CNN: A Christian’s response to anti-gay bullying

Dan Gilgoff’s CNN Belief Blog published my article on anti-gay bias involved in recent bullying related suicides. I am allowed to print a little bit and then link to the rest. I hope you’ll read, recommend, and discuss it at both places…

This week marks the beginning of the 5th annual National Bullying Prevention Month. Tragically, this comes just at the time when the nation is mourning the recent suicides of three young teens, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown and Seth Walsh. Although each situation was a little different, a common denominator was that a central feature of the harassment the boys experienced was anti-gay name-calling.

 

Sadly, these boys join a string of other suicide victims who’d been subjected to anti-gay bias.

These tragedies have heightened the attention of the public on an already contentious debate about how to prevent anti-gay harassment. While everyone agrees that such bullying is harmful and must be addressed, not all agree about the means to that end.

…..

My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution.

I go on to describe how churches and schools in Grove City are working together to combat bullying and recommend that adults put the culture war aside for the good of children.

By the way, I am not ignoring Tyler Clementi. I wanted to focus in this article on young teens in public schools.

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  • http://mosaicsynapse.blogspot.com/ Pam Elmore

    Thanks so much for that article, Dr. Throckmorton. Though I blogged about the issue this morning, your article spoke directly and eloquently to the need to set our ideology aside and work to shield these kids. Thank you.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Well said, Warren

  • Lynn David

    Quite fair and balanced, Warren.

  • Joshua

    Dan Gilgoff: “My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution.”

    He must be confused. For evangelicals, the bullying is the solution, not the problem.

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

    The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) is pushing back against efforts to improve the climate for LGBT students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, where community members are mourning suicides by four LGBT students in the last year. The real issue is “homosexual indoctrination,” not anti-gay bullying, says MFC’s Tom Prichard, who says the students are dead because they adopted an “unhealthy lifestyle.” MFC’s campaign against anti-bullying education comes as national religious right groups mount a similar campaign in the aftermath of nearly half a dozen suicides by LGBT students around the country in the last month.

    Prichard asserts that the suicide death of 15-year-old Justin Aaberg was not due to anti-LGBT bullying. Aaberg took his life in July, and his mother and friends say anti-LGBT bullying played a factor Prichard claims that “homosexual activists” are “manipulating” his death to get homosexual indoctrination programs into the school district.

    “Whatever the exact reason for Justin’s suicide it’s an enormous tragedy that shouldn’t be manipulated for ideological purposes which is what’s being done now,” he wrote on Thursday. “I’ll of course be accused of being unloving, hateful, etc. But is the loving thing to encourage and promote unhealthy and harmful behaviors and practices?”

    Minnesota Independant

    Good Luck, Warren.

    The Minnesota Family Council is also connected to the Parents Action League, a group that has been lobbying the school board not to adopt any LGBT-specific anti-bullying programming. MFC’s Prichard told the Minnesota Independent that he hasn’t been involved in PAL personally, but Barb Anderson, the organization’s staffer focusing on education issues, represents PAL.

    Like the Parents Action League’s efforts in Minnesota, the national Focus on the Family has launched TrueTolerance.org, a website that teaches that LGBT bullying prevention efforts “become a gateway for homosexuality promotion in school.”

    You see, it’s not just a “tiny minority”, It’s most of Conservative Christianity who think this way. Group after Group after Group. Tell me, is there even one Conservative Christian organisation, one “Concerned Parents League” or “Family Action Council” whose beliefs remotely resemble His teachings? Just one? Anywhere?

    Well, I suspect you never were one to cower from a challenge, to not attempt to do what you think is right just because the odds were against you.

    No-one who’s Transsexual or Intersexed gives up either, just because the task is impossible. So I guess I better help. What can I do?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Somehow, somewhere along the way, we have lost any semblance of objective reasoning, reporting or reading when it comes to these sorts of tragedies. We are letting emotions drive the discussion.

    There are real people involved, and we ought to empathize with their pain, as “He” would. There are real dangers along the path of publicly coming out as gay in adolescence, and we ought to hold up signposts that say that, as “He” would. There is real ugliness in cultural prejudice (it cuts both ways), and we ought to condemn that, as “He” would. There is real disconnectedness in our families, and we ought to be doing all in our power to heal that, as “He” would. There is a right and moral basis for living, and we ought to show others what that looks like, as “He” did when he walked among us.

    There is a God in heaven who governs the affairs of man and wants to reside in their hearts. We cannot deny that any more than we can force Him upon others. Principle over ideology. Reason over emotion. Hard to do, but we must.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Debbie – What are you saying? I don’t know how that relates to the post. Reason and emotion are not isolated from one another. Emotion animates reason and reason checks emotion, but both are flawed by bias. In this situation, it seems to me that reason and emotion head the same way.

    ZoeB – Testify! Keep writing, keep talking, keep persuading.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Pam – Welcome and thanks; hope to hear more from you.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Warren, I made my comments as a counterpoint to this:

    You see, it’s not just a “tiny minority”, It’s most of Conservative Christianity who think this way.

    And you tell Zoe to rant on. Sorry, but I feel compelled to speak up and attempt to draw us to a more reasonable place. This debate is far too emotionally charged. I believe you do know that. There is a place for emotion and, yet, it ought to be informed by reason. Pound the table, if you must. But back it with sound thinking.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    There are real dangers along the path of publicly coming out as gay in adolescence, and we ought to hold up signposts that say that, as “He” would.

    Very well. I will. Here’s my signpost:

    Hey same-sex attracted kid, there are people who will endanger you. They will accuse you of having an agenda just because you want to be treated like everyone else. They will accuse you of “indoctrination” when you ask not to be bullied. They will oppose setting up a safe space for you in school because they fear it would lead to the “normalization of homosexuality” They will do everything in their power to create an environment that protects bullies and demonizes you.

    They will not stop there. They will insinuate that you can be heterosexual if you pray/trust/try/believe enough even though they know full well that this is almost NEVER true. They will lie to you and tell you that being gay, in and of itself, is “not normal” and will lead to misery, depression, and an inherent internal conviction of your “sin”.

    They will seek to encourage a culture of disapproval. They will oppose any mention of same-sex families, of happy gay people, of gay people who have contributed to society, or of gay people in any manner whatsoever that is not condemnatory. In fact, they will accuse you of attacking their religious freedoms if you dare to insist that you exist.

    In short, same-sex attracted kid, if you come out as gay in adolescence, that act will put you in the cross-hairs of culture warriors. They will attack your life – and blame you for it. And they will continue to do so for the rest of your life.

    They will oppose your efforts to meet, date, fall in love, and marry. They will try to ban you from serving your country, choosing a teaching career, or anything else that they think they can get public support on. They will try to take your children from you. They will declare that discrimination against you is “upholding morality” and oppose any job protections. And should you try and live your life with integrity, they will accuse you of “shoving it down their throats.”

    Yes, kid, coming out has dangers.

    But the far worse danger is living a life of fear, denial, and self-hatred. Take it from every single gay person who has tried to hide in a closet and think that this way they would be safe from the “moral guardians of society”: the best thing you can do is be true to yourself.

    And trust me same-sex attracted kid, it gets better! Out here in the real world, hateful bigotry is not welcomed. And these people don’t speak for God; there are many many Christians who love you as you are.

    I’m sure He would approve.

  • Eddy

    There was a time when this website wasn’t known for broad and sweeping generalizations.

  • Michael Bussee

    Part 1: Time to ‘Name’ What is Ignored — Andrew Marin

    It is being proposed by some Christian groups that we need to just condemn all acts of bullying without specifically addressing the core issues at the heart of the recent instances of bullying. In a recent interview with CNN, Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family stated that:

    “Bullying prevention policies would be most effective if they addressed the far reaching nature of this problem, which so many of American children (30%) are dealing with. So the most effective policies and initiatives would be ones that protect any child against bullying for any reason. The correct focus is to prevent the wrong actions, not focusing on the characteristics of the victims. It doesn’t matter why the victim is targeted, it is wrong to harm them for any reason.”

    This philosophy is ignoring the prevalence of LGBT bullying mentioned above and is not going to address the root of the problem. We are not going to be able to get rid of homophobia if we do not actually discuss homophobia. Can we imagine how effective it would have been to say that it didn’t matter why kids were being bullied and did not specifically talk about racism when schools were being integrated in the 60s’? If we do not address the underlying issues, they will continue to manifest themselves in forms of bullying. It is like only focusing on the symptoms while neglecting the disease that is making the person sick in the first place. I agree with Candi Cushman that all forms of bullying must be condemned, but without specifically getting to the heart of the matter the diseases that plague our society like homophobia will continue to cripple and kill our children while the surface level anti-bullying initiatives function as damage control for a few visible cases. By not addressing the specific problems and naming them, we will actually reinforce the context that brought about these suicides.

    http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-1-time-to-name-what-is-ignored/

  • Joshua

    Not that I ever understand any of Debbie Thurman’s posts, but this one is even more addled than usual.

    Zoe’s point is well-proven. Not one Christian organization has deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying, or indeed any bullying. Year after year, decade after decade, their reaction to the ever growing pile of corpses is silence. It is only when the gay activist/lobby/conspiracy/mob supports some corrective policy that their interest suddenly comes alive, and only then to thwart whatever it is that the activist/lobby/conspiracy/mob is proposing. This depraved indifference is mirrored in the many individual Christians in Indiana, Texas and California who witnessed this relentless bullying on a daily basis and did nothing. If Jesus had followed the lead of today’s Christians, Mary Magdalene would have been stoned.

    When last month’s body count was reported, not one Christian organization had anything to say about it. Even gay-obsessed groups whose websites are consistently slathered with gay-related stories, were utterly silent. Now, when a few do speak out, it is once again to thwart the perceived machinations of the activist/lobby/conspiracy/mob, not to actually do something about the bullying. BTW, you can add to Zoe’s references the website of LaBarbera and today’s column by the head of the Liberty Counsel. Both shed a few crocodile tears over the suicides, and then spend 95% of the text denouncing manipulative homosexual activists. There is very little difference between these Christian leaders and the Christian journalists at the Red Pepper and Rolling Stone.

    Debbie, unless you can point to some organized Christian response that is not transparently malevolent, then I think you should apologize to Zoe.

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

    Debbie Thurman – This wasn’t a rhetorical question. Perhaps you can show me where I’m wrong.

    Tell me, is there even one Conservative Christian organisation, one “Concerned Parents League” or “Family Action Council” whose beliefs remotely resemble His teachings? Just one? Anywhere?

    Please tell me of one.

    You know, usually it’s I who has to defend Christians and Christianity from those who see nothing but evil there. I can point to scores of Christian groups that are, well, Christian. Some are highly Orthodox too, religiously, not exactly hotbeds of liberalism.

    “Conservative Christians” – a political rather than religious movement – not so many. None, in fact.

    It is not emotion to point out the hypocrisy of some. It is not emotion to quote their own words.

    Charlie Meadows, chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, said Monday he won’t apologize for using the words ( ” a confused IT” ) to describe Democrat Brittany Novotny, a lawyer from Bethany, who is challenging Kern in the Nov. 2 general election.

    “I could have used the word eunuch, but the word ‘it’ was not intended to be derogatory,” Meadows said. “It is simply intended to describe really what she is now.”

    Asked if he would apologize, Meadows said: “Absolutely not. To people that live in the realm of political correctness someone such as myself who’s rather plainspoken probably is always offensive. It was nothing derogatory in my heart or mind toward this individual. I’m just not politically correct; I’m just plainspoken.”

    The rules are different for them, you see. They’re just being “plainspoken”.

    Consensus and Truce in the Culture Wars while we work together to stop kids dying requires some degree of goodwill on both sides. But if there was goodwill, there would be no “Culture War” as such, just a “Culture Debate”. Some see the deaths of these kids as a positive good. Some shed crocodile tears, others don’t even bother to do that.

    Ignoring that fact, pretending it’s not true just because it’s anathema to most people here, won’t do any good. Marginalising these groups by publicising what they say in private and in public, that will remove their power.

    “Adol T. Owen-Williams II, a Montgomery County Republican Central Committee member, … shouted “Heil Hitler!” immediately after the vote to allow Intersexed women and men to be allowed to drink from public drinking fountains. “Wait until little girls start showing up dead all over the county because of freaks of nature.”

    “…transgender/transsexual” activists… want to offer your children on the bloody altar of transsexuality — pulling them into sex-change operations involving unimaginable bodily mutilations and hormonal manipulations.

    The culture of death has created a compulsion in the souls of the homosexual radicals and their “trans” allies, driving them ever further into new perversions. There is no bottom to this pit of depravity, and they will drag many innocent victims along with them: the young, the lonely, the psychologically and physically wounded, the confused – including some of your children and grandchildren, family, friends and neighbors. There will be no safe haven. You cannot cocoon in your homes or churches. Our public schools, businesses, public accommodations (which may include churches), your employers and insurers, will all be forced to yield to yet-undefined perversions, protected by law.”

    That’s from MassResistance.

    One can dismiss all of that as the work of the lunatic fringe. But if they were fringe, then we wouldn’t have this problem. Those are mainstream Conservative Christians, and there’s a lot of them.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Joshua,

    Linda Harvey goes further. She blames gay people for the kids who were bullied to death.

    These kids “feel totally trapped, with internal feelings they have been carefully taught “cannot be changed” on the one hand, and harsh peer rejection on the other.” If only someone were to tell them that “many people who felt similarly at that age went on to change both their feelings and behavior, and to be well-adjusted adult heterosexuals, some married with children” then they’d be alive today, you see.

    Linda Harvey may be one of the most evil people I’ve even encountered.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Bryan Fischer Bryan Fischer is the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at American Family Association. He is also the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. AFR is a network of approximately 200 AFA-owned radio stations broadcasting Christian-oriented programming. AFA has a monthly publication with a circulation of 180,000.

    Fischer was a speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

    Today he says:

    Sen. Jim DeMint has gotten some fresh attention — and criticism from the Ministers of Propaganda in the out-of-the-mainstream media — for his statement that open homosexuals and sexually active single adults shouldn’t be in the classroom teaching and providing substandard examples for a generation of America’s youth.

    As harsh as his position sounds to the ears of those whose brains have been muddled by politically correct mush, he is exactly right. In fact, it’s abundantly obvious he’s right.

    We cannot write AFA or Fischer off as marginal. His IS THE MESSAGE of conservative Christianity. It is NOT a broad brush to see Fischer as typical rather than exceptional.

    Fortunately there are some conservative Christians who are beginning to stand up against what can only accurately be described as hatred and bigotry. They are vastly outnumbered by the Bryan Fischers.

  • Eddy

    ‘Night all. Keep up the good work.

  • Joshua

    Timothy Kincaid:

    I’ll see your Linda Harvey quote and raise you. Here’s Linda on video opining that gay activists are the ones to blame for anti-gay bullying. Why? Because these unnamed gays threw the “hand grenade” of sexuality into the schools, thus causing kids to become “doubtful and insecure and fearful”about their sexuality, thus leading to bad behavior “in all directions.” This is not terribly dissimilar from remarks she made w/in 24 hours of the shooting deaths of a young man and a young woman at a gay youth center in Israel last year. Of course, this argument works equally well as a way to blame gays for adult-on-adult gay bashing, a variant on the gay panic defense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzFrtx2p74w

    For a long time, I believed that gays and Christians, after so many years and decades of fighting, would reach a point where we became “friendly adversaries.” Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, or Great Britain and France a few centuries ago, we might not become friends, but we might become accustomed to one another and perhaps, this familiarity would lessen the mutual hostility over time.

    Listening to Linda Harvey and reading these other breathtaking responses to the deaths of 13 and 15 year old kids and the wounding of an 11-year old boy, I no longer feel this way. After 40 years, these people have actually become more cruel, more sociopathic, more vile than their counterparts in the 1970s. Their crusade should end not with a handshake and grudging respect, but with extraditions and trials before the International Criminal Court.

    In anticipation of that happy future, keep good notes.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Joshua,

    I’m only thankful that most conservative Christians are not motivated by a heart filled with loathing, as is Linda Harvey. While they may disagree with me on issues, they do not do so out of hatred.

    And I think the cruel sociopathic vileness may be a good sign. This may well be the shrieking of the desperate at the knowledge that their self-righteous condemnation of others is beginning to fall on deaf ears. They may well be beginning to see that Christians – including conservative Christians – are finding ways to be good neighbors with gay people. And as the culture of disapproval is beginning to dissipate, they are ratcheting up the volume to compensate.

    I cannot help but believe that at some day soon, Christians with a conservative sexual ethic will have the same relationship to gay people that they have to Hindus, liberal Christians, or the churchless. Disagreement but tolerance.

  • David Blakeslee

    Thought this should be added to the discussion:

    http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20101008/US.Bullying.One.Town/

    Four bullied kids dead in one school in Ohio

  • Debbie Thurman

    “It is not emotion to point out the hypocrisy of some. It is not emotion to quote their own words.

    Zoe, I honestly am not offended by your comments, from which I only quote the above line here. Because I sense something genuine behind your words, and I know where my own heart is. I think folks here easily overlook (for some reason) that I share a similar disdain for Christian hypocrisy — of either the left or right persuasion. It’s there for all to see. I can’t go so far as to call all of the conservative brand of it hate, as some so glibly do here. I call much of it ignorance and laziness with regard to seeking to understand their/our own orthodoxy. Now, the upshot of it certainly can look like hate and have the effects of hate. Maybe it’s only hair-splitting to call it otherwise (?). Jesus did say if you are not for me, you are against me. The fruit does not look too good for some.

    I would also say that none of us has a complete handle on what conservative Christianity looks like in the whole. Many quietly go about their business and faith without making waves or acquiescing (loudly) to what looks like the party line. There are enough loud mouths on both the right and left (please, let’s not forget that) to possibly make their clamor sound a lot more pervasive than it is. Regardless, I see this as a phase in our culture where there is a great rumbling and questioning of the status quo from both sides, and I hope a desire to move away from polarizing rhetoric. We just can’t say at this point where it might go.

    I am just beginning to read a book I hope will help put more perspective on this stuff — “City of Man” by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner. I have it as a prospective reviewer. Hope it is as good as the beginning promises.

    I can’t answer your question because every Christian “organization” has its drawbacks. It’s the Church I am most concerned with. Para-churches come and go, wax and wain. The Church of Jesus Christ is altogether different in concept. We, all of Christendom, are the Church. So it may appear to be weak at its strong points, but with God, it can actually be strong at its weak points. He knows what He is about.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Not that I ever understand any of Debbie Thurman’s posts, but this one is even more addled than usual

    LOL. Thanks, Joshua. I have that same reaction to others here, as well. We’ll call it even then.

  • Michael Bussee

    I thnk when we use the term “Christians” we need to add some qualifiers. There are all kinds. It’s a tree with many branches — some bear the good fruits of the Spirit, some do not. “Conservative Christians” are not necessarily Literalist, Homophobic, Fundamentalist, Legalist Dominionists — and those that are do not speak for the whole of Christianity. They just tend to speak louder.

  • Michael Bussee

    They may well be beginning to see that Christians – including conservative Christians – are finding ways to be good neighbors with gay people.

    I sincerely pray that this is so, Timothy! IWho knows? t could become a “Mission Statement” of sorts — driven by this question: How would conservative Christians want to be treated by their gay neighbors — personally, religiously, socially, legally? They might also want to keep in mind that some of their gay neighbors are Christians, too.

  • Eddy

    I thought something akin to that when I read Joshua’s unfounded blather.

    Not one Christian organization has deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying, or indeed any bullying.

    I mean, was he really saying that not a single gay Christian organization had deigned to concern itself with the issue of bullying? (and if they haven’t, why are we looking to the rest of Christendom first?) Was he suggesting that gays aren’t Christians? If I had made such a suggestion, the retorts would have been fast and furious.

    Ironically, he posted his over-generalized statements less than three hours after I posted

    There was a time when this website wasn’t known for broad and sweeping generalizations.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    I can’t go so far as to call all of the conservative brand of it hate, as some so glibly do here.

    That’s an interesting accusation. I don’t think that anyone who comments here regularly has ever glibly branded conservative hypocrisy “hate”.

    Would you care to back it up with examples?

  • Timothy Kincaid
    Not one Christian organization has deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying, or indeed any bullying.

    I mean, was he really saying that not a single gay Christian organization had deigned to concern itself with the issue of bullying? (and if they haven’t, why are we looking to the rest of Christendom first?) Was he suggesting that gays aren’t Christians? If I had made such a suggestion, the retorts would have been fast and furious.

    I think that the statement was perfectly clear. But to understand it, you have to read the sentence before the one which was cut and pasted.

    Zoe’s point is well-proven. Not one Christian organization has deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying, or indeed any bullying.

    And what was Zoe’s point?

    You see, it’s not just a “tiny minority”, It’s most of Conservative Christianity who think this way. Group after Group after Group. Tell me, is there even one Conservative Christian organisation, one “Concerned Parents League” or “Family Action Council” whose beliefs remotely resemble His teachings? Just one? Anywhere?

    Now I very very much doubt that anyone thought that Joshua was speaking about gay groups when he said that none had deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying. And there is absolutely no one on this site who really thought that Joshua was suggesting that gays aren’t Christians. No one. Not really.

    This was just histrionics. Which is becoming far too typical.

  • Michael Bussee

    For the record, many gay christians and gay christian organizations have spoken out on the problem — and without delay. Would someone provide a list of which major conservative non-gay Christian groups have taken up the cause of LGBT bullying and suicides? Not saying they haven’t, would just like to say thanks.

  • Michael Bussee

    Does hypocrisy = hate? Maybe not, but hypocrisy is certainly not loving. If it’s not a type of hate, what is it? Maybe it’s hate pretending to be love?

  • Eddy

    I believe my statement was perfectly clear, but to understand it one would have to take in the sentence that preceded IT…

    I thought something akin to that when I read Joshua’s unfounded blather.

    Not one Christian organization has deigned to concern itself with the issue of anti-gay bullying, or indeed any bullying.

    The ‘something akin’ was Michael’s statement

    I thnk when we use the term “Christians” we need to add some qualifiers. There are all kinds. It’s a tree with many branches — some bear the good fruits of the Spirit, some do not. “Conservative Christians” are not necessarily Literalist, Homophobic, Fundamentalist, Legalist Dominionists — and those that are do not speak for the whole of Christianity. They just tend to speak louder.

    He slipped in another post while I was drafting mine as evidenced by the time stamps that are one minute apart.

    …and what was MY point?

    There was a time when this website wasn’t known for broad and sweeping generalizations.

    Histrionics:

    dramatic representation; theatricals; acting.

    behavior or speech for effect, as insincere or exaggerated expression of an emotion; dramatics; operatics

    Very amusing and ironic when the charge of histrionic is an example of histrionics.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Oh I understood you, Eddy. You were trying to say that Joshua was not distinguishing between types of Christians. You were just wrong.

    Joshua did not have to carefully label what he was saying because it was implied due to being a part of Zoe’s conversation. But you leaped at the opportunity to criticize the gay guy. It was an unfair attack on Joshua on your part, one which he did not deserve.

    Further, you did not really believe what you were saying. You didn’t truly believe that he was suggesting that there were no gay Christians. Which also was unfair to Joshua.

    And you wrapped it all up by trying to get sympathy and implying a double standard: “If I had made such a suggestion, the retorts would have been fast and furious.”

    Basically, Eddy, you made up a fake objection by pretending to misunderstand for the purpose of trying to turn the attention to you. So, yeah, “histrionics” is the right word.

  • Eddy

    Laughable! Completely laughable!

    1) I leaped? What a slow pounce I have…it took me 4 days to get off the ground.

    2) attack the gay guy? Is that what it comes down to for you? I make a comment that generalizations are detrimental to positive conversation…the guy makes one of the most generalized statements I’ve yet heard…and you want to suggest that a) I’m attacking him not his words b) and because he’s gay?

    3) I wasn’t fair to Joshua? He rants for several paragraphs against ‘Christians’, speaks in generalities and presents a challenge. “Show me one! Show me one!” LOL. We are on the blogsite of the Christian man largely responsible for the ‘Golden Rule Pledge’. (Yeah, I know…he’s not ‘an organization’.) The Exodus anti-bullying statement. (Oh yeah, but look how long it took them.) His tack on phrase that the Christians haven’t spoken out against any bullying.

    4) I didn’t believe what I was saying? You’re wrong sir. I was saying that generalizations are counter-productive to reasoned discussion. And I used his examples to demonstrate that the spiteful words were generalizations. LOL. You now refer to them as ‘statements’. Do you understand the usage of question marks?

    5) I wasn’t after sympathy. I was pointing out hypocrisy.

    6) And no, I never pretended not to understand. I spoke to unfounded generalizations. My questions, when read by someone unbiased, were clear. “Joshua said this but he clearly didn’t mean it.”

    7) So, please, spare me your judging and your histrionics.

  • Mary

    We are on the blogsite of the Christian man largely responsible for the ‘Golden Rule Pledge’. (Yeah, I know…he’s not ‘an organization’.)

    My thoughts, too. We’re here and yet no one seems to notice.

  • Michael Bussee

    I noticed. And I thank Dr. Throckmorton and those who are willing to mention frequent targets specifically. They demonstrate a willingness to speak out without fear of being seen as “pro-gay”. Some are not so courageous.

  • Eddy

    I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a reverse dynamic in play…that gays are unable to speak out favorably about the conservative Christian efforts that do exist for fear that will be seen as ‘pro-conservative Christian’. I can’t recall when I’ve read a statement on this blogsite that said simply ‘I applaud the efforts of (insert name of person or group)’ without the mandatory disclaimer such as “Some are not so courageous.”

    Would Michael’s statement have been incomplete or off-point if it simply said:

    I noticed. And I thank Dr. Throckmorton and those who are willing to mention frequent targets specifically. They demonstrate a willingness to speak out without fear of being seen as “pro-gay”.

    Is there any doubt on the part of those who read or comment here that there are conservative Christians with serious attitude problems…who are guilty of unChristlike thinking??? And yet, the need to add the disclaimer phrase or sentence seems almost compulsive. It MUST accompany every acknowledgement of conservative Christian behavior that is praiseworthy.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorry. My frustration with certain brands of “conservative Christianity” shows. I should have said,

    I noticed. And I thank Dr. Throckmorton and those who are willing to mention frequent targets specifically for their courage. They demonstrate a willingness to speak out without fear of being seen as “pro-gay”. I wish there were more like them.

    I realize that “Conservative Christian” is a very big tent — and that people who identify as “Conservative Christians” run the gamut — from very loving and self-sacrificial to extremely homophobic and hateful. Gays are just as varied. We are, at root, human first — and we do not always show the nobler aspects of our breed. I agree with Debbie when she noted:

    I would also say that none of us has a complete handle on what conservative Christianity looks like in the whole. Many quietly go about their business and faith without making waves or acquiescing (loudly) to what looks like the party line. There are enough loud mouths on both the right and left (please, let’s not forget that) to possibly make their clamor sound a lot more pervasive than it is.

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

    Maybe I should make clear the distinction between

    - conservative Christians

    ie those who are Christian, and conservative.

    and

    - “Conservative Christians”

    ie a political group that has little to do with Christianity other than the name.

    The former make donations, privately; the latter solicits them, with much publicity.

    @ Debbie Thurman

    1 Corinthians 13 says it all, doesn’t it? And although I’m not Christian, one doesn’t have to be to recognise the truth of that. My thanks for your kind words. But then I think they are typical of you, I don’t think you know how to be anything other than kind. Neither does Warren.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a reverse dynamic in play…that gays are unable to speak out favorably about the conservative Christian efforts that do exist for fear that will be seen as ‘pro-conservative Christian’.

    I understand why you might feel this – but Michael Busee already thanked conservative Christians before your post, and I want you to know that I think there are Conservative Christians who are supportive

  • Michael Bussee

    I think the problem is referring to those who identify as “conservative Christians” as though there were all of like mind or one undifferiented mass. Some who use this label are referring only to their Traditional Biblical Theology — and not their politics. Perhaps this reference from Wikipedia will help:

    Conservative Christianity (also called traditional Christianity) is a term applied to a number of groups or movements seen as giving priority to traditional Christian beliefs and practices. It is sometimes called conservative theology, an umbrella term covering various movements within Christianity and describing both corporate denominational and personal views of Scripture.

    The term conservative Christian is frequently used by Protestant evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists as a way to distinguish themselves from the more liberal Protestant denominations, which stress the teachings of Jesus rather than the more severe methods of social control advocated in the Old Testament. This often leads to different understanding of what is and is not “conservative”. It is also applied to the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches as well, not only in the case of moral theology, but also more traditional in the sense of the practice of Christianity itself….

    Critics of US conservative Christianity believe that these Christians deemphasize what they see as the central message of the Gospels, namely as social justice and concern for the poor. Liberal or progressive Christians note that Jesus spent much of his ministry in the company of “sinners,” such as prostitutes and tax collectors, and that he criticized the religious authorities of his day as self-righteous, excessively judgmental, legalistic, and lacking compassion (see, for example, Matthew 12:1-7, Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 23).

    Critics also claim that conservative Christians in the US are excessively concerned about issues pertaining to sexuality. In addition, they see nationalistic or patriotic undertones found among some conservative American Protestants as contrary to Jesus Christ’s teachings of peace.

    As a “liberal” or “progressive” gay Christian, I have a strong personal distaste for the subgroup described in this second quotation — and I believe too many of those who identify as “Conservative Christians” fit this bill. But not all do. I have often been guilty of lumping all Conservative Christians together. In the future, I will try to refer to those with Traditional Theology as “Type A” and those desribed in the second quotation as “Type B”.

    My opinion is that those Conservative Christians who are strongly opposed to anti-bullying programs that mention sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender expression are usually “Type B”. I respect Type A Conservatives (like Dr. Throckmorton) who do not have to be “pushed” and who have the moral couage to be specific about frequent targets — undeterred by the worry of appearing too “pro-gay”.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I really cannot stand the term “progressive” being used in any context as what it usually means is those groups that agree with what that individual believes, verses those who see things differently than they do. What is progressive today is going to seem really backwards when the picture becomes much clearer as to what Jesus message was really about, Love one another. Unfortunately, in this present age that message is being distorted from both the right and the left and we have a media that is only too willing to distort things further.

  • Eddy

    Michael,

    I appreciate the effort involved in seeking a better understanding of ‘conservative Christianity’ however I do not trust the Wiki definition. The problem is best revealed in this sentence:

    The term conservative Christian is frequently used by Protestant evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists as a way to distinguish themselves from the more liberal Protestant denominations, which stress the teachings of Jesus rather than the more severe methods of social control advocated in the Old Testament.

    Wiki seems to be claiming that the evangelicals and fundies use the term to distinguish themselves from the liberals. I buy that. What I don’t buy is that phrase that follows ‘which stress the teachings of Jesus rather than the more severe methods of social control advocated in the Old Testament.’ In the first part of the sentence they claim that it’s a term devised by evangelicals and fundies to distinguish themselves but the tacked on phrase is clearly NOT the delineation of the distinction that the evangelicals and fundies would have made. In short, can you actually envision evangelicals and fundies saying that they want to be distinguished by their adherence to ‘the more severe methods of social control advocated in the Old Testament’? Can you imagine them saying that they prefer to major on that rather than on the teachings of Jesus? Can you imagine them saying that their actual purpose is ‘social control’? I can’t. I agree that that is how they are perceived(by their critics) but I can assure you that that is NOT how they distinguish themselves.

  • Mary

    Wiki is being written by …..

    Your guess is probably more telling of your views.

  • Michael Bussee

    I had a problem with that part as well, Eddy. How would you describe what Conservative Christian would more accurately mean?

  • Michael Bussee

    Perhaps we need a new term for the folks I am referring to — the unloving, self-righteous, legalistic ones. The cowardly ones. The hateful ones. The ones who seem more concerned with appearances and moral “purity” than with treating their neighbors as they would like to be reated. How did Jesus refer to them?

  • Eddy

    Jesus spoke to ‘Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites’. He spoke to those who were right there in front of him engaged in the unrighteous behavior. Perhaps our biggest error is presuming that those we can see and hear (often playing to the media or being played by the media) are a true representation of the vast numbers who we don’t see and hear.

  • Michael Bussee

    He seemed to reserve these terms (and others like “sons of snakes” and “whited sepulchres”) for a special type of unrighteousness, did he not?

  • Eddy

    Was there something in what I said that suggested that He didn’t? What I cited was that He spoke to or about those that were actually engaged in the unrighteousness…He didn’t ‘globalize’ or ‘generalize’ His accusations or characterizations. He didn’t assume that they were typical of all others (or most others) who shared their faith.

    My personal belief is that He’d likely call Fred Phelps and his congregation those terms and worse. I know I do!

  • Michael Bussee

    The question in my mind is why is it that, generally speaking, those who identify as Liberals or Liberal Christians do not seem to need to be pushed or asked to speak out officially against bullying or unjust treatment of LGBT people — while those who identify as “conservative” too often do?

    Why do liberals seem to be the ones to be first on the front-lines? I appalud the moral courage of folks like Dr. Throckmorton, bu why aren’t more “conservatives”leading the way instead of lagging behind on issues such as these? The same thing seemed to be true of the situation in Uganda — and inother situations where LGBT people ar being singled out for abuse.

    At least, that is how it seems to me and to many in the LGBT and “liberal” communities. They often seem to be worried about being seen as “pro-gay” than they are about doing the truly “righteous” (loving) thing.

    Isn’t this similar to those who walked around the injured man — instead of stopping to help like the (outcast) Samaritan did? He did not seem to be worried at all about appearances.

  • Michael Bussee

    BTW — I totally agree with you observations in your last post. Jesus did not generalize and I am trying hard (for a change) not to. I am trying to be more specific. It is unfair to characterize ALL members of a group as being the same.

  • Mary

    Jesus spoke to ‘Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites’. He spoke to those who were right there in front of him engaged in the unrighteous behavior. Perhaps our biggest error is presuming that those we can see and hear (often playing to the media or being played by the media) are a true representation of the vast numbers who we don’t see and hear

    Over the last four or so years, how many times in how many different ways does this have to be said to get through?

  • stephen

    Norman, AK?

  • stephen

  • stephen

    Don’t know how to post the link. You might google “North grad took own life after week of toxic comments”. This one is about grown-ups.

  • Eddy

    I think ‘liberals’ is a label akin to ‘conservatives’…the meaning changes somewhat when you are using the term to describe someone’s religious viewpoints as separate from their political viewpoint.

    But back to ‘conservatives’ in general. I think the reason that you don’t see them rising up to speak to a cause is because they are unlike the conservatives who play into the media. These folks are simply conservative. They hold back. They stay within their own boundaries and within their own concerns. They are cautious about issue involvement and feel that they have plenty enough to deal with on their own plate without the need to get involved in any public matters. Generally speaking, they are ‘slow to action’. (Please note the important words “I think” that began the second sentence of this paragraph…the “I think” applies to the entire paragraph. My speculations.)

    I also think that, in many cases, the ‘liberals’ got liberal by a more intensive involvement with ‘the world’. Not always sure which came first…did their liberal religious viewpoints lead to their issue involvement or did issue involvement lead to their liberal religious viewpoints. As a rule, I think the ‘conservatives’ tend to be guided by ‘be in the world but not of the world’…it’s a caution that holds them back from a lot of issue involvement. (Again, my speculations.)

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks, Eddy. I think you may be right. What you say makes tons of sense.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Just checked in for the first time in a couple days and scanned the remaining comments. I got slammed a bit by life on the home front — both the good and the bad of it. Long story. God’s in charge, so it is well with my soul.

    I salute those of you who are taking this conversation to a higher level. Thanks. Zoe, your comment really touched me. Bless you.

    I am going to be pretty busy for a while. Will not be able to follow things here as I have been. Just know I continue to hope and pray for something beneficial to emerge from this conversation, and the parallel ones here. It’s been a heck of a ride, once again! I’ll be there and about. Will be back here at some point, I suppose.

  • Michael Bussee

    In celebration of National Coming Out Day:

    “All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” — Harvey Milk

    Thanks to everyone who strives to make such a world a reality.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a reverse dynamic in play…that gays are unable to speak out favorably about the conservative Christian efforts that do exist for fear that will be seen as ‘pro-conservative Christian’.

    I commend Dr. Throckmorton for his efforts and have blogged favorably about them.

    Are there any other groups/leaders among the more conservative end of Christianity who are actively working to reduce anti-gay bullying? I don’t know of any, but I would love to hear of them.

  • Eddy

    I appreciate the knowledge that you do speak favorably of Warren’s efforts. My impression here was that every somewhat positive comment always seemed to end with some sort of ‘dig’.

    And, to your question, no, I doubt that there are any who would pass your litmus test.

  • Michael Bussee

    Fighting gay bullying: The only ‘agenda’ is respect: It’s silly to claim that anti-gay bullying efforts are part of an attempt to push some kind of homosexual ‘agenda.’

    As The Times recently observed, harassment of gay and lesbian students is part of a larger problem, and therefore, schools should pursue comprehensive anti-bullying efforts. That doesn’t mean teachers and administrators shouldn’t recognize anti-gay bullying as a distinct issue rooted not only in adolescent cruelty but in cultural condemnations of homosexuality. When they do so, however, they are accused by some conservatives of taking sides in a culture war…

    Perkins’ characterization of GLSEN is unfair to the point of absurdity. But it is true that many of those who decry the bullying of gay and lesbian students also believe that schools should accept and affirm their identity, and treat homophobia with the same opprobrium with which they view racism. These advocates also believe, rightly, that schools shouldn’t endorse the theory that gays and lesbians can be converted to heterosexuality, a notion dismissed by psychiatrists and psychologists.

    In time, the idea that schools shouldn’t take sides when it comes to the dignity of gays and lesbians will seem as quaint as the idea that teaching children about racial equality is furthering an “integrationist agenda.” Meanwhile, schools should treat gay and lesbian students and families with respect and welcome efforts by students to oppose anti-gay bullying, such as the Gay-Straight Alliance groups that have been formed at thousands of U.S. schools.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-bully-20101018,0,5738555.story

  • Michael Bussee

    The White House Blog — President Obama: “It Gets Better”

    This is personal to me. When I was a young adult, I faced the jokes and taunting that too many of our youth face today, and I considered suicide as a way out. But I was fortunate. One of my co-workers recognized that I was hurting, and I soon confided in her. She cared enough to push me to seek help. She saved my life. I will always be grateful for her compassion and support – the same compassion and support that so many kids need today.

    In the wake of these terrible tragedies, thousands of Americans have come together to share their stories of hope and encouragement for LGBT youth who are struggling as part of the It Gets Better Project. Their messages are simple: no matter how difficult or hopeless life may seem when you’re a young person who’s been tormented by your peers or feels like you don’t fit in: life will get better.

    Watch his “It gets better” video here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/21/president-obama-it-gets-better

  • Michael Bussee

    I promised I would post Faith-based responses to the current LGBT teen suicide crisis. As a Christian and as a member of local Chorale, this one really touched me. ?

    “Partners in Harmony” — Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale, singers from over 30 Dallas area congregations and students from Southern Methodist Univeristy — recently joined together for a “Night For Peace”.

    Here is their wonderful contribution to the “It Gets Better Project”. The message is powerful and the music is glorious. Enjoy and be moved.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67w4mctNKro&feature=player_embedded#at=113

  • Michael Bussee

    More about the mission and goals of the Turtle Creek Chorale and the “Night for Peace” concert:

    On Monday, the 300-plus member Partners in Harmony chorus — including the Turtle Creek Chorale, the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Chorale and Concert Choir, the Dallas Wind Symphony and singers from more than 40 religious organizations — will perform three peace anthems for A Night of Peace.

    “Seven years ago, the Turtle Creek Chorale began Partners in Harmony to solicit religious organizations in the area to sign a piece of paper affirming the belief that all people are created equal regardless of sexual orientation,” says Jonathan Palant, the chorale’s artistic director. “Fast forward six years, and nothing other than this piece of paper really had been done with our Partners in Harmony.”

    Last year, the chorale invited singers from 45 religious institutions — synagogues, Baptist churches, Unitarian churches — to join it onstage for one performance. It ended up being a surprising show of unity between religious organizations and the gay community.

    http://www.turtlecreek.org/index.php?/tcc/newspost/giving_peace_a_change/

  • Eddy

    One of my nephews just posted “Why the #$%& are people so gay?” on facebook. I posted a link to the Wanda Sykes “That’s so gay” PSA in response. We’ll see if he leaves it there or blocks it.


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