Anti-gay bullying and stereotype threat

We seem to be in the middle of a social conversation about the meaning of the recent teen suicides involving anti-gay bias. Numerous articles are exploring many angles of the stories and there are competing attributions about the nature of the despair experienced by teens who are gay or perceived to be gay. One particularly troubling narrative is being advanced by far right social conservatives essentially suggesting that the teens we are mourning of late died due to factors of their own doing. The thinking goes like this: the gay lifestyle is inherently harmful and distressing and suicide is a possible consequence of that life.

Let me offer three exhibits. First, Linda Harvey told WorldNetDaily readers:

One wonders if any of these kids ever heard a clearly articulated warning against homosexuality. Or were they faced with a continuous onslaught of pro-homosexual diversity lessons, novels and events like the “Day of Silence”? Were they surrounded with liberal teachers as role models and the bad example of a homosexual school club? What part did any of this play in the sad belief that homosexuality was an inevitable destiny, instead of a wayward yet changeable sexual inclination? Under almost continuous pressure to accept a lie – confusion and then despair may be the predictable result.

On top of all this, then, in some young lives come the bullies. They are a part of life, especially for boys. But for the young person with same-sex attractions, this is the final straw where they 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. Yes, it looks hopeless indeed.

But there’s a solution. First and foremost, kids should be told the truth that no one is born gay. Despite any budding feelings he or she may have, 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. The gay lobbyists actively prevent kids from knowing this option.

Could the stifling political correctness in certain schools be one of the reasons some kids feel utterly hopeless? Think about it. Even in the face of relentless taunts about homosexuality, many if not most kids would be able to survive intact if they saw the perpetrators punished and also knew they had a choice.

Ms. Harvey wonders if warnings against homosexuality would have helped (and links to NARTH’s misrepresentation of Francis Collins’ views). Rather, Harvey perceives schools featuring “stifling political correctness” and a “continuous onslaught of pro-homosexual diversity lessons.” However, friends and families describe regular “warnings against homosexuality” in the form of anti-gay harassment. I suspect these children might have been ok with some political correctness.

On to Exhibit B: Matt Barber, Board member of American for Truth About Homosexuality and administrator at Liberty University. Mr. Barber released a statement about the suicides picked up by the Canada Free Press. Mr. Barber advises:

“God’s message to young people struggling with same sex temptation or to those who feel the shame that naturally accompanies sexual sin is that suicide is never the way out. But there is a way out. It comes first through belief in Jesus Christ, and then through confession of sin; finally, repentance. As Jesus said to the repentant sexual sinner at the well, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’

Mr. Barber assumes the suicides were escapes for struggling sexual sinners, rather than depressed children struggling mightily with a disparaging social context.

Finally, Tom Prichard of the Minnesota Family Council, makes the most direct link between sexual identity and psychological distress.

I would agree that youth who embrace homosexuality are at greater risk, because they’ve embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle. These alternative sexual identifications or lifestyles deny the reality that we are created male and female. To live or try to live in conflict with how we are made will invariably cause problems, e.g. emotional, psychological and social.

These three people are making attributions about the cause of the suicides based not in facts of the cases, but based on their assumptions about homosexual persons. These commentators assert that they have really pegged the problem: these teens were gay and gays are inherently unstable. Therefore one should not be surprised. An additional problem is with the adults who did not warn them or send them to the NARTH website.

It is hard to know what facts would dissuade Harvey, Barber and Pritchard from their views. All three speak of the recent victims as if they were all gay or questioning sexuality. Some were; some were not. The common denominator in these situations was anti-gay bias, not gay identification. In some of these cases, there is no evidence or disclosures of confusion about sexuality at all. The picture of horribly miserable teens who “embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle” just doesn’t show up when you read about the students involved. They were miserable alright, but not for the reasons given by these commentators.

This public display of confirmation bias reminded me of another social psychological concept, stereotype threat, i.e., the disruptive concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype. I believe a plausible case can be made that at least several of victims of suicide experienced regular stereotype threat which indeed was disruptive. Stereotype threat can operate even when one is not actually in the stereotyped social group, as with the young people who were perceived to be gay and suffered regular anti-gay harassment. The threat of negative stereotyping is what is required.

One does not need to look far for the source of negative stereotypes. I provided three links. The threat of being stereotyped as gay looms large to young teens. Bystanders to bullying are often so afraid to intervene because they might be assumed to be gay or a gay sympathizer. In addition to perceptions of being different, could the intensity of the stereotype threat have anything to do with the dire picture painted by churches and professional Christian leaders who may themselves not know any teens who are harassed? Rather than blame the victim, or dismiss this notion out of hand, I believe Christians should reflect on how gays are referred to in our literature and speech. We can make a difference in the climate by virtue of civil speech and self-reflection. If I don’t like being stereotyped as a Christian, then I shouldn’t do it to someone else.

I am thinking out loud with this post and welcome comments and suggestions. Some Christians are stepping up and out toward solutions but other seem to be defensive. I seek as clear an understanding of the situation as possible.

  • hazemyth

    I read the Linda Harvey quote the other day and was appalled. Normally, I’d like to think I’m pretty phlegmatic about such statements but I can’t believe that public spokespersons are combatting acceptance of homosexuality (in others or in one’s self) with an argument that shame is natural, reasonable, and perhaps inevitable.

    I don’t know but, like many, I suspect that shame, rather than faith, has been the most common motivator for people who reject their sexuality. On the one hand it can work in tandem with religious proscriptions. On the other, it’s operative even in people of little or no faith. Overall, I think we’re moving to a place where the shame and stigma applied to homosexuality is decreasing. Less shame means more people ‘coming out’ and fewer than ‘leaving homosexuality’, whether or not that’s a desirable result in any particular view.

    I expect this predicament has motivated recent comments from Harvey, Cushman, and the like. They want to prevent that outcome. In that light, the shame, since it is in some perverse way congruent with the dissemination of their values, may seem reasonable and not altogether objectionable. In effect, they want to reject the bullying while keeping the shame.

    Moreover, modern Americans are fundamentally rational people. Many find it difficult to rationalize scriptural abhorrence of homosexuality with the idea that homosexuality may be inborn — or with images of people made happy or healthy by their same-sex relationships. It’s easier to subscribe to other theories about its origin — and to stereotypes of sick, self-destructive, secretly (and naturally) self-hating homosexuals — than it is to live with the apparent complexities or contradictions.

    What do you say to that? Well, the end of shaming SSA persons should be a good thing in everyone’s eyes. Most obviously, for the pain and despair that it alleviates. Secondly, while shame might motivate people to reject homosexuality, it goes about it in the wrong way and should not be treated as a substitute for or ally of genuine faith.

    Lastly there are people who are perfectly happy and healthy with their sexuality and even those that find some accord between it and their faith. It isn’t necessary to agree with such people’s beliefs to accept their existence. (I assume the hypothetical audience of this address already accepts those that reject homosexuality.)

  • christian pell

    Really enjoyed your article the other day. You are right on sir. Thank you.

    When I read the words of these holier than thou Christian folks I really just cringe to think that their constant anti-gay badgering is contributing to the suicide deaths of young gay and lesbian kids. Their ex gay NARTH false science is hateful as well.

    It is a pretty sad day when the Catholic Church is spending more to fight gay marriage than it is fighting hunger. It is pretty amazing that a Mormon leader would speak such nonsense days after so many gay kids have taken their lives. So many millions of dollars these groups could have spent to do good things for their community but instead they are draining their savings to fight Gay Marriage, bullying policy, Gay Straight Alliances, etc.

    I think God has a plan for these off the chart right wing family values Christians types, the AFA loons and the Focus on the Familly goons. Their constant anti gay badering and hate is quite annoying to those of us who love and support our own gay kids. I am most proud of my gay son who is out, proud, has a PhD, two homes/ successful, loving, in a relationship of 23 years to a wonderful man, and who my wife and I really love and enjoy.

    Enough with the hate and bullying. The “christian” response has been simply unconscionable.

    christian and linda

    Houston

  • Debbie Thurman

    I am thinking out loud with this post and welcome comments and suggestions. Some Christians are stepping up and out toward solutions but other seem to be defensive. I seek as clear an understanding of the situation as possible.

    I hope we all seek that clear understanding. The discussions of late here on your blog, Warren, have been a testament to just how difficult it is to unravel all the layers that contribute to the public angst. I sincerely want to gain a better understanding and be a part of the solution and not the problem. I am sure others do, as well. We are so weighed down by labels and stereotypes among ourselves, it stifles productive talk at times. And yet we must talk about this.

    I am devoting a good deal of my prayer time to this conundrum. The “thinking out loud” part of blogging and commenting can be a two-edged sword. 1 Cor. 13 just keeps coming back to me. It has put me under deep conviction.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mr. Barber assumes the suicides were escapes for struggling sexual sinners, rather than depressed children struggling mightily with a disparaging social context.

    Of course, my firm belied it that the latter is more likely. The message that the normal and natural feelings of LGBT kids are counterfeit, inferior and sinful is part of the “disparaging social context”. LGBT kids are not immune to the negative impact of that deeply imbedded religios/cultural message.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    ….be a part of the solution and not the problem.

    Really, what more could anyone ask for any of us to be. Actually getting there is not always easy, but if we start with that goal eventually we’ll get there.

  • http://billhenson.blogspot.com Bill J Henson Jr

    Many evangelicals live under a perception that ALL OUR NEIGHBORS are liberal extremists. This creates a false notion within evangelical circles that there is a “whole world of support” for LGBTQ teens out there in society.

    Step into the actual shoes of both those who experience SSA and those who identify as LGBTQ and you will find that the source of bullying largely comes from secular sources. I am NOT defending evangelicals – as if we are not to blame. Rather, I am suggesting it is all the more critical that we stop believing the lie that EVERYONE is supporting gay teens. It simply is not true.

    Sadly, bullying is not the only pressure these kids are under. Repression traps a lot of them in fear, isolation and hopelessness. Of course some repress due to a fear of bullying, but most that I encounter repress for a whole host of religious and relational fears. By the time a kid caught in this kind of deep repression gets bullied (or outed), no wonder they turn to suicide. It literally crushes them.

    Warren, you are doing an awesome job. Keep it up.

    Bill

  • Evan

    In response to the issues you raised, Warren, I have two questions, and then I comment on them.

    Would a bully attack or harass a kid that is always surrounded by peers he/she gets along with very well? — Probably not, since there’s a chance they might get support from their group and the outcome of bullying can be uncertain, possibly unfavourable/dangerous.

    Would a bully attack or harass a kid who identifies as gay but is physically large and is equally aggressive? — This would be unlikely, but characterising a self-identified gay kid as a sporty-aggressive type is counterintuitive, considering what research evidence says. As most of us know, most adults who end up being gay tend to have been gender-atypical kids with lower scores in aggressiveness and less involvement in rough sports.

    – While I think stereotyping is a factor that is instrumental in bullying, it is not so much a cause in itself. Usually educators focus on stereotyping because it’s something they can talk to — it can be identified in culture and can be addressed. This might be due to educators’ own bias of identifying problems in something that can be educated, because most of them still hold the belief that children are tabula rasa entities and what you pour into their minds will later see in their mouths and behaviour. So, the argument goes that changing what kids are taught or what they pick up from the environment will also change their behaviour.

    I think it’s reasonable to expect that preventing stereotype formation and its use by children will go some way in reducing bullying events. But a number of new cases suggest that stereotyping was only one factor among the factors that contributed to the suicides of harassed children. The aggressors seemed attracted to a combination of the following: a marked difference from the others, perceived lack of support from other peers and vulnerability.

    To conclude: while it’s important to raise the issue of stereotypying and how it makes children use it against particular children, policymakers should also address how kids understand differences and how they treat children they perceive as different, how they connect in groups and networks and leave others out, and how to make children with sensitive temperaments engage others and better cope with stressful events.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    We now can add David Pruden, the president of Evergreen International, the Mormon ex-gay group, to the list of those who think that gay kids are committing suicide because they aren’t ex-gay.

    In response to outrage over a Mormon leader using words like “evil” and “wickedness” and “perversion”, declaring gay couples to be a threat to civilization, and insisting that gay people can “break the habits and conquer an addiction”, he had this to say:

    It was “nothing new,” said David Pruden, the president of Evergreen International, a nonprofit group that helps Mormons “overcome gay behavior and diminish same-sex attraction,” according to its website. “This is what the [LDS] leaders have been saying for decades.”

    Pruden dismissed the idea that Packer’s comments about gays overcoming their attractions would lead to more suicides.

    “How many Latter-day Saints feel despair when the world tells them they can’t change or even successfully manage their attractions?” Pruden said.

  • ken

    Evan# ~ Oct 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    “Would a bully attack or harass a kid that is always surrounded by peers he/she gets along with very well? — Probably not, since there’s a chance they might get support from their group and the outcome of bullying can be uncertain, possibly unfavourable/dangerous.”

    You are making 2 assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. 1) that the bully is an individual and not part of a group him/herself. 2) that the bullying starts out with a physical threats. In the 2nd case, if the victim (or group of victims) are all smaller than the bully (or bullies), the bullying generally starts with insults (verbal bullying). Either directed at the whole group or individuals within the group. And a lot of times, fear about being singled out by the bully (when the victim’s friends are NOT there), prevents anyone from within the group from responding.

    “As most of us know, most adults who end up being gay tend to have been gender-atypical kids with lower scores in aggressiveness and less involvement in rough sports.”

    No, I don’t think this is correct. While gender atypical children are more likely to be gay, that is not the same as saying gays are as equally likely to be gender atypical. Since gays that are gender TYPICAL are less likely to be identified as gay, they are less likely to be counted (because they can “pass” as straight much easier). David Kopay pretty much dispelled the notion that there are no gay NFL players 35 years ago.

    However, more to the point you (and others) have tried to make, I propose this hypothetical:

    What do you think the response would be to bullies who picked on others (smaller and weaker) because they were black? Bullies who used racial epitaphs and made derogatory comments about the african american race. Do you think the response, from the other students, school administrators, parents and community as a whole, would be different than the response to kids bullied because they are gay (or perceived gay)? Do you think it should be?

  • David

    None of these quotes surprise me, as everything these folks say and do are consistent with their war on homosexuality. Nothing that helps gays and which is not part of an attempt to change them, is to be given any approval, even staving off bullies. Every hardship in gay person’s life – even getting pummeled at school on a daily basis – must be ignored or, better, attributed to his homosexuality. That is the way you spin it when you are in a culture war.

    The one thing that did surprise me was how utterly clueless Matt Barber is when it comes to exploiting Biblical passages. He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer on any day, but his reference to the Mary Magdalene story and Jesus’ exhortation to “Go and sin no more.” really shows how he is on auto-pilot when it comes to his rhetoric. That tale, as we all know, has Magdalene, the prostitute, being physically attacked and threatened with death by a mob. Jesus does say to her “Go and sin no more” but – and try to grasp this Christian readers – he says that only AFTER he quells the mob and only AFTER she is safe from physical harm. He doesn’t spout off about her “lifestyle” while the mob is threatening her, nor does he defend the mob attack as a defense of traditional values. He protects her.

    In Texas and Indiana where 2 of the now-dead kids were bullied on a daily basis, it is a fair bet to say that 90% of the students and teachers are self-identified Christians. As far as I know, not one – not a single Christian teacher, staff, or student – raised his voice or interposed his body in defense of either of these kids in all the months in which these assaults occurred. And not one Christian leader has ever commented on that fact, nor do they see that as a problem. Yet another reason why Christianity in the US is best seen as an anti-social political ideology, not a noble religion.

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

    Yet another reason why Christianity in the US is best seen as an anti-social political ideology, not a noble religion.

    I can’t agree. I know too many counter-examples. If you added a whole pile of caveats, yes. But this is an over-generalisation that I feel goes well beyond the bounds of accuracy.

    Of course I know too many examples supporting your thesis too. Not just the Conservative Christian Political groups, but the small-town small-minded Phelps-lites.

    But “best seen”? No. That does too many Christians a grave injustice. I cannot let that pass. How can I claim justice for myself when I don’t give it to others? How can I request tolerance, if I don’t tolerate others?

    I’m not even Gay you know. Put in with them by others, but not of them or part of them. Many Gay people are rabidly transphobic, and a great many ignorant about or just plain prejudiced against Intersexed and Trans people. But should I stop fighting against the injustices done to them just for that? Not without being a hypocrite.

    So why should I treat Christians any differently? I apply the same standards.

  • Debbie Thurman

    on auto-pilot when it comes to his rhetoric.

    Just had to briefly say I like this phrase. It applies to so many, and I have been there myself. Why does it sometimes take so long to have our eyes fully opened? We need to stop staring at the same tree and look at the rest of the forest now and then. Of course, God can just force us to do that if He so chooses. I seem to be the recipient of such a sovereign shove right now. Thanks, God. I needed that.

    A reminder that I am out of the conversation essentially for now. I mentioned why on the “CNN” thread. Apologies to anyone I may have inadvertently offended or misunderstood in the heat of the discussion. Too many side eddies here to keep all the balls in the air.

  • David

    @Zoe:

    What I said applies to nearly all of them. And if you disagree, then please explain how not one Christian out of the hundreds that witnessed the prolonged bullying felt any compunction to do anything.

    Sure there are individual exceptions to what I say above, but so what? The nature of this religio-ideology is determined by its followers. If virtually all of them accept a particular tenet, then that is what the religio-ideology is.

    In the Cold War era, there were people in the US and other Western nations who called themselves communists and who swore that “real” communism had nothing to do with what was going on in the USSR, China, etc. But the reality is that whatever Marx may have originally intended and whatever these few Americans believed, communism was “best understood” to be the system that actually governed 1.5 billion people on 5 continents for decades.

    The reality is that, while there may be a Tony Campolo and even a Warren Throckmorton here and there, it is the Value Voters Summit that draws 2000 people, and Lou Engle’s The Call which fills up stadiums, and it is CBN and Focus on the Family that garner 9-figure revenue streams from a multitude of Christians. Christians have voted with their feet and their wallets and have made clear what they stand for. That is why LaBarbera and Scott Lively are correct when they say that Throckmorton is no longer a Christian and has “gone over to the dark side.” Given what Christianity has become, Throckmorton could not really be called a Christian and the same applies to your handful of friends..

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    “Christian” consists of a good deal more than Dobson-following Southern Baptists. You are ignoring about 1/3 of American Christians who affiliate with mainline Christianity.

    For example, in Alameda CA this month, the First Congregational Church is hosting a series of films about anti-gay bullying.

    The second film, Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History, tells the story of Jamie Nabozny, a gay teen who was bullied in Ashland, Wisconsin and whose parents’ lawsuit against their school district led to a federal court decision holding school officials accountable for stopping the harassment and abuse of gay students.

    “This film series is not just informational, it is a matter of life and death,” says Laura Rose, pastor of First Congregational Church of Alameda and a member of the Alameda C.A.R.E. steering committee. “It is imperative that parents, teachers and community members know what tools are available to help allies advocate for victims of bullying.”

  • Mary

    Sure there are individual exceptions to what I say above, but so what?

    Seriously?

  • ken

    David# ~ Oct 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    “then please explain how not one Christian out of the hundreds that witnessed the prolonged bullying felt any compunction to do anything.”

    1st, how do you know how many christian’s witnessed the bullying? Further how do you know none of them “felt any compunction to do anything”? Maybe some of the other students wanted to help but where afraid to? Maybe some just didn’t know what they should do? Maybe some actually tried but were rebuffed by the adults?

    Now in many of these tragic instances that have been reported, it is clear that the adults should have done more to prevent these tragedies. I would agree that religion (christianity in particular) has had a lot to do with the anti-gay sentiments that have contributed to these tragedies and I’m certainly not a big fan of christianity. But I also realize that simply because the extremists scream the loudest, doesn’t mean they represent all christians. And there are a lot of decent caring people who are christian that aren’t represented by these extreme views. Something I think you need to learn David.

    “That is why LaBarbera and Scott Lively are correct when they say that Throckmorton is no longer a Christian and has “gone over to the dark side.””

    LaBarbera and Lively DO NOT decide who is or who isn’t christian (and neither do you) . Athough the Pope can decide who is or isn’t a catholic, even he still doesn’t decide who is or isn’t a christian.

  • Mary

    LaBarbera and Lively DO NOT decide who is or who isn’t christian (and neither do you)

    I second that. I am tired of the bashing.

  • Mary

    In fact, this blog has become … a place where many christians have shown grace and patience and all that is returned is more crap. While christians are expected to have higher standards, many of the gay (and gay christians) have continually just piled on generalization on top of generalization. This is not an open communication or dialogue. It is a constant fight saying over and over again – I’m cool with you but I see things differently. And no I do not hate gays.

  • Evan

    Ken,

    There are many more situations than the ones I described. Basically, it’s about an asymmetry of power relations. Whether it’s one group against another group, one individual against another individual or combinations of them.

    But what I wanted to project was that the impulse to bully may not come primarily or mainly from culture, but rather from something more basic, specifically power relations. To be precise, I challenged the view that someone or a particular cultural framework creates bullying, whether it’s about anti-gay bullying or anti-foreigner bullying. I proposed instead that bullying is motivated by something akin to an attraction to vulnerability, but there are more layers of motivation above it that reach a conscious level too, where culture is used as a weapon.

    While gender atypical children are more likely to be gay, that is not the same as saying gays are as equally likely to be gender atypical. Since gays that are gender TYPICAL are less likely to be identified as gay, they are less likely to be counted (because they can “pass” as straight much easier).

    Most studies done until now show that the majority of adults who identify as gay have been more sex-atypical than their peers as children and tend to have other characteristics which are also less typical for their gender even as adults (like occupations, but also body language). I suppose one could make the argument that gays who pass for straights because they are more typical are less likely to be motivated to participate in studies. That would be plausible, but still there is no evidence that this is the case yet. And there were a few studies which used representative samples, I think, which gave results along the classical line of thought.

    What do you think the response would be to bullies who picked on others (smaller and weaker) because they were black? Bullies who used racial epitaphs and made derogatory comments about the african american race. Do you think the response, from the other students, school administrators, parents and community as a whole, would be different than the response to kids bullied because they are gay (or perceived gay)?

    Their response would depend on their personal motivations relative to each issue, race or sexual orientation, but the environment is important too. Probably in the USA they would be more critical of sexual orientation than they would be in, say, the Netherlands or Scandinavia. However, race is a more restricted group than sexual orientation, so I think those responsible with supervising children are more likely to push their personal bias on their response to SO-motivated bullying.

    Do you think it should be?

    I oppose all types of bullying, no matter their motivation. As a matter of fact, I have intervened a few times in the debate on this American blog to try to get people to focus on a common purpose in order to put aside divisive themes. Basically, I proposed to deal with the subject as if agendas would be put aside for the common goal of combatting bullying of all types, but that this should be done by including specifically bullying which is done for sexual orientation purposes. As you can see by looking at the topics, this approach had limited success, as people returned to their positions after a while. Somehow this mirrors what I said about culture not being as much responsible for creating anti-gay bullying as power relations, in the sense that rational arguments don’t seem to make people change their minds fundamentally on the subject.

  • ken

    Evan# ~ Oct 11, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    “Most studies done until now show that the majority of adults who identify as gay have been more sex-atypical than their peers as children and tend to have other characteristics which are also less typical for their gender even as adults (like occupations, but also body language). ”

    Can you cite any of these studies (preferably done in the last 20 years, prior to that I suspect the studies would have some significant selection biases).

    “Their response (to bullying based on race) would depend on their personal motivations relative to each issue, race or sexual orientation, but the environment is important too. ”

    If a bully started using racial slurs and targeting black students, that person would face a swift and decisive response in every community in the US. He would likely be berated and ostracized by other students, school teachers and administrators would be very quick to discipline (or otherwise attempt to correct) his behaviour and likely there would be a great deal of community backlash against the bully and possibly the entire family. It is unlikely the bullying would ever get past the verbal stage before it is shut down. You are correct when you say bullies target smaller, weaker victims, but they also only use tactics that they think they can get away with. Every bully in the US knows he or she would never get away with targeting based on race, but they do know they can get away with targeting based on orientation (actual or perceived).

  • stephen

    In fact, this blog has become … a place where many christians have shown grace and patience and all that is returned is more crap

    I’ve not seen this ‘grace’ in evidence. What I have seen is the projection onto others of one’s own convictions as if they were universal truths. I’ve seen a lot of dubious science and outright nonsense presented as fact. And prejudice presented as faith. And self-pity in the face of justifiable impatience.

    I find professor Throckmorton’s writing interesting. I try not to respond to the comments as there is no way through this ‘faith’. As soon as someone writes ‘I believe’ instead of ‘I think’ the conversation is over. Meanwhile those of us who happen to be gay have to live with an onslaught of the most vile slanders and lies that seems to be getting worse as it’s an election season.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    ken

    If a bully started using racial slurs and targeting black students, that person would face a swift and decisive response in every community in the US.

    I think you are only partly right. It would depend on the race of the bully and the race of the victim. We are – in most of the US – pretty good at publicly opposing white on black bullying, but when it’s minority on minority, or when we aren’t accustomed to thinking of someone in terms of race (for example, American Indians) the bullying may be less obviously race based and outside of what we are looking for.

    The point is, I think, that we have to be trained as a society to oppose bullying, and to really mean it. We need to do what works. We need to agree on that simple idea.

    That is easier when the victim is, for example, Vietnamese; we can all agree that such bullying is harmful to all of us. But it’s less easy when people like Tony Perkins run opinion pieces in the Washington Post claiming that it isn’t bullying to blame for gay kids’ suicides, but the inherent mental illness that comes from being gay, and throws up a bunch of completely false claims to try and fool the public into blaming the victims.

    Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal–yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are “born gay” and can never change. This–and not society’s disapproval–may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.

    (Perkins really is a truly evil man, isn’t he?)

  • Mary

    What I have seen is the projection onto others of one’s own convictions as if they were universal truths.

    Just thought I’d post that again. Maybe if someone else wrote it you might see the irony.

  • Michael Bussee

    Gay Bashing is About Masculinity

    October 11, 2010 by Michael Kimmel ·

    “Yet, in our collective search for explanations and solutions we’ve missed one salient fact. Here are the names of the teenagers in The Times article: Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown. Notice anything?

    They’re all boys.

    Writing that gay “teens” suffer such relentless abuse or bullying obscures as much as it reveals. It’s not “teens.” It’s boys.

    Yes, lesbian teens can be relentlessly tormented, harassed and bullied in school. They can be mercilessly taunted in cyberspace, and shunned in real space. But the amount of rage they inspire rarely compares to that experienced by boys.

    And that’s not because of the current fad of faux-lesbianism among teenage girls. Sure, it’s true that many teen girls have “kissed a girl” and “liked it,” as Katy Perry proclaims. But there is something fundamental about male homosexuality that elicits what psychologists call “homosexual panic,” and a near-hysterical effort to circle the wagons and get rid of the perceived threat.” — Michael Kimmel

    http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/10/11/gay-bashing-is-about-masculinity/

  • Mary

    Yes, lesbian teens can be relentlessly tormented, harassed and bullied in school. They can be mercilessly taunted in cyberspace, and shunned in real space. But the amount of rage they inspire rarely compares to that experienced by boys

    Is this back up by statistics and research or this a writer’s writing?

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: believe it is the writer’s opinion. I am doing research to determine whether or not it’s true that boys are bullied more often or more severely. My guess is that it’s true.

    The suicides seem to be overwhelmingly boys. Here’s one study that I am reading as part of my inquiry into these questions: (It’s 93 pages long so it will take some time to read and digest.)

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2248/is_152_38/ai_n6005507/?tag=content;col1

  • Eddy

    Please forgive my being late to this commentary! (Yeah, I’m sure you all missed me.) I did arrive late and read backwards…upwards through the comments and then to the original posting. I do see and acknowledge the bias that Warren pointed out. But I’m hoping that we can see the other biases as well.

    I recall that when I was leading a street ministry in Bible school (this was about a year or two before the term ‘ex-gay’ was invented), my ‘testimony’ bothered people on the streets and they’d go fetch their ‘strong man’…my word for their lead apologist. In the course of a two weekends, I was once pronounced as ‘hopelessly gay and in denial that would eventually compromise my sanity’ and, by another, ‘never really gay to begin with’. Both of these ‘experts’ had one prevailing preconceived notion: “Once gay, always gay.” My personal experience flew in the face of their strongly held bias so one pronounced me all but insane in my desire to leave the gay life while the other decided that, if I was having hetero feelings, then I never was really gay to begin with. (And yes, I know we could have a field day–and a few road trips–trying to analyze my sexuality but that ISN’T my point.) My point is that this issue, regardless of which side you are on, is rife with bias. And, tragically, instead of seeing and interpreting people and their experiences for what they are, we insist that they must all pass through our bias-filter first.

    Beyond that, though, my greater concern is that we can be so given to our bias that, instead of informing people of things they may have not considered, we TELL THEM what to think and how to feel. “Here’s what I know to be true’ and this is where you fit in.” This is wrong!! It’s wrong if you’re pushing the conservative religious viewpoint and it’s wrong if you’re viewpoint is ‘pro-gay’. The individual and their uniqueness trumps our bias EVERY TIME.

    After all these years, I still don’t know if either of my ‘pronouncers’ were on the money. Am I essentially ‘born gay’ and caught in a misguided war against my ‘created self’? Was I really ‘straight’ but with enough adolescent bullshit that I turned to men and found gratification, satisfaction and emotional reward there? And now, since that is the only sexual experience that I’ve had–and I did find pleasure there–is that enough to explain why I haven’t yet ‘crossed over’ to the other side? (Again, I’m not looking for answers to my personal riddles. What I’m driving at is that we are so damn polarized in out war that we simply skim by such possibilities. They disturb our convenient worldview. AND we don’t acknowledge that a person can be there.)

    This is where it ties in to the main topic. I wholeheartedly agree that the conservatives were wrong to presume that these youths were ‘in conflict with their sexual identity’. But, I also feel that we could have done them wrong by simply saying ‘accept who you are’ without recognizing that they were in adolescence…in the years of self-identiication. To any who may have expressed conflict, did we or would we have offered unbiased counsel? “You are still in your adolescence; it’s a time when it’s natural to be conflicted and confused in almost all areas of your life. Maybe you ARE gay…if so, it’s no big deal. Society isn’t real terrific about it yet but they have made tremendous strides towards acceptance. And, maybe you AREN”T really gay at all. Adolescence is noted for feelings and hormones surging and often in a crazy mix-up. We all identify with that…we all understand that as a part of adolescence. Let’s talk about what YOU”RE feeling.” And, if we don’t feel personally prepared to go further, we offer them referrals…from both points of view…not just our own.

    Yes, I’ve already answered to that in times past. When I was a leader of an Exodus-affiliated agency, I DID refer clients who weren’t sure what they believed to a local ‘pro-gay’ ministry outreach. Yes, I did offer some precautions…watch for this…watch for that. And I also admitted openly that I clearly had a bias. It was my dream that I see the same openness from ‘the other side’…but it never quite rose to the level of my expectation. I’m not speaking towards the number of referrals but rather to the level of open-mindedness and lack of directly controlling speech.

    Not one of us is God. Not one of us speaks clearly for God. When we consider the lives of others, let’s fully realize that.

    I realize this had come off as a bit of a rant…remember I went backwards through the comments to the main thread. Rather than speaking to any one comment specifically, this is the path I felt I should take.

  • Eddy

    Michael,

    I also have no proof but I hunch that your guess is true. Generally speaking, boys are more frequently the target of bullying–especially when it comes to gender-identification issues–than girls.

    Girls, however, seem to have a stronger penchant for psychological bullying than boys do. Regardless of who becomes their victim or why they do, it seldom is a private ass-kicking after school but more of an ongoing (relentless) and very public type of humiliation. (Public in the sense that ‘facebook’ and ‘myspace’ are public.)

    For this reason, some to the dynamics are totally different. A boy may be able to avoid his bullies…hang closer to his friends. For a girl, these strategies would be to little or no effect. She could be sitting at the kitchen table having a pleasant dinner with her family while she is being bullied online.

  • Evan

    Ken,

    Here’s a study which used a nation-wide sample:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/l4871053568651t3/

    It’s about the link between a measure of childhood gender nonconformism and adult (nonhetero)sexual identity and behaviour.

    The studies on body language have smaller samples.

  • Evan

    On the race and sex-orientation bullying issue….

    ken, I think stressed this point, that S.O. is a more divisive subject for more people than race is today. The pressure coming from the environment is important because public shame and disrepute are powerful deterrents in the case of race. Even so, I think there still are people who have negative opinions on other races but refrain from telling them in public. I wouldn’t think about this in terms of secured progress. Usually when very serious social crises or upheavals take place, race comes up again.

    The fact that public opprobrium works in the case of race would probably be considered a success story for how public pressure can act to suppress this type of harassment. But, race is a less general category, which means bullying and harassment related to sexual orientation can happen both within and outside one or more race groups.

  • Evan

    @ken

    On body language gender nonconformity, the number of studies is growing, but I don’t have time to look for them now.

    You can run a search on any of these subjects: sexual orientation + voice pitch + gait + gaydar. Also for recreational interests and occupations.

  • David

    @ Ken:

    “1st, how do you know how many christian’s witnessed the bullying? Further how do you know none of them “felt any compunction to do anything”? Maybe some of the other students wanted to help but where afraid to? Maybe some just didn’t know what they should do? Maybe some actually tried but were rebuffed by the adults?”

    Maybe they were all rendered silent and impotent by Lord Voldemort. There’s as much evidence for my theory as there is for yours. That is to say, none.

    Now I acknowledge that we need more information about the inhuman conduct of the people who run these schools and allowed a slow-motion lynching of their students to take place before their eyes. If it turns out that there was some brave Christian who actually remembered the Mary Magdalene story and who actually remembered that Christians are to model their lives after Chrst, and if that brave Christian did indeed speak up or maybe try to help Asher or Billy when they were sprawled out on the floor, then I’ll amend my post. But there isn’t any evidence of that now and I don’t care to follow Tony Perkins and you in the apparent Christian tradition of making things up.

    What we can say with some confidence is that many Christians or those being reared by and as Christians witnessed these lynchings. They took place over months and years. The abuse took place in hallways and classrooms and on crowded sidewalks at recess and at 3:00. It defies common sense to imagine that this conduct was not known by a large swath of the student population. And we know from the victims’ parents that the school knew, because the parents complained.

    Now in Texas and Indiana, Christians are 90-95 percent of the population. In California, it is less, but still a very large majority. So unless all of these schools were uniquely situated in a Hindu or Buddhist enclave, it is fair to say that Christians account for a very substantial portion of the population of students, staff, and parents who went about their normal routine while children were abused. And as far as we know, not one of these loving Christians lifted a finger to help the “sinner” that they purport to love so much. (BTW, in fairness, I am not including the Tyler Clementi suicide in the above statement, since his torment took place over a short period of time and was known only to a very small number of people who may not be Christian.)

    “But I also realize that simply because the extremists scream the loudest, doesn’t mean they represent all christians. And there are a lot of decent caring people who are christian that aren’t represented by these extreme views. Something I think you need to learn David.”

    Did you read what I wrote? I didn’t say that TP represents all Christians because he is the most shrill or because he screams the loudest. Objective markers indicate that his worldview reigns among Christians. A few examples:

    - Lou Engel, who thinks that gays are possessed by demons, regularly fills up sports arenas with fanatical followers.

    - Tony Perkins brings in tens of millions of dollars and is welcome in churches and on Christian broadcasts throughout the US.

    - When Christians were called upon to pass Prop 8 supposedly to protect schoolkids from having to hear about gay people, they quickly came up with $38 million and, according to the Prop 8 campaign, provided 100,000 volunteers on Election Day 2008.

    - CBN and Focus on the Family have revenue in the nine-figures and millions of donors and supporters. Pat Robertson once boasted the Christian Coalition’s mailing list was bigger than that of the RNC and the DNC combined, and he was uncharacteristically truthful. The 700 Club, now in its 49th year of operations, continues to be popular on Christian TV. Pat Robertson continues as the beloved elder statesman/host, despite his blaming gays for 9/11, despite his calling down natural disasters on various cities and towns in the US that have adapted pro-gay policies, and despite his having entered into for-profit business partnerships with not one but 2 African dictators who were among the most corrupt and the among the worst human rights violators in Africa, and possibly the world.

    If, as you say, there are “a lot of decent, caring” Christians out there, why aren’t they filling up sport arenas and establishing universities and drawing nine-figure revenues, and dominating Christian TV and radio? They don’t do these things because they can’t. There aren’t enough “decent and caring” Christians around to do it. Just as there weren’t enough, or indeed any, decent and caring Christians to protect 4 isolated kids being driven to despair. 100,000 to pass a ballot proposition, but not one person to protect a kid, or even try.

    I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. TP and his crowd are not the true face of American Christianity because they are loud or because they say so. They hold that distinction because the vast majority of Christians support them, or don’t care enough to oppose them.

  • Michael Bussee

    After all these years, I still don’t know if either of my ‘pronouncers’ were on the money. Am I essentially ‘born gay’ and caught in a misguided war against my ‘created self’? Was I really ‘straight’ but with enough adolescent bullshit that I turned to men and found gratification, satisfaction and emotional reward there? And now, since that is the only sexual experience that I’ve had–and I did find pleasure there–is that enough to explain why I haven’t yet ‘crossed over’ to the other side? (Again, I’m not looking for answers to my personal riddles.)

    I am glad you added that last sentence. I was tempted to give my opinion. :)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    This is where it ties in to the main topic. I wholeheartedly agree that the conservatives were wrong to presume that these youths were ‘in conflict with their sexual identity’. But, I also feel that we could have done them wrong by simply saying ‘accept who you are’ without recognizing that they were in adolescence…in the years of self-identiication.

    But Eddy, you can say “accept who you are” without saying, “you are gay.” “Accept yourself” is an affirmative positive message to any kid. It doesn’t have to dictate their behavior or direction or goals or intent.

    And I think most of the pro-gay side does say that. We accept that some who may be sexually ambivalent really aren’t gay or bi but are just confused or uncertain. We’re OK with that.

    I think that you have, to an extent (which only you know), accepted yourself. It doesn’t mean that you are having sex with anyone, just that you are in less personal turmoil. And that is good, right?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    Your examples, while valid to some extent, are not as clear as you make them.

    For example, Lou Engle isn’t drawing in the crowds he once did. The latest, in Sacramento, drew about 10% of what he expected. The more political and homophobic he’s become, the less of a draw.

    As for Prop 8, the funding was primarily from two sources: the Mormons and the Catholics. Over half the funding was Mormon (along with between 80 and 95% of all volunteers) and the seed money was Catholic. Many Christians sat that one out. In fact the United Methodist Church (along with several others) voted to oppose the Proposition.

    I think you err in only seeing those examples which support your contention and ignoring those which do not. I follow the movement within people of faith and right now there is a huge groundswell of support within mainline churches for gay people. It tends to be more personal than political. You see it in churches changing policy to support gay clergy and to write up rites for marriage rather than at the ballot box. So it is less public, in a way, but equally as important for gay people of faith.

  • Mary

    could go on, but I hope you get the idea. TP and his crowd are not the true face of American Christianity because they are loud or because they say so. They hold that distinction because the vast majority of Christians support them, or don’t care enough to oppose them

    That’s just BS.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    I agree with you completely when you say

    you can say “accept who you are” without saying, “you are gay.” “Accept yourself” is an affirmative positive message to any kid. It doesn’t have to dictate their behavior or direction or goals or intent.

    but I am less sure of the following statement

    And I think most of the pro-gay side does say that. We accept that some who may be sexually ambivalent really aren’t gay or bi but are just confused or uncertain. We’re OK with that.

    My exposure in recent years has been to gays who simplistically answer a young person who is questioning with one of two answers. 1) Did you enjoy it? Then you’re gay. 2) It’s not normal for a straight to even consider sex with their own gender, the fact that you considered it AND tried it suggests that you are gay.

    If the young person persists with ‘but then why do I have doubts’, the simplistic explanation is that ‘there’s a societal attitude of oppression against gays that impairs your thinking’.

    Does anyone know of any ‘pro-gay’ counselor of group who has ever determined that a kid wasn’t really gay to begin with? Or who referred them on perhaps to a counselor who could assist them in coming to terms with their heterosexuality?

    Not wanting to start a war here. I acknowledge that the more recent experiences I cited were the words and opinions of lay-people rather than professional counselors. I concede that counselors may hold to and live up to a higher standard of objectivity. Would love to hear some real life examples.

  • Mary

    All things being equal, it is something to consider …. some people have to come to terms with being heterosexual as well as those who come to terms with being homosexual.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Addressing anti-LGBT bullying: something all Christians can support” — by a mother of a victim — Sirdeaner Walker

    I came to know about an organization called GLSEN–the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network–about a year and a half ago in the midst of the most difficult time of my life. My 11-year-old son Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover had just taken his life after enduring anti-gay bullying in school. His school had not taken the bullying seriously enough. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director, offered her support.

    I am a single mother and a devout Christian who had never been involved in advocacy work or politics. After my son died, and GLSEN reached out to me, some of my friends and family members expressed concern about the organization’s work to address anti-gay bullying in school. They voiced religious opposition to GLSEN. Thanks to Tony Perkins’ On Faith piece published yesterday, I don’t have to repeat the arguments. Perkins’ lays them all out practically word for word.

    And they’re all wrong…

    If schools perceive addressing anti-gay bullying as a controversial issue, then they’ll continue the status quo of putting their heads in the sand and hoping the issue takes care of itself.

    It won’t. And we need to be clear on one thing – addressing anti-gay bullying is not a controversial issue. If you move through the smoke screen organizations like Family Research Council try to create, you realize addressing anti-gay bullying is simply the right thing to do if we care about all of our young people.

    Students who are perceived to be or identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are victimized at much higher rates. My son was bullied with anti-gay remarks. Those kids at his school called him those names because they were probably the most hurtful things they could think of to say. And they hit their mark.

    Homophobic bullying and harassment is all too common. And too often school officials do not recognize this kind of bullying and harassment as unacceptable.

    We need to ensure that all of our children are protected. I know that the only way to achieve this goal is to find common ground. We need to teach our children the simple message of respect for all. And we must do it now.

    http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/10/gay_advocates_do_gods_work.html

  • Timothy Kincaid

    My exposure in recent years has been to gays who simplistically answer a young person who is questioning with one of two answers. 1) Did you enjoy it? Then you’re gay. 2) It’s not normal for a straight to even consider sex with their own gender, the fact that you considered it AND tried it suggests that you are gay.

    If the young person persists with ‘but then why do I have doubts’, the simplistic explanation is that ‘there’s a societal attitude of oppression against gays that impairs your thinking’.

    Eddy, I’m quite surprised at that. This runs contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about discussing sexuality with adolescents.

    I assume (and hope) that this was just – as you said – the opinions of lay-people who were talking off the cuff and not really thinking much about it. I would never assume that anyone who engaged in same-sex behavior was automatically gay (any more than I’d assume the opposite). If it were recurring over long periods of time, I’d assume either homosexuality or bisexuality, but everyone I’ve every talked to agrees that childhood experimentation is not an indicator of sexual orientation.

  • Michael Bussee

    Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns reaches out to GLBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope.

    Please watch.

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dax96cghOnY4&h=2adb6

  • ken

    David# ~ Oct 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

    “There’s as much evidence for my theory as there is for yours. That is to say, none. ”

    that is correct, however, I was proposing other possibilities, not claiming there was only one, and using that one (unproven) case to malign all christians.

    “What we can say with some confidence is that many Christians or those being reared by and as Christians witnessed these lynchings.”

    And likely many non-christians as well. However, I do not hold people to different standards based solely on their religion as you seem to be doing.

    Timothy already addressed your comments about Lou Engle, Tony Perkins, et al. I will just add that I do not believe these people represent the majority of christians in the US, despite their claims to the contrary.

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

    If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.

    — Bryan Fischer

  • Michael Bussee

    Madera teen is on a crusade to stop bullying

    MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) — A 13-year-old boy in Madera County is on a crusade to stop bullying. Marco Melgoza picketed in front of his own middle school Wednesday. And he’s getting the attention of parents.

    13-year-old Marco Melgoza was out in front of Desmond Middle School bright and early. He and his father, Jerry Watson, marched back and forth on the sidewalk with signs that read “stop bullying” and “bullying is a weapon.” Each time a car would stop with the window down … Marco delivered a message.

    Marco told a passerby: “It’s very serious. I just want to let parents and guardians know they need to talk to their child about this … it’s a very serious matter.”

    Marco says he’s been bullied since the school year began. Mostly verbal assaults, but once he was pushed down and hit his head.

    Marco said, “It makes me upset … not that upset to where I want to kill myself … but upset to where I want to make a difference to help people who are getting bullied and keeping quiet and to the people who are the bulliers.”

    The Madera Unified School District says it has addressed the specific problem with those who have bullied Marco … but it does have programs in place that deal with character education and bullying.

    If only more adults were as courageous as ths kid. Follow the link to watch the video.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7723435

  • David

    @ Tim Kincaid:

    “I think you err in only seeing those examples which support your contention and ignoring those which do not.”

    I don’t ignore them, it’s just that there are so few counter-examples. In fact, your Prop 8 examples of Mormon and Catholic funding support my position, not yours.

    Although these sects are deemed heretical by conservative evangelicals, that is a dispute over the details of their respective superstitions, what is diplomatically called a “theological” dispute, but which might best be analogized to two mental patients arguing over which one is truly Napoleon Bonaparte. As a political matter, and as it relates the question at hand (i.e., whether there are “a lot of decent, caring” Christians out there claimed by Ken) it is largely irrelevant. Whether Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon, you will find among them armies large enough to station volunteers in every precinct in the entire state of California in order to eliminate gay marriage from the curriculum, but you couldn’t find even an army of one to prevent the slow-motion elimination of gay human being.

    I take your stat on Lou Engle, although it is likely that the crowds diminish in an off-year where there is no gay threat to eviscerate at the ballot box, as there was in 2008. It is also true that these braying mobs sometimes feel that they need to switch to different events in order to maintain the same level of excited hate. It is hard to generate the necessary emotional response when the audience has seen and heard a particular individual many times. This is basically what happened with Promise Keepers in the 1990s. Whether it is because it is an off-year or because the mob is moving on to the next showman, all of these folks comprising these mobs are still around and are still part of American Christendom. As for the dwindling “mainline” denominations, which are largely impotent politically, ask some of your mainline friends whether you will be cast into a lake of fire or not. Yes or no. And listen to what they say.

    @ Ken:

    “that is correct, however, I was proposing other possibilities, not claiming there was only one, and using that one (unproven) case to malign all christians.”

    - I know what you were doing. The point is that rational people operate based on what is known or what is likely. They come to preliminary conclusions, subject to change upon receipt of additional information. Your point is that we can’t make any judgment because you can invent scenarios for which there is no evidence and for which there is nothing from which to infer a probability. Using that logic, we would have to withhold judgment as to whether these kids committed suicide at all. We can’t conclude anything because, hey, maybe they were wacked by radical gays or OJ or the mafia.

    “And likely many non-christians as well. However, I do not hold people to different standards based solely on their religion as you seem to be doing.”

    You do hold people to different standards based on their religion because religion itself sets a moral standard. If there was a cold-hearted, indifferent atheist who watched Asher thrown down a flight of stairs and did nothing, then I condemn him. But that atheist doesn’t claim to have access to a divinely ordained moral system, nor does he attempt to use his moral system to hound people like Asher. Nor has that atheist, in contrast to a Christian, claimed that he models his actions after a personal Lord and Savior, a man who famously intervened and saved a woman from a lynching.

    These Christians who likely accounted for something like 90 percent of the onlookers based on the demographics of the community, are obligated to conform their lives to Christ. And yet here, when faced with a situation right out of New Testament, they do the opposite of what their supposed Lord and Savior did.

    It wasn’t a failure of only some or even a majority of Christians at these schools. It was a comprehensive 100 percent failure to follow an obviously applicable and very direct teaching of Jesus Christ. So that is why I say that, whatever Jesus might have actually taught and whatever “Christian” may have once meant, it doesn’t refer to “decent and caring” people, as you put it, in America today.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    Clearly neither evidence or logic is going to sway you from your presumptions and biases about Christianity. So I’ll just let you believe whatever you want to believe.

  • David Blakeslee

    Christianity, only in part, is a broad-based moral system; it’s values seek to effect the way we use our planet, the way we spend our money, the way we raise our children, the way we care for the poor, the widowed and the orphaned. It seeks to block our wish for revenge, while validating the need for justice.

    One of the topics it discusses is sexuality and within that topic it comments on homosexual behavior.

    David’s perceptions of Christianity seem to see it only through this last narrow issue, as it has had political ramifications on his rights. Understandable are his concerns…I don’t recognize the Christianity he describes.

  • ken

    David# ~ Oct 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    “The point is that rational people operate based on what is known or what is likely.”

    yes, they do, and I was pointing out how your anti-christian bias was preventing you from seeing other likely and reasonable alternatives.

    “You do hold people to different standards based on their religion because religion itself sets a moral standard.”

    No I do not. And you do not know me well enough to make assertions otherwise.

    “These Christians who likely accounted for something like 90 percent of the onlookers based on the demographics of the community, are obligated to conform their lives to Christ.”

    Just as I do not agree with christians who try to tell me I should do things according to THEIR interpretation of their religion, I also do not agree with YOU trying to tell christians how they should do things according to YOUR interpretation of their religion.

  • Mary

    Just as I do not agree with christians who try to tell me I should do things according to THEIR interpretation of their religion, I also do not agree with YOU trying to tell christians how they should do things according to YOUR interpretation of their religion

    Good point. In fact, there are many people who call themselves Chrisitians who if they looked at eachother’s lives would not consider other Christians “true” christians because of all the divisive issues.

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