here

    Jayhuck says “This is the reason I offered those additional definitions“.

    Does anyone besides me understand the very clear difference between a term and a definition? Isn’t the term the convenient short form of the definition? Why then when I’m asking for a term we can useto expedite discussion am I referred to definitions…plural?

    What can I conclude but that, when it’s someone from my side talking, they must define every term they use, even if they’ve qualified it with standard english modifiers and further explain all the things they don’t mean. I’ll buy into that but only if his side also is compelled to over-explain every phrase, term or nuance that they use and what they don’t mean by it. (Hmmm…this should reduce the occurrence of those short wham/bam one sentence pithy comments and might actually encourage substantive replies.)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I wasn’t able to read or post last night because of Ash Wednesday – Lent church service and other commitments, so just catching up now.

    Charles writes

    I agree with Warren that moral decisions should be made based on personal conscience,but would add to this that personal concience be informed by reason,facts,and consideration for the rights of others.But to force a person to act contrary to his own moral values and his own independent perception and judgement of reality,is tantamount to an act of spiritual violence against that person.

    It would help me a whole lot in the discussion if we would distinguish between general morals and sexual morals when we’r posting.

    If Charles is talking about general morals in his above quote, then I just don’t buy it. We “force” people to act contrary to their own (general) moral values all the time. One need only think of lying, cheating, stealing and killing to agree to that.

    If we’re talking about sexual morals, then let’s try to say that clearly.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    After reading through the posts since last night, it seems to me that the discussion has gone down some non-tangential paths. That’s OK, of course, but I don’t find them helpful to the initial issues I raised. I’m going to try to summarize how my thinking about criminalization/legalization has developed over the course of this conversation and try to post something tonight or tomorrow.

    I really do thank everyone who’s been part of this. It’s been for me one of the best blog conversations ever.

  • David Blakeslee

    Far Afield…

    to return to Karen’s and Eddy’s conversation: there are many ways in which a culture impedes the freedom of its citizen through civil and criminal law. Western Democracies have a wide variance in this regard.

  • Mary

    Since Hamurabi – it’s just an ongoing process and refinement and change. It is difficult enough to manage a business – let alone a society of 300 million.

  • David Blakeslee

    :) .

    Thank you Mary.

  • Jayhuck

    I realized after I sent that last post on definitions for the word normal that you were talking about using different terms – but I didn’t have time to address that. My apologies!

  • Jayhuck

    Karen,

    Much of the argument I read for legalizing/legitimating homosexual and other sexual behavior is almost exclusively based on an argument from personal experience.

    Homosexuality is already legal in this country – were you referring to places like Uganda?

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Making the world safe for SSA folks is paramount…honoring their search about how to understand their SSA is important…

    I know you meant well by this, but it comes across to me as very patronizing/condescending. As if you are saying, those poor misguided people, we need to keep them safe, but we definitely shouldn’t afford them the same rights I have.

    There is a GOOD chance I’ve misread what you wrote, so I’m hoping you can clarify. Its not that I think safety for homosexual people is a bad goal, but it seems as if the gay civil rights movement has moved beyond that issue in many ways and is working on/discussing other things now.

    I’m sorry David, I’m just not sure what you meant.

  • Jayhuck

    I have = we have

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I ran across this video today by accident and thought it a bit pertinent to some of the things we discussed here earlier – as Ryan said its a little silly and shouldn’t be used for legitimate debate, but its “fun” :)

    Gay Animals

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    Safety issue was focused on the ‘world’ and therefore the goings on in Uganda.

  • Jayhuck

    Thanks David!

  • Charles Thomas

    All due respect Karen,but I think you took my comment out of context.I specifically said that decisions made on personal conscience should be informed by reason,facts,and consideration of the rights of others.A person who resorts to lying,cheating,stealing or killing to obtain a value is obviously not taking into account the rights of others,and neither is such a person acting in accordance with the dictates of reason.Even the most degenerate criminal does not call lying,cheating stealing and killing “moral values”.When the law punishes someone for stealing or killing,it isn’t punishing him for his moral values,but for violating the rights of other people as a means of obtaining what he values.

    When I say it is wrong for society to force a person to act contrary to his moral values,I simply mean that is is wrong to attempt to force a person value what he doesn’t value,to believe in a religion he doesn’t believe,to prefer the color green,when he actually prefers blue, to marry within his own race,when he’d rather marry a person of a different race, to like a particular music he doesn’t like,to force him to study medicine when he’d rather study law.

    The same principle applies to a society which attempts to force a person to love the opposite sex when in reality he loves the members of his own sex.

  • Eddy

    I can see where cheating, stealing and killing always transgress the rights of another but I’m not sure we can say the same about lying. I can lie and tell you that I was once a finalist on American Idol. What rights of yours did that transgress? Do we still disapprove of it?

    I’m involved in a situation currently where a person who frequents a place I hang out makes claims to medals, awards, honors…to being a Green Beret. The buzz surrounding this person is sizable and absolutely none of it is favorable. The conclusion: if it’s not true, he is a Loser with a capital L. But I’m hard-pressed to find anyone who is truly a victim of the tales he tells. I can’t find a soul whose rights he’s trampled on.

    I do believe this is a good talking point but I did want to point out that lying doesn’t rise to the level of the rest of the offenses and yet……

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Karen writes …

    “Much of the argument I read for legalizing/legitimating homosexual and other sexual behavior is almost exclusively based on an argument from personal experience.”

    Homosexuality is already legal in this country – were you referring to places like Uganda?

    No, Jayhuck, I was referring to any of the general discussion I have read. That would also include the discussion about criminalization. My perception is that both discussions predominantly included arguments based from personal experience (not the one making the arguments, but the personal experience of LGBT people.) Hope this helps to clarify.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Charles Thomas, thanks for the clarification, and Eddy, thanks for the response.

    Lying is a completely acceptable practice, and even somewhat applauded, within certain cultures – among some places I’ve visited in the mideast, for one example. As long as it’s not practiced on friends and family, it’s perfectly legit. And I know some political and religious feminists who believe the same thing. Anything’s fair and just as long as you take down the “patriarchy.”

    Even cheating and stealing are becoming increasingly accepted in Western culture. The February issue of Christianity Today featured a quote by a parish priest in York, England, that “urged the poor to steal from ‘large national businesses” … rather than from family-run stores.” (Really glad I’m not sitting under his spiritual authority, such as it is.)

    I’m trying not to make the same moral compromises as I continue to think through these issues of criminalization/legalization of sexual behavior.

  • Christian Lawyer

    Karen, you raised a good question about the criminalization issue. I understood you to be saying that you thought decriminalization had been a recent change and the fact that it was recent was of significance to the analysis you were developing. To the extent your views on the recency of the changes in the law were based on the statement in the CT article that “punitive laws against homosexuality were valid and enforced in the U.S. until June 2003, when they were invalidated by the Supreme Court” and that there had been an “extremely recent change in America’s mood,” you may want to look at the history of the law set out by the US Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, which clearly contradicts CT’s assertion on a number grounds:

    Laws prohibiting sodomy do not seem to have been enforced against consenting adults acting in private. A substantial number of sodomy prosecutions and convictions for which there are surviving records were for predatory acts against those who could not or did not consent, as in the case of a minor or the victim of an assault. As to these, one purpose for the prohibitions was to ensure there would be no lack of coverage if a predator committed a sexual assault that did not constitute rape as defined by the criminal law. … Instead of targeting relations between consenting adults in private, 19th-century sodomy prosecutions typically involved relations between men and minor girls or minor boys, relations between adults involving force, relations between adults implicating disparity in status, or relations between men and animals.

    To the extent that there were any prosecutions for the acts in question, 19th-century evidence rules imposed a burden that would make a conviction more difficult to obtain even taking into account the problems always inherent in prosecuting consensual acts committed in private. Under then-prevailing standards, a man could not be convicted of sodomy based upon testimony of a consenting partner, because the partner was considered an accomplice. A partner’s testimony, however, was admissible if he or she had not consented to the act or was a minor, and therefore incapable of consent. … The rule may explain in part the infrequency of these prosecutions. In all events that infrequency makes it difficult to say that society approved of a rigorous and systematic punishment of the consensual acts committed in private and by adults. The longstanding criminal prohibition of homosexual sodomy upon which the Bowers decision placed such reliance is as consistent with a general condemnation of nonprocreative sex as it is with an established tradition of prosecuting acts because of their homosexual character.

    The policy of punishing consenting adults for private acts was not much discussed in the early legal literature. We can infer that one reason for this was the very private nature of the conduct. Despite the absence of prosecutions, there may have been periods in which there was public criticism of homosexuals as such and an insistence that the criminal laws be enforced to discourage their practices. But far from possessing “ancient roots,” Bowers, 478 U. S., at 192, American laws targeting same-sex couples did not develop until the last third of the 20th century. The reported decisions concerning the prosecution of consensual, homosexual sodomy between adults for the years 1880-1995 are not always clear in the details, but a significant number involved conduct in a public place. …

    It was not until the 1970′s that any State singled out same-sex relations for criminal prosecution, and only nine States have done so. …

    The 25 States with laws prohibiting the relevant conduct referenced in the Bowers decision are reduced now to 13, of which 4 enforce their laws only against homosexual conduct. In those States where sodomy is still proscribed, whether for same-sex or heterosexual conduct, there is a pattern of nonenforcement with respect to consenting adults acting in private. The State of Texas admitted in 1994 that as of that date it had not prosecuted anyone under those circumstances.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=02-102

  • Jayhuck

    Lying is a completely acceptable practice, and even somewhat applauded, within certain cultures – among some places I’ve visited in the mideast, for one example. As long as it’s not practiced on friends and family, it’s perfectly legit. And I know some political and religious feminists who believe the same thing. Anything’s fair and just as long as you take down the “patriarchy.”

    But lying is not always a bad thing either. It isn’t always helpful to be brutally honest with people depending on their situation, emotional state, etc. I can think of at least a few examples where lying might be the kinder more benevolent thing to do

  • David Blakeselee

    Thank you Christian Lawyer.

    Very thorough, helpful and timely.

    It amazes me, continually, how inaccurate and inflammatory media articles are and how unhelpful they can be in understanding the law.

  • Jayhuck

    Karen,

    Even cheating and stealing are becoming increasingly accepted in Western culture.

    Cheating and stealing have always been a part, as it were, of Western culture – sometimes a big part – to say that these things are increasingly accepted would require some proof. Stealing from the rich or powerful to give to the poor is hardly a new idea

  • Ann

    In those States where sodomy is still proscribed, whether for same-sex or heterosexual conduct, there is a pattern of nonenforcement with respect to consenting adults acting in private. The State of Texas admitted in 1994 that as of that date it had not prosecuted anyone under those circumstances.

    As it should be – IMHO. I also think the resistance for equal rights is enmeshed and confused with accepting a different set of moral beliefs. One can exist without the other. When coercion enters the equasion, resistance remains.

  • Eddy

    Not sure how tangential we are being here but I just discovered an interesting article on Cheating, Lying and Everyday Morality at http://www.collegevalues.com.

    For the study, we designed a structured journal assessing moral behavior, reasoning, and emotions, as well as contextual information (such as when, where, and with whom the experience took place). We found that students had an average of one moral experience every third day. The experiences commonly centered on issues pertaining to friendship, academic dishonesty, sexuality, property, and alcohol and drugs. In terms of moral reasoning, we found that students most often used an Ethic of Autonomy (focusing on considerations pertaining to an individual). However, they also quite often invoked the Ethic of Community (focusing on group considerations). Use of the Ethic of Divinity (focusing on spiritual and religious considerations) was rare.

    I don’t believe this answers all, or even most, of our burning questions but I appreciated the framework…especially the guiding ‘Ethics’ cited in the quoted paragraph. (Note: the website appears to have a Catholic connection and I’m not sure if the population they studied already had a strong affinity or rooting in morality. LOL. I found it odd ‘that students had an average of one moral experience every third day.’ I would have guessed, particularly at college age, that students would encounter several moral experiences per day)

  • Jayhuck

    I also think the resistance for equal rights is enmeshed and confused with accepting a different set of moral beliefs. One can exist without the other. When coercion enters the equasion, resistance remains.

    I absolutely agree Ann!

  • Eddy

    Ann–

    I also think the resistance for equal rights is enmeshed and confused with accepting a different set of moral beliefs. One can exist without the other. When coercion enters the equasion, resistance remains.

    Well said. Earlier in this conversation, Karen and I touched on a possible hidden sense in ‘legalization’…that it isn’t just seen as the removal of criminal status but that it’s often interpreted as endorsement. This is likely, IMHO, a key factor in the resistance of conservatives. Many, for good or for bad, seem to have a strong caution re ‘where is this leading’?

    Thoroughly agree with your conclusion. Anti-smoking commercials always left me with a hankering to light up!

  • Ann

    Earlier in this conversation, Karen and I touched on a possible hidden sense in ‘legalization’…that it isn’t just seen as the removal of criminal status but that it’s often interpreted as endorsement. This is likely, IMHO, a key factor in the resistance of conservatives. Many, for good or for bad, seem to have a strong caution re ‘where is this leading’?

    Eddy,

    Always good to read your posts – yes, I saw the exchange with you and Karen and agree.

  • Michael Bussee

    a possible hidden sense in ‘legalization’…that it isn’t just seen as the removal of criminal status but that it’s often interpreted as endorsement. This is likely, IMHO, a key factor in the resistance of conservatives.

    The worry about being “interpreted as endorsement” — the same “resistance” that many “conservatives” may have about speaking out against bullying of gays, or of participating in the Day of Silence, or of alienating their friends by taking a strong stand against the law in Uganda. God forbid that anyone should wrongly assume they “endorse” homosexuality.

  • David Blakeslee

    …or pot smoking

    …or gambling

    …divorce.

    All, normal and common human behaviors that moralists have trouble with.

  • Michael Bussee

    David: have to admit it. I have always had trouble with “moralists” — people who seek to regulate the moral standards and behavior of others — who then seem “resistant” to speaking out against the immoral treatment of others for fear of being “interpreted” as “endorsing” their “immorality”. IMHO, that’s the definition of moral cowardice.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    …or pot smoking

    This is an interesting one though – I can’t put my finger on it at the moment, but there was a study that came out recently showing that marijuana is “less-harmful” than alcohol – IF that’s true, the question I would begin asking is why is alcohol legal and marijuana illegal? Actually, I think I know several reasons why, but I can see, at least in this instance, why people might struggle with this issue.

  • Ann

    The worry about being “interpreted as endorsement” — the same “resistance” that many “conservatives” may have about speaking out against bullying of gays, or of participating in the Day of Silence, or of alienating their friends by taking a strong stand against the law in Uganda. God forbid that anyone should wrongly assume they “endorse” homosexuality.

    Michael,

    The examples you cited, seem to me, to be human rights. Defending human rights does not equate to being in moral agreement with them. Endorsing or not endorsing homosexuality is an individual choice – defending human rights is an individual responsibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: I know personally of conservative ministers who refused to bury AIDS victims for fear of being seen as “endorsing the gay lifestyle”. Now, some are worried about being “mis-interpreted” if they come out cleary and officially against killing gays, imprisoning them or forcing “therapy” upon them.

  • Ann

    I know personally of conservative ministers who refused to bury AIDS victims for fear of being seen as “endorsing the gay lifestyle”. Now, some are worried about being “mis-interpreted” if they come out cleary and officially against killing gays, imprisoning them or forcing “therapy” upon them.

    Michael,

    Yes, I remember the the story you are referring to and still find it unconscienable. Like I said above – defending human rights is the morally responsible thing to do even if it is not in line with our personal moral code. I cannot endorse homosexuality as my personal moral code, nor would I encourage it on any level, however, I will openly defend the human rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness) of all people and then step away and allow their conscience and personal beliefs to guide them when it comes to how or if they choose to have sex with another consenting adult.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck

    …alcohol.

    See prohibition.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: Although we disagree on the morality of homosexuality, I wish I could make billions of copies of the rest of your attitude. Thanks.

  • Eddy

    Yes, Michael, in a conversation where one of the points of focus is sorting out how much of Karen’s own viewpoints might be impacted by Christian thinking or even by her more liberal ‘early days’, I brought up a attitude that might be lurking in the back of her mind or in the minds of those she seeks to converse with in the demonination she serves. Your post seems to suggest that I didn’t bring it up as something that needed to be reckoned with…

    Lest we forget, part of the conversation that has been going on here, is looking at things that may be impacting our clear assessment of our values or decisions. This concern, that lurks in the hearts and minds of many is one of them. While I agree that one approach is that they simply ‘get over it’, I don’t want to neglect one other option: that gay activists 1) don’t read more into legalization or decriminalization than is there and 2) that perhaps those who are calling upon conservative Christians to jump on their bandwagon could actually speak to those concerns. They could speak to them in two ways. They could say to the conservative Christians, “perhaps you are unaware that the hesitation you can’t quite put your finger on is that you presume that this would lead further down a slippery slope of actually endorsing homosexual behavior”. They could also state clearly what their motives are assuring the hesitant that their goal is to obstruct an atrocity from happening not to impact that culture with some of the ‘endorsement’ type issues we face here.

    In one or two threads running concurrently here all voices are speaking loud and clear in protest of Sempa’s use of pornographic imagery to drum up support for his cause while, here on the homefront, there’s precious little uproar over the verbally pornographic images from the suggested school reading list endorsed by GLSEN under Jennings’ watch. That legitimizes some of the valid concerns over endorsement as opposed to decriminalization.

    Further, some in the conversations we’ve had on the Uganda topic, have expressed strong resistance to talking about those aspects of homosexual behavior that ought to be criminalized. It makes some wonder if there isn’t a further agenda of not only decriminalization but of seeking special privilege or consideration.

    I agree that’s no reason to deprive anyone of their rights but that’s not quite what we’re talking here. We’re talking about a foreign country that few of us know much about. We’re asking people to ‘let their voices be heard’ on this foreign issue…asking them to priortize that over many other issues that social conscience ought to provoke their involvement in. We’re asking people to ‘let their voices be heard’ without assuring them that their voices won’t be exploited to say something more than they intended…i.e. endorsement. Rejecting the validity of that concern demonstrates an indifference or even a contempt for their core belief. That indifference or contempt may even be justified…but…the focus here is on encouraging their involvement. Expressions of that indifference or contempt ONLY works against the stated goal.

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes. You read me right. I do have “contempt” for moral hypocrisy and moral cowardice. I have NO patience for those who are perfectly willing to decry the “sinfulness” of homosexuality while being “resistant” to taking a clear and official stand against death, prison or forced “treatment” — for fear they might be seen as “endorsing” the “gay lifestyle” or that they might “alienate” their friends.

    NONE.

  • Eddy

    Oh, they might be willing to take such a stand…if they could be shown a way of doing so that wouldn’t bring them into association with such virulent contempt. But, the truth is, it’s kind of complicated for your average person to figure out how they might have a voice in the operations of a foreign government when they scarcely feel like they have a voice in their own. When they see and hear the rage behind your words, it stifles whatever motivation they might have to figure out a way to have impact.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    See prohibition.

    Oh yes – I know – I think something similar is going on with marijuana right now

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    here on the homefront, there’s precious little uproar over the verbally pornographic images from the suggested school reading list endorsed by GLSEN under Jennings’ watch. That legitimizes some of the valid concerns over endorsement as opposed to decriminalization.

    Would you mind elaborating on this? I don’t know anything about this reading list. Much of literature is rife with what some might consider “verbal pornography”.

  • Eddy

    I’m about to head out for the evening. But I’m pretty sure if you search “Jennings” in Warren’s handy dandy search box, it should come up readily. I’m thinking the “Jennings” main topic should be dated in late September or early October but that the verbal porn concern would come up in one or more of my comments…and I’m thinking the comments re the verbal porn were made in November or December.

    LOL. As I type this, I’m trying to thing of an efficient way to google my way to the link that provided the actual quotes out of the recommended materials. If it comes to me, I’ll post again before I head out.

  • Jayhuck

    I did the search – found plenty of conservative blogs, including Michelle Malkin’s, completely up in arms about the list – surprise!

    I also found a statement on the GLSEN Reading List link that states this – something that seems to have been omitted from some of the conservative rantings I read – Including the conservative Washington Times:

    GLSEN states in red type: “All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content. However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at Amazon.com often provide information on mature content.” From the section:

    Honestly, I haven’t read or seen the books – until I have, I’m going to reserve judgement about the content – Has anyone else on here read the books

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Sorry I don’t know how to link. But google “jennings reading list gateway pundit” and the most informative article should be the very first choice. Naturally much of the early part of the article is commentary and background but scroll down a way for a number of actual examples from the books.

  • Michael Bussee

    Oh, they might be willing to take such a stand…if they could be shown a way of doing so that wouldn’t bring them into association with such virulent contempt.

    Boo hoo. They need to buck up. Another example of moral cowardice. Every time you take a stand someone isn’t going to like it.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I found the gateway pundit article, I’m still working my way through it – I also found these:


    Gateway Pundit’s false, rehashed Jennings smears

    There are other Media Matters articles that seem to denounce the articles about Jennings that appear in Gateway Pundit

    What it sounds like to me is a lot of politicking, quotes being taken out of context, 1/2 truths being spread etc – I see this coming from both sides of the debate, but I’m wondering what the truth of the matter really is. I’ll spend more time looking through the list later.

    I mean, a great deal of literature is filled with things of a sexual nature – has anyone read Song of Solomon – aren’t Bibles available in schools? I don’t know, this whole issue just sounds suspect – perhaps there is questionable material in these books, I don’t know – but even if that is the case, it looks like GLSEN made it clear that the books need to be reviewed again before being handed to kids

  • Eddy

    Yeah, no surprise that there was a boatload of conservative reaction, I had to weed through all that when I first heard about this and found ‘gateway pundit’ to actually provide many of the questionable passages.

    I appreciate that GLSEN warns that these materials ought to be pre-screened but if we go back to the example of Sempa’s porn show, would Sempa warning ahead of time that these images may be offensive justify the images he showed. I think we’d still say a loud “NO!”

    One other consideration is that the GLSEN materials are targeted to a younger age group than Sempa’s materials were. On one hand, GLSEN’s material were far less graphic; on the other, they were directed to a younger and more impressionable audience. I recall distinctly that at age 13, even the word ‘naked’ could trigger a tremor ‘down below’…and there’s really nothing sexual about a ‘naked light bulb’.

    I forget whether it was in the recommended reading materials or if it was in a GLSEN presentation where they actually explained what ‘fisting’ was and then went on to a ‘how to’ explanation! I think that runs a close parallel to Sempa’s hardcore imagery.

  • Jayhuck

    Sorry –

    I meant inappropriate material, not just questionable material

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, for example. He made a lot of people mad — on both sides of this issue — by taking a firm stand against this law. So did Rick Warren. Moral backbone. Character. Conscience. I applaud them for it.

    Contrast that with moral courage with the moral wimpiness of equivocation, hesitation and resistance — (1) for fear of making someone angry, or (2) risking that others might misread your objection to this law as “endorsement”, or (3) being afraid of alientating your “friends”. Jesus was willing to take those risks. So should His followers.

    If you don’t clearly and firmly say NO to death, imprisonment or forced “treatment” you are going to have a really hard time convincing gays that you (or God) really do love them and that you have their best interest at heart.

  • Michael Bussee

    GLESN, as far as I know, is not pushing death, imprionment or forced treatment. Apples and oranages. Big bunches of them.

  • Jayhuck

    Thanks for the search tips Eddy! I must have been living in a cave these past few months to miss this Jenning’s controversy

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Thanks for the media matters link. I am encouraged to know that Jennings did speak out against ‘fistgate’ and that folks were disciplined as a result.

    Just as Gateway is going to add a little spin, so will Media Matters. We all know ‘the great polarization’ very well but still, take a look at the actual quotes from the materials. If they aren’t misquotes, there’s still something serious going on. Consider comparing that to heterosexual. Do we recommend reading materials in our junior high schools that portray hetero behavior so graphically?

    Michael-

    No ‘boo hoo’ here. The only emotions that are running in overdrive appear to be yours. Remember, we’re the ones who ‘simply don’t care’ so portraying us as caring enough to ‘boo hoo’ is laughable. And hurling insults and characterizations at the people you want to step up and speak out is, IMHO, foolish, misguided and counterproductive. But, if it makes you feel good…..

    That said. You’ve stated your point and presented your case. I’ve done the same. Engaging with each other further, as we’ve recognized (and forgotten) time and time again is pointless and counterproductive to these dialogues.

    And now, I’ve really got to head out the door as I mentioned to Jayhuck at least a half hour ago.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ya know how strongly many conservatives feel that gay sex is abhorrent, disgusting — immoral? Well, I find their equivocation, hesitation and resistance to stongly and clearly denounce death, imprisonment or forced “treatment” of gays equally so.

    Especially when they cite their fears of being “misunderstood” or losing some friends as their justification for not doing it. It’s cowardly. It’s hypocritical. And I have absolutely no sympathy for it. But I am repeating myself. I agree that trying to get you to feel the same way is indeed pointless.

  • Eddy

    LOL. It’s cold and damp and I think I’ve elected to stay home.

    The Jennings controversy, at least as far as this blogsite is concerned, took a backseat to the Ugandan bill and related issues.

    It’s only connection here is that it’s got many conservatives thinking that this is where ‘endorsement’ leads. I realize that the graphic selections presented may not have all been all of them but, if those materials did not also include graphic warnings about the dangers of STD’s and AIDS, death or a lifetime of meds and pill cocktails could result for some who only hear the titillating endorsement without the precautions. Many feel that putting that sexually graphic imagery in the minds of teens is akin to handing a lighter to a pyromaniac. It would be foolish not to anticipate danger lurking.

  • Eddy

    Especially when they cite their fears of being “misunderstood” or losing some friends as their justification for not doing it.

    I don’t recall where these examples come from. My own references did not go to being misunderstood and I don’t recall anyone saying there was a concern over ‘losing some friends’. For the record, my references went to them lending their voices to a cause weighted heavily with people who regard them with a high level of animosity and minimal respect. So much so, that even in a matter where lives actually do hang in the balance, these people refuse to acknowledge or answer to their legitimate concerns and instead continue to criticize and badmouth them incessantly. This strange dynamic of lashing out at people at the same time as seeking their assistance and cooperation is a strong indicator that ‘there’s something else afoot’.

    Let’s get ‘down to earth’ practical for a moment. Suppose I was trying to encourage some conservatives to lend their voices to this cause. Would they do so just on my say so or would they want to learn what’s really going on first? So, where’s the most informed place I could send them to that they could approach with a level of trust? This blogsite is the hands down favorite. So, they come here and they try to wrap their hearts and minds around this cause yet are continually barraged with ‘conservative bashing’ and ‘Christian bashing’ comments. Do we go even a day without some form of bashing comment? If so, it’s rare. What’s anyones bet as to whether they’d join the cause or not?

    When Karen stepped in (and God bless her for her patience and perseverance) saying she hadn’t yet formulated an opinion, wanted discussion and had some questions, please go back and reread some of the comments directed to her. “What do you mean you don’t have an opinion?”, “How can you not have an opinion?”. Thankfully, that hostility (largely due to her patience and persistence) mellowed after a time. But, she’s a model of those virtues, she’s not the standard. Others would see that hostility, see that attitude of intolerance, feel the disrespect and walk away without looking back…walk away without exploring further…walk away without lending their voice to the cause. I simply don’t see how that serves the cause.

    Today I reiterated where legalization when interpreted as endorsement is a stumbling block or hurdle for many conservatives. My hope was that we could explore that block or hurdle in an attempt to deal with it…to remove it. Instead the comments went to naming it, embellishing it, putting spotlights on it, railing against it, putting the blame on only half the people responsible for its existence, decrying its existence…but no talk of how to deal with it, no give and take dialogue on how we can together work on its removal. If it’s a problem for the Christians to deal with, I hearken back to something Mary said a few days ago, don’t most of us–gay or otherwise who blog here, identify as Christians. What throws the burden on me or Karen or those nameless Christians to ‘deal with it’? Why isn’t it a ‘family problem’ that we should all be working together, as fellow Christians, to try to address?

    Those who are gay Christians are in a unique position to be ‘bridgers’. They understand the needs and wants of the gay community; they see where transgressions have occurred. But they also ought to have an understanding of the needs and wants of the Christian community and see where transgressions have occurred. Having somewhat of an understanding of both, they could stand in the role of mediators, peace-makers and bridgers. (Ex-gays are in a very similar position, by the way.) But the alignment and loyalty seems almost exclusively to the other side. There is very little talk of conservative Christians as ‘my family’, ‘my fellows’…they are viewed through one very narrow lens only…their announced stance on gay rights. The rest of their life…their values…their causes. We’re unwilling to see anything but ‘where they stand’ on this issue. I don’t know how to fix that but I can assure you, with all my heart, that I know that it ain’t right.

    (Sorry about that. I sang “Piece of My Heart” for the first time last night, and that phrase from the song seemed a perfect fit.)

  • Eddy

    Ya know how strongly many conservatives feel that gay sex is abhorrent, disgusting — immoral? Well, I find their equivocation, hesitation and resistance to stongly and clearly denounce death, imprisonment or forced “treatment” of gays equally so.

    In Christianese, the first is a sin of commission and the latter is a sin of omission. Stripping away the spin words ‘abhorrent, disgusting’, yes, they think the Bible calls it sin and you shouldn’t commit sin. (Commission) Sins of omission are trickier…the elderly couple down the street that could use some help, the struggling family that could use some food, the friend or relative who needs a long one on one, the co-worker who could sure use a listening ear, the people in Haiti trying to survive, the orphans on television needing a few pennies a day for food and school, the programs at church that could use volunteers, etc. etc. etc. If nothing else, the situation in Uganda ought to become a prayer concern for them. Beyond that, they are only answerable to God for which of the many, many needy situations in the world, they are personally responsible to respond to through action rather than prayer.

  • Michael Bussee

    I have pretty much given up trying to “build bridges” to conservative Christians on the gay issue. I realize we are worlds apart. Liberal Christians already get it. They don’t have to agonize about whether or not to kill, imprision or force gays into treatment. To them, the answer is self-evident — as self-evident as if the question should be “Should conservative Christians be killed, imprisoned or forced into treatment.?” You don’t even have to think about it. That answer is NO.

  • Jayhuck

    Michael and Eddy,

    The Bible talks about knowing Christians by their actions/fruit – when Christians are not only slow but lethargic about responding to injustice, I think it becomes clear where the problem lies

  • Eddy

    How many liberal Christians are there? When the needs of the conversation suit it, it seems that many, many–perhaps even most–have changed their tune about whether homosexual behavior is sin. Have ALL of them spoken up against this great injustice? Have ALL of them joined the facebook group? Does the fact that they haven’t say the same thing about them as you feel it does about the conservatives? Wow…it just occurred to me they’d be even worse. They don’t even have a stumbling block to work around and yet they go about their business seemingly untouched by the Ugandan crisis.

    If you’ve truly given up on those conservatives…if they truly are beyond hope, then why continue to bring them up in these conversations? They are beyond hope…so nothing we say or do here can change that. Why do attempts at productive conversation have to be derailed so we can rail against them? Karen wants to be able to articulate to those in her denomination who are reachable. Does ranting against those who are unreachable serve that purpose in any way? Or are you suggesting that she abandon hope as you have? Several of us have identified a stumbling block…something that stops some who see the injustice you speak of from stepping forward, is your conclusion that it is insurmountable? That it can’t be removed? That we are wasting our time. Will ignoring it make it go away? Will not addressing it help ANY to move beyond it? Does your experience of hopelessness trump our experience of whittling away at the fear, homophobia and bigotry that’s corrupted the true Gospel message. I have personal experience with effectively confronting bigotry, fear and homophobia both in Christians and non-Christians…it would seem that Karen does too. (Not meaning to leave others here out…just trying to keep a focus.) We KNOW that some are rational; we KNOW that some can be reached; we KNOW that some would gladly move beyond that stumbling block if only we could address their fears.

    Even CT, in it’s weak statement has spoken against the severe penalities of death or life imprisonment. I daresay that most conservatives would agree with them. So, in actuality, your rage is against those who won’t speak up against short term incarceration or forced treatment. To me, it seems a bit excessive. You’re entitled to it but I do feel it’s excessive. Of all the concerns that touch a Christian’s life daily, beyond even their basic concerns of family and job, I can forgive them for not making short term imprisonment or forced treatment of individuals in a foreign land their top priority…especially when those who are wanting their help are snapping and biting at them continually.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    If we were talking about your average, run-of-the-mill, conservative Christian, that would be true I suppose, but we are not. We are talking about those in positions of power, those who might be able to really make a difference – I mean, how long did it take for pastor Rick Warren to finally come out against this Bill – some of the actions of some conservatives have been completely unconscionable.

  • Jayhuck

    I agree with you though that ranting isn’t likely to help anyone, and there is a good chance that the conservatives who made these mistakes may have learned from them and won’t be so slow or hesitant to act again – It just seems to me that a truly spiritual person, as you would expect some of these religious leaders to be, wouldn’t have to wait to be asked to act on this, wouldn’t have to stop to think about it – it seems like it would be immediately evident that this is wrong and needs to be dealt with. I understand that we all fall short, that all of us are sinners and we are all, hopefully, continually growing in the faith – I don’t know, there’s just something about the way some conservatives reacted to this bill that leaves a bad taste in my mouth

  • Michael Bussee

    Me too, Jayhuck. Me too.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck-

    Why did it take Rich Warren so long to speak out? That should be qualified to say ‘for the benefit of the American people’. We don’t know what conversations or dealings he had with those he knew in Uganda before he resorted to the letter. I find it hard to believe that the letter was his first and only attempt at addressing the issue. As a Christian, I’m relatively sure he took the approach of ‘first going to the brother privately’ before resorting to the public statement.

    We do have others who are willing to speak out against the severity of punishment…against life imprisonment or the death penalty…but then we criticize them for not saying enough as we are doing with CT. Beyond that, we set ourselves up as judges of their motives. I am persuaded that CT released a statement on which everyone involved shared a consensus. Some likely feel that some form of penalty–perhaps far short of imprisonment–like a misdemeanor fine (such as we’d have for marijuana possession)–would be appropriate…but the polarization of the dialogue isn’t allowing them to say that or even to discuss it. “For or against, state your position!” So, CT said what it could…said what things there was a consensus about.

    Uganda is NOT the US. They don’t have our history; they don’t share our values; they have problems we don’t have. Think about it, they had a ruler not that long ago that made a practice of sodomizing young boys…many of whom were Christians. Truthfully, I can hardly fathom that. Even with the corruption that we know goes on in our own political system, I can’t fathom that. But still, it happened and people allowed it to happen. These people are going to be justifiably overly cautious for a long, long time.

    Yes, it’s wrong of them to equate pedophilia with homosexuality but are we educating them in our protest? Nearly every time that I’ve suggested we examine the bill and perhaps allow for some of their concerns or issues (I firmly believe that an attitude of compromise–whether any compromise actually results–enhances dialogue) the response has been a rigid ‘no compromise’. So, they’ve got this historical issue AND they’ve got an AIDS crisis that greatly exceeds our own and there are other talking points where we could concede our agreement (with modification) for: an HIV positive person having unsafe sex…pornography…website limitations; we protest that the existing laws already address sex with minors and the vulnerable. And, what, may I ask is the penalty under the existing law? (Life imprisonment and or death.) So, through our demanding pressure, we could defeat this bill and still not knock down the death penalty or life imprisonment. We regard the sponsors of the bill as devious and extremely homophobic. What’s to stop them from engaging in a ‘witchhunt’ based on the laws that already exist? I firmly believe that the rigid posture and the anti-conservative rhetoric that permeates this campaign prevents us from a greater good…engaging them in dialogue about the extremes in their existing laws.

    We don’t look like success to them; we don’t look like we’ve got our own act together; we look like a hotbed of immorality and pleasure seeking (not just homosexually); we look like we’re losing ground when it comes to any standards of morality and yet we demand that they do it our way and we offer absolutely no concessions…we offer no guidelines on how they can prevent our perceived moral decay from infecting their society. We sell porn in our convenience stores because we’ve interpreted ‘convenience of access’ as a right. We have a serious problem with internet predators…with kids gaining access to sexual material far beyond their years…and we haven’t yet gotten that under control. Yet we won’t even talk about those parts of the bill that seem to be an attempt to build protections in those areas.

    I sense we’ll continue to disagree but I do appreciate the tone that our dialogue has risen to.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Warren’t initial response to this insane bill was this:

    The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.

    Really?

    From a Newsweek article on this issue:

    He (Rick Warren) knows as well as anyone that in a case of great wrong, taking sides is an important thing to do.

    our perceived moral decay from infecting their society.

    Eddy, if they are willing to kill a group of people for being who they are, they don’t need any lessons from us on Moral Decay!

    As far as their HIV crisis – there are FAR more heterosexuals spreading HIV in that country than homosexuals – where is the outrage against them? They found a scapegoat and are capitalizing on it – Moral Decay indeed

  • Ann

    I think those causes we choose to be involved with are subjective and we can only inform and invite others to join us. Coercion does not work. They have the right to follow their conscience as to what human rights issues they feel passionate about without having negative judgement passed on them for doing so. Perhaps a good question to ask before passing judgement on someone who does not share your (generic) passion for a particular cause could be – if you (generic) expect others to be an advocate for your cause, isn’t it fair that they put the same expectation on you for their’s? Would you do it just because they said you should or are you expecting others to do for you what you are unwilling to do for them?

  • Eddy

    Ann-

    BINGO!!!

    Jayhuck–

    Eddy, if they are willing to kill a group of people for being who they are, they don’t need any lessons from us on Moral Decay!

    They’ve been willing to kill a group of people for ‘being who they are’ for a long time already…the pedophiles (whether hetero or homo) and those others who might have sex with someone under the age of 18 (whether hetero or homo). But that flew under our radar…and still seems to be flying under our radar. Take away this proposed bill and these penalities are still there! I don’t like pedophilia but over the course of my lifetime I’ve known a few. For whatever reason, it does seem to be ‘who they are’ (although I’m pretty sure it isn’t who God intended them to be), BUT I don’t think they deserve life imprisonment or death. I also understand the predicament of someone who is 18 to 21 and is in a relationship with someone under 18 (again whether hetero or homo), they don’t even deserve a penalty as severe as what a pedophile deserves if that particular penalty is ever lessened.

  • Michael Bussee

    One last try: I have no patience and no sympathy for any person (conservative, liberal or whatever) who is reluctant to clearly denounce death, imprisonment or forced “therapy”. I have no patience and no sympathy for their fears that they might lose friends or be seen as “endorsing”. Let them be afraid. I have no interest in building bridges to such persons. The job can be done without them.

  • Jayhuck

    Why, Oh why, do conservatives continue to link compare pedophilia to homosexuality? And you wonder why gay people are angry and rant – Gees!

  • Jayhuck

    link compare = compare

  • Jayhuck

    Yes Eddy – I’m sure that’s true regarding other killings – that doesn’t negate what I said about this bill being completely immoral, or the fact that they, Uganda, obviously don’t need any help from the West on immorality since they appear to have mastered it.

  • Eddy

    Why, oh why, do liberals react so strongly to conservatives using the word ‘pedophilia’…even when it’s in context and especially when the conservative took some pains to make sure it was distinct from homosexuality and that it was a straight problem too?

    Give me a break. 1) I’m not ‘conservatives’; I’m Eddy…the guy who posted the comment that seemed to trip your switch. 2) I not only made the distinction in my commentary that there was a big difference between homosexuals and pedophiles but 3) I also stated that pedophilia could be both hetero and homo and 4) went further to identify some sex with minors that wouldn’t qualify as pedophilia. Like it or not, pedophilia has gotten mixed into that nasty proposed bill…refusing to talk about it and refusing to state plainly that it IS different from homosexuality is absurd. You can’t state that plainly if you never address it.

    Beyond that, one of the ongoing rants against the conservatives is that they are silent because they are afraid of being misunderstood and that they need to get over it. Lives hang in the balance. I make the same challenge to you. Pedophiles, whether they be gay or straight or whether they be straights doing it to kids of their same gender, are people too. Do they deserve the death penalty? life imprisonment? Are you afraid to speak up about the severity of those penalties that currently exist for them for fear of being misunderstood. Uh…uh…oh yeah…Get over it!

    Yeah, I realize that speaking out openly and saying that I don’t believe pedophiles deserve death or life imprisonment is likely to be misunderstood. I guess I’m one conservative that doesn’t fear being misunderstood. (I will only make the distinction between homosexuals and pedophiles once per post and I’ve already paid my dues in this post.)

    Michael,

    I’m glad that was your last try. I’m weary of beating my horse too. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • Eddy

    or the fact that they, Uganda, obviously don’t need any help from the West on immorality since they appear to have mastered it.

    We’ve got a bill proposed by a few. We’ve got other posts that suggest that all of parliament isn’t on board with it. We’ve got others that suggest that Sempa’s ‘million man march’ wasn’t such a big draw. Please don’t categorize the entire population of Uganda based on these men.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Its just interesting that the discussion is specifically on homosexuality and instead of sticking to that, you feel the need to bring in pedophiles – can you see how I might be confused when you say you aren’t comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and then you do that very thing by comparing the plight of pedophiles with the plight of homosexuals? C’mon – the pedophilia discussion is nothing more than a distraction from the fact that some conservative Christian’s behaved badly – VERY badly – in a manner that can ONLY be described as un-Christian!

    But in hopes of satisfying you regarding pedophiles:

    Pedophiles, whether they be gay or straight or whether they be straights doing it to kids of their same gender, are people too. Do they deserve the death penalty?

    No – they don’t deserve the death penalty – at all. However, since pedophilia, unlike homosexuality and heterosexuality, is not considered a healthy variant of sexuality, they probably merit counseling and/or jail time, depending on whether or not they have actually committed a crime

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    There’s something wrong with a republic that even considers a bill like this Eddy – how exactly has it made it as far as it has? Why is it even considered an option by some in power? I’m sure there are good people in Uganda but WOW!

  • Michael Bussee

    I would not be so “outraged” if this law were truly about child abuse — as many conservative Christians are trying to spin it. If it were, there would be NO NEED to specify the gender or sexual orientation of victim or perpetrator.

    That many conservative Christians try to portray the law as such is outrageous. So are their wimpy excuses that they are “afraid of losing their friends” or sfraid being seen as “endorsing” homosexuality if they strongly oppose killing, imprisonment or forced “treatment”.

  • Christian Lawyer

    When the issue is what amounts to a proposal for legalized genocide,* propounded in the name of Christ, by those self-identifying as Christians, whom many American Christian leaders have supported over many years and through millions of dollars, American Christians have a special duty to speak out — regardless of any other issue, regardless of what may appear to be a need for cultural sensitivity, and especially regardless of what you think about the morality of the targets of the proposed genocide.

    *Perhaps you don’t consider the bill to amount to legalized genocide, and there’s surely a technical legal argument to be made there. My view is it’s close enough.

    In the common law, there is a tort that used to be simply called “outrage.” It applies to heinous conduct beyond the bounds of civilized society. Its hallmark is conduct that would cause a reasonable person to exclaim “Outrageous!” in response. Those who believe this bill would legalize genocide against gays merely for engaging in same-sex acts immediately respond with “Outrageous!” And, upon seeing so many other people across the political and religious spectrum exclaim similarly, we are surprised at those who don’t. If we believe this is “Outrageous!” because legalized genocide is beyond the bounds of all civilized society, then to us, a failure to exclaim “Outrageous” would indicate an unreasonable position.

    And, just to double check whether I would be able to say the same thing if the targets of oppression were a group I found to be abominable, here’s an example. It’s not genocide, but I think the analogy works. In 1977, a group of neo-Nazis proposed to march through Skokie, Ill., home to many Holocaust survivors. City authorities obtained an injunction to prevent the march. The ACLU believed in the principles of freedom of speech and assembly so strongly, regardless of how odious they believed the targets of the injunction to be, that they came in and fought for the principles of freedom all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ultimately overturned the injunction. Should American Christians be willing to say the ACLU is more dedicated to constitutional principles of freedom and liberty than we are to the biblical principles of God-given life, freedom, and liberty upon which many believe those constitutional principles are based?

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

    Christian Lawyer: Your analogy works for me.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    An earlier response didn’t get posted but I’ll try to keep this short and to the point in hopes of avoiding that. again.

    Yes, i brought up pedophiles. But your insinuations are unfounded. I also brought marijuana usage and lying into the discussion and David introduced polygamy among an assortment of other issues. So NO, it hasn’t been just homosexuality. In fact, we’ve purposely brought in other issues for comparison. But pedophilia (of all the peripheral issues brought into the discussion) happens to be the only one that’s also included in the bill.

    I was clear to distinguish homosexuals from pedophiles. I was likewise clear to say that pedophilia is a hetero issue too. And I even made allowance for those guilty under the law (having sex with someone under the age of 18) that really wouldn’t qualify as pedophilia.

    For those reasons, your point eludes me.

  • Michael Bussee

    If we believe this is “Outrageous!” because legalized genocide is beyond the bounds of all civilized society, then to us, a failure to exclaim “Outrageous” would indicate an unreasonable position.

    I believe it is, and I agree.

  • Jayhuck

    But your insinuations are unfounded. I also brought marijuana usage and lying into the discussion and David introduced polygamy among an assortment of other issues.

    Yes Eddy I’ve noticed that both you and David have done this. Bringing things like these into the discussion about homosexuality – its interesting.

  • Eddy

    Is it really? It seems we didn’t have your full interest since you seem to have missed or are purposely overlooking the point.

    If you followed the conversation, we were discussing assessing our own moral barometers and those of our society…discussing things that people (including us) had mixed opinions about, that the law had mixed reactions to…was pertinent. When dealing with an emotionally charged issue, it’s often wise to use this method. As I recall, you even engaged…even thoughtfully…without revealing that you thought it was bogus or bunk. Several people indicated that they found it productive; I’m sorry you didn’t.

  • Ann

    It is so important to put ourselves in another’s shoes when we are feeling the impulse to pass judgement on them. If we did this, it could/would temper our perspective on them and the situation. That a person did not respond to the situation in Uganda just the way we thought they should does not equate to an indifference on their part or fear of losing friends if they get involved. In some cases it mightbe but not all. I did not need the privilege of time or knowledge to resolve that it is wrong to put this law into practice, however, there are many who do. To reach them with accurate information first requires that we understand where they are coming from, regardless if we agree with their moral values or beliefs or not, then clarify exactly what the proposed law is and isn’t, then impart the knowledge they need to know to resolve it in their own mind. Standing in the gap for the opposition to this bill does not diminish any other moral beliefs we have, rather, to me, it fortifies us with another opportunity to clarify our moral beliefs. That, to me, is a big time blessing. By the way, when I use the words “we”, “our”, “them” and “us”, it is not meant to distinguish any particular group of people or religions, etc. – just a generic term for purposes of putting a sentence together.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks Christian Lawyer for clarifying some legal points. Much appreciated. But I’m confused about who you think is in favor of homosexual genocide or doesn’t think the bill as it stands is outrageous. Were you referring to folk on this thread or to conservatives or Christians in general?

    Michael B., I would ask you the same question. Who are you referring to when you talk about fear of losing friends or worrying about endorsement? Do you have specific statements or persons in mind?

    If some of us are still unsure about or continuing to consider our response, that’s a different issue. (See next post.)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Eddy, thanks for defending me while I’ve been gone, Gentleman Scholar. I really appreciate it.

    Thanks even more for your impassioned support of the broader Christian family and for raising more questions about practical response. Over the last few days, I’ve pondered whether or not “making statements” has really accomplished much of anything in the world outside the blogosphere. (Other than to prove, of course, that one has moral integrity and courage.)

    Today I had lunch with a good friend from church. While we share many common aspects of faith, we also usually find ourselves on opposite ends of the political and social spectrum. She’s well read, generally up on current events, and has a heart for justice issues. But other than one headline article she’d browsed in our larger regional paper, she didn’t know squat about Uganda. And she didn’t seem unduly concerned when I explained it to her. It just isn’t registering with most people out there, not when they’re constantly bombarded with global news, not when it doesn’t impact them personally. So I’m not convinced that more or louder statements will change that.

    Eddy writes …

    I firmly believe that the rigid posture and the anti-conservative rhetoric that permeates this campaign prevents us from a greater good…engaging them in dialogue about the extremes in their existing laws.

    I agree, and think it’s one of the points the CT article made. Making statements has the potential to seriously misfire or backfire, especially when accompanied by less than charitable actions. For example, I think isolating David Bahati from the National Prayer Breakfast in January was one of the least helpful outcomes I could imagine.

    Score one for truth! And in the process other attendees lose a golden (perhaps irreplaceable?) opportunity to speak with him one-on-one and thereby foster relationships that might persuade him to change his thinking. This kind of “distancing,” (Warren’s term on other threads) is a form of isolation that only builds or reinforces walls of resentment and resistance. Not helpful at all in the long run.

    I see the same thoughtless disconnect in the posting of SSempa’s pornographic images in one of the other threads. Again, score one for truth! But consider the grave spiritual, emotional and sexual risk to folk who might visit this blog. For me, this is a significant error in judgment, and it negatively colors everything else that this blog has done positively around this issue.

    So other than choosing between silence and noise, what can we practically do? I’d like to hear some more conversation around that.

  • Eddy

    Karen–

    I didn’t realize I was defending you…merely respecting the fact that as we got more and more tangential, the questions we were reeling about and sometimes distancing from were yours. LOL. You let 10, 15, 20 comments come in between and the variance from the original context can be rather extreme. Every so often, I felt the need to remind us of the context of the main tangent that we had embarked upon.

    And ‘Gentleman Scholar’ is way over the top; consider me an ‘Armchair Philosopher’ as I often have more questions than answers. Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s often more said in resisting or dodging a question than there is answering it. Lots of learning to be had here!

  • Christian Lawyer

    Karen, you asked:

    But I’m confused about who you think is in favor of homosexual genocide or doesn’t think the bill as it stands is outrageous.

    In favor of gay genocide: Bahati, Ssempa, Niringiye, and anyone else who has expressed support for this bill in its current form, which, BTW, included many posters on the CT site, or anyone who doesn’t unequivocally oppose the death penalty/life in prison provisions. Even you said above that opposition to the death penalty provision is not universal among Christians.

    Here’s Niringiye pleading for American Christians to remain silent in the face of this bill. He pleads not for help in working behind the scenes to defeat or amend the bill, but rather, he misstates for what conduct the death penalty can be imposed (and ignores the life sentence and the reporting provisions) in order to justify why so many Ugandan Christians support the bill in its current form. To me, lying about proposed genocide is collaboration with it. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/decemberweb-only/151-42.0.html

    Here’s the Church of Uganda’s “official position,” which even CT acknowledges “does not offer specific recommendations for changes to the proposed sentences.” http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2010/02/church_of_ugand.html

    Doesn’t think the bill as it stands is outrageous: All of the above, plus Rick Warren, in his first pronouncement, when he refused to take a stand, plus CT, apparently. Their wimpy editorial, more concerned with the oppressors rather than with the oppressed, plus their misstatement of American law, including the use of the same word “punitive” to refer to American sanctions as well as to the Ugandan bill, as if there was some sort of moral equivalency there, comes nowhere near an exclamation of “Outrageous.”

    In addition, Ann seems to relegate genocide to just one among many issues about which one might care, a view I find, as I said, to be unreasonable:

    They have the right to follow their conscience as to what human rights issues they feel passionate about without having negative judgement passed on them for doing so.

    No, when it’s genocide, they are due negative judgment for not speaking out.

    In addition, in your original post on this thread, and at the Ex-Gay Watch site, you said you were (then) still formulating a position. I appreciate that you have now stated unequivocally your opposition to the death penalty/life imprisonment provisions, but, respectfully, my point about “Outrage” is that any response to genocide that doesn’t include the immediately reflexive response of “Outrageous” is, by my definition, just an unreasonable position. Even your liberal church friend’s response was

    And she didn’t seem unduly concerned when I explained it to her. It just isn’t registering with most people out there, not when they’re constantly bombarded with global news, not when it doesn’t impact them personally.

    I appreciate that you ultimately took a position in opposition, but I can’t fathom even a brief hesitation or worse yet, a shrug.

    Finally, my comment was actually in response to the ongoing debate between Michael Bussee and Eddy (and others) about the core issue versus side issues. The waters had seemed (to me) to have gotten a little muddied.

  • Christian Lawyer

    Karen, you also asked:

    So other than choosing between silence and noise, what can we practically do? I’d like to hear some more conversation around that.

    I think there is a reasonable conversation to be had on that point. But, I disagree about disinviting Bahati to the prayer breakfast. I think, when it’s genocide, the usual rules for engagement cease to apply. Proposers of genocide should not be invited into polite society. Period.

    Quietly working with those who oppose the most egregious portions of the bill may be in order. Withholding support from groups in Uganda who publicly support the bill as it stands would be another option. Refusing support to the American evangelicals who preach the most egregious things about gays. Spending as much energy on opposing the American churches that still support Ssempa (Warren has identified them I think) as is being spent on opposing the Episcopal bishop selections …

    What are you proposing?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Christian Lawyer, again thank you for the clarification, but I think you misinterpreted or misstated my posts here and on Ex-Gay Watch. Both here and there I started out by saying I unequivocally was/am opposed to the bill’s provisions for capital punishment and life imprisonment. (When I first posted, I hadn’t read the bill in its entirety and didn’t know it also contained other lengths of time for imprisonment.) There was no “hesitation” or “shrug” there at all. If you are applying that is true of me, as you do of my friend, I find that untrue and offensive.

    Yes, I was “formalizing a position,” but that was not in regard to the bill. I raised questions to help me sort through my personal beliefs and worldview, to explore a variety of arguments about criminalization/legalization/legitimation of sexual behavior in general and homosexual behavior in particular, and to consider options for the best practical, effective response.

    Maybe that got lost in this very long thread, but that was my intention. I don’t think I need to either feel guilty or apologize for it.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Oh, it’s late, and “applying” above should have been “implying.”

  • Eddy

    Christian Lawyer quotes Ann and then comments in this quote:

    They have the right to follow their conscience as to what human rights issues they feel passionate about without having negative judgement passed on them for doing so.

    No, when it’s genocide, they are due negative judgment for not speaking out.

    So, now that Sempa declares in his letter of apology that he favors the death penalty (genocide) only for pedophiles and for abusers of the handicapped, are all those–Christians, Gays and any mix thereof–who don’t speak out about this genocide that is currently a law in Uganda…are they all due negative judgement for not speaking out?

    Prior to this new bill, we were pretty much unaware that these penalties existed but, now that we know, will we risk being misunderstood as we attempt to have the existing death penalty removed?

  • Christian Lawyer

    Karen,

    My “shrug” comment was in response to what you reported as your (liberal, I think) friend’s indifference to what was being proposed in Uganda, which I had just quoted you on.

    I read your posts at Ex-Gay Watch, and unless earlier posts were deleted, your first comment was to harshly (and quite personally, it seemed to me) criticize the author for criticizing the CT editorial. It didn’t state any outrage or condemnation of the genocide. In your second post, you said the death penalty provision was “harmful and unacceptable” while using much more vigorous language to describe your views of some who were criticizing CT’s editorial:

    “It’s nothing less than a witch hunt against conservative Christians…”

    You later said:

    have I even said here what my personal “attitude” is toward the bill? I did say that I oppose the capital punishment part. Beyond that, I really haven’t said anything. You’re making an assumption based on my attempt to try to clarify what the CT article said. So how do you know that I’m not tacitly in agreement with you?

    I don’t know the history between you and the Ex Gay Watch author and commenters, and perhaps I’ve jumped into the middle of an on-going conversation, but this is where I got the impression that your first response to hearing the details of the proposed legislation was not a clear expression of “Outrage.” If “outrage” or condemnation was actually your first thought, I would commend you, but I would suggest that wasn’t especially clear.

    Comparing what appears to be a delayed condemnation of the genocide (and even then the condemnation seemed dry and dispassionate) to a much more vigorous condmenation of Ex Gay Watch for saying pretty much the same thing that Warren said on this post seems to show more outrage in response to a point of argument than it does for the actual proposed genocide. I don’t care how badly someone might have mangled or overstated a position, that’s never going to warrant more outrage than the genocide itself.

  • Christian Lawyer

    Eddy,

    I strongly oppose the death penalty under all circumstances, but imposing harsh penalties, including the death penalty, for sexual assault or rape of minors or others unable to consent to sexual conduct is not, under any commonly accepted definition of the word, genocide.

    Even if Ssempa has backed off the death penalty for consensual, adult, non-HIV+ same sex conduct, that still leaves the life imprisonment and the mandatory reporting provisions, which are still outrageous.

  • Ann

    No, when it’s genocide, they are due negative judgment for not speaking out.

    Christian Lawyer,

    Yes, I agree. My earlier comment about freedom of conscious as to what human rights issues one feels passionate about does not equate to an indifference or silence regarding other human rights issues. I had no moral dilemma or hesitation in voicing my opposition to this bill. Millions of children are killed every year through abortion, however, if one does not feel passionate about preventing this kind of genocide by speaking out against it, then I am not sure where to draw the line as to who we can pass judgement on when it comes to involvement of human rights.

  • Eddy

    Christian Lawyer–

    I agree that all of the penalites that Sempa et al have proposed are way too severe. In the past several months, I have tried to get others to engage in conversation re what penalities might be appropriate…and the answer is ‘none’. While I understand that, the reality of shifting Uganda totally from one extreme to another eludes me.

    Re Karen’s response (or lack of the response of outrage) to the CT article over at Ex-Gay Watch. While it is true that CT does not express outrage over life imprisonment or genocide, they do indicate that those penalities are way too severe. Demanding that she be outraged that they didn’t express more outrage seems pointless. (As for me, even when I am feeling outrage, I try to ‘cool my heels’ before trying to engage in constructive dialogue…the hot feelings of outrage are famous for inciting action but also for obstructing productive dialogue.)

    Personally, with this issue, although I’ve spoken my objection to the harsh penalties, I am aware that my own misgivings are not only being influenced by my Christian mindset and my ‘child of the 60′s mindset’ but also by a strong distaste for American Imperialism…the notion that our way is THE way and all that any people need to do is simply wake up and see it our way.

    This topic thread, in particular, demonstrates how resistant we are to anything shy of Uganda simply seeing it our way. Several of us have attempted to uncover ‘talking points’…comparisons to anything else are dismissed rather than discussing it what ways they are similar and what ways they are dissimilar. If we can’t talk it out amongst ourselves, we certainly can’t talk it out with the Ugandans. Sempa and his cronies aren’t Uganda; they simply represent one vocal and somewhat influential extreme. I liken them to the most radical voices in a political party here. They don’t always win; they don’t always get their way…often as the result of thoughtful and articulate opposition. Sometimes, I fear that our conversations re this issue haven’t been thoughtful, articulate or pervasive enough. (Not speaking about you here…these conversations have been going on for over 3 months.)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Christian Lawyer thank you so much for explaining and sharing your insights. I’ve been wondering how in impartial observer views and understands what I post, so your comments were very helpful.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Eddy writes,

    I am aware that my own misgivings are not only being influenced by my Christian mindset and my ‘child of the 60’s mindset’ but also by a strong distaste for American Imperialism…

    Thanks for expressing it that way. It’s a great “wrap up” quote for me. Not meaning necessarily that I want this conversation to end, but that it helps me summarize a lot of what I’ve been thinking about.

    I see the American imperialism coming out in some of the easy statements that were made regarding criminalization. Why doesn’t America criminalize? One of the pat answers I heard is “just because we don’t,” as if that settles all the overarching questions once and for all. As if the decision of a relatively small group of people, and mostly men at that (SCOTUS), unequivocally trumps the moral decisions of the rest of the world or the legislators and voting populace of Uganda.

  • Michael Bussee

    Today in history: 303 1st official Roman edict for persecution of Christians issued. Would it have been wrong for people to speak up against this?

  • Michael Bussee

    “In the 20th century, Christians have been persecuted by radical Muslim and Hindu groups inter alia, and by (officially) atheistic states such as the USSR and North Korea. Currently (as of 2010), an estimated 100 million Christians face persecution, particularly in the Muslim world and at the hands of Hindu extremism in India, with a rising tendency.” — Wikipedia

    Should people speak out against this? How about other forms of persecution, directed at other groups of people? When is it OK to protest? When is it morally reprehensible not to?

  • Michael Bussee

    I got the impression that your first response to hearing the details of the proposed legislation was not a clear expression of “Outrage.” If “outrage” or condemnation was actually your first thought, I would commend you, but I would suggest that wasn’t especially clear.

    I got the same impression. “Stay out of it.” “We weren’t “invited” to express out opinion.” “Not our business.” I definitely got those impressions from some of the earliest “non-outrage” responses to this Bill. Then some suggestions that some of the penalties might be a tad too harsh. What I didn’t get was that it was wrong to single out gays legally for punishment. If the real issue had been child abuse, sexual assault or passing on HIV knowingly, I think the “outrage” would have been less by almost everyone.

    Those things should be criminalized — but there is no need to specificy the gender or orientation of the criminal or victim if those were the real issues. This law has alsways been about singling out gays for persecution and eventual elimination. I am still digusted by any hesitiation to speak out clearly and unequivocally against that.

  • Ann

    How about other forms of persecution, directed at other groups of people? When is it OK to protest? When is it morally reprehensible not to?

    Michael,

    Please see my earlier comment – I have the same questions. That is why I suggested we do not judge others if they do not respond exactly the way we want them to – often we are guilty of not responding to their pleas of mercy for the human rights they are protecting.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am sorry Ann. Can’t do it. Cannot stand by and not pass judgement on not being outraged on this sort of thing. I don’t seem to have that capacity. I am compelled, morally, to say NO. I couldn’t stay silent or entertain suggestions of compromise if the “hesitation” to speak out was about or religious persecution either. It’s just not in me.

  • Michael Bussee

    I sincerely doubt that those conservative religious types who hestitate to say no to this law would hesitate for one moment if the call for persecution or elimination was aimed at them.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: What “human rights” are they “protecting”?

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Ok, I understand. I wanted to share that I have the same concerns and questions that you and others do – just don’t think judgement is the best way to respond when others cannot or will not see (yet) the danger attached to indifference. Often it adds fuel to the fire and prolongs the response we are hoping to get. Judgements are usually in direct proportion when we expect a response for our causes that we are unwilling to give to another’s cause.

  • Eddy

    “In the 20th century, Christians have been persecuted by radical Muslim and Hindu groups inter alia, and by (officially) atheistic states such as the USSR and North Korea. Currently (as of 2010), an estimated 100 million Christians face persecution, particularly in the Muslim world and at the hands of Hindu extremism in India, with a rising tendency.” — Wikipedia

    Should people speak out against this? How about other forms of persecution, directed at other groups of people? When is it OK to protest? When is it morally reprehensible not to?

    Color me confused! Where can I find the Facebook group that addresses this intolerance? Where can I find 3 months or more of non-stop blogs attempting to address this intolerance? Where can I find Michael’s expression of outrage re this deplorable issue? Where can I find all the ‘official statements’ deploring this? Where can I find the demands for ‘official statements’.

    I am sorry Ann. Can’t do it. Cannot stand by and not pass judgement on not being outraged on this sort of thing. I don’t seem to have that capacity. I am compelled, morally, to say NO. I couldn’t stay silent or entertain suggestions of compromise if the “hesitation” to speak out was about or religious persecution either. It’s just not in me.

    Perhaps I missed it somewhere, perhaps the outrage against the persecution cited in Michael’s first quoted section is being expressed by him elsewhere.

    I sincerely doubt that those conservative religious types who hestitate to say no to this law would hesitate for one moment if the call for persecution or elimination was aimed at them.

    Again, they don’t appear to be speaking out in droves against the persecution of fellow Christians as cited in that first paragraph…perhaps we are suggesting that no one, whether Christian, Gay or a blending of the two, rises to the appropriate level of outrage until it hits much closer to home.

    Shall we lament that interminably and to no avail or should we take advantage of the fact that, almost without exception, those who blog here do care and while their outrage may not rise to the level of others, they still want to see this bill stopped and/or impacted significantly?

  • Michael Bussee

    Judgements are usually in direct proportion when we expect a response for our causes that we are unwilling to give to another’s cause.

    Ann: If the “cause” were the persecution and elimination of persons of other religions or races, would you you suggest similiar “non-judgement” towards attitudes of support, hesitation or indifference? What should folks have done when the Jews were being rounded up? Show respect or tolerance for the “cause”? The way I see it, there are times when the failure to speak out clearly and unequivocally against such things is the greater evil.

    There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. – Elie Wiesel

  • Michael Bussee

    I have stated where I stand. I am strongly and competely opposed to this law and have not wavered since I first learned of it and undestood its implications. Nothing will lessen my outrage against it — and I have no patience or tolerance for those who do support it — or for those who only object because the penalties are perhaps “too harsh” — or because they are afraid that they they will lose friends or be seen as “endorsing” homosexuality if they do clearly oppose it. Sorry. Can’t do it. Won’t do it. I think it’s disgusting. You might as well try to convince me I should be tolerant of Nazis. It’s not going to happen..

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Elie Wiesel is one of my all time heros – I hold him in the highest esteem.

    I am against this proposed law – I have been from the beginning – I had absolutely no moral dilemma or hesitation about speaking out my opposition. Others did. To judge them for that would put me in a position I don’t want to be in because then I become their enemy. I would rather reach them. I cannot ask others to respond the way I want them to unless we are reading the same book – preferable the same sentence in the same chapter. I cannot do this if I am judging. Also, isn’t it unfair to ask someone to believe and support your (generic) cause if you (generic) are not willing to extend yourself (generic) to support their’s? Example – millions of children killed every year is met with indifference or outrage or something in between. Lives are in peril if they engage in same gender sex and that is met with indifference or outrage or something in between. Our cable or internet goes out and we all feel the same sense of frustration. What is the matter with this picture?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    This conversation has taken a very interesting turn. Now that (it seems to me) most of us are in agreement about the unacceptability and moral repugnance of the current bill, we’re going to parse who made the most outraged response and when and how they did it. I can’t and won’t go THERE.

    I’m also troubled by the incongruence of those who have made this into a major crusade while seeming to turn a blind eye to other injustices in the world. As I have pointed out several times, a large portion of the world criminalizes or at least doesn’t legalize homosexual behavior. Where is the consistent outrage over any of THAT? Of course, I know that part of the anwer is that Uganda is happening now. But it also makes me suspect that underlying agendas are also at work.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I hear you loud and clear…it’s only when you try to lather on the special blame for Christians to the exclusions of all others who are similarly guilty…that I protest. Oh, and when you try to make it appear that it’s because the persecuted are homosexuals that the Christians aren’t outraged. Your own statements re the persecution of millions of Christians…about which I’ve heard no strong cries of outrage…seem to suggest that it’s ‘not just an anti-gay thing’.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    @Michael

    and I have no patience or tolerance for those who do support it — or for those who only object because the penalties are perhaps “too harsh” — or because they are afraid that they they will lose friends or be seen as “endorsing” homosexuality if they do clearly oppose it.

    Again, I ask you respectfully, who has said or implied this? Folk on this blog? Evangelicals or Christians in general? Who?

  • Michael Bussee

    most of us are in agreement about the unacceptability and moral repugnance of the current bill, we’re going to parse who made the most outraged response and when and how they did it. I can’t and won’t go THERE.

    Don’t want you too. My total frustration is not with those who have not opposed it in the same way or with the same degree that I have — that’s just my partial frustration. I think my take on it is correct. I think they should agree with me.

    That response probably has more to do with my ego and sense of self-rightousness. Instead of complaining, I should be thanking anyone who voices opposition to it.

    My total frustration is with people who think it’s none of our business, or that we don’t have a right to strongly protest, or that everything is culturally relative, or that any opposition to it is “imperialism”. I doubt they would making the same arguments if the persecution was aimed at them. They would certainly want others to protest on their behalf.

    My total frustration is with those who do not think that LGBT people everywhere are worthly of the same rights as they are — or that moral law should be civil law — or that the penalties should maybe be lighter, but still a crime — or that they are worried about friends or reputation if they oppose it. Those people. I see all that is inexcusable morally — not just an afront to my sensibilities.

  • Michael Bussee

    Not a contest of who was louder or who did it it right. It’s a matter of doing it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Again, I ask you respectfully, who has said or implied this? Folk on this blog? Evangelicals or Christians in general? Who?

    Karen: There is no point in naming names and I am not upset with “Christians in general”. I am very pleased with the way SOME of them have responded — for example, Dr. T. IMHO, these people have earned the name “Christian”. I am talking about the hesitation or resistance by SOME to say NO. Really dIgusted by those who say “yes” or “maybe”.

    When I frist learned of this Bill (via Dr. Throckmorton) I read the bill — several times in its entirety because I didn’t want to take anyone’s word on what it said or form an opionion about it without actually reading it.

    I was appalled, immediately, by what I read. You could have put in any other group –Jews, Christians, Reblicans, short people — and my reaction would have been just as strong. Disgusting. Immoral. Unjust. Wrong. No hesitation. No question. Immedate horror and revulsion. I felt compelled — forced — to speak out.

    I could no more hestitate or fail to do so if it had been aimed at children or the eldery. NO. Every fiber of my being — NO!!! How could anyone say “yes” or “maybe? Equally appalled and compelled by his Christian faith, Dr. Thorckmorton formed a Facebook group to express opposition and I felt PULLED on board. I didn’t just hop on for the ride. I could not do otherwise. I couldn’t just say, “Oh well, that’s there business”.

    In the year since, I have read, studied, thought, cried, gotten angry, argued, discussed, studied some more and have read almost every post and link on the Facebook group since it started. I have listened to all the arguments pro and con. I have heard the arguments of the “maybes”, “no comments” and “undecideds”. No need to name names. No, not “all Christians” and not just here. I hear the very same excuses for not clearly opposing it on a daily basis — anytime this Bill is discussed.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I’m not sure but part of what Karen might be getting at is that you’ve made that statement several times in this thread alone…it’s always as a counterpoint to something we’ve said. It comes across like somehow we are responsible to answer to it or for it…or that our points are less valid because of it.

    And yet, you can’t give specifics and you won’t name names. Just what is your purpose in interjecting it continually? You say you’ve given up on those people. You seem to be saying that we should give up on them too. You ignore any insinuations we might offer that it’s a universal problem…that applies to gays as well…and instead, using yourself as an example, seem to be suggesting that gays would not be as unconscionable. But you offer no substance to support that. We stand as examples of Christians who ARE concerned, who DO object just as you stand as an example of someone who would speak out against any outrage.

    And this is a sidepoint, I may not have asked it directly. You portray yourself as one who would feel compelled to speak out against any such outrage. It was you who brought up the 20th century persecution of Christians, are you outraged and how did you express that outrage?

  • Michael Bussee

    I pointed it out for one thing. Researched organizations that are fighting it. Looked up FB groups opposed to it. Made a special donation to my church’s efforts on this issue. Posted it several places to try to keep people mindful that hatred (of all kinds) still keeps trying — and needs to be openly opposed. If Uganda had just proposed a similar law aimed at Christians, I would be doing exactly the same thing. It irritates me that you seem to imply otherwise.

    Any kind of persecution is wrong. I have spoken out against it — clearly — not “maybe” or “undecided” or “it’s none of my business”. I didn’t worry that I would alienate gay friends if I pointed out that persecution is aimed at Christians too. I didn’t worry that they would think I “endorsed” Christianity if I did. I spoke out. What did you do?

    We choose a focus. At this point, I chose this one. I cannot join every Facebook group or make donations to every organization that fights hatred or injustice. I suppose when an issue hits both gayness and religion, I am particularly interested due to my “dual citizenship”. Being a father and grandfather,l am equally passionate about child welfare.

    Are Mothers Against Drunk Drivers any less sincere in their fight against needless heartache, injury or death if they don’t simultaneously focus their efforts against female gential mutilation or mistreatment of the elderly? You should not infer or imply that I do not care about injustice everywhere it happens. Any attempt by you to make it appear as though I might not care — or that I only care when in impacts gay people — is unfair and unfounded.

  • Michael Bussee

    I choose not to name the people here that particularly frustrate me in their approach to this law. By now, the divisions should be obvious to the causual reader. It’s not just here. And it certainly is not “all Christians”. As I said to Karen,, I encounter similar arguments and hesitations from the “pro”, “maybe” and “undecided” wherever I look on this matter.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael, thank you for your last couple of posts because they really show me your heart and passion. But I’m not sure you are clearly hearing my heart, or even Eddy’s heart. You say that everyone has (and is entitled to) a focus, and that it won’t be the same for all of us. That ‘lets you off the hook” for some of the questions Eddy and I have asked about other apparent lack of outrage.

    But few on your side of things seem to want to let me “off the hook” because I came to this issue late in the game. Because my focus was elsewhere. Because the organization I work for – Exodus – already made a statement and took action for all of us there and I didn’t feel the personal need to do so myself.

    So when you don’t qualify your general statements, I think I’m included in them. And yes, it ticks me off.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen: I am glad you understand that my passion on this issue does not equal lack of passion on other issues. I realize you came late to this issue. So did Alan. And Randy. And Don — and as far as I can tell — most of the other leaders of the organization.

    When it really mattered, why did Exodus take so long? Why did it have to be pushed? Why did Warren gets so frustrated at Exodus’s weak and rather tardy response? Why were warnings ignored? Why was so little thought and preparation put into international involvement by board members in countries that favor criminalization and forced therapy?

    Question: Since you “work for the organization”, can you give me one good reason — a really GOOD one — that the organization won’t clearly and officially denounce criminalization and forced treatment? Not just the unbinding opinions of some of its leaders — but official policy and an expectation that their members, affiliates and board members will do likelwise? Why NOT do this? I

    n light of all the bad press — deserved or not — that Exodus has recieved for its earlier “mistakes” on Uganda, wouldn’t it be a smart thing to do “PR” wise — if not for moral reasons?

    I honestly, truly don’t get the hesitation. I don’t understand it now and I I would not have understood it 30 years ago when I myself “worked for the organization”. I think our response would have been quick and clear. If I hadn’t resigned for other reasons, I would have resigned for that one alone.

  • Michael Bussee

    While your at it, why dontcha mosey on over to this thread and show that you oppose the suggestion that homosexuality is a “deformity” that needs to be “cured” and that “in utero” solutions might be a good idea. Show some outrage. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2010/02/22/narth-does-the-research-speak-for-itself/comment-page-1/#comment-237043

  • Michael Bussee

    Christianity Today “stands somewhere”. Exodus won’t make it really official. Feet firmly planted in mid-air. That ticks me off.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Sorry, Michael, but I can’t and wouldn’t answer all your Exodus questions. That would have to come from Alan or the Board.

    I wasn’t on staff when the concerns first were expressed last year. I became aware when Exodus publicly released its letter to President Museveni. Whether or not you think it was done in a timely fashion, I think it’s an effort that actually had the potential to change things.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    @Michael again …

    While your at it, why dontcha mosey on over to this thread and show that you oppose the suggestion that homosexuality is a “deformity” that needs to be “cured” and that “in utero” solutions might be a good idea. Show some outrage. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2010/02/22/narth-does-the-research-speak-for-itself/comment-page-1/#comment-237043

    I’m not interested in getting involved in the NARTH debate; as your personal provocateur noted, it’s all been rehashed many, many times before. I’d choose to ignore his/her comments because their “outrageousness” speaks for itself. If you want to engage him/her, go for it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen, forgive me for my pessimism, but it won’t come. I honestly get the feeling that Exodus resists such things on principle — the principle being that gays think they should — or that people will think they “endorse” gayness if they do.

    Regarding the letter, I applauded Exodus. Alan promised, “It won’t stop at the letter”. I was optimistic. What has Exodus done since then? Mainly, excuses that it “didn’t know”, “didn’t realize”, that its board member didn’t prepare, that he was “duped”, etc. Can’t you see how that looks? If I were on the Board, I would be mortified and pushing for changes.

    You are there now. You work for the organization. Alan and the others won’t listen to me or other “critics” because we are still gay or gay afffirming. You might have some impact. How about a commitment to work with the organization to adopt policies and guidelines so that such mistakes won’t happen again?

  • Michael Bussee

    I’d choose to ignore his/her comments because their “outrageousness” speaks for itself.

    Good point. Glad you agree. I will try to do that as well.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael wrote in regard to Exodus

    You are there now. You work for the organization. Alan and the others won’t listen to me or other “critics” because we are still gay or gay afffirming. You might have some impact. How about a commitment to work with the organization to adopt policies and guidelines so that such mistakes won’t happen again?

    In the seven years I have been connected to Exodus, six as a member ministry director and now for a half year on staff, I have witnessed many in depth conversations about various issues, as well as observed the changes that followed. For instance, the first summer (2003) I attended a leadership conference there was a round table discussion about what “change” means realistically and how best to communicate that honestly to clients and the public. It shook me up quite a bit because I had a very simplistic understanding at the time.

    I’ve watched that dialogue play out over these years and I’ve seen Exodus leadership respond with what I believe is great integrity. I’ve also witnessed the fact that they/we do take note of what critics are saying and respond if we can do so without compromising our beliefs and mission. I think our guidelines right now are solid and personally see no need to change them. Still, that won’t prevent us from never making a mistake in the future, and that doesn’t bother me either.

    Beyond that, I’m not going to make any commitments to you, Michael. So please stop asking me.

  • Eddy

    Michael answered me:

    We choose a focus. At this point, I chose this one. I cannot join every Facebook group or make donations to every organization that fights hatred or injustice.

    Wow, so just like Christians he ‘chooses a focus’. Just like Christians he ‘cannot join every Facebook group or make donations to every organization that fights hatred or injustice.” Yet, if a Christian doesn’t step up and express outrage over his cause ju jour……well, there’s no need to finish the sentence…it’s what I’ve been saying and what Ann has been saying all along. Apparently, though, it only has validity to Michael when he says it and does it.

    Alan and the others won’t listen to me or others because we are gay-affirming

    Just one question, Michael: Since Exodus doesn’t listen to you because you are gay-affirming, why then have you suggested elsewhere that their long overdue anti-bullying statement was in response to your pleas and that the wording was largely yours?

  • Eddy

    Thanks for stopping by, Karen, it was good to ‘hear your voice’.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    All … I have really, really appreciated this conversation. As I posted above, it’s been one of the best I’ve been involved in. But it seems to me to have turned now to getting more personal. Maybe we’ve run out of things to say around the issues raised by the CT article.

    So, I’m going to say goodbye now mainly because I have some major projects and a heavy season of travel staring me in the face. I hope to be able to join other interesting threads in the future, and I encourage you all to check out the Exodus blog. I hope to author some of the posts over the next couple weeks.

    Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, Ex-Gay Watch has a really interesting video clip from an Australian TV (?) program. I think Haydn, the guy who is pursuing sanctified sexuality (that’s what I personally call it instead of “change”) is very well-spoken.

    Bless you all … Karen

  • Michael Bussee

    I think our guidelines right now are solid and personally see no need to change them. Still, that won’t prevent us from never making a mistake in the future, and that doesn’t bother me either. Beyond that, I’m not going to make any commitments to you, Michael. So please stop asking me.

    I’ll take that as a “NO”. Didn’t think so. I won’t ask you again.

    Since Exodus doesn’t listen to you because you are gay-affirming, why then have you suggested elsewhere that their long overdue anti-bullying statement was in response to your pleas and that the wording was largely yours?

    That was years ago. Things have changed since then. ANdthe wording wasn’t largely mine, especially not the final paragraph which was added withou any imput from me. Do I think that they did it partly to shut me up? Yes.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think Karen was my last hope on that. I do not expect and will quit suggesting that Exodus adopt official guidelines against criminalization and forced treatment. My suspicions as to why they will not?

    First, because their “gay affirming” critics are suggesting they do it. That doesn’t go very far with Exodus. In fact, it seems to make them even more stubborn. They resisted a simple anti-bullying statement for months. They ignored good advice about Uganda and it took them months to do anything to correct their mistake.

    Second, I suspect that “officially” they are not all that opposed to criminalization and forced treatment, they are afraid of alienating their “friends” or being seen as “endorsing” homosexuality and want some wiggle room for the future in case they feel led to stir up more trouble in Africa or elsewhere.

  • Ann

    Karen,

    You amaze me with your grace and spirit – hope to hear from you soon.

  • Eddy

    The first report on Exodus anti-bullying statement was just over 2 1/2 years ago.

    First, because their “gay affirming” critics are suggesting they do it.

    So easy to say; so difficult to prove or disprove. This also overlooks the possibility that Exodus’ first response ought to be to its members and affiliates and its desire to honor all of their voices. When I was involved, numerous issues came up that were deferred until after the next annual conference.

    Second, I suspect that “officially” they are not all that opposed to criminalization and forced treatment, they are afraid of alienating their “friends” or being seen as “endorsing” homosexuality and want some wiggle room for the future in case they feel led to stir up more trouble in Africa or elsewhere.

    Exodus has received a lot of flak for making political statements and now are being called upon to make global political statements. Those against Exodus wish Exodus to remain silent about issues that hit closer to home but then demand that they make statements on a global scale. The irony doesn’t escape me; I doubt that it escapes them.

    I also find it tragically humorous that first the charge is that they really do believe in some forms criminalization or forced treatment but…just in case you don’t swallow that…it’s their twisted motive of not wishing to alienate friends or be seen as endorsing. (Follow the logic: IF Exodus does believe in some forms of criminalization or forced treatment THEN what friends would they be alienating and how would they be seen as endorsing homosexuality? It’s an either/or situation not a both/and.) It doesn’t need to be logical as long as it paints EXODUS in a bad light.

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus paints itself.

  • Eddy

    Pithy yet pointless.

  • Michael Bussee

    Officially standing against criminalization and forced “treatment”? Won’t happen in our lifetime. As long as it’s a stand against what they percieve as being part of a “gay agenda” they have spoken out (and will continue to speak out) clearly, quickly and officially.

    On the other hand, when their critics suggest it, they dig in and will not budge — even if the issue is whether or not the people they claim to love so much should be executed or rot in prison.

    It’s a matter of pride for them. They won’t do it. They can’t do it. It would look like their critics were right and would cause their friends to wonder if they had gone soft.

    They only wrote the letter to the Ugandan President because the pressure to do or say something had become overwhelming — and even then, it only spokle to their own self-ineterest of being able to spread their agenda in Africa.

  • Michael Bussee

    Should criminalization and forced treatment be employed to further Exodus’ mission of “freedom from homosexuality? The answer is either “yes” or “no”. You get the board members on conference call and you take a vote. No good reason not to.

    Could and should have been done a year ago — if not sooner. If this issue had come up 30 years ago, I can assure you, it would have been done within the week. We would not have wanted to give our critics or friends any doubt as to where we stood.

  • Eddy

    On the other hand, when their critics suggest it, they dig in and will not budge — even if the issue is whether or not the people they claim to love so much should be executed or rot in prison.

    In the words of Sherman Potter, “Horse Puckey!” The issue was execution and life in prison and they did budge and speak against the extreme penalities.

    It’s a matter of pride for them. They won’t do it. They can’t do it. It would look like their critics were right and would cause their friends to wonder if they had gone soft.

    Once again I am amazed at your gift of being able to judge without the slightest taint of bias…to know not only the heart of EXODUS but also the reason behind what they do.

    They only wrote the letter to the Ugandan President because the pressure to do or say something had become overwhelming — and even then, it only spokle to their own self-ineterest of being able to spread their agenda in Africa.

    Again, your gift of knowing the motivations of others is unsurpassed…darn, if you didn’t tarnish it though by saying that it ONLY spoke to their own self interest. I realize it’s not convenient for you at the moment to recall that they also spoke to the severity of the punishments but that did happen and it did go beyond their own self interests.

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s my opinion Eddy. You are entitled to defend them all you want.

  • Michael Bussee

    And yes, it’s VERY biased. Never claimed it was not.

  • Eddy

    Should criminalization and forced treatment be employed to further Exodus’ mission of “freedom from homosexuality? The answer is either “yes” or “no”. You get the board members on conference call and you take a vote. No good reason not to.

    There’s a very good reason not to…perhaps your reacting without reading. Such matters aren’t simply board decisions…they involve the voices of all the Exodus member agencies and affiliates. And, for the record, YOU demand that the answer be either “yes” or “no”….you, sir, don’t have any rights to make such a demand of an organization you aren’t a part of. It may come down to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but that’s for them to decide not you.

    Could and should have been done a year ago — if not sooner. If this issue had come up 30 years ago, I can assure you, it would have been done within the week. We would not have wanted to give our critics or friends any doubt as to where we stood.

    This statement comes from a memory tarnished by time. I recall having several burning issues mostly about words that would be misconstrued or politics back in the days when you were involved. A number of them were discussed for weeks before resolve and others went for discussion at the annual conference. Perhaps you forget that the board at the time was made up of people who were, on the average, devoting 40 plus hours a week to their individual ministries besides serving on the board.

    This notion of resolving an issue and making a statement based on a single phone call is the stuff of fantasy.

  • Eddy

    I don’t defend them against credible and true charges, Michael. I defend them against obvious bias that forgets the facts and presumes to know motives.

  • Michael Bussee

    How long do you think Exodus would have taken to make it clear where it stood officially if Don Scmierer had been “duped” into speaking at a conference where the agenda was support for gay marriage? I’ll betcha the offical response would have swift and clear — and no one would have had to pressure them to do it — as Warren had to do with the letter.

  • Michael Bussee

    Alll I know is if this had happened when I was part of the Board, action would have been taken quickly and clearly or my resignation would have been swift. Debating what words we should use is not a valid comparison. Life and liberty to not hang in the balance.

    The Board is elected to make important policy decisions. If the members and affiliates disagree with the Board or choose to support criminalization and forced treatment., they can vote the board OUT or drop out of the organization Who would want such folks as members and afilliates anyway?

  • Michael Bussee

    YOU demand that the answer be either “yes” or “no”….you, sir, don’t have any rights to make such a demand of an organization you aren’t a part of.

    Just like we have no right to tell Uganda what we think of their proposed legislation bcause we “weren’t invited”?

  • Michael Bussee

    I have every right to criticize them. You are part of the organzation either. What gives you the right to defend them?

  • Eddy

    LOL. I can’t believe you even posed such a silly question.

    Demanding that someone not only make a decision but that it must be made on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ basis is both intrusive and restrictive. Members have such rights; non-members don’t.

    Defending someone is neither intrusive or restrictive…heck, unless they happen to read here, they don’t even know I’ve defended them. It’s not intrusive or restrictive in the slightest. So it doesn’t even factor in under ‘rights’.

    YOU demand that the answer be either “yes” or “no”….you, sir, don’t have any rights to make such a demand of an organization you aren’t a part of.

    Just like we have no right to tell Uganda what we think of their proposed legislation bcause we “weren’t invited”?

    We actually don’t have the right to DEMAND anything of Uganda. The other obvious difference between our statements is that in regards to EXODUS you aren’t just saying something is wrong, you are trying to tell the only appropriate way to fix it. Oh, wait, that is kinda what you are doing with Uganda too…it’s the part that many of us feel is misguided and imperialistic.

  • Michael Bussee

    Members have such rights; non-members don’t.

    Who says so? Who are YOU, sir, to tell me what my “rights” are? It’s OK for YOU to defend but not for ME to criticize? LOL. LOL. LOL. Talk about “censorship”! You have often expressed how you think Exodus or other organizations ought to do things and you are not part of those organzation either.

    You have expressed what you think should be done (or not done) about Uganda. You have that right. I have that right. You and I BOTH have EVERY right to express our opinions as to the nature of the problem and how best we think they should fix it. You do it all the time, Eddy. All the time.

  • Michael Bussee

    My insistence that Exodus should do or not do someting is not intrusive or restrictive — any more than your suggestions as to what GLSEN should do. You are not a member of GLSEN. Why don’t you button up about them?

    You and I can opine, demand or insist all we please. We BOTH have that “right” — whether or not we are part of the organizations or nations we criticize. You’re saying that I do not have the “right” does not make it so. LOL. LOL. LOL. Freedom of Speech, remember? I don’t derive my “rights” from you.

    Exodus has always done pretty much whatever the hell they feel “led” to do — and they will continue to do so — regardless of how I strongly I “demand” or “insist”. That they will not give a “yes or no” answer to that life or death question (while being perfectly willing and able to officially weigh in on gay marriage or the Day of Silence) speaks volumes.

  • Eddy

    To demand action is a member’s right. It comes with the mutual agreement entered into by the member and the organization. Who says so? Not me, Michael, common sense and the way things are.

    Even you know this…earlier in your comments to Karen, you appealed to her association, her membership…and alluded to the notion that you don’t have the same clout…that your voice doesn’t count there. Outsiders can speak…they may or may not be heard…and, yes, in one sense, they can be as demanding as they wanna be…they certainly ‘have that right’ but their voice can be overlooked in ways that a member’s voice can’t. The member has a right to be heard.

    And how quickly the words change. I was speaking of your ‘demanding’ a certain type of response from EXODUS and you charge me with ‘suggesting’ things GLSEN ought to do. I do recall pointing out GLSEN problems of good sense re school materials but I do not recall making any suggestions or demands of them. Can you cite one? And, unlike you with EXODUS, I’ve never contacted GLSEN telling them what they need to do.

    Re Jennings himself, it was different. I made some pointed suggestions and called for certain actions…and there I HAD THE RIGHT. He had been appointed to a government post–my government, your government. And we both have the right to request and sometimes demand accountability from our government.

    In any event, we are far off course and are locked in non-productive wrangling. You’ll continue to badmouth EXODUS and, when I feel you’ve gone overboard, I’ll state my case for how and why as I have thus far. Hopefully, it will be some other time, some other topic thread.

  • Michael Bussee

    Not me, Michael, common sense and the way things are.

    The way things are, according to Eddy. LOL. Forgot to read the rule book.

    Even you know this.

    No, sir, I don’t “know this”.I appealed to Karen, “her association, her membership” and “alluded to the notion I don’t have the same clout” because I KNOW I don’t have the same “clout”. LOL.

    That does not negate my “right” to strongly express my opinion or to “insist” or “demand” that they do something. I think they should because I think it’s the RIGHT thing to do. That’s my opinion and I have every RIGHT to express it. For you to insist otherwise is “censorship”.

    LOL. They have every RIGHT to blow me off. You don’t think they should to officially oppose prison, death or forced treatment? FINE. You have that “RIGHT” And I am not about to tell you that you don’t. LOL.

    “Outsiders can speak…they may or may not be heard…and, yes, in one sense, they can be as demanding as they wanna be…they certainly ‘have that right’ but their voice can be overlooked in ways that a member’s voice can’t”. LOL. You are pointing out the obvious. You think I don’t know that? You may rub me the wrong way and I may diagree with almost everything you say, but it doesn’t make me stupid or naive.

    It’s not that the “member has a RIGHT to be heard” and I have no right. It’s that they are more LIKELY to be heard because they are an insider. That is common sense and the “way things are”. LOL. An OUTSIDER can suggest or demand the right thing and the INSIDERS tend to resist it — often for no good reason than because it comes from an OUTSIDER. That’s why I asked Karen to make a commitment to try. She has the RIGHT to refuse. That’s FINE. I have the RIGHT to be disappointed — even angry.

    EVERYONE, including YOU, SIR, have avery “right” to spout, opine, demand, insist, throw a fit, rant, etc. as ANYONE else here. YOU do not own the blog, and YOU don’t make the rules. LOL.

  • Eddy

    all done mincing words with you today Michael.

  • Michael Bussee

    SHORT FORM: The fact that insiders have more “clout” does not negate the right of an “outsider” to say whatever he pleases, “demand” changes that he thinks should be made — or express whatever he strongly believes. You don’t have to be an insider, or a Ugandan.

    “Outsiders — people with no “clout” whatever — had every “right” to speak out or demand changes in the face of anti-semitism, or slavery or in this case, the persecution of gays. EVERY RIGHT.Sometimes, strong enough pressure from “outsiders” causes the “insiders” to change their tune — although I am very pessimistic that Exodus ever will.

  • Michael Bussee

    Didn’t think I had “minced” mine. I thought I was blunt. LOL.

  • Michael Bussee

    Shame on Exodus.

    (1) Exodus leadership ignored the warnings (from friends and foes) and the pleas for their board member to not go to Uganda. Instead, Exodus leadership praised his participation.

    (2) Don admitted — months later and under considerable pressure — that he had not prepared and knew almost nothing about the conference. An Exodus leader doesn’t prepare? Does no homework? You want such a person in leadership?

    (3) He later excused his extreme carelessness by saying he was “tricked”, “sucked in” and “duped”. He did not apologize for his sloppiness. Instead he commented on how surprised he was to see his “tanned and smiling” picture on Rachel Maddow’s show.

    (4) Many people, including Dr. Throckmorton, openly expressed frustration that considerable time had passed and Exodus had STILL not openly condemned the legislation.

    (5) People on this blog argued that there was no need. BTW, Dr. Throckmorton is not an Exodus “insider” but he felt he had trhe “right” to push Exodus to do something.

    (5) Finally, the “letter” appeared — curiously with Dr. Throckmorton’s name on it — focussing primarily on the need for the Church to be a “safe place” for the homosexual “struggler” — in other words concerned that they might be blocked from returning to Uganda to spread the ex-gay message and agenda.

    (6) The letter did not state that Exodus was officially opposed to criminalization or forced therapy — or that the bill was a serious violation of human rights. The letter was signed by only TWO Exodus board members — not the entire board, Why?

    (7) Alan Chambers boldly promised that Exodus “would not stop at the letter” and that they would “do more” to see that the Bill was defeated. They didn’t. It stopped at the letter. There has been no “more”.

    (8) Exodus is back to business as ususal — opposing gay marriage and the Day of Silence — they have done considerably “more” on those issues — but nothing “more” on Uganda.

    (9) Don Scmierer finally opposed the law and said that it deserved “all the media attention” it could get. So far, neither he not Exodus has done anyting to generate more media attention — or to make its opposition to this Bill openly known.

    (10) Although “members” of the FaceBook group, they have posted nothing since the letter — nothing to voice their solidarity with those who oppose it — or to announce their efforts to do “more”. You wouldn’t know they were even members of the group unless someone told you. Its been months since they have said a word. Just the sound of crickets chirping.

    (11) They have heard and have steadfastly refused to make their opposition to criminalization and forced “treatment” official — or to make it clear that they expect their members and affiliates oppose these things.

    (12) On this blog, Dr. Throckmorton gave his “outsider” suggestion of something “more” Exodus could and should do — “Say directly to the people of Uganda — we were WRONG it what we told you.”

    They have not. Shame on Exodus. And shame on anyone who defends their handling of this human rights disaster. — Their mistakes and poor leadership have been compared (even by outsiders like Dr. Throckmorton) to carelessly dropping matches on gasoline. And the fct remains, they have done precious little to put the fire out.

  • Eddy

    Thanks for the enumeration. When it comes to EXODUS shortcoming’s, you really are kind of a savant. But somehow it manages NOT to address whether there’s any appropriate response for EXODUS other than to immediately draft and post an official global policy statement re criminalization and or forced treatment that doesn’t boil down to a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

    I have been conveying my responses to rigidity, to motive-guessing, to spin and to judging. I found the statement demanding both in the sense that it had to be done NOW even before the next assembling of the EXODUS members and affiliates in less than 5 months and that it demanded that the answer be ‘yes’ or

    ‘no’. This makes for great debate talk but is irrational. What would our response be if EXODUS actually produced a one word policy statement…’yes’…or…’no’? Would it meet our needs? Would it answer the unasked questions? I’d like to answer with an enthusiastic “Hell, No!” People from both sides would be asking “OK, what do you really mean?” But again, it looks great on paper and has debate flair, unfortunately it ignores reality (as I just demonstrated).

    This appears to be the point where our conversation took it’s new leap into ‘testiness’. My use of the word ‘rights’ was perhaps a bad one. However, I don’t know how else I could have expressed the sentiment that, at days end, it’s an EXODUS family issue…waiting for a time when the whole family is assembled and giving every member of the family an opportunity to speak and be heard. Had I said that you don’t have the ‘privilege’, I fear that would have sparked yet another detour that’s also somewhat offpoint. Simply, for EXODUS to produce a statement immediately, as a result of a board members only’ phone call, when there’s no new crisis imminent, without waiting to hear from it’s other members and affiliates WOULD BE favoring you over those it represents. In Uganda, the horse is already out of the barn; I have heard no rustling in the wind that any similar proposals are in the works elsewhere that demand EXODUS draft a statement immediately.

    As I said earlier in this post: “I have been conveying my responses to rigidity, to motive-guessing, to spin and to judging.” You are free to present your take on EXODUS and it’s actions (or lack thereof), however, I will be reviewing those statements and offering counterpoint when I feel they are inappropriately rigid (as in demanding an immediate policy statement), or motive-guessing (mind reading), etc. I will state my take and why I feel that portion of a statement crosses a line of objective truthfulness. It’s not even for you as much as its for someone else who might be reading. (I recall a year or so back when we discovered that even some of those who railed against EXODUS most vocally…that these folks didn’t even have a concept of the basic structure of EXODUS, that it wasn’t one office somewhere but rather a conglomeration of individuals and ministries. Or others who thought that EXODUS and NARTH were interchangeable terms…not having any appreciation for the big distinctions between them. That was quite a wake up call for me.)

  • Michael Bussee

    I found the statement demanding both in the sense that it had to be done NOW even before the next assembling of the EXODUS members and affiliates in less than 5 months and that it demanded that the answer be ‘yes’ or

    ‘no’.

    You seem to be saying, “These things take time.” They have had ample time to discuss this with the board, their members and their affiliates. They could send a mailing to each affiliate asking them to sign the proposed statement and mail it back to headquarters. They don’t need five more months of stalling. They have have almost a year now.

    This makes for great debate talk but is irrational. What would our response be if EXODUS actually produced a one word policy statement…’yes’…or…’no’? Would it meet our needs?

    No. One word statements of “yes” or “no” would be stupid. Rick Warren’s statement could be easily adapted. Alan has already posted his personal views on criminalization and forced treatment. These would make good rough drafts. With some help from friendly advisors, I am sure that they could come up with a very clear statement if they are having troubling writing one on their own or are concerned that their statement might not be strong and clear enough.

    This appears to be the point where our conversation took it’s new leap into ‘testiness’. My use of the word ‘rights’ was perhaps a bad one.

    You can say that again. WHo are YOU to decalre who has “rights” and who does not? You cry “censorship” when people try to argue you down, but think it is you “right” to declare the “rights” of others regarding how they express their views. You have every right to make your voice known — and so do I. You aren’t an “insider” either.

    Many people have weighed in on what more Exodus could and should do — including Dr, Throckmorton. Many of these people are “outsiders” not “family” and they have every right to make their positions known and to strong urge Exodus to take more decisive action.

    Eddy, I completely understand that any decision must eventually be made by “family” and that “insiders” have more clout. I understand that they probably resent “outsiders” telling them what they should do. Like it or not, “outsiders” are looking to Exodus to keep its promise and “do more” — as Alan said he would do.

    I have every “right” to “demand” or “insist” — but I have no power. That’s why I have contacted Alan, and Randy — and now Karen — to ask them to help. They blow me off. I have also asked two other signers of the letter (Christopher Yuan and Dr. Throckmorton) to use whatver influence they may have to get this done.

    Chris Yuan, who signed the Exodus letter, thinks its a good idea. So do other people — friendly to Exodus — that I have been talking to. Some are surprised and a bit troubled that Exodus hasn’t.

    They have promised to try to get it done — using whatever influence they may have. I even thought you might have some influence and could see the wisdom of making their official position on these matters clear. This is Exodus’ mission — to reach the “struggler”.

    Shouldn’t a “struggler” know that Exodus and its affiliates do not and will not support criminalizing them or forcing them into treatment? It’s been a year. So far, nothing but stalling and excuses from Exodus.

    Simply, for EXODUS to produce a statement immediately, as a result of a board members only’ phone call, when there’s no new crisis imminent, without waiting to hear from it’s other members and affiliates WOULD BE favoring you over those it represents.

    “Immediately” would have been a year ago. And a “new crisis” is imminent. It’s the very same one that has been threatening the life, liberty and essential human freedoms of Ugandans since Exodus first stuck its clumsy hoof in this manure — against good advice from friends and foes. They ignored it then and they seem to me doing the same thing now.

    You don’t like that I am rigid and demanding. I offer no apology. Dr. Throckmorton has called on Exodus (and the other misguided and misinformed American “outsiders” who stepped into this situation against good advice) to “say directly to the people of Uganda, we were WRONG in what we told you”. He have better manners in the way that he expresses what he thinks Exodus should do, but I doubt he is any loess passionate. He has been openly criticial of Exodus’ mishandling of this crisis. My guess is that he would think that clarifications and official policies are in order too.

  • Eddy

    It’s been nearly a year since the ill-advised conference but it’s only been 4 or 5 months since the release of the Ugandan proposal.

    We’ll need to disagree re the timing or the dynamics of how Exodus gets the input of its members and affiliates. I have always preferred ‘live, in person’ to ‘written’ for some issues because, in the hearing of someone else’s point or question, sometimes your own point or question is sharpened and clarified. And I believe that another 5 months won’t make a difference.

    EXODUS, in my opinion, has to also determine what areas or issues are worthy of ‘Official Policy Statements”. Such statements can be good or bad. Sure, someone can pop onto your website and catch at a glance your official position. Would something be lost there? Would the fact that the person didn’t feel the need to contact a real live person…to ask their question…to express their point of view…would that close EXODUS off from some valuable voices and opinions?

    I haven’t been there but I understand that there’s been a whole lotta heat over on the Facebook group. I know my own frustrated attempts to discuss any issues that fall short of total legalization here. Being that EXODUS is privy to that…but that conversation is being stifled…there’s a problem with the think tank. Many conservatives see the ‘outrage’ (remember how that’s been used as a ‘buzzword’ before) as partially manufactured; they see the refusal to discuss anything shy of absolutes as questionable…in short, their radar is sending them a very strong caution signal and the communication necessary to address the cautions is being withheld. So, while I understand how urgently you think a policy statement needs to be issued now; I maintain that there’s also logical support for waiting…and possibly, for not issuing one at all.

    I don’t meddle with EXODUS much. I did share concerns with Alan and Randy back around the time that they issued their letter but I can’t recall whether it was before or after the letter AND my advice leaned heavily towards caution. If I were to address them on that matter again, my advice would be pretty much the same.

  • Michael Bussee

    And as to “motive guessing” — they leave themselves open to it. I have asked repeatedly for one good reason why they should not do it. I would really like to understand their rationale. Why not make it clear? It truly baffles me. I would think they would be proud to make their official position known.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    I was astonished as to why it took so long for the HRC to respond. I know their position is that if it is in the U.S., they address it – if it is not, they have another organization they partner with to do that. It took you repeatedly writing them and calling before they responded. Doesn’t that sound a little strange to you?

  • Michael Bussee

    I haven’t been there but I understand that there’s been a whole lotta heat over on the Facebook group.

    Actually no. It has been kinda slow over there recently. I check several times a a day. People are still joining and expressing their disapproval of the Bill — but no loud demands or “shout downs” of opposing or moderate positions.

    It doesn’t feel like a “whole lotta heat”. The group’s purpose is to express opposition to the Bill. So people say why they are opposed to it. But the discussion tends to be civil and intelligent for the most part. New articles and links are posted as they come in.

    The main purpose seems to be to keep folks informed of recent developments and to post news articles. No one calliing for “compromise” (as you have consistently suggested) You are pretty much the lone voice on that one, but there are many who have expressed that they believe some modified form of the Bill will be passed in spite of all efforts to stop it.

    A few people actually endorse it — and the opponents have offered rational rebuttals. There are a number uf Ugandans that post — some “pro” and some “con”. Mainly, you get the feeling of wating to see what will happen next.

    I know you are displeased that you haven’t gotten very far with you calls for something less than absolute opposition to criminalization and forced “treatment”. I suspect that (like me) some others may find that suggestion disgusting — like calling for less than absolute oppostion to slavery or persecution of the Jews.

    I suspect that you don’t think that the comparison is vaild, but I do. You don’t compromise with a clear evil — and this Bill — many of us believe, is just that.

    So, while I understand how urgently you think a policy statement needs to be issued now; I maintain that there’s also logical support for waiting…and possibly, for not issuing one at all.

    I don’t see any and have not heard any. That’s why I keep asking: “Why not do it?”

    Sure, someone can pop onto your website and catch at a glance your official position. Would something be lost there? Would the fact that the person didn’t feel the need to contact a real live person…to ask their question…to express their point of view…would that close EXODUS off from some valuable voices and opinions?

    Something might be lost, but I think much more would be gained. For one thing, a “struggler” might feel safer asking for “help” if they knew that Exodus did not support the idea of crimiinalizing them or forcing them into “treatment”. That might give them a sense of safety and a willingness to ask more questions.

  • Eddy

    My view is that people’s motives and organization’s motives are largely their business. When we guess at their motive, we need to state it as such. (i.e. “I can’t imagine why they are delaying; it wonder if its….” as opposed to “They aren’t releasing a statement because they want to be able to hedge and they don’t want to alienate friends”) State it as a guess or a supposition and it will often fly under my radar; state it as ‘what is’ and I’ll clarify that you have no possible way of knowing that for certain.

    Trying to inject yourself into their mind isn’t particularly helpful either. You aren’t them. In fact, you have a worldview that is radically different from theirs. You are an individual speaking for yourself; they are a coalition speaking for many. You’re priority and much of your energy right now is on the situation in Uganda but for EXODUS and its’ members, life presents other demands on a daily basis. I feel EXODUS needs to work Uganda into its priority list, but Uganda is not the only issue on their ‘to do’ list. You can continue to wonder why they don’t see things just like you do…why they don’t feel the need or the urgency to draft a policy statement….I wonder lots of things about lots of issues; but most of my wonderings–especially if they are about other people– are between me and God…if something or someone needs a little pressure to get it/them moving, why not make it a matter of prayer rather than of blog pressure? I can almost guarantee that if God spoke to someone in EXODUS in that ‘still small voice’ about the need for a policy statement, the matter would be escalated (it still might not reach fruition until after the next annual conference but it would be escalated); blog voices that attempt to ascribe motives to them…that second guess why they haven’t yet…that demand when and how they do it–those voices don’t appear to be having the desired effect.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael,

    I was astonished as to why it took so long for the HRC to respond. I know their position is that if it is in the U.S., they address it – if it is not, they have another organization they partner with to do that. It took you repeatedly writing them and calling before they responded. Doesn’t that sound a little strange to you?

    No. It did not take them long to respond. They had already made their position clear by being a founding member and very active part of the larger, international organization that was already clearly opposing it.

    I placed two calls and wrote two emails. They called me back fairly quickly, apologized for not getting back to me sooner and expressed their complete dismay that people might actually think they supported the law or were not clearly opposed to it. They are. Clearly. Actively. Officially. Exodus is not.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK, Eddy. It’s a guess. I don’t “know” why they won’t do this. So I am left, like the rest of us, to guess. I think my guesses are probably right.

    My view is that people’s motives and organization’s motives are largely their business.

    Mine too. But not when their irresponsible bungling puts the lives and liberties of others at risk. Then it’s everyone’s business and everyone’s “right” to cry “foul”.

    Why not make it a matter of prayer rather than of blog pressure? I can almost guarantee that if God spoke to someone in EXODUS in that ’still small voice’ about the need for a policy statement, the matter would be escalated

    Are you assuming that it is not a matter of daily prayer for me? If blog pressure might nudge them to listen to that “still small voice” then I will do that too. Personally, I think God is speakiing to them — like He was was when others urged them to tell Don to stay out od Uganda — but my “guess” is that, in their zeal to spread the ex-gay message, they plugged their ears. Exodus has done lots of things that don’t seem to reflect that they were listening closely.

    blog voices that attempt to ascribe motives to them…that second guess why they haven’t yet…that demand when and how they do it–those voices don’t appear to be having the desired effect.

    You can say that again.

  • Eddy

    The HRC is off the hook because they belong to an organization that stated opposition to the bill…they are termed ‘active’ and ‘official’ although the questions to them were spurred by the fact that they’ve got no statements and hadn’t spoken to the issue. How does that meet the definition of ‘active’ or ‘official’?

    Exodus, on the other hand, has not, by Michael’s judgement ‘clearly’, ‘actively’ or ‘officially’ opposed the bill…the letter they sent to the Ugandan president doesn’t count? the blog statements made by several of the Exodus board members don’t count? joining a group on Facebook that officially opposes the anti-homosexuality bill doesn’t count?

    We change the meanings of even the simplest words when it suits our desired spin. I would hope though that they’d mean the same re the subject that immediately preceded their usage as the one that immediately followed.

  • Ann

    No. It did not take them long to respond.

    Michael,

    Ok – thanks for the reply. I guess I just remember it differently, however, I am glad you are pleased with the outcome. I hope someday you can feel the same about Exodus because I believe they are endeavoring to resolve the issues they feel need to be resolved.

  • Michael Bussee

    The letter they sent to the Ugandan president doesn’t count? the blog statements made by several of the Exodus board members don’t count? joining a group on Facebook that officially opposes the anti-homosexuality bill doesn’t count?

    Sure they do. They count. I have said that those were good steps. Now take the next step. Adopt official policies and expect your affiliates, members –and especially your board members — to abide by them. They have made their official policy known on gay marriage and the Day of Silence. They can and should do the same here.

    Regarding the HRC, it is a founding member and active part of of an international effort to oppose human rights violations — including this bill. Through their work with that larger, international coalition, they had “spoken to the issue”.

    When I called them, they were already working with their partners to oppose the bill. Clearly. Officially. If you want proof, I will give it to you. They were suprised and idsmayed that any of their critics would try to suggest otherwise.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann, when you first raised the question about the HRC, you seemed to be implying that it was unfair to ask Exodus to speak out officially since the HRC had not done so. I couldn’t believe they would not be officially opposed to it, so I called.

    Although it did take some time (a couple of weeks if I recall) for them to get back to me, their director expressed sincere apology for the delay — along with complete surprise and strong irritation that anyone would itry to imply that a strong “gay rights” organzation like HRC was doing nothing or was somehow complacent about making its opposition known.

    They have been opposed to it from the beginning and were already working with their international partners to defeat it. No one had to shame them or push them into voicing open opposition to it. I asked and I got the “offiicial, on the record” reply. No hemming and hawing. No “we need a few more months to pray, mull it over and poll our affiliates. A clear and unmistakeable “NO”.

    And will guarantee you that if you call to ask them their “official” position on the law, they will more than happy to tell you, too.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    expressed their complete dismay that people might actually think they supported the law or were not clearly opposed to it. They are. Clearly. Actively. Officially. Exodus is not.

    This statement by you VERY CLEARLY and VERY DEFINITELY says that Exodus is not Clearly, Actively, Officially opposed to it.

    The letter they sent to the Ugandan president doesn’t count? the blog statements made by several of the Exodus board members don’t count? joining a group on Facebook that officially opposes the anti-homosexuality bill doesn’t count?

    Sure they do. They count. I have said that those were good steps.

    And then you acknowledge that Exodus did take actions…did take some steps…did join a group that opposes the Ugandan Bill.

    That’s that frustrating thing called ‘spin’ that I continue to accuse you of. When it suits the tone of what you want to say, you’ll imply that EXODUS has done nothing as in the first statement; then when confronted, you’ll concede (without ever really admitting that your first statement was purposely misleading) that they have taken some steps but that they aren’t enough. Heck, given that the majority of Americans don’t seem to have a clue about the Ugandan crisis, HRC’s step of belonging to an organization that made a statement isn’t enough. But all of that gets lost in your purposeful spin. “Exodus is not…Clearly…Actively…Officially…opposed to it.”

  • Ann

    when you first raised the question about the HRC, you seemed to be implying that it was unfair to ask Exodus to speak out officially since the HRC had not done so.

    Michael,

    When I asked about the HRC it was because they are the most well known, well endowed (monetarily), well connected organization that endorses, supports and advocates homosexual rights and equality. They had Barak Obama speak at their last convention in Washington, DC and for those reasons, I felt if any one organization could speak out and up and garner support in opposition of this proposed bill it would be them and their members and supporters – the president of the U.S., who, himself has ties to Africa and says he is a Christian, and many others who I thought, could and would and should stand in the gap. Was I wrong to think this? Any which way, I aksed solely for the purposes I stated here and it had NOTHING to do with Exodus and whether it was fair or unfair to ask them to be involved. My personal belief is, if there is a human rights issue, it should be presented to those, if not everyone, who can help and then leave it up to their own consciousness to do so or not. I am currently perplexed as to why Michelle Obama has chosen to advance a resolution for obese children when there are thousands of children in foster care all over the U.S. with little or no hope of having their lives improved. Why one issue is ever more important than another is a matter of personal interest and motivation. Sigh.

  • Michael Bussee

    This statement by you VERY CLEARLY and VERY DEFINITELY says that Exodus is not Clearly, Actively, Officially opposed to it.

    Yes. That is the point I am trying to make. They have expressed clear opposition to the Bill, but not to criminalization and forced “treatment”.

  • Michael Bussee

    Was I wrong to think this?

    No, Ann. I also wanted to know (although I had no doubt that they were strongly opposed to this Bil — and to criminalization and forced “treatment”.) There was no equivocation when I asked. Just an apology for not getting back to me sooner, a clarification of what they were already doing and a follow-up posting on their own website to erase any doubt.

  • Michael Bussee

    (without ever really admitting that your first statement was purposely misleading)

    I won’t admit that it was, because it wasn’t “purposely misleading. Now who’s guessing at intentions. I have acknowledged repeatedly that Exodud officially opposes this Bill. And I continue to be openly dismayed that they will not officially condemn criminalization and forced treatment. They had the chance to tell Uganda when Don was there. He remained silent. They have the chance now. They remain (offiicially) silent.

  • Ann

    Just an apology for not getting back to me sooner, a clarification of what they were already doing and a follow-up posting on their own website to erase any doubt.

    Michael,

    I just looked at their website and cannot find anything about the Uganda bill. Do you know where it is on there? I looked on the front page and international rights page and laws and campaigns page.

  • Michael Bussee

    You can carry on til Hell freezes over defending Exodus’s decision to remain officially silent on criminalization and forced “treatment” and I will carry on til Hell freezes over that they should officially oppose these things. Stalemate?

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann, I was talking about an article they posted about what they are doing. HRC doesn’t need to post an official statement opposing criminalization and forced treatment of homosexuality. Exodus does. HRC did not go to Uganda. HRC did not sit silently while a fellow-speaker advocated for these things. Exodus’ board member did and they praised him for going. HRC does not advocate “changing” gay people. Exodus does.

    If you wish, I will call right now and ask the director of the HRC for an OFFICIAL statement of opposition to criminalization and forced treatment. I willl get the director to swear that it IS their “official” position. I will post it here. Would that satisfy you? I really don’t get why you don’t get this. Try to get Alan Chambers to make a similar statment. Hell will freeze over first.

  • Michael Bussee
  • Ann

    Michael and all,

    Thank you for the link and all you are doing to advance the opposition of this bill. I think it is time for me to step away from this particular thread now. God bless.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: I will call again since you do not seem satisfied, for some reason that completely escapes me, that the HRC isn’t completely opposed to criminalization and forced “treatment”. I will obtain a clear, official statement from the director is that would appease you.

    But it seems downright silly to me. They are a gay rights organization, for heaven sake! Is there any reasonable doubt that they oppose criminalizationa d forced “:treatment”>? Of course they do. You KNOW they do. Would the NAACP support slavery? Does Exodus need to issue an official statement against NAMBLA? Come on.

    Not so clear when it comes to Exodus and these two crucial isssues — especially when you consider that they went to Uganda against good advice, that their Board Member sat silently while a fellow speaker openly adocated for these things and that they (to this day) they stubbornly REFUSE to state their opposition to criminalization and forced “treatment”. HRC does not have a HUGE MESS to clean up.

    Exodus does.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann, Back soon. It seems I have some calls to make to the HRC. The HRC has been openly opposed to this bill since the beginning — as co-founders and active members of their international efforts. They needed no “pushing” llike Exodus did. The HRC has always been involved in the fight against the persecution of gays. Exodus has not. Ending oppression and persecution against gays is the core of the HRC’s mission. Not so with Exodus. Exodus lamented the end of sodomy laws.

    I am certain that the HRC officially opposes criminalization and forced “treatment” — as certain as I am that the NAACP opposes slavery. As I said, I will obtain an official statement from their director and post it here if that would satisfy you. And I am certain that I won’t have to ask for the help of “insiders”, “make it a matter of prayer”, wait months while they poll their affiliates — or apply “blog pressure” to get it. How about you try getting the same from Alan Chambers. Let’s see which organization responds first.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    The ‘it’ in your statement comparing the HRC’s response to Exodus’ non-response was ‘this law’. Exodus has spoken out against this proposed bill…i.e. ‘this law’.

    I hear what you are now saying…that you didn’t really mean ‘this law’ but that you meant ‘any law’ that included any penalties whatsoever for homosexual behavior. I’m not keen on any criminalization…just as I’m not keen on criminalization for marijuana usage and possession…but to ramp up to outrage over this possibility in a foreign country that does not share my value system…don’t know that I can go there. I’m not outraged over the marijuana laws that occur here and I’ve had friends become victims of it. Fines, felony records, forced treatment (Narcotics Anonymous even though marijuana isn’t officially a narcotic). Don’t like it but I’m not outraged.


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