What should Christians do about the SPLC hate list?

Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center posted a revision of their hate groups list, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, among other Christian organizations, on their anti-gay list of groups to watch. The SPLC insists that the groups placed on the list knowingly spread misleading information and harmful stereotypes about gay people that incite prejudice and harassment. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical was not one of the criteria for inclusion.

Since then, representatives of these groups as well as some defenders have criticized the SPLC, suggesting that the list is really an effort to stifle  differences of opinion and/or to persecute Christians for their beliefs. For the most part, the reaction of defenders of the newly labeled hate groups is to avoid addressing the issues the SPLC raised, instead preferring to attack the credibility of the SPLC.

Reviewing the charges leveled against the Christian groups, I think their responses are mostly unfortunate and unhelpful. The SPLC has identified some issues which are legitimate and have damaged the credibility of the groups on the list. Going forward, I hope Christians don’t rally around these groups but rather call them to accountability.

The SPLC identifies ten myths that the listed groups promote (the statements that are also links lead to blog posts where I address the issues). They are:

1. Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

2. Same-sex parents harm children.

3. People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents. (see also here)

4. Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals. (see also here and here)

5. Homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust. (see also comments from historian Lothar Machtan)

6. Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.

7.  Allowing homosexuals to serve openly would damage the armed forces.

8. Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol. (see also here and here)

9.  No one is born a homosexual. (see also here and here)

10. Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality.

(Note: the links above are not in the original SPLC article. They link to relevant articles or refer to work I have done to address these claims in past posts. I have done very little work on claims 2 and 7, however, I believe the groups on the SPLC hate list have distorted research to support their views on these issues (e.g., Bryan Fischer’s claim that gays in the military brought on the Holocaust as a talking point against repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell).

The SPLC offers valid criticisms of each one of these assertions. In fairness, the SPLC did not completely debunk each of these statements in their brief article, but they did raise legitimate factual concerns about how these assertions are communicated to the public.

I have spent much time addressing claims 1, 3-6 and 8-10 (click the links above for posts on these topics). The more I have researched these claims, the more disillusioned I have become with the credibility of the groups recently placed on the list. Even though I agree with some positions held by some of the groups on some issues (e.g., pro-life), I now investigate any factual claims for myself and accept nothing at face value.

Ultimately, this is a real problem for American Christianity. One should be able to trust Christian groups to provide accurate information and nuanced analysis. However, on issues relating to sexual orientation, I cannot trust them. For me, this lack of trust spills over to other domains as well, creating a significant problem with credibility. I hope my fellow believers will not defend these claims simply because those making them are Christians.

There are many negative consequences which derive from the myths, overgeneralizations and stereotypes. For instance, I know of a handful of situations where men were kept from their grandchildren or children by other family members because they disclosed same-sex attraction. Even though the men involved had no attraction for children, their families feared them because they experienced homosexual attractions. I know of more than one man who had to defend his right to have custody of his children because he divulged his homosexual attractions to a Christian leader. The families and Christian leaders were driven to fear because of rhetoric from one or more of the groups now on the SPLC list.

Surveys demonstrate that younger people are more moderate regarding homosexuality. They are more likely to view groups such as now occupy the SPLC list as being strident and harsh. Many such young people know GLBT people. They perhaps know some gays who could fit the stereotypes, but often they know more such persons who do not match up with the picture painted by the organizations in question. They also know straight people who have the same problems that are supposed to be more typical of gays. The effect of the hyperbole and stereotyping is to turn them off, sometimes toward the church in general.

To repeat, I hope Christians don’t circle the wagons and view the SPLC episode as a persecution of Christians for “righteousness sake” (Mt. 5:10). In my view, those who criticize the motives of the SPLC for making the designations miss the point. Even if the SPLC targeted Christian groups because those involved don’t like Christians, the substantial issues raised by the SPLC still remain. The SPLC did not bring up doctrinal issues, but rather issues of fact unrelated to any central tenets of Christianity.

Worries over free speech (e.g., Wendy Kaminer) are also distractions. The SPLC cannot stop these groups from misusing data or proclaiming their views. However, the SPLC can exercise free speech to criticize misleading  assertions.

Instead, I hope Christians consider the words of Al Mohler, which could have been written about this very issue:

Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle. Far too many evangelical pastors talk about sexual orientation with a crude dismissal or with glib assurances that gay persons simply choose to be gay. While most evangelicals know that the Bible condemns homosexuality, far too many find comfort in their own moralism, consigning homosexuals to a theological or moral category all their own.

Having examined the ten myths identified by the SPLC, I have to agree with Mohler – much of what is said by Christians about homosexuals is provably false and rooted in ignorance and fear. On point, leaders of the organizations targeted by the SPLC can defend themselves or they can use this crisis as a wake up call for reflection and change. My hope is that individual Christians and church leaders will not enable the defensiveness but instead demand the reflection and change.

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  • Lynn David

    I predict that Eugene Delgaudio of Public Advocate of the U.S. will be next.

    It seems common sense goes out the window with some people when considering homosexuality. Or maybe they lack common sense in the first place.

  • stephen

    I am astonished to read that groups like FRC and AFA are considered to be Christian.

  • David Blakeslee

    The more I have researched these claims, the more disillusioned I have become with the credibility of the groups recently placed on the list.

    This is the painful truth…

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

    Disgust and half-truth is not a factual argument.

  • Fg68at

    The more I have researched these claims, the more disillusioned I have become with the credibility of the groups … [not only these from]

    This was also my beginning in in 2000. Now i am agnostic. Not only because of this, but it is a piece.

    I love this posting. I will forward it to Bishop Andreas Laun from Salzburg who could also appear on the SPLC-List. He say this with the 20 years. (He also had heard from “many dermatologes” that homosexuals have incontinence problems – this information is only supressed – and one old homosexual asked him to spread how dangerous homosexuality is.)

  • David Blakeslee
  • http://gayuganda.blogspot.com gayuganda

    Fascinating stuff. People like Ssempa wear many disguises indeed.

  • John

    The American Family Association seems to be primarily political. Bryan Fischer, who seems to have chosen college and divinity school over military service one minute wants to say that German gays in the military were too savage and the next that Obama is feminizing the Medal of Honor for awarding it for non-killing heroic self-sacrifice, something that is within the purview of the regulations and within Jesus’s own words about laying down one’s life for one’s fellows. One minute gay is homocidal, the next not being homicidal is effeminate. And he then chose to rely on, rather than Jesus, a reincarnationist who encouraged and covered up acts that would be considered war crimes if they had been committed by Germans. I don’t think people like Fischer really have a Christian faith shield when they argue as they have, don’t consider the words of Jesus, and want to rely on a reincarnationist as authority, when that is contrary to scripture.

    Moreover, drunkenness and greed are in the same verse as what is argued as New Testament exclusion from the Kingdom of Heaven for homosexual acts. I don’t see these people going after greed or saying they are afraid they will be prosecuted for a hate crime if they read that verse in church and someone hurts a greedy person.

  • Arwen

    NYT article today in regards to #7:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/us/politics/01military.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    “Pentagon Sees Little Impact if Ban on Gays Is Repealed”

  • http://www.ipundit.wordpress.com Irish Rose

    Excellent article… it’s extremely refreshing to see this type of call to self reflection, ideological honesty and moral integrity! I hope that my fellow Christians who dismiss the SPLC out of hand will think about what you’ve written here, take a hard look in the mirror, and heed your good advice.

  • Mario

    You “so called christians” Need to get off your cross and get real. You claim to love American, but hate Americans. What is you fascination with gays??

    You are and she be a hate group. There is nothing Christain about you!

    I think you are a closeted homosexual. Most bullies are!

  • John

    maybe “Fischer really have a Christian faith shield when they argue as they have, don’t adequately consider the words of Jesus” would be better than “Fischer really have a Christian faith shield when they argue as they have, don’t consider the words of Jesus”

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Good post.

    I hope Christians don’t circle the wagons and view the SPLC episode as a persecution of Christians for “righteousness sake” (Mt. 5:10).

    Unfortunately, this happens all too often and it is particularly disgusting to me. Taking heat for one’s own lies and slander is not to be compared to the suffering mentioned in the verse above. If you act badly and get called on it, that is your own problem.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David – Hear, hear!

    And some of these self-proclaimed victims have not the slightest experience of real suffering. Pitiful!

  • Greenwood Bob

    You should turn #7 into a link to the report the Pentagon released today regarding repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In summary, the Pentagon found little risk in allowing LGBT people to serve openly. 70 percent of service members believe it would have little or no effect on their units. With 89 percent of Army combat units and 84 percent of Marine combat units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gays and lesbians.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    What is fascinating is that this is entirely predicted by Jesus. He said that his followers would be known by the world because of their love; these guys are recognized by their hate.

    Sad, truly sad.

  • http://tombooli@hotmail.com linda tombaugh

    These people are hurting the name of Christianity terribly. Nowhere did Jesus tell us to hate our fellow sinners. When I listen to people speak angrily of Christians it is because of this self righteous, erroneously placed hatred. He didn’t tell us to hate and spread lies. He didn’t tell us to hate sinners. He sat and ate with them. I’ve never been molested or hurt by any gay people. I wish that were true for the rest of the crowd.

  • BobbiCW

    I happened to catch Tony Perkins (FRC) on one of the daytime news/opinion shows yesterday and was struck by how sincerely he believed his own press on lgbt issues. Sadly he seems to be one of those people who will only listen to those scientists who agree with him — even when they’ve been debunked over and over for years. His mind is closed and he blindly continues batting at shadows that only he (and a dwindling number of others like him) can see.

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand people who, in the name of their God, go so far as to deliberately spread mistrust and fear when there’s so much science proving them wrong time and time again.

  • stephen

    Bobbi,

    I’m reminded of creationism. It doesn’t matter how much evidence is brought to bear, true believers still refuse even to consider the possibility that the facts don’t support them. Indeed, the more their belief system is shown to be wrong the louder they are in its defense.

    Tony Perkins can believe what he wants, I really don’t care; I only care when he, and others like him, influence public policy by spreading their fantasies as if they are fact. I cannot comprehend his level of rancor. The easier thing for me is to believe he’s in it for the money. Which to certain extent he most certainly is. But there’s no denying that he’s managed to convince himself that the nonsense he spouts is true. I suppose that the best way to deceive others is to first deceive yourself.

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  • ken

    I looked at the FRC “survey”. It seems pretty obvious that the FRC knows this “survey” is not only not scientifically valid, but isn’t even close to being a worthwhile data point in the issue of DADT. I can’t see any reason why they would do this other than to deliberately deceive people. It is clear from the survey itself that the majority of respondents are not active duty military, yet the Center for Security Policy and FRC present the survey as if they are. It isn’t even clear what percentage of respondents have ever served in the military.

    Here is how FRC presents the data from the survey:

    http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WU10K12&f=PG07J01

    and

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-shows-63-percent-of-military-families-favor-keeping-dont-ask-dont-tell-policy-111042439.html

    now here is a link to the actual survey results (and what questions were asked):

    http://www.frc.org/survey/dadt/final-report

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  • Harvey

    The KKK claims to be a Christian group and claims to base its positions on Scripture, just like the FRC. Yet no one will argue that the KKK is the object of religious persecution. I have gone to the SPLC web site and I have read their criteria for designating a hate group. I have also read what the FRC has to say. The FRC is, by the SPLC’s fair and objective criteria, indeed a hate group. The SPLC says that the FRC has the right to their opinions, but not the right to make up “facts.” I agree. The FRC lies about gay people, and their lies are obvious and egregious to any fair-minded, informed, and Spirit-filled Christian. What part of “thou shalt not bear false witness” do they not understand?

    Instead of complaining, the FRC should be grateful they got off so lightly. They won’t get off so lightly on the Last Day when their lies are laid bare and the victims of the violence they foment testify against them.

  • Pingback: SPLC myth #4: Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals — Warren Throckmorton

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    BOTTOM LINE HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN.

    PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TO HEAR THAT BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM REFLECT ON THE SIN IN THEIR LIVES.

    HOMOSEXUALITY ACCORDING TO GOD’S STANDARD THE GOD OF THE BIBLE AND YES JESUS CHRIST: “Have you not heard that God Created Male and Female and for this cause shall a Man leave his Father and Mother and cleave to his wife and THESE TWO SHALL BE ONE FLESH” — JESUS.

    See, you folks have a RIGHT TO DISAGREE and BELIEVE that HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN — and NOT BE CONSIDERED HATERS OF GOD.

    But, TRUE CHRIST BELIEVERS — THOSE OF US THAT TRULY BELIEVE THE UNFALTERING, UNWAVERING AND UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD HAVE A RIGHT TO DISAGREE AND BELIEVE THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN AND WE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED HATERS EITHER.

    The reason why CHRISTIANS are not rally against DRUNKARDS and GLUTTONS and GREED because there are NO GROUPS out here rallying for RIGHTS and PROMOTING that THESE ALSO “SINS” ARE GOOD and DECENT.

    That is the PROBLEM with HOMOSEXUALITY.

    This MORAL ISSUE has become a lightning rod where those WHOM BELIEVE THAT IT IS NOT SIN is attempting to SILENCE anyone WHOM BELIEVES that it is SIN!

    AND, YES ACCORDING TO GOD — THE GOD OF THE BIBLE THERE IS NOTHING TO HARD FOR GOD AND IF GOD CAN TURN A DRUNK INTO A SOBER MAN AND MAKE A GREEDY PERSON A GIVER… OH YES… HE CAN TURN THE HOMOSEXUAL STRAIGHT!

    THE ONE THAT BELIEVES AND DESIRES IN HIS HEART FOR GOD TO PERFECT HIS SPIRIT!

    Pretty SOON PREACHING THE BIBLE IN ITS ENTIRETY WITHOUT LIBERAL COMPROMISE will PUT CHRISTIANS IN JAIL AND YES THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!!!!!

    You PEOPLE show that this “possibility” is becoming MORE REAL EVERYDAY and YES CHRISTIANS ARE BEING PERSECUTED SIMPLY FOR EMBRACING WHAT THUS SAITH THE LORD!

  • Lynn David

    Interesting shout, Mr Williams, but not motivational in the least. So you think that because your Bible/god says that homosexuality is a sin that you and other like Christians are then given carte blanche to proliferate lies concerning gay people? It is those lies upon which the SPLC list is based.

  • stephen

    The comment posted by Pat Williams perfectly exemplifies the worst aspects of the evangelical attack on GLBT people. Crude, entirely ignorant of basic Christian theology, paranoid, lacking even the most basic grasp of the English language, ill-informed almost to the point of parody, and expressed in the overheated manner of the conspiracy theorist. I don’t think this is an accurate expression of what evangelical Christians truly believe but it has, unfortunately, become the expression we most often encounter.

    One might try to answer some of his claims but really there’s no point. Reason is entirely lacking from this particular worldview. However, I would like to point out that no one wants to stifle anyone’s religious faith or the expression of that faith. Mr Williams can feel perfectly free to call me whatever he wants and to disapprove of my life for as long as it gives him pleasure. I just don’t want to have my civil rights limited by his faith. Of course this won’t be believed, it never is no matter how often it is proved to be true, so I’ll let it go at that.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    PAT WILLIAMS LIKES CAPITAL LETTERS!!

  • Dave

    Hey Pat..

    Lying is also a sin .. and Christian political groups do that regularly and wilfully. Slandering people is also sinful … its listed right up there with sexual immorality (see I Cor 5:11 NIV) …

    But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

    And once again .. Christian political groups do that regularly (slandering gay and lesbian people) .. Where are your capital letters about that?? Do you really think that capitalizing (shouting) in a post is somehow going to increase the validity of what you are writing? Try having a real discussion in the spirit of Christ … then maybe there will actually be something to talk about.

    Dave

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    LYING SURE IS A SIN. AND, YOU PEOPLE ARE LYING THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN. WHY? TO PLACATE THOSE WHOM ARE LOST. BUT, THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE YOU ARE ALSO LOST.

    SEE UNREPENTANT SINNERS HATE FOR ANYONE TO POINT OUT SIN.

    To point out HOMOSEXUALITY as a SIN and to ACCEPT it for just what it is A SINFUL PART OF MANKIND’S NATURE is to also REFLECT and EMBRACE our own individual SINS.

    So, if we deceive ourselves that HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT SIN then it makes it easier to JUSTIFY OUR OWN “OTHER” SINS.

    But, SIN is SIN. And, since we AGREE that LYING, GREED and SLANDER (to point out the TRUTH that HOMOSEXUALITY is SIN is NOT SLANDER, but TRUTH).

    But, since we AGREE that these OTHER SINS are SIN including FORNICATION, ADULTERY, MASTURBATION, PORNOGRAPHY, GLUTTONY, LYING, STEALING, MURDER, RAPE, ENVY then do I take it well that you then acquiesce and AGREE

    that indeed HOMOSEXUALITY IS INDEED SIN?

    Because you see you can’t point out GREED and LYING as SIN without also pointing out HOMOSEXUALITY is a SIN.

    The same BOOK that says ALL MEN ARE LIARS and all of our WORKS are as FILTHY RAGS and that MANKIND MUST BE BORN AGAIN for we are ALL SINNERS and LOST except we come into the NEWNESS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST is ALSO the SAME BOOK that INCLUDES HOMOSEXUALITY is a PART of the FALLEN SIN NATURE OF MANKIND.

    So, do I hear that you then AGREE? OR, do you ONLY AGREE in PARTS with the BIBLE to JUSTIFY THOSE SINS you DISAGREE and DISAGREE with the BIBLE in those SINS you allow? It sounds to me either you AGREE with me…

    That HOMOSEXUALITY IS INDEED SIN and since you AGREE then you too are GUILTY OF SLANDER if pointing out this TRUTH is your grounds and definition for “slander.”

    OR you are HYPOCRITICAL and only POINT OUT GREED and LYING but REJECT SEXUAL IMMORALITY such as ALL SEXUAL SIN (including HOMOSEXUALITY) as being SIN.

    And, if such be the case then YOUR SELF-SERVING DECEPTIONS then speaks for itself.

    ALL SIN STINKS! AND ALL MUST REPENT AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS. THE HOMOSEXUAL IS NO GREATER AND NO LESS IN BEING REQUIRED TO DO THE SAME THING BY PUTTING AWAY HIS CARNAL DESIRE TO PLEASE GOD ABOVE PLEASING HIS OWN FLESH.

    THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRULY FOLLOW THE HOLY GHOST.

    I noticed you mention the “Spirit of Christ” but there is a FALSE SPIRIT

    and a FALSE NEW AGE CHRIST.

    And, it seems that you are following this NEW AGE CHRIST THIS “Spirit” and NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    FOR THE WORD OF GOD CLEARLY STATES: “BELIEVE NOT EVERY SPIRIT.”

    WEIGH THE SPIRITS. FOR THERE ARE FAMILIAR AND DEMONIC SPIRITS THAT DECEIVE AND TURN PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE TRUTH OF GOD.

    And, to TEACH and TELL the HOMOSEXUAL that he or she is NOT SINNING

    by way of their CARNAL LUST and PRACTICES is to turn them away from the TRUTH OF GOD and to keep them BOUND BY THE CHAINS OF SATAN and the CORRUPTION OF THE FLESH.

    For if you were then you would KNOW that THE LOVE OF GOD, THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST IS TO CALL MEN UNTO REPENTANCE OF SIN.

    THIS INCLUDES HOMOSEXUALS.

    THEY MUST REPENT AND TURN FROM THEIR CARNAL SEXUAL DESIRE AND COME INTO AGREEMENT WITH THE WILL OF GOD.

    JUST LIKE THE FORNICATOR, THE MASTURBATOR, THE PORNOGRAPHER, THE ADULTERER, THE STRIPPER, THE PIMP, THE WHORE, THE LIAR, THE GLUTTON, THE ALCOHOLIC, THE DRUG ADDICT, THE THIEF, THE “WHATEVER” SIN THAT HOLDS ONE BOUND.

    To the HOMOSEXUAL: I BRING THE TRUTH AND LOVE OF GOD — THE TRUTH… YOUR LIFE IS A LIE AND A SIN BEFORE GOD (AS ALL OF US).

    THE LOVE — SACRIFICE YOUR LIFE FOR GOD’S TRUTH, LOOK AND LIVE AND BE YE MADE WHOLE AND SEE THAT I CORINTHIANS 6:9-11 MANIFEST IN YOUR LIFE (now, ye are no longer effeminate, sinful, but ye are washed and are made clean and sanctified.)

    For any man that will SAVE his life will lose it, but any man that will lose his LIFE for CHRIST SAKE shall find it. That means LOSE YOUR WAY OF LIVING for the WAY GOD INTENDS FOR US TO LIVE.

    Only here is TRUTH, SALVATION, REDEMPTION AND DELIVERANCE FOUND.

    But, you can NOT please GOD and please FLESHLY DESIRE.

    They are diametrically opposed. For one is of the HOLY SPIRIT and one is of CARNALITY. And, CARNALITY THE WAGES OF SIN is DEATH (spiritual and many times lead to “premature” mortality), but the way of THE HOLY SPIRIT is LIFE ETERNAL and LIFE EVERLASTING.

    THE LOVE MESSAGE FOR THE HOMOSEXUALITY IS PUT AWAY YOUR PERVERSIONS AND BE YE MADE WHOLE AND CLEAN AND PUT ON THE MIND OF CHRIST JESUS AND BE NOT CONFORMED UNTO THIS WORLD, BUT YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.

    THIS IS THE LOVE MESSAGE FOR ALL OF US SINNERS (INCLUDING THE HOMOSEXUAL).

  • Dave

    Still shouting huh Pat …… … If you would actually take time to listen rather than shout you might find that there are several of us who agree on the morals / immorals of same sex sex . We just dont care for the lying slanderous immorality that is coming from much of the Christian world against gay and lesbian people. This is hardly Christlike behavior .. we are to be the salt of the world but if salt loses its taste (as it does in this case) how can it be made salty again .. see below…

    (Mat 5:13 NIV) “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

    Dave

  • Lynn David

    The shouter…. But, since we AGREE that these OTHER SINS are SIN including FORNICATION, ADULTERY, MASTURBATION, PORNOGRAPHY, GLUTTONY, LYING, STEALING, MURDER, RAPE, ENVY then do I take it well that you then acquiesce and AGREE that indeed HOMOSEXUALITY IS INDEED SIN?

    Uh, no. We do not agree on what is sin. I for one do not consider that sin in the religious sense exists whatsoever. So nothing you have listed is for me, a sin. That doesn’t mean any of them is not wrongful things to do either in bodily violating another human being or to violate trusts. And so that makes the rest of your argument pretty much moot.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    I am NOT SHOUTING, I just like to use the OCCASIONAL CAPS! :) But, what are the “LYING SLANDEROUS” issues of which you speak?

    Everything that the SPLC put out as Christian Conservative LIES are allow being denounced by INCONCLUSIVE “scientists” “doctors” and “psychologists” and MOST of these people are ATHEISTS, AGNOSTIC, ANTI-CHRISTIAN VALUES or HOMOSEXUAL to begin with.

    Their views are NOT egalitarian nor “unbiased.”

    See it is a matter of BELIEF and OPINION.

    For as these Conservative groups can say that MOST HOMOSEXUALS suffered traumatic child abuse or sexual abuse as juveniles and that can be claimed to be “incoherent” or “inconclusive.”

    So, the same can be said of these other so-called “experts.”

    For what UNBIASED STUDIES have they conducted that truly question known homosexuals about their childhood and first-time sexual experiences?

    AND, THIS IS TRUE…

    EVERY HOMOSEXUAL I HAVE EVER KNOWN ADMITTEDLY (whether they were male or female) SHARED WITH ME A HISTORY OF SEXUAL CHILDHOOD ABUSE.

    Now, that could be “coincidental” but the realities are it can also be “cause” or “influence” on one’s SEXUALITY.

    And, why not?

    If a young male experiences his first SEXUAL EXPERIENCE with a MALE, even when his full development and understanding of sexual desire has not been determined and developed, how can it be so immediately panned by the “SECULAR EXPERTS” that it is going to be just as “easy” for THIS YOUNG MALE to grow into heterosexual desire and not have some “issues” concerning his “own” sexuality?

    Those whom BELIEVE and again I say “BELIEVE” homosexuality is Normal, Fine, Decent and OK are basing that strictly off of SECULAR BELIEF.

    But, yet BELIEF is still “belief” and still an “opinion.”

    Just as much as one whom BELIEVES and again I say “BELIEVE” homosexuality is not Normal, not Fine, Indecent and SIN are basing that usually off of SPIRITUAL BELIEF.

    NOTE: NOT ALL GAY OPPONENTS ARE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH (like MUSLIMS) and there are NON-BELIEVERS that DISAGREE with HOMOSEXUALITY.

    But, again it is a BELIEF.

    The problem is…

    Those whom BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALITY IS RIGHT and NOT SINFUL

    want to crush, and SILENCE anyone whom remotely holds the OPPOSITE VIEW

    and OPPOSITE BELIEF.

    I can certainly disagree with you and dislike the “order” and “lifestyle” of your life, but still have the MATURITY to know how to TREAT YOU with common courtesy and decency.

    But, those whom BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT SIN believe that ALL MUST EMBRACE and ACCEPT HOMOSEXUALITY AS GOOD AS RIGHT and if they don’t then they are HOMOPHOBIC, they are causing TEEN SUICIDE, how ridiculous!

    And, yet you folks JUDGE CHRISTIANS as being the ATTACKERS!

    Whom attacks and slanders better than the GAY GESTAPO?

    Those Homosexuals who will stop at NOTHING to SILENCE EVERY OPPOSING VIEW, EVERY DISSENTING BELIEF!

    And, you CAN NOT say that these types DO NOT exist in the Homosexual Community!

    These types even say that the EX-GAY MOVEMENT should be stopped!

    But, who is to say if a person in their HEART truly BELIEVES that GOD can keep them and want to be kept from their “carnal desires” that such can NOT be so?

    That is to then DISCOUNT that person’s BELIEF.

    But, the reason the GAY GESTAPO types want to STOP THE EX-GAY MOVEMENT and RIDICULE it because they DO NOT WANT people to think that one CAN CHANGE their SEXUAL APPETITE and SEXUAL DESIRE.

    They HATE THAT MESSAGE because then it means that they indeed have “choice” and the LIE that they want the world to believe is that they DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

    So, they want to SILENCE those who have practiced homosexuality that say I NO LONGER PRACTICE and NO LONGER WANT TO PRACTICE because I WANT TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

    But if I BELIEVE GOD like I DO…

    GOD CAN CHANGE ANYTHING!

    GOD CAN CHANGE ANYBODY!

    … THAT WANTS TO BE CHANGED!

    I don’t care what they’re in to!

    How many FORMER SKINHEADS, CRACKHEADS, DEVIL WORSHIPPERS, PROSTITUTES, GANG MEMBERS, ADULTERERS, FORNICATORS, CRIMINALS, anything you can think of that those people GOD HAVE GIVEN THEM A TESTIMONY and they ARE A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST JESUS!

    But, the HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY DO NOT WANT THE HOMOSEXUAL WHO WANTS TO EXALT GOD HIGHER THAN HIS/HER FLESH to PREACH and TEACH and REACH that GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR SEXUAL APPETITE!

    GOD CAN CHANGE ANYTHING!

    Really SEXUALITY is the easiest thing that GOD CAN CHANGE.

    The problem: MOST PEOPLE DO NOT WANT THEIR SEXUAL HABITS TO BE CHANGED.

    That is TRUE of the HETEROSEXUAL and the HOMOSEXUAL.

    Most people LOVE their PERVERSIONS!

    And, they will die to act them out and live them out as “they please.”

    You can take away a man’s possessions and find an easier bout than to dare remotely challenge to take away his perversions.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    PAT – Your caps are more than occasional. Please just type. We will get your drift.

    There are so many things one could address, but let me take this one:

    EVERY HOMOSEXUAL I HAVE EVER KNOWN ADMITTEDLY (whether they were male or female) SHARED WITH ME A HISTORY OF SEXUAL CHILDHOOD ABUSE.

    I hope you can understand how unscientific that statement is. I don’t know how many gays you have known, but I suspect the sample comes from religious sources or perhaps from those who have been involved in ex-gay programs. Actually you should share with us how many and from what source you know these folks. I know and have been acquainted with several hundred in person and many more via research and I can tell you that most gays were not abused nor came from traumatic families.

    Now what will you do with that information? Often people who hold stereotypes will discount that information and even discount the credibility of the person providing it. It allows the holder of the stereotype to maintain his/her stereotype in the face of evidence to counter it. This is called confirmation bias, and if you simply wave aside my feedback and the feedback of others here, you will be engaging in confirmation bias which is exactly what the groups targeted by the SPLC want you to do.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    So then Lynn David..

    You are TOTALLY DECEIVED.

    For he whom believes he has NO SIN deceives own self.

    You do NOT want to embrace SIN because only when one

    can EMBRACE that there is SIN, then that is when one has

    to look inside and then EMBRACE their OWN STATE of SIN,

    and only when one can EMBRACE their OWN STATE of SIN,

    that is when one can ONLY then TRULY EMBRACE that he

    or she is IN NEED OF A SAVIOR AND NEEDS DELIVERANCE

    from SIN.

    See you are one that believes NO SIN then I am NOT GUILTY

    and if I AM NOT GUILTY, then I NEED NOT REPENT and if I

    NEED NOT REPENT then I NEED NO SAVIOR.

    Oh, but be NOT DECEIVED sir…

    You ARE a SINNER just LIKE ME in THE EYES OF THE LORD!

    You LIE, you CHEAT, you LUST, you DECEIVE, you ENVY, you

    GRUDGE, you SPITE, you SELF-SERVE the whole nine!

    SIN MEANS TO MISS THE MARK.

    I AM GLAD THAT I AM A SINNER…

    FOR ONLY A SINNER CAN BE SAVED FROM HIS SINS! :)

    JESUS CHRIST SAID: I did NOT come for those whom are “well” but I came for the SICK and the LOST.

    Yes indeed! I would rather be counted as the SICK and LOST so that I may be HEALED and SAVED than to be as you sir, “well” but really you are the MOST LOST because sadly you sir feel as though you are your OWN GOD and YOUR OWN WAY.

    JESUS TOLD THE PARABLE about the TWO MEN…

    ONE MAN thanked GOD that HE HAD NO SIN and DID EVERYTHING “right”

    ONE MAN beat his chest before GOD and CRIED OUT for FORGIVENESS because of all the things he done “wrong.”

    AND, JESUS SAID: IT WAS THE IMPERFECT MAN. THE SINNER MAN. THE ONE WHO KNEW HE WAS MESSED UP THAT NEED GOD TO TURN HIM AROUND — THIS ONE PLEASES THE FATHER! :)

  • Lynn David

    But, what are the “LYING SLANDEROUS” issues of which you speak?

    Do you have a reading disability? They are in the opening post. And there are links to show why they are lies. Just like a religious zealot to gloss over the facts when they do not jive with what their beliefs demand of them.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Warren you make EXACTLY my point if you READ what I said….

    I said the HOMOSEXUALS I knew had come from SEXUAL ABUSE admittedly so. and I AGREE that is NOT SCIENTIFIC.

    But, your statement that the hundreds you know DID NOT COME FROM SEXUAL ABUSE. but, neither is YOUR STATEMENT SCIENTIFIC.

    Which is why I SAID… What UNBIASED STUDY have been done on this?

    My point if you READ is that BOTH SIDES are basing their passion on a “SYSTEM” of BELIEF.

    Please READ sir. But, the problem is…

    Those whom BELIEVE homosexuality is OK want to hold some superiority over the opposing side as to pointing to SCIENCE and MEDICAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL “experts” but again…

    THESE MEN, THESE PEOPLE are BIASED and basing their views on BELIEF just as MUCH as the people whom BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALITY is SIN and INACCURATE are basing their views on BELIEF.

    Because a SCIENTIST says something is SO then that makes it so?

    Really? So why is science ever changing? Why is medicine and psychology

    always back and forth on studies?

    You know why? Because IT TOO just like FAITH is based upon BELIEF.

    A Scientist can NOT tell me anymore than what the WORD OF GOD tells me…

    You know why?

    Because the BIBLE was WRITTEN BY MEN.

    And, SCIENCE is WRITTEN BY MEN.

    So, now it comes down to “which” MAN you choose to BELIEVE.

  • Lynn David

    You are TOTALLY DECEIVED.

    Pffll….

    BTW…. the statements of yours which I have quoted are about all I’ve read of your rigamarole.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    PAT – The Bible says nothing about whether one’s sexuality derives from abuse.

    If you have any real interest in learning more about the studies on abuse and sexuality, then put abuse or child abuse in the search engine of this blog and read away. There are studies on the subject and they do not support you.

  • Dave

    Pat … Does the pharse “resounding gong or clanging cymbal” mean anything to you????

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    But, see WARREN that is your PROBLEM and ISSUE you guys are LOOKING FOR STUDIES and MAN-MADE THINGS to “support’ you and “back you up.”

    And, these things are FOOLISH any how! I don’t LOOK TO MAN to “support” what I believe… Why?

    Because MY HOPE, MY BELIEF and MY FAITH IS IN CHRIST JESUS AND HIM ALONE. IT IS IN HIS WORD! :)

    That is why JESUS WARNS HIS FOLLOWERS not to FOLLOW THE WORLD and the WORLD SYSTEM and the WORLD MINDSET on things…

    For the things you guys savor and support and promote and “believe” and follow are ENEMITY with GOD.

    JESUS CLEARLY TELLS US TO NOT BE OF THE WORLD…

    YOU ARE FOLLOWERS OF THE WORLD AND NOT OF GOD… FOR IF YOU WERE FOLLOWERS OF GOD you would NOT LOOK TO FLESH (MAN) TO SUPPORT YOUR BELIEFS.

    That is why you guys need “Scientists” and “Studies” and “Doctors” and

    “Media” and “Hollywood” and “Public Education” and “Politicians” to RALLY your cause…

    It makes you FEEL that you are RIGHT and EMBOLDEN you to continue to commit those things that are DISPLEASING to GOD all because you have a “crowd” and a “group” to “support” your ideals.

    I PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT I DO NOT HAVE MAN “SUPPORTING” WHAT I BELIEVE…

    For the WORLD LOVES ITS OWN — JESUS CHRIST CLEARLY SAYS.

    He says the WORLD HATES HIS PEOPLE because it HATED HIM FIRST.

    But, why?

    Why did the WORLD HATE JESUS?

    Because HE SAYS IT PLAIN: “For light have come into the World and the World reject the Light for Darkness because their DEEDS ARE EVIL.”

    YEP! THE WORLD HATED JESUS (AND, STILL HATES JESUS AND HATE HIS TRUE FOLLOWERS) BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST CAME AGAINST **SIN***

    And, HIS TRUE BELIEVERS we are to COME AGAINST SIN! ALL MANNER OF SIN. OUR OWN SIN. THE SIN IN THE WORLD. THE SIN OF OUR HEARTS. THE SIN IN OUR LIVES, IN OUR MINDS, IN OUR HOMES, IN OUR CHILDREN AND YES, THEN GET THE “speck out of our brothers eyes.”

    WE ARE TO CATEGORICALLY REJECT SIN ON ALL LEVEL AND NOT MAKE EXCUSE, CONVENIENCE OR OCCASION FOR SIN…

    This INCLUDES HOMOSEXUALITY (just ANOTHER SIN among MANY).

    Again…

    MAJORITY OF PEOPLE (including LUKE WARM and FAKE CHRISTIANS) HATE FOR SIN TO BE ADDRESSED AND REDRESSED AND CALLED OUT AS SIN.

    Why?

    Because it then FORCES one to FACE the SIN IN THEIR OWN LIVES.

    And, only when one can FACE SIN that is when TRULY GOD CAN SAVE THEM FROM THEIR SINS AND CLEANSE THEM OF SIN AND HEAL THEM OF SIN AND CHANGE FROM SIN.

  • Dave

    PAT … You’re not even willing to face your own sins .. nor the sins of various Chrisitan organizations that Warren and others have brought up. So count yourself among those who dont want to hear about sin. As such .. why in the world would I want to listen to you???

    As for the alleged conflict between faith and science .. perhaps you might want to ask Galileo a few questions.

    Dave

  • stephen

    It really is pathetic.

    The only aspect of interest is to note the amount of ‘moral indignation’ in Pat Williams’s comments. The fearsome amount of outrage that allows him to feel he has a right to post such filth. His language is no different from Bahati’s or indeed our own dear Maazi’s in that respect.

    Such hate speech as this is not against the law in the US. I think on the whole that it should remain beyond prosecution. However, I would like to point out that reading this kind of filth does not help kids when they are living through their most vulnerable years. Here we have a perfect example of the kind of vilification that gay people have to contend with almost all the time here in the US. What troubles me is the similarity between rants like these and the anti-semitic propaganda that was used by the Nazis to isolate and demonize Jews in the years leading up to WW2. I’m not comparing anyone to Hitler. I’m merely pointing out that the mechanism is the same. And poor Mr Williams clearly feels that he is on the side of the angels, that he is part of a beleaguered minority fighting against overwhelming odds. Which is precisely the tactic used by the Nazis.

    On the whole I must say I feel sorry for Mr Williams. I’d hate to have his life. I just don’t want such people to be in charge of setting government policy.

    Couple of points: there is no connection between childhood abuse and adult sexuality.

    There is no automatic correlation between immorality and sexual orientation.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    STEPHEN… I feel sorry for you. What have I said “HATEFUL?”

    I said that WE ALL NEED TO REPENT. YOU. ME. Why?

    Because we are ALL SINNERS.

    And, the LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST is to call ALL MEN, ALL WOMEN, ALL BOYS, ALL GIRLS, WHITE, BLACK, LATINO, ASIAN, INDIAN, RICH, POOR, ABLE-BODIED, DISABLED, YOUNG, OLD, FEEBLE, STRONG, EDUCATED, UNEDUCATED AND YES… **HETEROSEXUAL** AND **HOMOSEXUAL** TO REPENTANCE. :)

    THAT’S THE LOVE OF THE FATHER.

    THAT’S THE LOVE OF THE SON.

    THAT’S THE LOVE OF THE HOLY GHOST.

    THAT’S THE LOVE OF THE BLESSED TRINITY.

    IS TO CALL ALL UNTO REPENTANCE.

    But, you find this as HATE?

    Why?

    Because YOU HATE TO ACCEPT that you are a SINNER…

    Just like me!

    And, you do NOT want to “view” yourself as an ENEMY OF GOD.

    But, we are ALL THE ENEMIES OF GOD when we choose to live

    our lives according to OUR OWN “understanding” and “desires”

    and “carnality” and “lust” and “drives” and “ambitions.”

    These things are SIN. And, I AM GUILTY. But, YOU TOO are GUILTY.

    But, you do NOT want to accept your guiltiness!

    But, it IS ONLY when you CAN ACCEPT your guiltiness of SIN then

    only then can YOU RELISH and EMBRACE the AWESOME LOVE,

    GRACE of SALVATION and DELIVERANCE through THE LORD

    JESUS CHRIST.

    But, YOU REJECT HIM.

    Because you LOVE YOUR “OWN” WAY.

    Because you LOVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS.

    Because you LOVE YOUR OWN FLESH.

    And, so anyone such as myself that POINTS OUT that SIN

    MUST be REPENTED and laid before the GLORIOUS FEET

    of THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD – JESUS CHRIST and that

    we MUST TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS…

    You are offended and charge me with HATE.

    No sir…

    I feel sorry for you.

    For GOD LOVES THE HOMOSEXUAL.

    But, the HOMOSEXUAL has to LOVE GOD MORE

    than he loves his “own” DESIRE and PLEASURE.

    And, be HEALED of his SIN NATURE and be

    MADE WHOLE.

    Just like the HETEROSEXUAL whom FORNICATES,

    MASTURBATE, ADDICTED PORN, CHEATS ON HIS/

    HER SPOUSE, have ILLICIT AFFAIRS.

    Just like any ONE who SINS… The LIAR, The THIEF,,

    The GLUTTON, The DRUNKARD, The SCAMMER,

    The DRUG DEALER, The DRUG ADDICT, The PIMP,

    The PROSTITUTE, The STRIPPER, The RACIST, The

    PROUD, The ABUSER, The MURDERER, The RAPISTS,

    The ATHEIST, The AGNOSTIC, The BUDDHIST, The

    MUSLIM, The SATANIST, The GANG MEMBER, The

    MAFIOSI…

    WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

    WE ARE ALL SINNERS.

    WE ARE ALL IN NEED OF A SAVIOR.

    AND, HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST! :)

    NO GREATER LOVE THAN THIS, THAT HE GAVE HIS LIFE

    TO BLOT OUT OUR TRANSGRESSIONS (SIN).

    To RESTORE US to the WILL OF THE FATHER.

    HALLELUJAH! :)

    You sir, if you BELIEVE this is HATE…

    My goodness and MY GOD no do not pity me…

    But, pity yourself.

  • Wendy Leigh

    I feel absolutely puked on. Please restore us to a time when people didn’t puke their religiosity all over everyone in their presence.

  • Wendy Leigh

    BTW… Naturally gay, never been abused.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Wendy,

    But, there are TWO SIDES to every coin.. The way you feel that PEOPLE OF FAITH push their VIEWS, People of NON-FAITH or HOMOSEXUAL BELIEF also “push” your VIEWS.

    The ONLY thing is…

    I KNOW you have a GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to REJECT GOD, REJECT JESUS and even HATE THE LORD and REJECT HIS WORD and guess what? I am not running around trying to claim you are a HATER and a RELIGIOUSPHOBE and trying to SILENCE your voice.

    But, your SIDE is doing EXACTLY that to those whom REJECT HOMOSEXUALITY as GOOD and RIGHT.

    See your side wont grant to others the VERY THING they claim they WANT — FREEDOM TO SPEAK OUT FREELY without being “labeled.”

    You have a RIGHT to think & SAY that HOMOSEXUALITY is OK.

    I have a RIGHT to think & SAY that HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT OK.

    Now, because you feel I am WRONG in MY BELIEF does that mean

    that YOU HATE ME and advocate CHRISTIAN TEEN SUICIDE?

    Of course not!

    Neither should your side accuse this of BELIVERS.

    And, guess what?

    Make NO MISTAKE… CHRISTIAN TEENS are BULLIED and PICKED

    ON too! It is NOT “cool” to be a TEEN FOR CHRIST.

    It is however pretty darn “cool” (at least in this young generation)

    to be “gay.”

    Yes, you have some kids who will BULLY teens who are into Homosexuality,

    but then these kids will BULLY if you are fat, nerdy, black, immigrant or “whatever” cause they can “find” to pick on a kid.

    But, to START SLAMMING THE BIBLE & SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING

    as the impetus for causing HOMOSEXUAL TEEN SUICIDE is a very, very,

    dangerous thing.

    And, that is why TRUE CHRIST BELIEVERS we know it won’t be long

    BEFORE anyone whom truly PREACHES and BELIEVES the UNADULTERATED

    WORD OF GOD — THE BIBLE — Will be as the BIBLE SAY CLEARLY: Persecuted, thrown out of Churches (that’s right.. Because now so many churches are even apostate and back-slidden as they too REJECT the FULL WORD OF GOD) thrown in jails and ultimately MURDERED.

    Don’t say it aint so.

    Because CHRISTIANS are being KILLED EVERYDAY AROUND THE WORLD!

    Because CHRISTIANS are being RIDICULED and ATTACKED even here in AMERICA.

    But, it does NOT get NEWS COVERAGE.

    And, real CHRIST BELIEVERS we KNOW to SUFFER FOR CHRIST is GLORIOUS! :)

    So, we don’t go to Politicians, Hollywood, Media and Public Education begging them to give us SPECIAL PROTECTION or SPECIAL RIGHTS as a “maligned group”…

    Because we KNOW… THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD.

    If CHRIST JESUS IS FOR YOU… HE IS MORE THAN THE WORLD AGAINST YOU.

    And, HE WILL SETTLE THE SCORE.

    And, to respond to someone else on here whom said “I feel as though I am on the side of Angels and fighting against impossible odds.”

    NOPE. I don’t feel NONE OF THE ABOVE.

    The odds are on the SIDE OF CHRIST BELIEVERS (TRUE BELIEVERS)…

    We are HIGHLY FAVORED for we KNOW that while we may NOT be on

    the side of History, we are on the side of ETERNITY.

    And, the BATTLE BELONGS to THE LORD, so all we have to do is LIFT HIM UP

    and HE WILL DO THE REST!

    THE VICTORY BELONGS TO KING JESUS! :)

    So you all can do what you want…

    But, there is a DAY that is set aside that ALL OF US will

    have to enter ETERNITY and the bottom line on that is this…

    If you can deal with the repercussions and ramifications of

    what that means…

    Hey, by all means GO FOR IT! ROCK IT OUT! DO YOUR THANG!

    And do it well… But KNOW THIS… There is a DAY.

    Where we ALL MUST GIVE IN ACCOUNT FOR THE DEEDS DONE

    IN THIS LIFE, IN THESE BODIES.

    And, it is ONLY WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST JESUS THAT WILL LAST. :)

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Pat, would you please stop using the all caps? It is considered shouting in venues like this and very bad manners. Certainly you can get your point across in a civil tone. It is very distracting to read.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    WHAT IS WITH YOU PEOPLE and CAPS?

    What is the problem with that?

    You guys say it means SHOUTING, but again “who says this?”

    Who made up the “rule” that CAPS mean BAD MANNERS?

    Oh, I know some TECH GEEK EXPERT says so… So that makes

    it so! :)

    You folks are so quick to BELIEVE anything some “expert”

    or “other MAN” tell you, but you are quick by the same token

    to IMMEDIATELY REJECT and DISBELIEVE anything from

    THE WORD OF GOD! :)

    I use CAPS because I like them! :)

    Have you ever thought that maybe I am using CAPS interspersed

    with my other words to HIGHLIGHT IMPORTANCE and not as a

    means of “SHOUTING?”

    Have you ever considered that maybe I have poor eyesight and

    it helps me to SEE BETTER?

    Has it crossed your mind that I use CAPS because it is QUICKER

    to TYPE that way? :)

    See, you people are so fast to ACCEPT what a MAN TELL YOU

    but will REJECT WHAT GOD TELLS YOU!

    It is so sad.

    But, that is why those whom FOLLOW AFTER THE WORLD

    instead of FOLLOWING AFTER THE WORD OF GOD are so

    easily deceived and misled.

    You think it is “progression” and “evolutionary” but you guys

    go along with any OK-E-DOKE that is stated or “backed up”

    by a so-called EXPERT or SCIENTIST or DOCTOR or CELEBRITY.

    That is why if tomorrow it becomes “fashionable” or “cool” or

    “modern” or “hip” or “progessive” to comb your hear with your

    own toe jam because “THEY SAY” it is GOOD, POPULAR and

    COOL and PROGRESSIVE…

    HOLLYWOOD is doing it and the POLITICIANS are doing it and

    SCIENTISTS “say” cromagnon man did it and Doctors say it grows the

    hair folicles…

    YOU PEOPLE WOULD BUY INTO THIS FOOLISHNESS! :)

    And, that is why on the serious side, you folks can rationalize away

    GODLY WISDOM, GOOD COMMON DECENCY all in the name of

    being “progressive” and “modern.”

    But, it is also the reason that you will be caught up in the GREAT DECEPTION

    of THE BEAST (ANTI-CHRIST) to come.

    For he will PROMISE “progression” and ONE WORLD and ONE LOVE

    and ONE RELIGION and UTOPIAN PEACE.

    But, THE BIBLE WARNS: When “they say” Peace, Peace then sudden

    destruction will come upon them.

    See you guys SEEK A PEACE that is NOT OF GOD, NOR THE PEACE OF GOD.

    You guys SEEK a FALSE PEACE a peace as our pal Wendy stated where you can “return to a time when BELIEVERS did NOT have OPEN EXPRESSION of their FAITH” but even more so…

    When CHRIST BELIEVERS did NOT speak AGAINST SIN.

    You guys LOVE YOUR SINS SO MUCH…

    That anyone that CHALLENGES your SINFUL WAYS

    and even ENCOURAGE you to LAY YOUR SINS ASIDE and

    SEEK THE WILL OF GOD and COME UP HIGHER and

    EXPERIENCE HIS GRACE DO HIS WILL…

    This is troubling and HATE SPEECH to the REBELLIOUS SOUL.

    This HATE SPEECH to the ONE whom LOVES his OWN way,

    his OWN will and his OWN flesh and EXALTS such HIGHER than

    CHRIST JESUS.

    THE PEACE THE WORLD SEEKS is to LIVE AS THOU WILT

    and DO AS THOU PLEASE and BE AS THOU ART without

    “reminder” without “recompense” without “redressing” and

    calling into question the SINFUL NATURE of what it is that

    we DO, that PLEASES our own nature.

    So, TRUE CHRIST BELIEVERS WHOM PREACH AND BELIEVE

    THE UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD are considered “trouble

    makers” and “haters.”

    WHY? Because we REMIND THE WORLD that it is OUT OF LINE

    WITH THE WILL OF GOD and that MAN IS SINFUL and MESSED UP

    and that MAN’S NATURE is NOT GOOD and that WE MUST REPENT

    AND TURN FROM OUR EVIL “NATURAL” WAYS — WE MUST BE

    BORN AGAIN! :)

    So, the PEACE the WORLD SEEKS is to be SINFUL without

    RETRIBUTION and REMINDER that is SINFUL.

    But, this is a FALSE PEACE. And a DAMNABLE HERESY.

    But, it is BETTER TO DENY THYSELF and TAKE UP THY CROSS

    and CRUCIFY THE DEEDS of ONE’S OWN FLESH and come into

    AGREEMENT and PLEASE GOD —

    THAT, rather THIS IS THE PEACE OF JESUS CHRIST.

    This is THE PEACE that JESUS CHRIST spoke of when HE SAID:

    MY PEACE, I GIVE UNTO YOU… NOT AS THE WORLD GIVETH,

    GIVE I UNTO YOU. :)

    JESUS CHRIST IS TALKING ABOUT THE PEACE OF RESTORING

    FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN MAN AND THE FATHER.

    But, THIS PEACE can ONLY COME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

    and ONLY COME when we RELINQUISH OUR REBELLIONS

    and come UNTO SUBMISSION as THE BROKEN SINNERS that

    we ARE to JESUS CHRIST as LORD and SAVIOR! :)

    This the EVERLASTING PEACE.

    The FALSE PEACE of THE WORLD is as JOHN LENNON put it:

    “Imagine all the people living FOR TODAY…

    “Imagine NO HEAVEN, NO HELL BELOW US…

    “Imagine NO RELIGION…

    See this is THE “PEACE OF THE WORLD” but when you boil

    this pot down to the potatoes… Basically, LENNON PREACHED:

    *** IMAGINE, EVERYBODY JUST DOING THEIR OWN THING WITHOUT

    ANYBODY SAYING ANYTHING AGAINST IT AND WITHOUT ANY

    SPIRITUAL NEED FOR REPENTANCE / REDEMPTION NOR SPIRITUAL RECOMPENSE FOR JUST DOING YOUR OWN THING.***

    Surely “this” PEACE… Will ULTIMATELY FAIL and lead the WORLD into SUDDEN heartbreak, despair and downfall.

    TIME TO WAKE UP! THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS AND SURELY, SURELY, SURELY… THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIS DAY IS SET AND HE IS TO RETURN!

    And, it SOONER than you folks may think! HE IS COMING AND HE IS COMING AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT… TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION! HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS & REPENT.

    AND, LET THE TRUE PEACE OF THE KING OF PEACE REIGN IN YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS. :)

    JESUS CHRIST GOT A LOVE FOR YOU THAT YOU AINT NEVER KNOWN! :)

    NO MAN, NO WOMAN, NO NOTHING can GIVE you a LOVE like JESUS! :)

    NOBODY CAN GIVE YOU A PEACE THAT SURPASS ALL UNDERSTANDING

    like JESUS! :)

    THERE IS NO HAPPY IN THIS LIFE THAT CAN BRING YOU A JOY like that

    of JESUS CHRIST! :)

  • Ken

    There is a simple solution to this problem. FRC will come off the SPLC’s list if they no longer meet their criteria for being a hate group. They can do that simply by dropping the discredited junk science and by opposing gay people solely on religious grounds, like Mormons and Catholics–which is why they aren’t designated hate groups.

    This is an easy, honest, simple, and quick way out. Much as I hate to give them aid and comfort, it would strengthen their message and be much more effective.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    MORMONS and CATHOLICS are NOT “designated” groups yet.

    For it is clear that OPPOSING HOMOSEXUALITY SOLELY ON

    BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES are “viewed” by SPLC AND most Gay Advocates

    as “inciting” Homosexual Teen Suicide and Hate Crimes.

    So, yeah… We’ll see. Right NOW SPLC does not and will not have the support of society en masse to be brazen enough to put CHRISTIAN CHURCHES, CATHOLIC CHURCHES and MORMON CHURCHES on its list.

    But, give it 3-5 more years if it takes that long and soon… You will see that any CHURCH that bases its dissent of HOMOSEXUALITY “solely on Biblical and religious principle” as you say… WILL STILL BE CONSIDERED A HATE GROUP and will be UNJUSTLY planted on this SPLC list.

    The ONLY so-called “Churches” that WON’T MAKE the SPLC list will be those that are “RAINBOW-FRIENDLY” Churches, those churches that “teach a NEW AGE CHRISTIANITY” those churches that teach a WATERED-DOWN “Gospel” those churches that maintain a COMPROMISED but so-called “progressive” mission.

    Those churches that teach ALL PEOPLE and ALL DOGS “go to heaven” or that teach BLASPHEMOUS and DAMNABLE HERESIES and ERRONEOUS DOCTRINE that dare even purport that “Homosexuality is of GOD” and that all references of SIN and Homosexuality “as sin in the Bible” is not valid, because of so-called translations, and transliterations of the Bible.

    These are NON-SIN TEACHING CHURCHES, NEW-AGE CHRISTIANITY and GAY-THEOLOGY CHURCHES — These will be the ONLY so-called “Christian” again SO-CALLED “CHRISTIAN’ Churches that WILL NOT make the list.

    But, ANY CHURCH that PREACH THE UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD and CALL MEN UNTO REPENTANCE will be branded as HATEFUL and PERSECUTED.

    Check the SPLC list in 3-5 years!

  • stephen

    Pat Williams,

    Sir, your religion is no excuse for such stuff as you don’t understand it and bring it into disrepute.

    I love the ignorant though I hate the ignorance. Love the fool though I hate the folly.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS ALREADY DISREPUTABLE WITH UNREPENTANT SINNERS.

    That is why you guys HATE THE TRUE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL which is to call ALL MEN unto REPENTANCE and to TURN AWAY from SIN.

    Oh, I understand very well what I BELIEVE and so do you and that is why you folks HATE the TRUE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

    JESUS CHRIST CAME AGAINST SIN.

    That is why HE WAS CRUCIFIED.

    JESUS CHRIST was UNPOPULAR with the POPULAR of HIS TIME

    that is why they WANTED HIM SILENCE and WANTED HIM KILLED.

    Nothing has changed!

    That is why JESUS SAID: MARVEL NOT WHEN MEN HATE YOU…

    FOR THE WORLD HATED ME FIRST.

    But, the FOLLOWERS OF THE WORLD will ALWAYS HATE THE TRUE

    CHRIST JESUS for his ONLY PURPOSE and MESSAGE was to CALL

    ALL SINNERS into REPENTANCE and RESTORATION with THE FATHER.

    Why do you think JESUS SAID: I DO NOT MY OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER.

    That is what it REALLY MEANS to be a TRUE SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST to FORSAKE ONE’S OWN WILL and DO THE WILL OF GOD.

    That means if your WILL is to EAT FIVE DOUGHNUTS (i.e., Gluttony)…

    The WILL OF GOD is that you EAT ONE in moderation (decency and in order)

    That means if your WILL is to CHEAT ON YOUR SPOUSE (i.e., Adultery)

    The WILL OF GOD is that you bring your desire in line with GOD and REMAIN FAITHFUL and LOYAL.

    That means if your WILL is to HAVE SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE (i.e., Fornication)

    The WILL OF GOD is that you remain CHASTE and CELEBATE until you walk down that aisle.

    That means if your WILL is to DESIRE and have SEXUAL RELATIONS with the SAME GENDER (i.e., Homosexuality)

    The WILL OF GOD is that you SEEK HIM for a CHANGE OF HEART and a CHANGE OF DESIRE — And, meet his STANDARD ( i.e., Male and Female and these “two” shall be one Flesh).

    That is WHY JESUS CHRIST SAYS:

    The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. MATTHEW 10:39 / JOHN 12:25.

    SEE THIS IS THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST…

    Whatever you ARE — GIVE IT UP FOR THE SAKE OF PLEASING THE FATHER AND DOING HIS WILL.

    That is such a LOVE MESSAGE.

    But, it is considered as HATE by those WHOM LOVE THE WORLD

    and LOVE THEIR OWN SINS AND LOVE TO PLEASE THEIR OWN

    FLESH AND DESIRES.

    Why?

    Because they do NOT have the LOVE OF THE FATHER ABIDING

    IN THEM.

    They have the LOVE OF THE WORLD and thereby do LUST

    after the THINGS OF THE WORLD.

    So, I am sorry…

    But, MOST OF THE WORLD already based on these grounds

    alone (because PEOPLE LOVE THEIR PERVERSIONS) already

    find the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST as disreputable.

    Because it is NOT what they WANT TO HEAR nor RECEIVE because

    they LOVE THEIR EVIL DEEDS and are NOT willing to SACRIFICE

    their “WAY OF LIVING” for GOD’S WAY OF LIVING.

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

    PAT – Please see the commenting guidelines…

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    My bad, shouldn’t bother feeding trolls.

  • Lynn David

    MORMONS and CATHOLICS are NOT “designated” groups yet.

    For it is clear that OPPOSING HOMOSEXUALITY SOLELY ON BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES are “viewed” by SPLC AND most Gay Advocates as “inciting” Homosexual Teen Suicide and Hate Crimes.

    It’s rather clear that you don’t know what you are talking about at all.

    .

    You believe the lies these groups tell. But the lies which are told by the groups on the SPLC list are not a part of Christian theology in the least. Heck, Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church isn’t even on the list. Or Ken Hutcherson’s church, or that fool in New York. Or any number of homophobic preachers.

  • Ken

    Pat, you need to take a breather and see if you can overcome your fascination with other peoples’ underpants. Most gay people spend more time thinking about grocery shopping than about sex, and a lot more than you think spend more time in church worshipping God than in bed having sex. You seem to be more obsessed with sex than any gay person I know..

    You seem to be a good man who’s stuck. Jesus is powerful enough to judge without your help, so you can relax and concentrate on loving people. And yes, all caps is shouting. I feel like I have to put my hands over my ears to read your posts. Calm down. You are okay and, though you make it challenging, we love you, even those of us who are gay lay people and clergy.

    And don’t forget Ezekiel 16.

  • Ken

    I should add this. When my parents could no longer pay their mortgage, they moved in with a gay couple. It was a hard decision to make, but there was no alternative. The gay couple added a second kitchen and a separate bathroom for them so they could have their dignity by having their own separate “house.” I’m not sure if it will work out, because they have only been there for 16 years (grin). My father says he wouldn’t live anywhere else even if he had a choice. Then I hear all these judgmental tirades by self-styled Christian “experts,” and it makes me sad that they have not experienced such unselfish love.

  • Ann

    Pat,

    I think it is important to remember that everyone has their own perspective and perception about life and what is right or wrong. When you talk about Jesus, shouldn’t it be to encourage, inspire, and bring hope and comfort? Because of HIM, we can be better – all of us. If you are representing Jesus, then do it in a way HE would be proud of you. I don’t post here too much anymore because the messages I read were verbally bullying directed at those who held different beliefs – if you do the same, then the same can be said about you. Do you want to represent Jesus and your beliefs by bullying? Please say no.

    I read something this morning that I thought was inspiring – hope you do too.

    “The limit of your present understanding is not the limit of your possibilities.”

    Merry Christmas to all.

  • Harvey

    I find it very hard to believe that Jesus is as obsessed with sex as the FRC. Christianity is not a sex technique.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    ANN…. WHAT ARE YOUR TALKING ABOUT??

    Ann# ~ Dec 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Pat,

    I think it is important to remember that everyone has their own perspective and perception about life and what is right or wrong. When you talk about Jesus, shouldn’t it be to encourage, inspire, and bring hope and comfort? Because of HIM, we can be better – all of us. If you are representing Jesus, then do it in a way HE would be proud of you. I. Do you want to represent Jesus and your beliefs by bullying?

    WHAT HAVE I SAID THAT IS BULLYING?

    EVERYTHING I HAVE SAID IS TO ENCOURAGE, TO INSPIRE

    BRING HOPE AND COMFORT.

    Did I NOT SAY THAT THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST IS CALL ALL UNTO REPENTANCE AND ***BREAK THE POWER OF SIN**** IN OUR LIVES AND RESTORE US TO THE FATHER’S WILL AND THAT IT IS ONLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST THAT WE TRULY CAN FIND TRANSFORMATIVE POWER TO CONQUER AND OVERCOME SIN?????

    DID I NOT SAY THIS IS A **LOVE** MESSAGE???

    DID I NOT SAY THAT THIS LOVE MESSAGE 100% GOSPEL BRINGS PEOPLE HOPE THAT THEY CAN **CHANGE*** ???

    **** THIS IS PURE REPRESENTATION OF JESUS CHRIST ***

    So, what IN the WORLD are you talking about???????

    The ONLY way you can remotely “think” or take away from what I have “said” as BULLYING is if you hold a DIFFERENT IDEOLOGY as to “whom” JESUS is.

    If your thoughts are that JESUS is this NEW AGE “demigod” who winks at our UNREPENTANT SIN and plays patty-cake with our SIN NATURE and that He is some “Oprah-like” Self-Help Guru figure of helping to “live our best life ever”…

    THEN YOU TOTALLY DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS LORD, AS SAVIOR, AS DELIVERER, AS CONQUERER AS KING! :)

    You say through “Him” we all can be “better” [I AGREE] but the question is according to you what does “better” mean?

    Does it mean “better” in that we all talk with our “inside voice” to each other, whisper ever so softly, sip tea with our pinkies, doing “little random acts of kindness” hold hands and “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, buy the world a Coke and keep it company,” WHILE we all find common ground on the life principles of “Que Sera Sera”.

    OR does your “better” mean — REPENTANCE of SIN to GOD, REDEMPTION from SIN by GOD and RESTORTATION unto GOD. :)

    If that is what you mean by “Better Because of HIM” then you should find

    NO FAULT in what I have said — because that is 100% THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST and that is 100% PURE LOVE.

    And, if KNOWING that we can OVERCOME our SINS, be HEALED from our SINS,

    be CHANGED from our SINS, be SANCTIFIED and made WHOLE from SIN and be SAVED from the just due punishment (i.e., HELL) all of us deserve because of our SINS — through CHRIST JESUS…

    If KNOWING all of this does NOT encourage, bring hope, lift your heart and comfort one — That person has MISSED the WHOLE ESSENCE of JESUS CHRIST.

    Remember John 3:16 – For GOD so LOVED the WORLD that HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that whosever BELIEVE on HIM shall NOT PERISH, but shall have EVERLASTING LIFE.

    See, THE CHURCH and TODAY SO-CALLED “CHRISTIANS” have gotten so NEW AGE and far away from the immutable truths and foundation of FAITH and HOPE in CHRIST JESUS that “Christianity” has become tied into SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY…

    But, the FOUNDATION OF OUR HOPE IN CHRIST JESUS is as simple as KNOWING that through JESUS CHRIST we have:

    POWER OVER SIN

    DELIVERANCE FROM SIN.

    HEALING FROM SIN.

    SALVATION FROM SIN.

    ETERNAL LIFE FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN.

    The MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST IS ALL ABOUT BREAKING THE FORCES AND POWER OF S-I-N.

    That is ALL JESUS PREACHED 100%

    Is that HIS WALK, HIS HOPE, HIS LOVE, HIS PEACE, HIS JOY is ONLY in the SACRIFICE OF DESTROYING THE POWER OF SIN — THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH.

    You guys have made Jesus Christ into be “something” more palatable to the taste for mass societal “understanding” and “acceptance.”

    But, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – is the SAME that challenged people on their SINS (the fornicating woman at the well – He offered her a NEW LIFE in HIM “everlasting water”, the adulterous woman whom was to be stoned He told her “I do not condemn you, but GO AND SIN NO MORE; the disabled man – Thy SINS be FORGIVEN, He whipped the people out of THE CHURCH that were bringing UNHOLY THINGS (i.e., the things of the WORLD into God’s House, i.e., Money Changers and turning GOD’S HOUSE INTO A MARKET; etc.)

    You CAN NOT TELL THE FULL GOSPEL MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST WITHOUT DISCUSSION ON SIN.

    For that is the WHOLE POINT OF WHY JESUS CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD!!! :)

    *** TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS! *****

    Geez… The Gospel is so simple. So pure.

    But, see **MOST** people DO NOT WANT TO BE SAVED FROM THEIR SINS

    because they LOVE the PLEASURES OF SIN in their lives.

    THAT IS WHY THEY REJECT JESUS CHRIST.

    THAT IS WHY THEY REJECT THE 100% GOSPEL MESSAGE.

    THAT IS WHY THEY ATTEMPT TO WATER-DOWN THE BIBLE.

    THAT IS WHY THEY ATTEMPT TO CREATE THEIR OWN “PERSONAL JESUS.”

    That is why JESUS CHRIST also said: I have NOT come into the world to CONDEMN it, but THIS IS the CONDEMNATION that LIGHT IS COME INTO THE WORLD AND MEN LOVE DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, because THEIR DEEDS ARE EVIL.” JOHN 3:19

    Why did JESUS say something like this?

    Because what He is speaking on is that HE IS THE LIGHT and HE HAVE COME INTO THIS WORLD to BREAK THE DARKNESS OF SIN, but, because HUMAN NATURE IS 100% SINFUL MOST PEOPLE LOVE THEIR SINS (i.e., “evil deeds”)

    MORE THAN THEY ARE EVER WILLING TO LOVE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

    Why?

    Because to LIVE FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST means to CALL INTO ACCOUNT ONE’S OWN SIN, but ALSO… The SIN that abounds in the WORLD.

    If GOD says something is a SIN no matter how much it may feel good, be pleasing to you OR even if you in your OWN MIND disagree with GOD that it is not a SIN, if THE LORD qualifies something or anything as SIN and if that is one’s life they MUST be willing to lay it at the ALTER OF SACRIFICE.

    Meaning GIVE UP THAT SINFUL PLEASURE (DENY ONE’S SELF)

    TO PLEASE GOD.

    If that means again as I said earlier eating FIVE DONUTS —

    The SIN OF GLUTTONY.

    For CHRIST SAKE… Go FAST, Give up a MEAL, Give it to the

    Hungry/Homeless OR eat an APPLE or take a POWER WALK,

    OR in moderation — eat just ONE DONUT every once and a

    while. :)

    The same is TRUE of HOMOSEXULITY, because GOD HAS

    QUALIFIED the STANDARD OF RELATIONSHIP being ONLY

    “Male and Female and “these two” (God’s Standard – only

    “these two”) shall be ONE flesh.”

    Then, I am SORRY… You gotta give it up FOR CHRIST! :)

    If you intend to PLEASE GOD.

    Same with a person whom loves to slam down a case of BEER

    or a FIFTH OF COGNAC all in one sitting. SIN OF DRUNKENESS

    For CHRIST SAKE – You HAVE TO GIVE IT UP (if you can

    NOT handle a moderate drink in decency and in order)

    SEE…

    This is the STUFF we love to do! We love our PERVERSIONS

    our INDULGENCE, our GUSTO! :)

    But, JESUS CHRIST says: WILL YOU LOVE ME, WILL YOU LOVE THE FATHER

    MORE THAN YOU LOVE THESE THINGS? MORE THAN YOU LOVE YOURSELF?

    We are supposed to LOVE GOD more than we LOVE ourselves.

    We are supposed to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR “as we love” ourselves.

    BUT, GOD DESERVES and it should be RESERVED that HE GETS

    OUR HIGHEST LOVE, OUR HIGHEST WORSHIP, OUR HIGHEST PRAISE! :)

    Even and Especially when it goes AGAINST our “natural” grain.

    THAT IS THE GLORIOUS MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

    It is THE MESSAGE OF UNDOING SIN ON ALL LEVELS — IF WE ALLOW HIM INTO OUR HEARTS AND MINDS TO DO IT.

    ANN…

    I hope you SEE this as ENCOURAGING and INSPIRING

    and NOT as “BULLYING.”

    MERRY **CHRIST** MASS to you my sister :)

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

      PAT – You continue to use CAPS when you have been asked not to by me. I make the rules here and I am telling you to stop it. You are now on moderated status which means that you have one more chance to adhere to basic courtesy and the rules for commenting.

      RE: Your comment to Ann. I hope you recognize that no here is getting what you say is your intended message. You may want to come across as comforting and nice, but you are coming across and angry and judgmental.

  • Harvey

    It’s easier to judge people than to love them, because it cuts down on the number of people you have to love, and it makes worldly people think you are discerning and wise, or perhaps just a crackpot. If you judge rightly, you are okay, but if you condemn someone whom Jesus loves, you have a serious problem. Judgmentalism shows a lack of faith, because the only reason you would have to judge others is because you don’t have faith that Jesus will do it.

    On the other hand, if you love everyone, and have faith that Jesus will do all necessary judging, you cannot lose. If you love someone who is worthy, all the better for you. If you happen to love someone who is unworthy, Jesus only sees the love, because the unworthy person is responsible for his own unworthiness, and you are responsible for your love.

    Therefore apply the warnings of scripture to yourself, and the blessings of scripture to others. You know what is inside you, but you do not know what is inside others. Perfect your love.

    I have to discern my teachers, and FRC wants to teach me. So I have to ask myself which side they are on. So far, I see no evidence that they are qualified to teach me.

  • Harvey

    Pat, you are neither inspiring nor encouraging. Your messages are very depressing. You might as well tell tall people to repent and be short. Jesus told the Seventy to deliver their message once, and if people rejected it, to move on. You’ve delivered your message.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Warren…

    I just want to come across with the TRUTH & LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

    I did not realize me using CAPS is such a moral offense here. I truly thought that you guys were just being “nit-picky.”

    But, seriously it really does help me to type much faster and what I perceive to really add and highlight the IMPORTANCE of what I want to reach people’s hearts and minds with.

    You say I may try to come across as “nice” and “comforting” but that is not the case, for me to attempt to come across as “nice” and “comforting” is for me to attempt to “promote” myself. I promote Christ Jesus — I lift Him up! :)

    It is all about Him. Not me. He is the one that is nice. He is the one that comforting. I am just like you dude — a lowly, busted, messed up Sinner! :)

    But, have found that indeed He is nice. He is comforting.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Harvey,

    Of course, when we delve into the realm and realities of Sin – I agree it is “depressing” and that is why most people do not want to here the full 100% Gospel Message anymore.

    They don’t want to go to Church and here a message about how messed up we all are and need to get Sin out of our lives and Repent.

    No. We don’t want to put money in the collection plate for that!

    We want to hear feel good messages.. That we are good. That we are OK. That what we do and how we live according to our “own” standard is just fine.

    And, Jesus is there just as our “Homeboy” to hook us up with miracles and help us out of life’s little jams.

    The state of the Church is so sad!

    Because ultimately it is leading more people to damnation than the World is actually doing.

    The World we know is full of Sin.

    But, when The Church won’t give the people a full understanding that they have a way of escape, a way out, a way to rise up higher than the Sin that have held them captive and bound…

    Then The Church is not fulfilling the Call and Duty and Great Commission of Jesus Christ and how then can souls be reached, be saved, be delivered from this present hour and yet even the hour to come?

  • Harvey

    Pat, if it is depressing, why did you say it was encouraging and inspiring?

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Harvey… Oh Geez!

    I said to “delve into the realm and realities of Sin” is “depressing.”

    I said the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ is Encouraging Inspiring

    to “know” that we in Him, we have a Savior that helps us “overcome”

    “conquer” and “take power” over Sin — That is the Good News. :)

    Do you now understand and “see” the difference?

  • Harvey

    Pat, from what you say, I am beginning to be convinced that heterosexuals don’t feel love the way we do. For them it is all about sex. Not the sort of altruistic, self-sacrificing love we feel.

  • Harvey

    Pat, I don’t follow. How can being transformed into something that isn’t you be good news? You are using the least effective evangelistic technique that there is. Don’t you remember the parable about the man who found a pearl of great price, so he sold everything he had to possess it? All you have to do is show people the pearl, and they will give up everything to have it. You don’t have to tell them how to get rid of all their possessions, they will do that themselves. Your job is to show them the pearl.

    You talk like a self-apppointed angel of death. That job is taken, however. The real angel of death is a much nicer guy.

  • Ann

    Pat,

    Sorry it took me so long to respond – been out and now I am back.

    Remember the first part of my post where I said people have varying or different perspectives and perceptions? I did not say you were a bully, however, others might perceive you as one if you relentlessly talk down to them or at them with your opinions and beliefs, no matter how valid they might be. I understand your adamant belief, and you might be right, however, that does not mean everyone is going to share that same belief, or to the degree you do, and that is ok – life will go on and God will continue to make seasons for each of us. There have been times, more often than not, that I have felt the verbal bullying that commenters make here intended to injure rather than engage. Often those comments were directed at me but they hurt just as much when they were directed at others who share a conservative view. I am a stuck in the mud traditionalist when it comes to social issues, and yet, do not and would not interfere with anyone’s right to live they way they want. I do not want you to change the way you think or believe – just to realize that your words, and they way you say them, can be perceived other than what your heart intends. Finally, to everything there is a season – this is for everyone, regardless of their beliefs. Please be mindful that, for some, they are in a different season than you are – they do not want to put on an overcoat when their world says it is 80 degrees out. Respect goes a long way – so do measured words and tempered thoughts. Do not let anyone call you a bully – let them say you are someone they want to listen to and learn from. That is how Jesus taught and why people listened and learned and their lives were transformed.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Hi Ann, Merry Christmas…

    Sorr y for my delay. Anyway I agree with a good deal of what you say here, the only thing I would caution you on is that you can not “worry” about “how” or “what” a person may say about you when sharing The Gospel Message of Jesus Christ.

    Because what I have found over the years, the amazing thing about when the 100% Gospel Message is preached, no matter how “soft” “sweet” “inside voice” you use…

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ still (even in the most syrupy, ice cream sugar-pie, lovey-dovey tone and manner) still… Pisses Off a great deal of people and they reject and refuse to open their hearts and minds to The Lord Jesus Christ.

    You have to come to grips with the **fact** that there are people on this Earth no matter how you say it, will find Offense with The Gospel Message of Jesus Christ.

    And, then stunningly enough, there are some people that when The Gospel Message of Jesus Christ is preached, (yes even preached with the most jaw-dropping, “Turn or Burn” “Hell or Holiness” “Boot to Butt” tone and manner) still…

    Receive and Open their hearts and minds to The Lord Jesus Christ! :)

    That is why Jesus Christ “taught” that His Word “will offend” that is why He called Himself “A Rock of Offense” that is why He cautioned His Believers that do not

    “Marvel when Men Hate You For My Sake… For The World Hated Me First.”

    See Ann…

    I hear you have a deep sense of decency and decor and tact and kindness! :)

    But, I think you also are a bit misguided in your understanding on “that’s how Jesus taught” and that’s why “people learned and listened.”

    But, according to Jesus Himself (at least Jesus Christ of the Bible — not this “New Age” Jesus that people in our Today’s Society are deceptively and deceived to give a “nice-guy Image Make-Over”) but…

    According to Jesus Christ Himself (Jesus Christ of the Bible)…

    He said He was “Hated First” why would He call Himself an Offense and His Word a “Two-Edged Sword?”

    Why would He say “His Way” was “Narrow” and only a “Few” could find it and His Word would bring “Persecution?”

    Come on Ann…

    See the New Age Jesus Christ “Image” modern civilization has painted of Jesus Christ is that He was super-duper nice dude, loved God, loved everybody, never ticked people off, hung around the cool sinners (hookers, Wall Street guys, i.e., “tax collectors”), never checked anybody on their sins, lived and let lived, and heck… Even turned the Water into Wine to keep the Party going! :)

    And, all of the stuff shirt, “religious” folks who did not know how to just Party, have fun, hang with God and be cool and super-duper nice, all Hated Him! So, they killed Him. And God raised Him from the dead so now we can all learn and live like Jesus — Just love, Just live and make the Most of Your Life and Leave others alone to their “own” understanding and devices — and if you be cool, be nice and do good random acts — somehow God will smile on you and you’ll make it to Heaven all in the end — Just like Jesus.

    ** This is the New Age Jesus Christ Message **

    But, it is **not** The Lord Jesus Christ of The Bible nor The True Gospel Message He taught and brought to us!

    Jesus Christ called people out for their sins.

    Jesus Christ commanded people to turn from their sins.

    Jesus Christ chided people for their rebellions and perversions.

    Jesus Christ commissioned His people to do as He and Set Sinners Free.

    Jesus Christ comforted His people that The World Hated Him so do not

    be “dismayed” or “marvel” at such a thing.

    Ann, you gotta ask yourself…

    If Jesus Christ was “really” the way our 21st Century society loves to “promote”

    him as being, why then was He Hated even in His Time?

    If Jesus Christ was “really” the way we have painted the “Image” of Him being in Today’s Society and in many Churches and Theological Studies, why then was He Rejected even in His Time?

    Why was He Hated so much that the Sinful Mob (just the everyday folk), The Political Leaders of His Time, The Church Leaders of His Time (uh-oh, that’s right Church Leaders); The Wealthy, The Poor, both the Jew and the Gentile, all banded together and conspired to Crucify Him?

    Remember, the Sinful Mob requested Jesus Christ (albeit they knew He was innocent) to Crucify Him over a real Criminal — Barabas (a thief and a murderer)!

    Ann Jesus Christ was Hated this much not because he was preaching “feel good messages” my dear. For even Jesus Christ Himself said: “The World Loves its Own.”

    I mean if Jesus Christ was “really” what we have been coaxed and hoaxed into believing in this Modern Age to make Him “politically correct” and palatable to the masses (and, yet He still is rejected by the masses anyway — Go figure.)

    He would have never been “seen” as a figure of controversy, contention, and someone “worthy” of Crucifixion.

    This is why He says: “His Word is the Same Today, Yesterday and Forever More.”

    His Word and His Way ticked people off then, the same as it does now, same as it will do tomorrow.

    Why?

    I mean, what is the Problem with Jesus and His True Followers?

    The Problem boils down to three little letters: S-i-n.

    Allow me to [Respectfully] Paraphrase these Scriptural Texts into our simple every day lazy lexicon:

    ***Jesus straight up told the woman at the Well: “Woman, you have had a lot

    of men in your life, five broken marriages, even the Man you are with right now is not even your husband.” John 4:18

    ***To the guy who was “crippled” but made “excuses” about it Jesus told him:

    “You know what… Do You Really Want to Get Help? Do You Really Want to Get Better? Or do you want to keep feeling sorry for yourself and wasting away at your own pity party? If You Really Want Help and to Get Better… I tell you what… Get up off of your butt, bust a move and Change your bad situation. (i.e., “Take up thy bed and walk.”) — John 5:5-8

    ***He told the Self-Righteous Crowd that wanted to stone the Adulterous Woman: “OK, I am going to ignore you hypocritical clowns, but since you are intent on carrying out the Law of Adultery against this woman and you guys are so amped up to wanna kill her, then… fine. But, whichever one of you who are not guilty of your own sexual and sinful offenses, then let him be the Cowboy to bash her brains out first.” (I.e., “He whom is without sin let him cast the first stone). — John 8:3-10

    ***But, Jesus did not stop there with the Woman (He got on her case too):

    “Girl, I don’t hate you for what you’ve done, but dig this… What you have done is wrong, so now clean up your act, get your mess together and **stop** living your life as you have been doing!” (i.e., “neither do I condemn you now Go and Sin No More.) — John 8:11

    I could go on and on…

    There are so many countless examples of where Jesus Christ just shot straight from the hip when dealing with People and dealing with People’s Sins.

    He did not placate nor pacify people in their sins.

    ** This is why He was Crucified — And, Most People Wanted (I say Wanted)

    again.. Wanted Him Crucified! **

    When you are a “straight shooter” and are transparent enough to just deal with the “root” of a person’s problem and the “heart” of a matter and are not worried about “Image” hey Ann, sorry my sister…

    But, you will indeed come across offensive to those whom take “offense.”

    And, for this reason Jesus Christ was an “offense” in His Time and He still is an “offense” in This Time — To those whom take offense.

    Regardless of how gingerly and carefully you attempt to bring His *Full*

    Message.

    [Operative word "Full" message -- which obviously redresses Sin]

    There is the old axiom: “It is not what you say, but how you say it.”

    Well, sometimes that is true.

    But,, sometimes that is not true.

    Sometimes it does not matter “how” you say a thing, the fact that

    “The Thing” is being said sometimes in of itself *is* “The Offense.”

    The Truth no matter how you dress it up…

    The Truth no matter how you dress it down…

    The Truth is Never Pretty! :)

  • Mary

    The Truth no matter how you dress it up…

    The Truth no matter how you dress it down…

    The Truth is Never Pretty!

    I disagree. I find the God and the Jesus of the bible to be very attractive. Pat, you may decide to call my view of God many things. While there are many things we as sinners must confront in our own hearts, it is between God and I (not anyone else). I for one call that pretty.

  • Ann

    Pat,

    Thank you for your thoughts – I will have to respond later as I am leaving shortly for the airport. Could I ask you to please send a good thought for me today as I fly? It would be very appreciated. Merry Christmas.

  • Dave

    HI Pat,

    You really need to get out more … You have a very narrow view of Christ .. your own narrow view not His.

    As for why He was hated… The people who hated him the most were the leaders .. they hated Him because He represented an upset to the status quo .. an upset to their political power and cozy relationship with Rome. The relationship with Rome wasn’t perfect but it was better than what might happen if some ‘messiah’ came along and caused an uproar and messed up their situation. So for the leaders it was a fear of what He might disrupt. For others it was frustration over what He didn’t do .. They wanted an uproar .. someone that would break them out of their relationship with Rome .. establish Himself as King and restore Israel. Jesus simply failed to fit into the box(es) that people wanted to put Him in.

    Speaking of boxes .. your box is too small. You present (even without all caps) a very snotty uppity view that’s offensive without cause. Were some offended by Christ ? Sure .. But not because He was obnoxious and offensive. He kept loving and treating people with respect .. though He did give the leaders a rough time calling them white washed tombs at one point (Matt 23:27). People were offended because He refused to fit into their expectations not because He ran around telling people how stupid they were and certainly not because he was out to be offensive as you seem to have been for the last few days on this blog.

    So what might Jesus look like today? What would He do? Would He pal around the save ‘Christian’ America crowd? No more than he did with the save Israel crowd 2000 years ago. For His kingdom is not of this world. Would He take up a smear campaign against people He shed His blood to save like the FRC and the AFA (mentioned above in the original post) have done? Hardly .. for Jesus Christ is about truth .. not slander. Slanderers will not inherit the kingdom .. at least not according to scripture. Does this mean I condemn these folks listed above? No .. I gave up passing judgment a long time ago. I have come to the conclusion that there is no white knight .. (except Christ) for .. as scripture says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). (Oh and by the way .. the FRC and the AFA is using the same ‘evil’ science that you were complaining about earlier. You really should look up the Galileo story that I mentioned earlier. Classic example of Christians attacking science because they assumed it contradicted scripture when scripture had nothing to say on the topic).

    This isn’t my blog but I personally think you ought to get back to the topic at hand rather than trying to justify how offensive you can be. … Are the FRC and AFA telling the truth or are they lying? If they are lying .. and I do believe they are .. then what does that do for our Christian witness? Why in the world will people want to believe us as messengers of THE truth when we are lying through our teeth? Jesus accused the Pharisees of keeping people out of the kingdom .. see below…

    (Mat 23:13 NIV) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

    If Jesus said this about the Pharisees who practiced a meticulous righteousness (but no slander or smear campaign against people) what would He say to the FRC and the AFA? These are the questions that IMHO you should be pondering.

    Blessings and peace to you in this Christmas season,

    Dave

    P.S. I am a saved, sanctified minister of the gospel in the Church of the Nazarene so please spare me the preaching to the choir that you have been doing.

  • stephen

    Dave, what an interesting comment. As a married gay man and atheist I have found this blog to be very instructive and it has helped me to temper my impatience with evangelical America and also helped me to understand better the ideas of people who, while perhaps not sharing my own point of view, are trying better in their turn to understand it.

    So far as I’m concerned FRC and AFA and NOM are all money-making endeavors. They provide their officers with handsome incomes and benefits. They also act as political organizations to attack Democrats without naming them.

  • Mary

    So far as I’m concerned FRC and AFA and NOM are all money-making endeavors.

    Of course they are money makers. Like any organization that pursues a social interest whether or not for political or religious reasons, it seeks to raise money, awareness, and influence. As do other liberal organizations, conservative organizations work in the same manner.

    However, Stephen, since I am an exgay & Christian believer and you are an atheist married gay man, I am glad to meet you. This is a good forum for bringing people together. And for the record, I do support gay rights, gay marriages and have many gay friends. For my life, I live and believe a more conservative style.

  • Harvey

    In the spirit of disclosure, let me say that I have an MDiv degree and that I am an ordained minister. I have been the pastor of my church for the last eleven and a half years.

    Let me say to Stephen, the atheist, that it is not up to people who call themselves Christians to decide who goes to heaven or hell or even to judge who is a Christian. That is God’s prerogative. To the degree that you do vituous deeds without hope of payback in this world, that is the degree to which you trust God to make things right, even if you profess not to believe that He exists. (God’s existence is not contingent on your thoughts.) You can understand what I mean when you think of professed Christians who are functional atheists when they do not trust God to do right.

    I think it is likely that you will be among those who are surprised when Jesus asks you into His kingdom, as He said in Matthew 25:31-46.

  • Harvey

    In the life after the afterlife, the light of God reveals all things. Everyone knows everything about everyone else all of the time. Therefore, if two people are not on speaking terms, they both can’t go. Not because one is thrown out, but because one refuses to go in. Therefore it is important to reconcile yourself with all people, to forgive them in deed as well as your head, and so far as it is up to you, to live in peace with all.

    May we all do that. And I wish you all a blessed Feast of the Incarnation.

  • Harvey

    Three in a row, I’m sorry. Stephen, you are right about the AFA, FRC, NOM, and all other hate groups. There is a difference between doing something for a religious reason and doing something with a religious excuse. Religion makes an effective rallying cry to get people to support things they would not otherwise support.

  • Lynn David

    Let me say to Stephen, the atheist, that it is not up to people who call themselves Christians to decide who goes to heaven or hell or even to judge who is a Christian. That is God’s prerogative.

    If I say this is not truthful, what would you say? But for an atheist it is true that men make a decision about one’s supposed afterlife and then judge those in this life on that basis. Of course the atheist neither believes in a god nor an afterlife. And yet the power of that religious belief (whether true or not true) is brought to bear on the nonbeliever who may not measure up to what a believer should. Should you not then wonder why what truths that are professed by Christians are but considered fantasies by others?

  • stephen

    Harvey, comments like yours and Mary’s are what keep bringing me back here – and of course Warren’s posts. I may be an atheist but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be moved and inspired by Christian ideas. I’m not blessed with faith though I can respect and admire those who are. And even envy them.

    Those of us, men and women who happen to be homosexual instead of heterosexual, represent a small minority of the population. That we have come to be viewed as such an apocalyptic threat is a total mystery to me. The only explanation I can find that begins to account for this is our potency as a fund-raising tool. Many have got rich off our backs and I think it’s time that it stopped. The noble tradition of America’s radical, transcendental Protestantism has been perverted by people like Tony Perkins to serve their own ends.

    My spouse and I will celebrate our 41st anniversary in Feb. I lived through Stonewall and have seen the astounding change that has come over the country since then. A few days ago I fell on a patch of ice and yesterday went to the ER. I introduced my spouse to the nurses, entered my status as ‘married’ (in Canada, legally) and it was NO BIG DEAL. Which really is the point so far as I’m concerned. It only matters to me and others like me. There is no challenge to God. Only a need to have some kind of legal framework and basic stability to our lives.

  • stephen

    ADD. The hospital is Catholic. We’ve used it for years. Fine institution, well-staffed and run. I mention this because Bill Donohue of the Catholic League (no official affiliation with the church) made $400,000 in his last year of reported income made mostly from fag-bashing (sorry, but that’s what he does).

    So what’s the truth? The staff of the hospital doing their job professionally and humanly or the professional fag-basher? And if the Catholic hospital will accept my queer money to pay for treatment why does the church establishment devote what could be millions to deny my civil rights? If my life is so unworthy of respect shouldn’t my money be similarly suspect?

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Ann,

    The Only Thought For Today that I can humbly offer to you my sister

    and friend is the *reminder* I daily hold dear to my own heart:

    Trust God.

    Know God.

    Rely on God.

    Rest in God

    Believe God.

    Follow God.

    Receive His Precious Son.

    Receive His Holy Spirit.

    Receive His Everlasting Word.

    Believe His Eternal Word.

    My Sister, when we can do this (which is a daily perfecting

    as we walk in this troublesome life)… That is when we come

    into Perfect Peace with The Lord Jesus Christ of The Bible.

    That is when We can say as Apostle Paul: To Know Him,

    is to To Know Him in the Fellowship of His Sufferings;

    and the Power of His Resurrection.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND. :)

  • Richard Willmer

    There is a wide range of views on same-sex relationships within the Church (I use this term in the broadest sense) – several ‘integrities’ if you like.

    What is NOT acceptable within the Church is any kind of unjust discrimination against gay people. On this point, division among Christians is simply not permissable.

  • Ann-Marie

    Dear Stephen and Mary,

    I wanted to comment on Mary’s post:

    And for the record, I do support gay rights, gay marriages and have many gay friends. For my life, I live and believe a more conservative style.

    I feel the same way. I am also an exgay and Christian believer. However, I am under great fire from a gay brother, whom I love but who is unwilling to be in relationship with me because of my attitude which is like Mary’s:

    For my life, I live and believe a more conservative style.

    Mary, how do your gay friends react to this statement? Do they know you “believe a more conservative style”? And do they accept you for it? Have some abandoned you? Are you accused of judgment towards them for holding a “more conservative style”?.

    Mary – I am also curious to know what about your beliefs make it “more conservative” that that of your gay friends?

    I am asking these things because I see you as wise folks here, and am at a point w/ my dear brother where I don’t know what to say that can be honest about my own “more conservative” beliefs and honor him as a gay man equal in God’s eyes in every way. I will define for you my more conservative beliefs and would welcome your criticisms about this: I feel God loves us equally. We are not to judge. I feel homosexual relationships aren’t exactly what God had in mind for relationship.

    I am disheartened about attitudes towards homosexuals in Africa. And any injustices towards gay people. I would vote for gay rights, gay marriage, and oppose any oppression, judgment or criticism of gay people.

    But, it seems, having the thoughts in my own conviction of a “more conservative style” is in itself criticism. You see the dichotomy?

    Admittedly my brother is a very, very engaged activist and academic (and I do not say this as a way of attack or criticism, just to let you know). Stephen, I want to ask you as a gay man what about Mary’s comments led you to say:

    I may be an atheist but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be moved and inspired by Christian ideas.

    I apologize if I have taken something out of context here. I am looking for a way to bridge the gap between my brother and myself. I have been told by some there is no way for this gap to be bridged.

  • Ann-Marie

    my quotes above got messed up. sorry about the confusion, should’ve just used quotes!

  • Mary

    Ann-Marie,

    Some of my old gay friends have chosen to ignore me. Some still believe that if you aren’t one of them anymore then you must hate them. Not so. However, I have to let others process through their feelings, biases, and own set of beliefs. And it is forever ongoing.

    It has been my experience that people express sexuality in many ways. For ME, my story goes a certain way and for YOU your story goes a certain way and so on and so on for the rest of the world.

    No one, not one single person – gay, straight, religious, atheist, or whatever, – not one single person has a right to tell me how to conduct myself in my own bedroom and very personal and intimate relationships. If I so choose to leave the gay life, then so be it. If others so choose to continue, then so be it. If someone choses not to engage in sexual relationships, then so be it. We all live our lives according to how we believe is best for our own being.

    I think some of my gay friends still think I am gay or bisexual. If that is easier for them to understand or grasp or accept then I leave it at that. They don’t need to know all the gory details and explanations of my view on my sexuality. I have tried ad nauseum to explain here and in other forums my view of myself on my own sexuality and have discovered that no matter how long or how hard I try to “help” others understand me the more I realize that people will always see me through their own filters. They will always find an explanation that works for their world view, their religion, their comfort level. People will twist, contort, and finally tease out a suitable explanation to satisfy their uneasiness about me. This goes for gay associations, religious associations and familial relationships.

    Not any of these groups are comfortable with the real truth as I have known it from my perspective. And that’s okay. I find my closest connection is with ex gays. They know that it is a very personal experience. We share a variety of experiences together but we are all different and they accept me the most.

    Some people will be my friends, some won’t. In the end, I breathe and sleep easier knowing that I live a life closer to my truth, my beliefs, my God as I understand our relationship.

    I don’t see any dichotomy in supporting people to live their life according to their belief. What I ask for myself, is the same thing I ask for others.

    I have friends that drink excessively but I don’t. I have friends that smoke marijuana but I do not. I have friends that can make a day work on 5 hours of sleep but I cannot. I have fat friends and skinny friends. However, they don’t ask me to indulge in their hamburger and french fry diet or their carrot and celery stick diet. I don’t have to make them feel better about themselves by making myself like them.

    In the beginning and in the end, we are all different.

  • Harvey

    Stephen: on the seeming contradiction between the practices of the Catholic hospital and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    This is long, but please bear with me.

    Back in the 6th century, St. Benedict wrote up the rules for his monks, which are called the Rule of St. Benedict. These rules apply in one form or the other to all western monastic orders, whether they are Catholic, Lutheran, or Anglican. They specify that the monks cannot refuse hospitality to a stranger. Even today, if you go to a monastery, they will give you one meal and let you stay one night without charge.

    Then centuries later came the plague. If you began to show symptoms, you would die a painful death within three days. You were an immediate outcast, because it is contagious and no one wanted the pleasure of catching it. Because of the Rule of St. Benedict, the monks had to take you in. There wasn’t much they could do but set up cots for they dying, and feed and pray for them. (This is also the era during which the crucifix became popular. As you lay suffering, you could look at Jesus suffering on the cross and console yourself that if Jesus could prevail over death, you could too.) The monks buried the dead on the grounds. Many of the monks got the plague by selflessly caring for the sick.

    Those monasteries were the precursors of modern Catholic hospitals, and it is why there are so many of them. Most were founded and are run by monastic orders. As such, they are bound by the Rule of St. Benedict, and they must give the same care to anyone who comes. That’s why they treat you so well. It is a Christian virtue to love sinners, to meet their needs, and even die for them as the monks did during the plague, because that is what Jesus does.

    About Catholic teachings about gay people: In the late first century, Nero, the emperor of the Roman Empire, conducted the only Empire-wide persecution of Christians. Unlike other persecutions, you couldn’t avoid it by fleeing to another town. People were killed and maimed by horrible means. What is not generally known is that Nero was married to a man, and that may be the origin of the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings. The Bible alone isn’t enough to account for it. Ezekiel 16 refutes a sexual interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrha, three verses in the New Testament are anti-gay only because of the conjectural translation of a single word, and Romans 1 is clearly misinterpreted, because if it is about gay people, it would be saying that homosexuality arises in adulthood as the result of worshipping idols, which would be as absurd to first-centiury Christians as it is today. I can give details, but not in this forum. Anti-gay teachings don’t arise from Scripture; rather, Scripture is retrofitted to them, and I think the origin is a sort of institutional post-traumatic stress from Nero’s persecution.

    This was exacerbated by St. Augustine’s sexual hangups. He was the most influential ancient theologian in the west (in the fifth century). In fact, the Protestant Reformation could be seen, in part, as a debate about Augustine. In ancient times, households were businesses, and marriages were often business deals. Augustine had a concubine, whom he loved, who bore him a son, whom he also dearly loved. His son died as a teenager, and Augustine grieved him for years. Augustine also entered into an arranged marriage for business reasons. He converted from Manicheeism to Christianity because he manage the celibacy that Manicheeism required. Add all that up and you have some pretty complex sexual hangups that worked themselves into his moral theology, and had repercussions all the way up to today in the Catholic Church’s concept of marriage and its attitude toward gay people.

    The Catholic Church, however, is like an oil tanker. Its theology has immense momentum, and it takes a long time to turn that thing around. Galileo, for instance, was condemned, not for heliocentrism, but because heliocentrism was used by Copernicus and others to justify a heresy. It took 600 years for the Catholic Church to clear Galileo of being a heresiarch. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took them 600 years to change their mind about gay people, so don’t plan the party just yet.

    The treatment you receive at the hospital comes from the Rule of Benedict that governs the monastic order that founded and runs the hospital. Catholic teachings are anti-gay because Catholic theology (in this case what is called moral theology) has immense momentum and is the product of an institutional memory of Nero and the sex hangups of St. Augustine.

    Some “evangelicals,” or fundamentalists as they used to be called, cannot tell the difference between their religious values and their social values. For example, they observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the people who died for their country, but not All Saints Day, which commemorates the people who died for their faith. I believe that they have also retrofitted Scripture to their preexisting views about gay people.

    Others may disagree with me, and that’s fine. That, however, is my contribution.

  • Harvey

    For simplicity’s sake, I spoke about monks. Female monasticism has a more recent origin. Female monastics are called nuns, and their monasteries are usually called convents. Because female monasticism was modeled on male monasticism, the Rule of St. Benedict applies, and everything I said applies to them too.

    A word dropped out. I meant to say that St. Augustine could not manage the celibacy that Manicheeism required (of all its adherents).

  • Harvey

    Whoops, another one. There were many reasons why Augustine converted to Christianity, and his inability to be celibate was not the primary one, but it is the only one that is relevant to our discussion.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Harvey

    Interesting point about the Catholic Church. I doubt it will take 600 years for a more balanced view on gay people to emerge, especially in the light of things like the Ugandan ‘Kill-the-Gays’ Bill, which really shocked the Pope into something of a ‘rethink’, I believe.

    On the eve of the Pope’s visit to the UK, a senior British Catholic layman said that it is widely recognised that there are many faithful gay Catholics; he said that he thought that God was ‘especially close to them’ given the suffering of gay people down the ages.

    More startlingly, perhaps, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Most Revd. Vincent Nichols, said this back in September:-

    “In this country, we were very nuanced. We did not oppose gay civil partnerships. We recognized that in English law there might be a case for those.”

    The oil tanker is turning – for sure.

  • Richard Willmer

    Another ‘straw in the wind’ as far as Catholicism is concerned:-

    On the occasion of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph last March, I attended Mass at Westminster Cathedral. On the seat in front of me was a leaflet, which I ignored until the end of the service. When I picked it up and read it, I saw – somewhat to my surprise – that it was advertising ‘provision in the Archdiocese of Westminster for LGBT** Catholics, their families and their friends’.

    **This terminology, and not ‘homosexual’, was used – an interesting, and perhaps significant, bit of dialectic.

  • Harvey

    @ Richard

    I agree, I think it will be quicker. It’s just that I wouldn’t be surprised if it took longer. Of course, I won’t be here, let alone surprised!

    The quickest turnarounds, I think, will be among evangelicals and Mormons.

    Mormons have a “living prophet” who can speak for God, and a laity that is used to sharp turns in their teachings and dissonances in their theology. The Mormons “redefined” marriage twice during their 180 history (instituting then abolishing polygamy). Abolishing polygamy was logistically difficult, because families had to be restructured, and because polygamy was essential to their teaching on exaltation, a core doctrine. They also made a big change to give equality to blacks within their church in 1978. The Mormon Church can change abruptly, especially if any of the twelve men who run the church have a gay child, and love that child. All that is required is for the president of the church to prophesy. The Mormon Church is already showing signs of change on this subject.

    “Evangelicals” (formerly sefl-identified as fundamentalists) tend to reflect social values. The Southern Baptist Convention, for example, broke away from another body over abolition [of slavery], and later was an advocate of segregation. Now it has apologized for those stances and is racially tolerant and integrated. After acceptance of gay people has reached a certain threshold, and after a sufficient number of their children and leaders come out, they will come around. I think we’ll see gay weddings in “evangelical” churches sooner than we think. The pastor of a mega-church recently came out without any serious repercussions. The changes have begun.

    Civil rights movements in the United States are all cliff-hangers. It is a long and hard struggle and then suddenly everything is different.

  • Harvey

    One of my parishioners brought in literature from an anti-gay hate group. After church, she started reading part of it to me to get me to support the group. I told her that she should never call a human being a homosexual, because that reduces a human being to a sex act. She was flabbergasted. She asked what she should call them. I said, “You call people the names they choose for themselves. So you call them gay people.”

    Those groups all prefer the use of the term “homosexual” because it sounds like a diagnosis and SEX is one of the syllables. Now every time that woman reads propaganda from those groups and encounters those words, the document will sound as uncharitable as it is.

    “Flabbergasted” is a strange word. I have no idea how to gast a person’s flabbers, but apparently I did.

  • Harvey

    When these changes take place, the FRC, the AFA, and the other hate groups will not go away. They might not even be hate groups any more. They will just suddenly find something else to do. That’s how they took up this issue, and that’s how they will drop it: suddenly. That’s why it is not necessary to be concerned about the SPLC.

  • stephen

    Wow. Some smashing posts. Your last point, Harvey, cuts to the quick of it. I look forward to the day we aren’t defined by our sexuality, which is only an aspect of our lives after all. But yes, the sex in homosexuality lets people feel easier about condemning those lives. Hence the obsession with ‘choice’, that we are ‘choosing’ behaviors instead of being true to an intrinsic part of our nature.

    I thought that Nero was as revered as reviled in his day – the legend of his return persisted for many years after his death. His persecution of the Christians was more political than anything else, it was impossible for him to go against the violent antipathy most Roman citizens felt towards the members of the Early Church. They were charged with having started the great fire that burned down a good part of Rome. Modern investigations are turning up evidence that those charges were correct. Do you think antipathy towards one emperor could explain the ongoing distaste for homosexual relations? I’m not sure that it can. I’ve always thought the regulation of sexual expression to be an intrinsic part of any religion – along with other matters – and the Abrahamic faiths are all violently opposed to same-sex relations. At least in public, in private of course the Catholic church would collapse without gay men and homosexual relationships have been important in Muslim countries. Still are in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Personally, I think the various faiths should make their own way. It’s none of my business what they think of me. I only object when church policies are used to limit my life.

    Interesting what you have to say about the Mormons’ ability to change. The most damaged young men I know come from Mormon backgrounds because of the whole ‘family in eternity’ deal. Polygamy is, of course, a biblical model of marriage.

    I doubt that my local hospital has much memory of St Benedict. And I’m glad they behave as they do. My horror is driving through Virginia, for instance, being involved in a car crash and finding myself in a hospital that chooses not to honor my legal standing. Although the president did recently make it clear that same-sex relationships must be honored by hospitals.

    Richard, you quote a communication mentioning ‘gay civil partnerships’. Oh how I wish that’s what we were talking about here in the States.

  • Richard Willmer

    Stephen

    The quotation I mentioned was ‘carefully worded’, but the fact that the Archbishop said even what he did was ‘quite something’.

    ‘Mainstream’ Western Europe is perhaps more ‘progressive’ than the US in many ways (for example, the abolition of capital punishment and the provision of civil partnerships are required by all signatories to the European Union Treaty). Perhaps the extreme violence of what happened too often on European soil during the last century has made us realise the dangers of being otherwise?

    Another significant anecdote: in December 2008, the Pope made that infamous comment about ‘gender confusion’ being as great a threat to humanity as climate change. Within the Church, it was the Catholic bishops of England and Wales that led the consequent (and unprecedented) revolt: they wrote to the Pope an open letter, in which they made it clear that ‘gender confusion’ (they did not use those words, by the way) was, for them, a primarily pastoral issue. Fences were mended in time … and look what happened a year later, in December 2009, just after the Bahati Bill broke cover:

    http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=a9849daa-dd60-4028-adc0-2dfa024cb3a9

    During his visit this autumn to the UK, the Pope called for a ‘profound dialogue between faith and reason’ for the ‘common good’. I think he meant what he said.

  • Harvey

    Stephen, have you ever noticed anything funny about the ex-gay groups? If their allegations were correct, they would have actually proven that people are born gay and can choose to be heterosexual. In other words, Gay would be innate and straight would be a choice!

    I subscribe to both Christianity Today and Christian Century, so I forgot which magazine it was in, but they had an article about one of the ex-gay “ministries.” According to the ex-gay ministry’s own statistics, almost two-thirds of their clients were unchanged by their “therapy.” A small minority were in what they called “troubled” heterosexual relationships, and the rest were rendered incapable of any human intimacy. That’s a success rate of zero percent, because they did not produce any heterosexuals without homosexual temptations. That didn’t stop the “ministry” from counting the last two categories as “successes,” which is why every psychological and medical professional association says those “therapies” are unethical to administer and dangerous to undergo. Ex-gay ministries leave a lot of people seriously messed up, and that results in a lot of income to therapists. The fact that he therapists are working against their own financial interest when they warn against ex-gay therapy shows that they are motivated only by truth.

    The only group that supports the ex-gay ministries, so far as I know, is the American College of Pediatricians, which is a breakaway group from the American Acadamy of Pediatricians. The ACP was founded for the express purpose of opposing gays. Their conclusions precede their evidence and are thus invalid.

    People choose to be Presbyterians, and the fact that they chose it doesn’t diminish their right to be it. “Homosexuality” is not a medical or psychological disorder; that has been proved. It is at most a religious heresy. A church has no right to impose its discipline on non-members (this is a biblical principle as well as a legal reality), so if you don’t belong to a church in which homosexuality is a heresy, their opinion is irrelevant, because you have a legal right not to belong to their church.

    A man one told me that an otherwise enlightened Methodist minister had asked him why he chose to be gay. “Now how do you answer a stupid question like that?” he demanded angrily. I said, “With a stupid answer. Tell him you read the brochures and the people were nice, so you signed up!” Some people are better entertained than enlightened.

    I’m not going to deny anyone their self-identification as an ex-gay, and I’m not going to pretend to know how they came to that conclusion. You can call yourself a giraffe for all I care, and I’ll still accept you with whatever name you choose for yourself. Nonetheless, there’s no empirical evidence to show that anyone chooses their sexuality. The FRC, the AFA, and all the other hate groups know it, because their ex-gay ministries are ineffective money drains.

    The SPLC designated the FRC and others as hate groups because they are hate groups, and Christians should do nothing to impede the truth. Churches are also not experts in sexuality, so we should give them time to work things out, but not allow them to impose their rules on non-members.

  • Ann-Marie

    Mary,

    Thank you for the response

    I don’t see any dichotomy in supporting people to live their life according to their belief. What I ask for myself, is the same thing I ask for others.

    I agree. I wish it were that simple with my brother. It seems to me that the idea of two worldviews peacefully co-existing is a fraudulent concept to him. In other words, if he supported you in your in your endeavor to live closer your truth, your beliefs, and your God as you understand your relationship – and that is in some way counter to his beliefs – then he basically sees it as endorsing bigotry, or discrimination.

    I feel I’ve been put in a box and just looking for ideas on how to get out.

    Thank you for your response — I feel it is the closest thing to finding a path out that I have been able to see or come up with. And maybe a bridge to my dear brother.

    He has structured tolerance as 100% approval of gay relationships and has stated very explicitly that “relational acceptance” is a condescension. His worldview is truly “you’re either with me or you are against me” and has a “take no prisoners” approach. Almost anything I say other than “I am now pro-gay” is likely to greatly offend him. And I stack on top of this the reality of the professional accomplishments and scholarly credibility he has attained, then it adds an almost intellectual arrogance that is very difficult to penetrate with any approach.

    Ann-Marie

  • Mary

    Ann-Marie,

    I feel sorry for your brother. Eventually, in all relationships we will encounter the idea that our friends, family, etc… have different outlooks on life that do not always coincide with our own. Yet, the two can live side by side.

    Being a scholoar does not automatically make someone mature and responsible for themselves. His desire to put you into a forced choice of his making is filled with flaws. The first being, his life is not your life.

  • Mary

    Ann-Marie,

    Ask your brother if you changed your hair color, would that mean you do not like people who have the color hair you used to have?

  • Ann-Marie

    Mary,

    I don’t mean this in criticism of what you say, but I can hear it now: “How can you equate this to hair color?! It’s not like I can just change the fact I’m a gay man like changing my hair color.”

    It’s hard to stand under the weight of his accusations – anyone under his accusations of bigotry would appear defensive. And that is part of the power he holds over those who see the world differently than he does. He can “wash his hands” of any fault by placing the full blame squarely on them (me) and demanding I not “approach” him or “respect” him – but I must totally agree with him…or else. Even then, he may further punish me for “ever” believing “even for a second” the thoughts I now subscribe to.

    I think this is as close to a no-win situation as they come. I feel the militancy in his approach is dangerous in that it puts me in a situation where I have to bend to his will and/or go underground with my own views, or else. And is that really being close to me? It’s sort of like a gay son having to believe, or at least say what his father wants him to say so he won’t be thrown out of the house. I have been afraid of going through what I’m going through now with him. He asked me some very probing questions about 1 year ago after finding out about my church affiliation. I wish I would’ve said “I support you living your life according to your belief” and refused to go further. But that isn’t how it happened. I was more descriptive, let’s say, in my response. Which has led to where I am now. It’s rough. Maybe with time…

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie and Mary: I remember sociology class in seminary. One woman said that she did not approve of homosexuality. Another student said, “Oh, so you’re the Approval Authority! I wondered who that was! Tell me, why did you approve of my sister’s marriage to the child molester?”

    On another occasion, some one said that he did not approve of the homosexual lifestyle. Again, how grandiose! The comeback was, “I really didn’t know what the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ is, but what do you object to, the grocery shopping?”

    Where do people get the grandiose idea that they can approve or disapprove of other people’s relationships and vest it with legal power?

    Tolerance doesn’t mean that you approve or agree. It means that you let others be, even though you disapprove or disagree.

  • Ann-Marie

    Harvey,

    I agree with you. But disapproving or disagreeing, that in itself is seen as “not letting others be”. At least in my brother’s eyes. Having these thoughts, that in itself is not letting others be because it’s what leads to all the injustices against gays.

    I agree I am not to approve/disapprove of anyone. That would be judging. But if I”m asked my thoughts, what do I say?

  • Mary

    Ann-Marie,

    Your brother sounds closed minded. I am sorry that his choices for you are his way or the highway. Kind of childish for an educated person, don’t you think?

  • Harvey

    There comes a time in many a family when the daughter chooses a fiancé, and her parents do not approve of him. They feel he is bad for her, or is bad marriage material, or has some flaw, but they come to the realization that it’d her decision, not theirs, that she’s going to marry him no matter what, and their real choice is whether or not to be alienated from their daughter. They finally tell her that they disapprove of the fiancé, but they will respect her decision and support her. That way, if the marriage works out, they get to see their grandchildren, and if it does not work out, they can be there for her.

    That is how to be tolerant without agreeing. In fact, that’s really the definition of the word. You can only be tolerant of things you disagree with.

  • Ann-Marie

    I guess the best way I can think of it is, if someone told me they didn’t approve of my Christian views (like several in my family have done and do), I wouldn’t necessarily be bothered by it. My convictions or viewpoints or worldview (or bigotry as my brother calls it) aren’t really something up for grabs. Just like his being gay isn’t. It’s not like he can say “change” and my convictions change. Not that I’m saying being gay is a conviction. Or, maybe a better example, if someone told me that my sexuality wasn’t right in their eyes. Ok, fine. As long as they weren’t judging me or making my life hell or supporting leaders who’d have me killed for heterosexual sex, I guess I wouldn’t really care one way or the other. I think the loadedness of it comes from all the horrible atrocities “Christians” have done in the name of their religion. This I can understand anger and resentment around. I’m right there with any person, gay or straight or otherwise, in condemning this. On one hand I have empathy for his extremism and militant viewpoint, it’s what’s brought us to where we are now: in a world (or at least country) that is extending dignity and respect that we’re all entitled to equally. I just wish he’d use it with more discernment.

  • Mary

    I think the loadedness of it comes from all the horrible atrocities “Christians” have done in the name of their religion.

    Christians have hurt women, children, and assisted criminals. Makes me wonder who really is a Christian. I am always leary of those who make such a statement. I’m not sure all so said Christians are really believers.

  • Jordan

    @PAT WILLIAMS – You are getting fanatic all over the blog. You are no better than the Taliban. You have no more right to take equality from gays than al-Quaida has to take equality from Christians. You interpret the bible to mean that homosexuality is a sin, al-Quaida interprets the Quran to mean that Christianity is a sin. Does that make the attack on the World Trade Center right? NO! Does that give them the right to persecute Christians, and Jews, and Atheists and Agnostics? NO! Just because you interpret your religious text to mean that one group of people is immoral does NOT give you the right to take away their rights, and if it does than al-Quaida has just as much right to persecute Christians as you do to persecute gays.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Harvey True Christians are bringing The Truth.

    Homosexuality is a sin.

    You can deny that.

    You can disagree with that.

    But, in the end…

    We’ll see how much you sell.

  • Ann-Marie

    I keep on about this situation w/ my brother but I honestly feel it has a lot of mirrored tones and attitudes on both sides that has to do with the original post.

    @Mary: That’s true. So very true. And heartbreaking. But I can see where someone like myself, an evangelical Christian, is going to bear some weight from those who have come bearing the name Christian and have done awful things and promoted hateful attitudes.

    One way I can show my brother that I love him and honor him, whether he ever sees it or knows it or not, is to help bring to light where ever and whenever I can these errors “Christians” have committed by fooling themselves that any attitude other than love and acceptance.

    Phil1:9-11 (NLT)

    I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[a]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

    There is a way to love my brother as completely as I can love. There is no room for judgment.

    But if I have told my brother (when asked) that I believe, or have the conviction that “it’s (gay relationship) not exactly what God had in mind for us in relationship”… if that’s my conviction (or viewpoint or whatever), my brother has put me in the box of being a bigot. And says “there isn’t much I can say other than “has your conviction changed?” and so I either come up with an attitude or conviction that affirms that of his own or there’s no room for relationship. He has basically said in so many words that I’m living under a veil of stupidity and backwardness, as many Christians (and also any secular with viewpoints that don’t coincide with his), and it’s his job to bring us into the light of reality. And refusal to abide by this path he is trying to push me to take just reaffirms to him how thickly brainwashed and stunted many Christians have become in their own denial and stubbornness to see reality.

  • Harvey

    Pat Williams,

    Your views are untempered by reality. God created the universe and pronounced it God. The heavens declare the glory of God. Reality is a source of canonical truth. Just as science can come to wrong conclusions, Bible interpreters can also. The Bible is inerrant, but you are not. Actually, there is no such thing as “homosexuality.” That is an abstract concept. It is a generalization that admits to many exceptions. The only thing that exists are gay people.

    Mary,

    Yes, Christians have done lots of bad things. So have Muslims. So have Sikhs, So have atheists. The problem is not with religion or the lack of it, but human nature.

    Anne-Marie,

    Your conversations with your brother are one-sided. On your side, your convictions are at stake. On his side, his existence is at stake. You can’t ask a person to see the “other side” of their existence. You should get the hint when he calls you a bigot. A bigot is not a person who has a different opinion, it is a person who deprecates a group of people. Ask yourself, is he right to call you a bigot? Your brother is under relentless attack from religious leaders who fancy themselves sex experts, and from politicians who scapegoat him for political gain. He belongs to a class of people who are the most vulnerable to hate crimes, but hate crime legislation is tied up by churches and politicians who hold the same convictions that you do. He is in the middle of a fight for his human dignity for the equal standing under the law which he was promised in high school civics class. You think this is an academic discussion. You must understand that you are not disagreeing with your brother’s opinions, but his very existence. The fact that he is talking to you at all shows quite a lot of patience and forebearance on his side.

    I had a gay friend who was gaybashed. They hit him in the back of the head with a hammer. They used a hatchet to chop up his face. They robbed his house, stole his money, and threw his body next to a highway where it could not be seen. His mother, a Catholic, sought help from her church but they wouldn’t even talk to her, because helping her would have put the priest in the position of contradicting the Catholic Church’s false teachings about gays. The body was identified by his finger prints and the murderers were apprehended, but he is still dead and his mother still cries.

    You think you are having a discussion about an opinion or a contemporary issue, but you do see that while you are advocating an opinion, your brother is fighting for his human dignity, his sister’s love, his civil rights, his personal safety, and his life. From his side, you look monstrously uncompassionate. Perhaps it is best to set this ill-advised debate aside and love your brother. You can be wrong about your opinions, but you cannot be wrong about loving your brother.

  • Harvey

    Pat: automatic spell correction went while. God created the universe and pronounced it good.

  • Harvey

    I forgot to add: the murderers I spoke of confessed everything in court, then defended themselves by saying that all the churches hate gays, so they were only doing God’s will. What is even more monstrous is that their attorney allowed them to make this defense.

  • Mary

    We’ll see how much you sell.

    Who is selling? It is really a matter of the Holy Spirit and God to handle the movement of hearts.

  • Ann-Marie

    Harvey,

    That’s a horrible, horrible story. And my brother attaching me to this kind of thing makes me sad, and feel very guilty. And perhaps rightfully so. And, yes, him even speaking to me at all is more than I probably deserve.

    You’re absolutely right – this is about his existence. And I can set my convictions aside for his sake, absolutely. Or the sake of any person for that matter. And to be about love.

    I’m not sure how to proceed in discussion with him as this is going to come up again.

    I welcome your thoughts.

    I’ve already spoke that my conviction was that “t wasn’t exactly what God had in mind for relationship for us. And we are not to judge.”

    Those two things don’t make much sense strung together, huh?

    I don’t pretend to be a sex expert. But I have convictions and I guess some of those are around sex. So when asked, what my convictions are I now know to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible.

    But if I do so, have my convictions changed?

    And if I say something, like I did, has my love changed?

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

    Ann-Marie, Harvey, and all. This is an important conversation and I like how it has gotten away from position guarding to real life. Keep that tone up. I hope to have more to add later today or tomorrow. For now, let me say that Harvey’s point about existence is huge.

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

    Harvey, one more thing. If you have links to news stories involving the case, please send them to me…

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Note to Pat … I see you are as obnoxious as ever. Homosexuality is a modern word added to modern translations of scripture .. By using this word you are not differentiating between personhood and personal morals or actions .. Your shallowness on this reflects the exact problem that Harvey is referring to …

    Note to Harvey .. it is not bigoted to have sexual morals .. there is a difference between having morals and calling people evil because they are gay. Heterosexuals have differing views on sexual morals (for straight people) .. but they are usually able to have them without vilifying each other and having a political agenda agains each other. I am pretty upset with the church in general over this (vilifying gay and lesbian people).. but putting everyone who carries the name “Christian” in the same boat is not the answer .. anymore than people finding the worst possible statistics about gay and lesbian people and smearing them with it is the answer. Again .. I am very angry with what is being done in Christ’s name but pulling the worst examples of it and trying to tie it into a moral view is .. to me .. a reverse smear campaign .. I am not moved by it.

    Ann-Marie .. You are not a biggot for having a moral view. Your brother’s ‘my way or the highway attitude’ is the problem. Now .. in saying this .. I can understand why he might feel this way .. due to the things I mentioned earlier in this post. But, I associate and get along with many gay people who know my view … they also know I respect them as people and as fellow Christians who have a different view than I do. The best you can do IMHO.. is show an absolute love and respect for him as a person (and for his partner as well) celebrating and appreciating all the good qualities that he has. You don’t mention whether he is a Christian or not… if not .. this is the most important thing .. but .. again … due to the church actions against gay and lesbian people .. will probably be a very significant hurdle for him to get over. Again .. your loving example will be more valuable than argument or theological debate.

    Praying for you and your brother,

    Dave

    P.S. You might find conversations and dialog on the gay christian network helpful …

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Oops missed saying this …

    Stephen .. so glad to have you here … I am pleased that you are willing to break through the straw doll caricatures that we often create and look for the real people.

    Mary .. so pleased to hear that you do not match the typical exgay view and are willing to accept others who believe differently than you … What a breath of fresh air you bring.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • Ann-Marie

    Dave,

    Thank you so much for the information on the GCN – I’m ordering their CD “Through My Eyes” and am also going to look/post to their boards for some ideas and hopefully some more answers.

    I’m still stuck — “a moral view”. Is that sugar-coating bigotry? I think that’s what my brother would say. I feel I’m trying to wrap my mind around an impossible puzzle. Can I believe what I believe and not be a bigoted hypocrite? Right now, to be honest, I feel scared for my heart. The story from Harvey’s post shook me up, as it very well should. This is not light stuff we’re talking about here.

    I don’t think my brother is a believer. I want my brother to know Christ’s love. But yes, everything that has been done in the name of Christianity…and maybe worse, the blind eye “Christians” have turned towards the injustices, to put it mildly, like that Harvey mentions, would make any gay person really have to wonder…this is probably the worst part of it all – that I may have had a hand in pushing him further from knowing Christ…

    I feel like now even if I ask him about this during our next discussion that he’ll see it as manipulation…

    So, I don’t think my brother is a Christian– he hasn’t been baptized and I don’t think he or his marriage partner go to a church. The father of the boy they co-parent I think is a Christian with the Catholic church. The only thing he has said to me during our recent discussions has been what a “sad view of God and Christianity you (me) have”.

  • PAT WILLIAMS

    Ann-Marie, Harvey and all of you..

    Give me a break! Christians are being killed everyday and none of you, none of you are on hear crying your eyes out about that!

    This is not to deny Homosexuals their plight and having to have faced hatred or hurt for living a Homosexual life. While I absolutely stand on Godly Principle in accordance with the BIBLE that Homosexuality (people having sexual relations with the Same-Sex) is 100% SIN, by the same token…

    The answer to that is for Homosexuals to Repent. Period.

    The answer is not for folks to harm them and beat them or hurt them.

    Yet, if you do a HISTORICAL comparison as to how many “Homosexuals” have been murdered throughout history in comparison to how many CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN MURDERED THROUGHOUT HISTORY and EVEN NOW…

    There is no comparison!

    Just two days ago on CHRISTMAS there were Christian Church bombings that left Christians dead!

    There are Christians missionaries being slaughtered like the ones gunned down back in late September.

    Let’s not even talk about the Christians that were fed to Lions, Murdered, Burned Upside-Down, Boiled, Stoned, throughout history.

    So, let’s not play games here.

    For fact, someone brought out a historical fact on here several days ago, many of the ROMAN-GRECIAN societies openly celebrated Homosexuality and oddly enough these are the same “societies” that murdered Christians!

    Hmmm…. I wonder why?

    If you want people to KNOW CHRIST JESUS, it is simple.

    Live His WORD. Follow His WORD. Do His WORD.

    His WORD is THE BIBLE.

    Not some parts — But, all parts.

    And, if you follow ALL parts then you know that from the Beginning

    God Created Male and Female and **these two** shall be ONE flesh.

    Jesus Christ **reminded** the people of His Time of this very basic

    tenant — “From the Beginning God created them Male and Female

    and these Two Shall Be One Flesh.”

    There is no “variation” according to Jesus Christ Himself.

    So based on this immutable Truth alone, automatically disqualifies

    “Two Men” or “Two Women” becoming “One Flesh.”

    Now, you guys can deceive yourselves and make room for your own

    “interpretations” and “political reasons.”

    But, the bottomline, according to Thus Saith The Lord Jesus Christ

    of The Bible — Two Men or Two Women “attempting to be One Flesh”

    is in Error and not God’s intention.

    And, anything that is in Error to God and not His Will (“intention”)

    is bottomline S-I-N.

    No argument. No debate. End with a Period. (.)

  • Harvey

    Warren, the murder took place in 1979 and only merited a paragraph in the Washington Post and the then-existing Washington Star. I was personally involved, because I lived very close to his house, the murder scene. His mother stayed with me during the 30 days of the police investigation, during which she had to clean up the murder scene of her own son. I had to deal with her grief every day until 3am because the Catholic priests wouldn’t even talk to her.

    Anne-Marie, I feel very, very good about your posting. The way to proceed is to side-step the discussion altogether. Not “Let’s agree to disagree,” but “I finally realized that our relationship as brother and sister is so important that our discussion doesn’t matter.”

    The problem with this kind of discussion is that it pushes gays away from Christianity and all its benefits. For example, many gays do not give to the Salvation Army and have stopped serving as bell ringers, because they have declared war on gays. It’s spelled out in their “Declaration of War.”

    The churches should just shut up before they become fertility cults. They should return to their charter to talk about repentance, forgiveness, and redemption in general terms. We need to trust the Holy Spirit to work on the specifics with each person in His own good time. We need to develop the humility and the faith to let the Holy Spirit decide what needs to be fixed and when. And we need to preach about the commandment to love our enemies and even the people who make us feel queasy when we think improper thoughts about them

    I do not believe that such people exist, but let us suppose for the sake of argument that there is a person who is a vile sinner and is going to hell no matter what. Why does God allow such a person to continue to exist? As a test of your love. It doesn’t take much virtue to lovely people. Loving people love their relatives and friends, and the love spreads to lovely people, ugly people, strangers, sinners, and even their enemies, and they even do good things for those who harm them, because they trust God’s justice to make everything come out right. Hateful people hate their enemies, and the hatred spreads to sinners, strangers, and then to ugly people, finally they are suspicious of lovely people, their friends, their relatives, and they even come to hate themselves. They judge, because they do not trust God to judge, they withhold good things, because they do not trust God’s justice.

    Love is a characteristic, not of the thing that is loved, but of the person who loves. Maybe if you do these things, your brother and his partner will begin to see the glory and love of Christ and in God’s good time maybe, in God’s good time, they will start attending church and be baptized.

    Tell your brother that you lost interest in the discussion, because you realized that your brother-sister relationship is much more important, and that you do not want to be alienated from him. Learn from me: One more death in my family, and my brother and sister will be all that I have.

  • Ann-Marie

    The churches should just shut up before they become fertility cults. They should return to their charter to talk about repentance, forgiveness, and redemption in general terms. We need to trust the Holy Spirit to work on the specifics with each person in His own good time. We need to develop the humility and the faith to let the Holy Spirit decide what needs to be fixed and when.

    Thank you for this, for the whole post, Harvey. I want to love my brother better and I let him down.

    I really, really hope I can side-step the topic all together as you suggest. But what if he presses me with the statement “have your convictions changed?” as he has promised to do next time we talk. Maybe that will be the time I will use the response, something like you suggest:

    “I finally realized that our relationship as brother and sister is so important that our discussion doesn’t matter.”

    …but I fear he might see that as my patronizing him or not being honest.

    One good thing that has come out of all of this is the clarification and focus on how much work there is to be done in the church. And this minute is not a second to early to start the discussion with whomever I can, however I can. I will stand up for the dignity and respect we all deserve, every single one of us. Maybe talking to my brother about the stand I promise to take when I can, that that might be a point the two of us can rally around somehow. I will tell him my process in seeking you all out, seeking out the GNC, and about my work in Africa with Christian humanitarian organizations and how I can even begin to speak with fellow Christians in Africa about how justice, dignity and respect is for every image-bearer of our God.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    I fear he might see that as my patronizing him or not being honest.

    That’s a possibility, but aside from initial skepticism, I don’t think you have cause to be apprehensive. In print, you come across as sincere and constructively emotional, and I think you’ll come across like that to your brother.

    It will help to speak in his language. Refer to his “marriage partner” as his husband. Loving your brother’s whole family, him, his husband, and their son, should be on your to-do list, and using that vocabulary will signal acceptance. Acceptance leads to healing, and from there we can only go up.

  • Harvey

    Dave

    I agree with everything you said in your “Note to Harvey.” It’s what I intended to say.

  • Ann-Marie

    Dear Harvey,

    Thank you.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    One more suggestion. If you have Netflix, watch the movie Breakfast with Scot. It’s a Canadian movie that takes place in Canada and stars a Canadian actor (Tom Cavanagh, who played the title character on the TV series Ed).

    The movie won an award from the Directors Guild of Canada for best family feature.

    Tom Cavanagh played hockey in high school and college, so they made his character a former Toronto Maple Leaf who had become a sportscaster. The NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs allowed their logos and facilities to be used in the movie.

    It’s about an unlikely orphan who finds an unlikely family under unlikely circumstances that would be even more unlikely in the United States. You’ll find strong parallels to your brother’s situation.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Anne-Marie,

    Glad you found my comments helpful … I am encouraged that you have ordered the DVD .. Through My Eyes. I think you will find it to be a real eye opener (no pun intended). I shared it with a class I lead and it was very helpful to them.

    I sometimes tell people that on GCN we have moved beyond the typical Christian discussion on this issue. Note that on GCN the views are defined as Side A (fully affirming view) and Side B (affirming of personhood but believing in same sex sexual abstinence) Because these views are already layed out on their website it is not necessary to always talk about them although they do come up from time to time especially with newcomers. This .. going beyond .. that I mentioned is probably where you need to be with you brother. Just like other issues about which Christians disagree .. it does not need to come up in every conversation.

    The greatest thing for your brother to know is that there are Christians who do not take up the banner of attack that is unfortunately seen in the more visible Christianity. It will take time for him to discover this and to discover the many other benefits and blessings of Christianity. … Trust and know that God is also at work (behind the scenes) to draw your brother to himself. Also know that this may or may not include a change in his moral position. And thats ok … God is fully able to meet your brother where he is and draw him to Himself.

    Blessings,

    Dave

    P.S. Thanks Harvey for your note .. and I am truly sorry to hear of your loss and the coldness of the church to you and your friend’s mom .. Please know that this is not what Jesus wanted… I personally believe that Jesus was grieved by this as well and that He continues to grieve when His followers are so cold to people that He loves.

  • Harvey

    Dave

    Somehow I’m always around when a tragedy happens, and I always have to help people handle it. You do not want to live my life. It would be too hard for you. But at least it equips me for pastoral ministry. Nevertheless, it is tiring.

  • stephen

    Glad to be catching up here.

    My background is, I suspect, very different from most of you. I work in the arts, was born and grew up in London but now live in upstate New York.

    Those of you with a personal stake will forgive me if I refer to the ex-gay ‘movement’ as a racket. That’s what I think it has proved itself to be. Which is not to say that I don’t understand the desire not to be gay. I don’t know of one gay man or woman who hasn’t longed and prayed, those with faith, to be ‘normal’. It is that desire that I think is exploited by such for-profit groups as Exodus.

    Anne-Marie, you might think of how your brother thinks you view his life. There is nothing intrinsically immoral about being gay. We’ve lived traditionally beyond the boundaries of accepted morality but that doesn’t mean that as people we don’t try to live in a decent and moral way. That is very much what the push for marriage equality is about, to allow gay people a socially acceptable way to cement our relationships. We have lived under siege for almost all of our lives so if your brother seems less than generous you might consider how his life has been affected by those who call themselves Christian. We see ourselves vilified and slandered on a daily basis and though you might deplore the actions of such groups why would your brother know you don’t share their beliefs?

    I wonder why there is such an obsession with the lives of gay people. Why do we hear nothing about divorce, adultery, gambling, the glorification of war, the savage prison terms meted out as a matter of course in the US, the lack of health care, the lack of help for the poor, lack of care of children, etc. etc. etc. But all we hear from Coral Ridge Ministries, among many many many others, is how evil we are, how we are the greatest peril facing our nation and so on. What should gay people learn from this? What does it teach us? I return to my point about the mechanism used against the Jews by the Russians, the Poles, the Nazis. Indeed, most of Europe was complicit in this. And even after a lesson taught at such enormous cost some are still unwilling to learn from it.

    The best account that I know of a gay man struggling to become a whole human being is Maurice by E. M. Forster. Written while in his 30s but only published after his death it is an extraordinarily moving account of a man trying to be something he cannot be.

    I tend to be suspicious of dramatized accounts of the lives of gay men because no gay actor dare to be seen in them. They are almost invariably vehicles for straight actors to show their range. This isn’t so true in the theatre where we are allowed to be more adult. But even in the movie version of Maurice, made by Merchant Ivory, two gay men in a very long-term and very successful marriage, straight actors were cast to play Forster’s infinitely touching gay hero, his lover, and the man who rescues him from despair.

    God luck with your brother. It shouldn’t be so hard to say ‘I love you.’

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Pat .. nice job .. now you don’t have to study the original post .. all you have to do is look in a mirror … seriously .. are you really putting out an idea that since (allegedly) Roman Greek culture had gay people in it and since they murdered Christians that gay people are murdering Christians? You are kidding … I really hope you are.

    The issue is not what the world does … the issue is what Christians do .. when the light in Christians turns out to be darkness .. when our saltiness loses its taste .. when we as branches fail to bear fruit .. thats the concerns being expressed here… and Yes .. they are biblical concerns.

    Please think before you speak … if anything, the original post should cause some serious humble introspection … I am not seeing this from you …

    Dave

  • Mary

    Thanks Dave.

  • Ann-Marie

    Thank you so much Stephen.

    There is nothing intrinsically immoral about being gay. We’ve lived traditionally beyond the boundaries of accepted morality but that doesn’t mean that as people we don’t try to live in a decent and moral way. That is very much what the push for marriage equality is about, to allow gay people a socially acceptable way to cement our relationships.

    Yes, I understand this. I definitely support gay marriage.

    so if your brother seems less than generous you might consider how his life has been affected by those who call themselves Christian

    He has the right to be less than generous with me. I understand. I need to be more sensitive to his point of view.

    We see ourselves vilified and slandered on a daily basis and though you might deplore the actions of such groups why would your brother know you don’t share their beliefs?

    His thinking I do…this is heartbreaking. And where there’s plenty of work for me to do…

    It shouldn’t be so hard to say ‘I love you.’

    It’s not…he’s an amazing person, a sweetheart, my dear brother.

    Right now I’m listening to a very powerful set of audios on the GCN website by Tony and Peggy Campelo. I highly recommend this to anyone in a situation similar to what I am dealing with with my brother.

  • stephen

    Dear Anne-Marie,

    forgive me for addressing you so directly but I’m moved by your evident desire to connect with your brother.

    I lost most of my family when I was outed in a terrible and unnecessary way by my mother. We got over it and I came to forgive her though I don’t know if I could ever love her again even though she died in my arms. She never forgave herself and for me that was the hardest burden to bear. My husband and I brought her near us for her last four years and she had a great life. In her final days her sister and niece came to help her die and allowed me the enormous privilege of being a part of that secret world of women: birth and death. I’m crying now as I always do when I think of the gift they gave me.

    Some time later I was contacted by a man I didn’t know in behalf of a cousin I lost when my family discovered that I was queer. Through that contact I’ve started to reclaim some of the extended family in Scotland that my father cut me off from because of his own shame. My Scottish grandmother loved me fiercely. I allowed myself to be shut out of the last part of her life because of my shame. But I have the Bible she gave me when I last saw her. I keep it beside my desk. he last time I saw her she gave me her Bible and the medal struck by the communist party to honor her brother’s work in the great mining lockout of 29 – which was her most treasured possession – and I try to live up to her standards. And his. She was always trying to get me baptized into the Church of Scotland because she worried about my soul and my mother would never let her. It was ungenerous of my mother but I don’t care. I remember my grandmother singing the old Scots songs to me and I hope to carry her spirit forward in my life.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Anne-Marie,

    I am pleased that you have found the Tony and Peggy Campolo audios. You might also enjoy this link .. http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/campolo.htm Its a text version of one of their talks. I would also recomend this sermon by Adam Hamilton (a Methodist Minister) … http://adamhamilton.cor.org/2009/02/03/in-dealing-with-homosexuals/

    Blessings to you,

    Dave

  • stephen

    DAve

    This hamilton man is an ignorant fool. You want to have a discussion don’t link to fools. How dare you. This is my life. HOW DARE YOU.

    And here we have the reason that gay people despise evangelicals.

    You really don’t get it.

  • Jordan

    You have no more right to take equality from gays than al-Quaida has to take equality from Christians. You interpret the bible to mean that homosexuality is a sin, al-Quaida interprets the Quran to mean that Christianity is a sin. Does that make the attack on the World Trade Center right? NO! Does that give them the right to persecute Christians, and Jews, and Atheists and Agnostics? NO! Just because you interpret your religious text to mean that one group of people is immoral does NOT give you the right to take away their rights, and if it does than al-Quaida has just as much right to persecute Christians as you do to persecute gays.

  • Ann-Marie

    Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for sharing about your family. I’m so touched by your heart, and that of your husband, in caring for your mother and loving her in her last years of her life.

    May I ask you directly, how should I react when my brother asks if my convictions have changed? I’m certain this is what he’s waiting for in order to be in relationship w/ me.

    My experience has included identifying as gay (lesbian) for many years, many relationships w/ men – all of which were physically active and a marriage to a non-believer which ended in divorce about 1 year later. A born again experience in 2007 has turned life upside down. So this attitude or conviction I have expressed to my dear brother has been relatively recent (2009), as have many changes have happened. Although I have identified myself as Christian since I was 7, everything has changed…it’s truly a change.

    Like Harvey pointed out earlier, this is about my brother’s existence. My convictions vs his existence? So no, it doesn’t seem fair. It feels one-sided.

    So, how do I lay down a conviction?

    Stephen, how could you be in relationship w/ me if I were your sister and I had the conviction I do – again, stating my conviction: I feel it isn’t exactly what God had in mind for relationship.

    With my dear brother, I feel that I can only say “I feel it is what God had in mind for relationship” in order for us to move on. I feel scared. And feel wonderment if that fear is a conviction that my conviction HAS changed. I’m just not 100% sure. I can honestly say it doesn’t feel the same in that other convictions have come to me in a way that felt supported – this feeling is more like a great anxiety. I know at least in part, if I did, I would be doing it for my brother’s approval and to be right in his eyes. And it would feel a bit like cowering to his wrath – rightfully earned in the horrible un-Christian light of everything the GLBT community has put up with from society.

    Stephen, thank you again for listening to all of this and thank you in advance for any more sharing you might be able to send my way. I extend apology and sympathy from deep in my heart for the suffering you have gone through at the hands of your family, …and beyond. Anyone can see you are a shining example of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Stephen,

    I really do get it .. I am not sure what you found offensive with what Adam Hamilton said. Adam actually gently challenged his congregation to break out of their narrow interpretation of scripture and the homophobic nonsense that has been going on.. .. to actually consider that there is something to look at biblically on this issue that is different than what they have heard. Breaking people out of stereotypes is hard .. it requires gentleness and patience. People’s attitudes do not change easily. People do not change over night. Obviously based on what several gay members of his congregation said to him they felt he did get it. His sermon represented to me a starting point .. not an ending point.

    Again, I am not sure what offended you here .. I do hope you will share it.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • Mary

    Ann Marie,

    Excuse me for interupting. You are in a stale mate. Just as your brother cannot move you off your convictions, maybe neither can he be moved.

    This unfortunately is a reality in our world, where people foolishly believe that if you do not believe the samething as do they then you are against them. Personally, have you ever met one person who has all the same convictions as you?

  • Ann-Marie

    Thank you, Mary. It’s fine to interrupt. I know…I just want to search my heart. I have to be sure about this. And maybe I can’t figure it out today or tomorrow of 10 years from now. I feel in a million pieces right now. I can’t let him go like this. I can’t even imagine what it feels like…He’s the one that is facing putting up with me, a person with a conviction that runs counter to his existence. His person. I can’t think of a comparable situation for me to be in. Can you?

  • Mary

    Yes. Ann Marie – the deep hurt you are feeling is the same deep hurt he feels.

    It has taken me many years to move from gay, gay activist, not gay, christian. In truth, at the time I became a Christian, I had forgotten all the rotten things Christians had done to me while I was gay. But my heart holds a bitterness towards the church that is hard to forgive. Only recently, within the last couple of years, have I found some within the church who are truly kind and loving towards gays even though they hold a different conviction on the issue. It is a deep wound.

  • Ann-Marie

    I can see why many, many walk away from the church regarding this issue. I’m having serious doubts myself on what the deal is. Biblically, it comes down to the divergence between how Romans 1 is viewed (just learned this from the Campelo’s talks posted on the GCN website). Those on one side say this was written by Paul to address idolotry in Rome as people were turning to worshipping other gods and part of this was orgies involving homosexual sex. The other side says that this part of Romans has been traditionally viewed by the church to mean all expressions of human sex that reflect this and that there is importance in holding to how the scripture was taught traditionally, historically.

    I have been given an opportunity to talk to a group on the 24th – within my church – to talk about how our gay friends and resolving our faith and this sort of thing. I’m wondering if this is an important opportunity for me to take. I feel nervous and somewhat sensitive talking about my own gay past, but maybe this is the right time and place to do so. Maybe I can have an impact that could honor my brother somehow.

  • Mary

    Pray about it. The Campelo’s (Tony and his wife) have differing views and they are married. It is a joy to see such a thing. Differences can coexist. There will always be differrences. I’ve yet to find a church called “Everything that Mary Believes”. I doubt any of us will find such. As it is… we live together with these differences and pray in our own rooms.

  • Ann-Marie

    I fear I’m starting to sound argumentative or inconsolable – or both. …sorry…

    I’m just processing, and looking for viewpoints….

    The Campelos are great, it’s nice to hear the differing views – but neither one of them is invalidating the other’s existence. So in that sense, it makes sense they can work it out, and it’s more workable than my brother and I having a relationship because my viewpoint invalidates his existence.

    You’re right about finding a church that holds my values. I feel good when I come to church, when I leave church. There is a lot of humility and joy in the walls. The issue around gays has been silent for the most part since I’ve joined. I’m hoping that can start to change. We have to talk about this.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    Why do you need to understand your brother? Shouldn’t you let your love expand your understanding instead of letting your understanding limit your love?

    When athletes are in training, the coach gives the stronger one harder challenges. The athlete suffers pain and even brags about the pain, because present pain brings a future trophy. Perhaps God is your coach, perhaps you are the stronger athlete, and this is your harder challenge to win a greater trophy, which in the here-and-now is reconciliation with your brother.

    Why can’t you just fall into your brother’s arms and say, “I don’t understand all this, but I am your sister, and I will always love and support you and your family?”

  • Ann-Marie

    Shouldn’t you let your love expand your understanding instead of letting your understanding limit your love?

    My understanding doesn’t limit my love. I feel a great need, maybe from my brother, to verbalize and give account for myself, my viewpoints, my convictions.

    My dear brother is ANGRY. He has devoted the last 20+ years of his life fighting this on many fronts, but mainly from an intellectual, academic point of view. His work in highly respected journals and presses is high lauded by many. He will smash me…honestly, he would smash all of us here. I have no way to back up my viewpoints on this. And I don’t feel I have any right to tell him otherwise.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    I am a pastor. You will never find a church that supports your values, because they are all filled with human beings. Instead, find one that challenges you and gives you space to disagree and grow. (In my small church, the Tea Party lady and the ACLU lady work together amicably.) Your starting point is not your destination, so you might go from one to another as you grow.

  • Mary

    You will never find a church that supports your values, because they are all filled with human beings. Instead, find one that challenges you and gives you space to disagree and grow.

    Very good advice.

  • Ann-Marie

    Instead, find one that challenges you and gives you space to disagree and grow.

    How do I know if I’m in one of these or not?

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    He would smash all of us here

    So don’t defend your viewpoints. Just confess your lack of ammunition, make a tactical surrender at the start, and listen sympathetically as he vents. Agree with everything you can, and remain silent on the things you can’t. On those points he will be punching only air. There will be an initial skirmish, but if you do that, it will turn into a pleasant conversation.

    I’ve done it many times.

    It is better to lose an argument than a friend. or, in this case, a brother.

  • Mary

    It occurs to me that God has spent a lot of time trying to convince people that He loves us and yet, many of us just do not see it.

    Why Ann-Marie would you want to take on such an endeavor when it is your brother’s choice to see your love or refuse it?

    You may spend a lifetime begging him to see your love and he may refuse it forever.

  • Mary

    So don’t defend your viewpoints. Just confess your lack of ammunition, make a tactical surrender at the start, and listen sympathetically as he vents. Agree with everything you can, and remain silent on the things you can’t. On those points he will be punching only air. There will be an initial skirmish, but if you do that, it will turn into a pleasant conversation.

    I’ve done it many times.

    It is better to lose an argument than a friend. or, in this case, a brother

    Again, very good advice.

  • Ann-Marie

    Agree with everything you can, and remain silent on the things you can’t. On those points he will be punching only air.

    He will hold me to recanting my viewpoint. It will be a yes-no answer he will put in front of me.

    It feels somewhat like a struggle, a power struggle. And I don’t want that.

    Maybe when he asks – “do you still believe XYZ?”, I can then confess my lack of ammunition and confess I can’t defend my viewpoints.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    Finding a church…

    The congregation is more important than the denomination. Each denomination has a lot of diversity. Suburban churches tend to be homogenous and emphasize marriage and child-rearing. Downtown churches tend to be diverse, and in a large metro area have a large number of gay members.

    For example, the suburban Methodist megachurch nearby assigns all roles to married couples, whom they expect to function as if they were joined at the hip. I know the clergy there, and they aren’t aware that they are doing that. Another Methodist church nearby doesn’t pair people up. It has a congregation that is politically conservative and rabidly homophobic. Finally,Foundry United Methodist Church downtown, which Bill and Hillary Clinton attended every Sunday, advertises itself as gay-friendly. (Maybe they should advertise themselves as heterosexual friendly.) The congregation is indifferent to whether a couple is gay or not. It’s evident to a visitor by the way they interact.

    All three congregations are theologically moderate; this shows mainly social and demographic diversity in the same denomination.

    Visit several churches before choosing one, but visit each one three times.

  • Mary

    Ann Marie,

    Sometimes the only way to win is not to play. Surrender but keep your faith.

    There is a woman who blogs about ex gays and when I have tried to respond to her, she goes in circuitous arguments. If I focus on just myself and my beliefs she accusses me of being self centered. If I focus on being a gay rights supporter she says that my very existence contradicts that and that my life is hurting and damaging gay people. If I focus on people being tolerant she claims there is no place for tolerance for ex gays. She just refuses every hand out to make friends.

    She calls my faith a lot of things. Even though I have never argued biblical theologies with her, she makes a lot of assumptions. She assumes I have a perspective of the bible that is consistent with other conservatives that she has met . And she refuses to see anything new or different. She is so angry that she does not want my existence to even be. In a way, she is exactly like the ignorant Christians whom she hates so much. It is sad to see people hurting so much that they remain closed minded. But I’ve learned – as it is advised in the bible not to argue with the Pharisees. I simply hold to my beliefs. I love them anyhow.

  • Ann-Marie

    All three congregations are theologically moderate; this shows mainly social and demographic diversity in the same denomination.

    do “theologically conservative” and “social/demographically diverse” not belong together in the same church? Why does one limit the other?

  • Harvey

    Mary

    It is better to beg for love and not to receive it, than it is not to beg for love you would have received. However it is also best to take no for an answer when you determine that it is a final answer.

    Anne-Marie

    You won’t know until you try, but if he persists in demanding that you change your opinion, ask him to explain the issue, listen but don’t engage him (because that seats your purpose) just say Wow, I didn’t know that. I have a lot to think about. Or, my head hurts. That’s a lot of information to process. Or, I bet you win every debate. That might divert him into telling war stories, which be very revealing, but they have the advantage that you can only listen and say such things as, What did they say next? Or, I never would have thought to say that. Or, they really shot themselves in the foot with that one. Or, I bet that stopped them dead in the water, and so on

  • Harvey

    do “theologically conservative” and “social/demographically diverse” not belong together in the same church? Why does one limit the other?

    I mean that political leanings, demographics, social views, and diversity are not necessarily linked. Some combinations are more common than others but all combinations are possible. Small congregations are generally not politically and racially diverse, but mine is. I even have bikers who are very liberal.

  • Ann-Marie

    I’m in a large metro area of the northeast and the congregation is 3000+. Non-demoninational evanglical. What attracted me to the place was the exubarance for Christ as I have grown up in a home where this wasn’t really allowed or part of the landscape. In these past two years, I’ve grown like a rocket in my love for others, my family at church, my biological family although it isn’t perfect (obviously), a sermon hasn’t gone by where I’ve felt I haven’t learned something new about my heart, or maybe a new affirmation of what was there for so long that feels really tender and true. My connection with the place, I thought, was real. My connection with the people I meet, I feel is real. Even when I talk about this pain with my brother, it is met with kindness, unjudgementalness, basically just an ear and a shoulder of support. The ministry is about families, but not family centric – a lot of times the message is about brokenness and returning from that. There are women and men in pastoral positions. But not so much couples. Some pastoral members, women and men, are singles. The younger singles ministry is good, vibrant. The older singles ministry (40s+) is a bit lacking in joy and direction, in my opinion.

    Anyhow, this issue has me questioning it all…. And it doesn’t feel so good.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Hi Ann-Marie,

    If you don’t mind me asking … What exactly is your conviction? .. I was assuming I knew but now realize that I am not sure ..

    Thanks

    Dave

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    Why is your brother engaging you and not every person he passes on the street? Because he wants your love and acceptance; but if he asks directly and you reject him, it results in too much pain. If those other people reject him, he can easily handle it.

    We are physically very vulnerable, so we put on clothes. In the winter, we pile them on. So he cloaks his need in these issues, because if you reject that outer layer, the inner layer of his being is still intact. He anticipates a blizzard, so he cloaks himself in layers and layers of rhetoric. Every time you talk to him, it gets worse, because in reaction to you, he has put on another protective layer. It is a strategy to protect himself from the devastation of your rejection.

    Listen. He us talking in metaphors without realizing it. Agree to everything you can. Promise to ponder the things you cannot. Admire his reasoning and his rhetorical skills, but the real issue is under those layers.

    If you have never referred to his husband as his husband, do it right away (is your husband going to join us? You are lucky to have such a great guy as your husband. Your husband must have been very proud of you when you…) Refer to their son as their son. Legally, he is. Talk to their son appropriately (you’re lucky to have two daddies, I only had one). That will eliminate the need for a lot of those debates.

    Imagine you have an aunt who objected to your marriage. She has always referred to your husband as “that man you are with.” Then suddenly she pleasantly calls him your husband. What effect would that have on you?

  • Ann-Marie

    If you don’t mind me asking … What exactly is your conviction? .. I was assuming I knew but now realize that I am not sure ..

    sure! my conviction is (when asked): “I feel it’s not exactly what God meant for us in relationship. But we are not to judge.”

    like I mentioned previously, the two sentences strung together might not make sense…since the first one sounds judgemental.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Ann-Marie,

    OK thanks .. I would also encourage you to log on to GCN and post about this in this section of the forum .. There is a slim chance that someone might challenge you on your convictions but I think it more likely that most will be pleased to hear that you want to have a good relationship with your brother.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • Ann

    Ann-Marie,

    Mary is a very credible person to listen to. She has experience that offers wisdom which imparts fairness to both you and your brother. I have observed her engaging, or trying to, with others who take the same coercive position your brother has. The responses she gets are very familiar to the ones you have gotten. She keeps trying, regardless of the bullying.

    You are not alone. What you are experiencing is quite common. I can only tell you to continue to remind yourself that each encounter with your brother is another opportunity to love him. Instead of placating his position, which is not fair, as it is insincere to both of you, I would suggest you point out his unwillingness to treat you fairly in your interactions – which has nothing to do with being gay – it has to do with him trying to control that which needs no controlling. Tell him how much it hurts you that he corners you into a position that has nothing to do with your relationship and how much you love him. Ask him if that is more important than loving you as a sister. I would tell him you need his love and that you are hurting without it. As far as the position you hold and how you related it to him in the past – ask him to forgive you for imposing an opinion on it and that it no longer matters to you – only your relationship with him now matters. You can continue to put band-aids on an open sore if it works for both of you. I am only offering a suggestion that transcends any issue of being gay and directly goes to what is hurting you – the way he treats you.

    I am sure this can be perceived by others as a selfish way to look at your position, however, it also gives your brother the power to look outside of himself and love you the same way he wants to be loved. I think that is worth trying.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    The singles ministry is a ghetto. It cuts them off from the rest of the church. it conveys the subliminal message that they are unclean unless they are married. Widows and widowers have the same distress. None of them know the real cause of the malaise.

    In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave or free… Except in the Sunday school program. I think structuring it around age and marital status is a colossal mistake.

    I talked with a man who is a member of the men’s group at our largest church downtown. He started talking about the gay men’s group at his church. Before I could finish anticipating homophobia, I found out his concern: the two men’s groups were separate. He wanted the two groups to merge.

  • Ann-Marie

    Harvey,

    Thank you. I understand the layers you mention.

    I’ll work on this – he’s on the west coast, I’m on east coast so we don’t see each other in real life. But I’m hoping there will be conversations in the future on the phone at least. There has been nearly 0 communication in over a year except for a few very angry emails (on his part) and very defensive emails (on my part) in the last few weeks. I’m making a trip to California for work in April …I’m hopeful this can be turned into a reunion. We’ll see.

    When I think about my theology, which I admit, is pretty conservative, I think, why do I hold to a conservative view of the scripture? Well, to me, when I start to break down everything into it being only meant for this time, or only under this circumstance, or this part or that part not being applicable today, then even the person of Jesus begins to morph. Maybe I’m weak in my faith. I’m not sure what makes some of us like this and some of us not.

    But I think about gays and why is it I have this “conviction”? Jesus never mentioned anything about gay relationships. The only thing we really can draw on from scripture is in Romans 1. And there is hot debate over the true meaning of this. Do we take it literally (conservatively)? Or do we see it only as Paul’s writing to a specific situation in a specific context?

    I’d rather err on the side of acceptance and love, especially when it comes to my brother on this one. It doesn’t mean I have to question everything, but this is something worth taking a long, hard look at.

  • Ann-Marie

    Ann,

    Thank you for offering another view on this. I noticed your using the word “bullying”, this is very much how this can feel. But I see beneath it, as Harvey mentioned, that it is hiding fear of rejection and hurt.

    As far as the position you hold and how you related it to him in the past – ask him to forgive you for imposing an opinion on it and that it no longer matters to you – only your relationship with him now matters.

    This is good. I do feel sorry for imposing an opinion. I felt I had to take one in a situation where he pressed. Now I know I don’t have to do that.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    Why are you wrestling with your convictions about other peoples’ relationships with God? God won’t judge us until all the evidence is in, and it isn’t in yet. Scripture says that God has changed His mind a couple of times, so your convictions about other people are a waste of time, and unless God is going to ask you to advise Him, they don’t matter.

    Keep your eyes on your own paper. Don’t start grading other peoples’ papers. The exam isn’t over. The best way to help other people with their exams is to love and accept them, because that is the assignment on which you are being tested.

    Just love your brother and leave those convictions up to our loving and merciful God.

  • Ann

    But I see beneath it, as Harvey mentioned, that it is hiding fear of rejection and hurt.

    Ann-Marie,

    Yes, I think most people would recognize this. We all have this issue to some degree and no one is immune to it. That is why it is important for your brother to treat you in a way that is safe, just as it is for you to treat him the same way. From this safe environment, really any conversation can take place with civility and respect and, most important, love that is actually felt and transcends any personal position on any topic.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    Read Romans 1 carefully. In the center of his argument he is talking about adult heterosexuals who abandon their heterosexual sexual practices for homosexual ones and the reason they do this is because they worshipped idols. (“Nature” is not an ideal state for Paul. It is the way things would be if nothing interfered. He talks about the natural man, which is not a desirable state. So he means that heterosexuality is normal for these people, but the did homosexual things, which are not.) In a slightly larger context, he is describes the further moral decay, which means homosexual activity isn’t the worst thing they did.

    In the full context of chapter 1, Paul is talking about what happens to people who go into fertility cults. If Paul were talking about gays, he would be saying that people become gay in adulthood as a result of worshipping idols, which is not true.

    In chapter 1 he talks about the futility of fertility cults (gentiles) and in chapter 2 about the futility of trying to be saved by the Law of Moses (Jews). This sets up his audience for salvation by faith in Christ.

    Romans 1 is not about sex. He does say that people who get involved in cults often get involved in sex acts they otherwise would not do, which is peripheral to his argument. And it is true today. Almost any cult involves kinky sex.

  • Ann-Marie

    Harvey,

    Thank you …would you please rephrase this? I’m having a hard time following:

    “Nature” is not an ideal state for Paul. It is the way things would be if nothing interfered. He talks about the natural man, which is not a desirable state. So he means that heterosexuality is normal for these people, but the did homosexual things, which are not.

  • Mary

    Be careful with this scripture. Many, many have fought over the idea of whether or not homosexuality was a natural (and therefore acceptable) condition. Some believe that homosexuality is quit natural but that we live in a fallen world. So while it exists, it does not mean the God wants us to partake of it. Others feel that since it is natural then God must approve of it otherwise he would not make people so.

    My own opinion does not really matter. What matters is the awareness of different views.

  • Richard Willmer

    All this stuff about ‘Christians being persecuted for their beliefs’ makes me very annoyed.

    The possibility of persecution for truly Christian beliefs is to be accepted ‘part of the package’ of being a Christian; conversely, Christians have no ‘right’ whatsoever to persecute others.

    These self-pitying, whining heretics who ‘gay bash’ are a disgrace to the Church.

  • Ann-Marie

    The singles ministry is a ghetto. It cuts them off from the rest of the church. it conveys the subliminal message that they are unclean unless they are married.

    I don’t know…I think single ministries can be a descent thing. Ours is sort of a ghetto though.

    Except in the Sunday school program. I think structuring it around age and marital status is a colossal mistake.

    You also mention Christ’s blindness to our gender …so what about men’s groups? I don’t know, I think these kinds of groups can have merit and use in some ways. If there’s insinuation that someone is less than someone else in God’s eyes, then that’s a different issue.

  • Ann-Marie

    Richard,

    The possibility of persecution for truly Christian beliefs is to be accepted ‘part of the package’ of being a Christian; conversely, Christians have no ‘right’ whatsoever to persecute others.

    I am assuming you are aiming your annoyance at me (maybe others too). But I don’t understand what you’re saying! Please clarify!

  • Mary

    Christians being persecuted for their beliefs’ makes me very annoyed.

    Me too! Except I probably see it from the otherside. LOL!!!!

    It’s just that gays have for so long tauted themselves as the tolerant society and then smack Christians with rhetoric when we believe differently than they do – even if we are not persecuting them.

  • Richard Willmer

    No No No, Anne-Marie! I’m referring to those who tell lies about gay people in order to incite suspicion and hatred. These people (organisations) are wrong to do so. Period.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with Christians challenging selfish or abusive behaviour wherever it may occur, but this must never be done in a manner that promotes hatred or involves spreading slanderous accusations against others.

    As for ‘gays tauting themselves as tolerant’: I consider that understandable in many ways, given the fact that gay people have been and are so often the object of violent malice in speech and action (did you know that there was a homophobic killing in London – yes, LONDON [not Uganda, not Saudi Arabia, not Iran, but London] – earlier this month, by the way?). Of course, there are those who are not so ‘tolerant’ of people who disagree with same-sex activity / relationships – but, again, I consider that ‘understandable’, given both historical and current ‘reality’.

  • Harvey

    Anne-Marie

    I typed that on an iPad without a keyboard. Best thing is to look up “nature” and “natural” in a concordance and read the context where it appears. It only appears ten times in the epistles in the NRSV. In modern English, “nature” is an ideal state. In koine Greek, “nature” means the way things would be if nothing had interfered, and the change could be good or bad. For example, in Romans 11:24, Paul uses a metaphor to say that gentiles are grafted on the vine contrary to nature. Paul doesn’t mean that gentiles converting to Christianity is unnatural in our sense (that is, a bad thing), but that it doesn’t happen without outside help. He also says that the natural man is transformed into the spiritual man, in which case “natural” is the starting point, not an ideal state.

    In this case, Paul says that people engaged in sexual practices that they would never have engaged in if they had not joined the cult. The people who were naturally heterosexual performed homosexual acts contrary to their nature.

    An example would be Jim Jones of Jonestown fame. At the height of his cult, right before they went to South America, he was having sex with men in the congregation. He didn’t do it for the sex, he did it to assert dominance. If the cult hadn’t been developed, those activities never would have happened.

    I agree about men’s groups. I was relating a conversation to make a different point.

    Mary

    I have to quote and interpret Scripture every day, that is my job. My purpose in analyzing this passage for Anne-Marie is not to give her ammunition for an argument, but to settle things in her own mind. You are right, she won’t get anywhere if she uses it in an argument, because people have free will and can refuse to be convinced. This isn’t just about Bible interpretation: it applies to science, sociology, astronomy, history, and every other kind of intellectual endeavor. Some people even think they have a choice of realities. A person who does not want to be convinced cannot be convinced by any evidence on any subject, let alone the Bible.

    Anne-Marie is looking for a way to settle this issue in her own mind about Romans 1. I can show here a way out of her dilemma, and she is open to it. She will not reject what I say out of hand, but she will consider my argument on its merits and make a good decision one way or the other.

    I have convinced hostile audiences of that interpretation, but that’s not my purpose here. If you aren’t Anne-Marie, you can let your eyes glaze over.

    Richard

    No one, Christian or otherwise, is being persecuted for their beliefs. They are being prevented from using their beliefs to do harm. We are all entitled to our own beliefs, even if they are absurd, and we are allowed to live by our own beliefs. We cannot impose our beliefs on others, and we cannot use our beliefs as an excuse to harm others, because that robs them of the right we enjoy, that is, to have our own beliefs.

    No one has the right to be immune from criticism.

    The complaint is narcissistic and invalid. They are complaining that their right to swing their fist doesn’t allow them to hit someone else’s jaw. Reprehensible.

  • ken

    To Ann-Marie

    I’d like to pose a question about your religious beliefs, something for you to think about (perhaps discuss with you church members as well):

    Do you truly believe in a god that would give a person the desire for love and intimacy (both emotional and sexual), and yet cruelly condemn that person to never be allowed to act on those feelings?

    If others wish to respond that’s fine, but if you mindlessly quote leviticus, you will be ignored.

    As for dealing with your brother, I suggest telling him that you are still trying to understand and looking for answers, and that it would be more helpful if he gave his love and guidance rather than angry condemnation because you don’t say what he wants to hear.

  • Richard Willmer

    Perhaps I should clarify my point about ‘selfish or abusive behaviour’. My own view is that there are same-sex relationships which are NOT ‘selfish and/or abusive’; there is also ‘heterosexual’ behaviour that IS either or both of these things.

    I think I did say earlier that there is a range of views on how same-sex relationships should be ‘viewed’ within the ‘Universal Church’. I hold the view that there is no ‘blanket condemnation’ of same-sex relationships in the Bible: a careful reading of the small number of passages that (purport to) deal with ‘homosexuality’ leaves me in little or no doubt of this – especially when linguistic, textual and historical analyses have been ‘applied’. I understand that others hold a different view, and also understand that they are at liberty to do so. The key DIFFERENCE with those Christians who ‘hold a different view’ to my own, and those who are worthy of ending up on a ‘hate list’, is that the latter usually actually depart from Scripture and make up a whole bunch of other stuff … which people like Warren are now telling us is a load of rubbish (e.g. gay people are more likely to abuse children – something that recent UK statistics suggest is absolutely NOT the case)!

  • Richard Willmer

    Harvey

    To clarify: I was objecting to the claims of those who complain of persecution, when they are not experiencing the same. I was also pointing out that Christians (of all people) should EXPECT persecution – Jesus made that very clear.

    I absolutely agree that ‘using one’s beliefs in a way that is likely to lead to the deliberate harming of others’ is indeed reprehensible. This is not the same as ‘disagreeing’, of course – a distinction on which we all agree, I think.

  • Harvey

    Richard

    We’re on the same wavelength. The most common complaint I have heard is that if gay people have equal rights, they will become unpopular if they revile them, they will no longer be able to spread lies about them, and they will no longer be able to fire them for no reason at all, and they will no longer be able to deny them services or care. This is worse than claiming to be persecuted when they are not being persecuted. It is claiming to be persecuted by people they oppress. It makes me angry to hear it.

    If only Jesus had registered “Christian” as a trademark and would sue them for improper use.

  • Richard Willmer

    Harvey

    Fortunately, perhaps, those in the UK who ‘revile’ gay people are already unpopular! Perhaps we in Europe have more ‘reason’ (given our violent recent history) to be inclined strongly to oppose those who slander, or advocate unjust discrimination against, minority groups.

  • Ann-Marie

    To Ken,

    Thank you for the helpful ideas on how to approach my brother. I think this is going to be some part of my approach. I don’t want to continue this dialog with him now or ever, though. I really want to take the “I’m just not interested in this conversation” approach and try to move on. Not that I don’t think this topic is worthy of more thought and discussion, but that I don’t trust my brother to have a conversation with me that would be hurtful and reflect tolerance of my “learning” anything. And I’m not acting the victim because he has every right to be angry with me.

    I know what the right answer is – I love him, I want to be forgiven for imposing an opinion – I want to have a relationship with him. I don’t know if that’s going to be a possibility, but I’ll try. And regardless of what happens, I’ll work on forgiving myself for having said anything in the first place

    No, our God is love, not cruelty.

    To Harvey

    I understand the point you’re making about Romans here and it coincides with my gut instinct about us all. But this might just be my overly guilt-ridden view of who we are falls so short, in so many ways, of what we were made to be. No one is exempt….My mind is resting easier just from all of what everyone here has said. I don’t want to ever fool myself into thinking I’m getting a balanced set of opinions when indeed things are skewed, …but I feel I am… I’m closer to being able to approach my dear brother. He scares the crap out of me.

  • Richard Willmer

    The Romans passage, which ‘extends’ into Chapter 2 (this must never be forgotten!), is worthy of very careful scrutiny. It is the ONLY passage in the New Testament that could possibly be understood to be some kind of ‘blanket condemnation’ (for want of a better phrase) of same-sex relationships. (The I Corinthians passage is sometimes used as such, but much scholarly opinion puts this down to a problem of mistranslation.)

    My interpretation is something akin to Harvey’s; I’m not going to elaborate on that here.

  • Ann-Marie

    I absolutely agree that ‘using one’s beliefs in a way that is likely to lead to the deliberate harming of others’ is indeed reprehensible. This is not the same as ‘disagreeing’, of course – a distinction on which we all agree, I think.

    My brother wouldn’t agree with this! I’m quite sure he’d feel ‘disagreeing’ is just sugar-coating the voice of hate – the bigotry which leads gay teens to commit suicide, and power to the people who kill gays in Uganda and these things. This is a very tough argument to stand against. These things that are going on are reprehensible to the extreme. To feel I am lending power to these horrendous people, that I am not doing everything in my power I can to keep a dear child from taking their life…

  • Mary

    Maybe volunteering some time on the gay youth hotline will show your brother will help you.

  • Mary

    Sorry – will show your brother your intentions and help you in the course.

  • Richard Willmer

    Anne-Marie

    As far as one’s opinions and actions are concerned, there are always ‘priorities’. I know people that do not ‘approve’ of same-sex relationships, but who nevertheless regard fighting homophobia as the ‘priority’.

    (I don’t agree with every single ‘item’ in what is often presented the ‘gay equality agenda’, but, until/unless homophobia is ‘eradicated’ [as far as it can ever be], I have simply put those concerns ‘to one side’.)

  • Ann-Marie

    Mary

    This is a good idea. I’m going to be looking into volunteer opportunities – I have already found a legal rights organization focused on ending discrimination based on sexual orientation that has several volunteer programs. And although in some ways maybe, given the situation I am in… I wouldn’t be doing this totally to placate my brother, he doesn’t even need to know. But in part to honor him, the love I have for him and a way to extend love and support to our dear GLBT brothers, sisters and friends that are being treated unjustly, which is something every human should care about regardless of whatever theology or doctrine.

    Richard

    I completely understand what you mean on priorities. I have been thinking about how this priority idea should be applied to my own choice of church and congregation. My church, I feel, is a very loving place and has fostered immense growth for me on many levels and is continuing to do so. However, it doesn’t come on the list of GLBT lists of churches. But does this mean I have chosen poorly, or have chosen against the GLBT folks? It wasn’t really on the horizon at the time for me, a fervent love of Christ and an adherence to God’s word was what I wanted to be around and still do. There is no preaching or attitude that speaks against gays whatsoever, but according to some, there has been an awkward silence in this area. There really hasn’t been a stand one way or another since I’ve been there. I look around me, and am unsure if there are gay people there or not. I think there are, but I don’t ask.

    There has been a strengthening focus of ministry around justice — and I feel this is going to lead us into the area of GLBT issues. This winter, a course to address the subject directly is taking place – a course on reflecting God’s love for GLBT and how to heal injustices without compromising theology.

    Richard, your comments on priorities has me questioning about if GLBT issues should be a priority in choosing a congregation or church, and if so, how? I wouldn’t be a part of a church that condemns gays, but I guess I’m part of a church that is, as a congregation, up until now, has been pretty quiet in directly addressing the issue.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Ann-Marie,

    Trying to take sound bites of Romans is typically not a good idea. Paul takes a long time to make his points with the build up to those points often taking several chapters. The point of Romans 1 is Romans 2 and ultimately Romans 3 .…specifically Romans 3:23 re: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

    Looking a bit closer, the “therefore” of Romans 2:1 refers back to Romans 1’s list and basically says that if you know the list and point fingers of judgment at people because of it then you are bringing judgment on yourself because you show that you know the law. This principle pretty much speaks to those who have made a special point to vilify and pronounce judgment on gay and lesbian people especially when Paul goes on to say that it is God’s kindness and tolerance that brings people to repentance (NOT man’s judgment). Now there’s a lesson for the church. Paul goes on to say in Romans 2:14-15 that those who do not know the law ..(non Jews) show they know there is a moral code by their own conscience. This, again, builds to his main point that all have sinned and fallen short of what God wants (3:23).

    Trying to put the entire list under idolatry (though that is its immediate context in Romans 1) misses the point of what Paul is trying to say in Romans 2 and 3. Additionally, the massive list of Romans 1 which includes: envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice, gossip, slander, and disobedience to parents, does not suddenly become OK if you remove the idolatrous context. On the other hand, as Harvey has shared .. the word ‘natural’ often has a cultural context when Paul uses it .. (not a moral one) such as in his reference to a women’s hair length ( I Cor. 11:14-15). Additionally I know many gay couples who are neither idolatrous nor lusting after each other. The question of course is .. Does this then make it OK and blessed by God?

    As can be seen in this extremely brief analysis of Romans, there are many layers in what Paul writes and many insights we can gain in looking at the passage beyond just looking at what we might think it says about gay sexual relationships. If the church had spent as much time looking at some of these other insights as it did on this one point then certain Christian organizations would not be practicing things that have earned them a place on a hate group list.

    I think it is great that you have come to realize that the Christian moral question of same sex sexual relationships is not a simple one. It is something that Christians wrestle with. I personally believe that God in His grace provides safety and security for people to wrestle with it without fear of condemnation. And if they come to a different conclusion then you or I might come to, then I believe God’s grace covers that as well. There are endless issues that Christians disagree on in terms of morality and what God wants. The only thing I know of that could threaten a person’s relationship with God would be a willful choice of the heart to go against God. But that is a heart issue … it is not something we can absolutely determine from outward appearances

    Beyond all of this (and similar to what Richard above has said) .. why make this issue a priority with your brother at all? First priority in my mind would be that he would come to know Christ. The issue of whether same sex sexual relationships are what God wants is far down the road for him .. even for Christians it may not be a first priority with God.

    Some of what you say here implies that you find your brother intimidating. That’s a whole different issue as he should not intimidate or bully you into being untrue to your own convictions. However, I see nothing wrong with extending the same grace, kindness and patience to him that God is extending to Him. And I think you have gotten some good advice here on how to do that.

    May the Lord bless you and guide you as you continue forward in this,

    Dave

  • Ann-Marie

    Thank you, Dave. I am so grateful for the viewpoints expressed on here. I am learning so much…the errors in my ways of thinking, where I have let my brother down, where I have let myself down. I’m so grateful for God’s grace, that I get more chances to reflect that grace to others, and my brother as well regardless of how he is able to respond. He’s a gem in my heart, that’s all that matters. That’s all I want to feel.

  • Richard Willmer

    Anne-Marie

    Might it be useful to have a ‘quiet word’ with (one of) your pastor(s), or a church elder? I’m sure that you are where you are for a reason …

  • Ann

    Some of what you say here implies that you find your brother intimidating. That’s a whole different issue as he should not intimidate or bully you into being untrue to your own convictions. However, I see nothing wrong with extending the same grace, kindness and patience to him that God is extending to Him.

    Dave,

    I appreciate your insightfullness with this comment. For me, it is very important as I see them as two completely different issues. The verbal bullying can and does shut down and control conversation. Often, the person it is directed at is left injured and afraid to try again. I have seen it happen here and elsewhere too many times. Extending grace, kindness and patience toward each other, regardless of our convictions, comes first and is a very good foundation to begin from and focus on. I often wish when people get vicious with each other while defending their positions, that they could reach out and hold each other’s hands before continuining on – I think the conversation would be tempered and perhaps become tender and thoughtful and considerate and considerably less selfish and/or self centered. If this cannot be done physically, perhaps it is a good thing to keep in mind if the conversation gets contentous.

  • Ann-Marie

    I feel at this point, my heart has been convicted that I’ve taken an attitude that goes against the heart of Christ. In this for me, is learning where I’ve fallen, so, so short in my attitude. I’ve let myself down. I’ve let my Lord down. And of course, I’ve let my brother down. I don’t need to take any sort of stand on the issue of my brother’s or anyone’s sexuality among many, many other things. My conviction about what is God’s plan is really just judgment (and yes, probably bigotry). Simple as that. I see that. And although we can debate until the cows come home issues around sexual orientation, we all know for a fact, indisputable, what Christ feels about judgment. And this is the most important thing here. I have felt distance from God as I’ve been hurting over this, and honestly feel he’s breaking my heart for good reason. And I’m learning. More than ever I need forgiveness for making this horrible mistake.

  • Ann-Marie

    I wanted to say too, there is hope in this. I get to love my brother with a completely new love as I go through this.

  • Mary

    Ann Marie,

    It’s wonderful to see you write those words.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Hi Ann-Marie,

    I am wincing just a little bit at your harsh treatment of yourself. Only you know what words have been exchanged between you and your brother and whether those words have been loving or not coming from you.

    It is not passing judgment to have a conviction or a belief about the morals of this or that issue. It is what we do with those convictions and the length we take with them that can move us from the conviction / belief stage to the judgmental stage. Otherwise no one would be able to preach about anything and scripture would be at fault for pointing out our sins.

    Rather … the problem that Dr. Throckmorton has been pointing out on this blog is the length that Christians (yes.. Christians) have gone to in their expression of their beliefs / convictions .. re: phoney / distorted research … smear campaigns against a group of people …lies .. slander .. pronouncing judgment, and so forth. It is because of these bad and very visible actions that we must take great care in how we approach this. For some have already soured the milk … they have trampled the harvest .. and it will take healing from God and a great care and patience on our part .. to facilitate God’s redeemptive plan.. of which we are the ambassadors.

    Blessings to you as you work through this,

    Dave

  • Ann-Marie

    Thank you Ann.

    And thank you Dave. I do feel a bit in crisis mode right now about my faith, where beliefs end and judgment begins. And this is getting me to question my church, which I thought I love. But thinking about it, there isn’t any outward talking about gays and I feel it’s a place of love and acceptance. But maybe not. For example, there is some explicit language about marriage on the website for the church – and one of the items is about marriage is between “a man and a woman that choose to become husband and wife”. That’s not inclusive. Does that cross over from belief into the land of judgment? What is marriage in God’s eyes? Does Jesus talk about it being only for a man and a woman?

    Our God is one of love and forgiveness. I’m just hurting right now. A lot of things in question, I guess. It’s painful, it’s not easy, but maybe this is all for a good reason. I just wish I knew what it was and what I am supposed to do – am I supposed to leave my church? Redefine the parameters of my faith? Is my church gay-hateful?

  • Ann

    Anne-Marie,

    Please don’t think you have to have any or all of the answers. None of us do. Also, I agree with Dave about being easier on yourself.

    These words settled well into my heart and I think they are worth focusing on:

    It is not passing judgment to have a conviction or a belief about the morals of this or that issue. It is what we do with those convictions and the length we take with them that can move us from the conviction / belief stage to the judgmental stage. Otherwise no one would be able to preach about anything and scripture would be at fault for pointing out our sins.

  • Ann-Marie

    It is what we do with those convictions and the length we take with them that can move us from the conviction / belief stage to the judgmental stage.

    What do you think of a church that openly considers marriage between one man and one woman, and wouldn’t extend membership to a gay couple living together (or straight couple, for that matter). I’m pretty sure becoming a member would be difficult for an openly gay single person.

    I’m wondering if the church to which I belong HAS moved from the conviction/belief stage into the judgmental stage.

    What do you think?

  • Ann

    Anne-Marie,

    I think your church is entitled to a conviction and/or belief about any issue, however, if those convictions equate to exclusion in an way, then they have become a country club and not a church. My thoughts are if anyone wants to come to church for spiritual guidance and encouragement and fellowship, then they should be treated exactly the same way Jesus would treat them – with love and grace and encouragement.

  • Ann-Marie

    My thoughts are if anyone wants to come to church for spiritual guidance and encouragement and fellowship, then they should be treated exactly the same way Jesus would treat them – with love and grace and encouragement.

    …yes. I don’t think my church might fall into the country club category. I do not feel good about that. I think it is time for me to look into other churches…those that are gay affirming. Are there any suggestions for someone coming from an evangelical background? I was thinking of a Methodist church…

  • Ann-Marie

    I mean “yes” I DO think it falls into the country club category

  • Ann

    Anne-Marie,

    I don’t have any specific suggestions regarding churches except that I would look for one that is accepting of all people who come for spiritual connection, guidance, encouragement, and fellowship. If the message/sermon stirs something inside you and leaves you a better person than when you came in, and if it is able to bring out the best in you afterward, during the week, then I certainly think it is worth going back again. I wouldn’t put any expectations on the congregants as they are there for their own personl reasons and might not be the same as your’s. Their convictions on any issue might not be in sync with your’s and that is an area where grace can be extended between each other.

  • Richard Willmer

    Ann-Marie

    I would echo what Ann has said. A church family is (or should not be) not ‘defined’ by ‘party lines’ on specific issues; it is founded upon relationship – with God and each other.

    It may be that the church you currently attend can ‘grow’ in love, and you may be someone who can help to promote that growth. Sometimes churches can (or seem to) be a little ‘stuffy’, and a timely blast of fresh air, or some serious questioning of what appears to be ‘orthodox thought’, can lead to constructive change.

    Specifically on the issue of Marriage: the biblical and traditional view is as it is for good scriptural reasons, which is why many of us do not think in terms of ‘gay marriage’ (but prefer to think of such concepts as ‘civil partnerships’). However, the reality of life is that there seem to be people who, for whatever reason, are simply not – and maybe never will be – ‘the marrying kind’. But human dignity is something that all possess, and this (theological) truth must be respected by all who call themselves Christians. After all, the Incarnation of the Word (something we celebrate at Christmastide in particular) reminds us that all human persons have intrinsic dignity. It is also, I and many others believe, the case that gay people are no less capable than straight people of forming loving relationships – and many do.

  • Richard Willmer

    Whoops! My first paragraph should have been:-

    “I would echo what Ann has said. A church family is not (or should not be) ‘defined’ by ‘party lines’ on specific issues; it is founded upon relationship – with God and each other.”

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Hi Ann-Marie,

    I think your question has more of a gray answer than just having two choices. All churches have requirements for membership. In a broader sense membership signifies that the church believes that the individual(s) are members of God’s heavenly kingdom. However, membership in a local church also signifies that the individual(s) are in agreement with some of the basic tenants of that church or denomination (re: salvation by faith .. the trinity .. and so forth).

    I am a little surprised that your church has set certain moral views as requirements for membership. But they do seem to be consistent in their beliefs in that they are not setting aside a gay couple as a *special* case separate with how they would deal with a straight couple living together but not married. (Some might see some inconsistency here but I am looking at this in a general sense. And I am not talking here of whether we agree with the moral view expressed or not.)

    In summary, I do not know that I would label your church as judgmental. Churches do have a need to protect their belief system and accept people that honor that system otherwise the church loses its unique identity and expression of what it believes. How a church does that is always a source of tension between the need to be receptive to everyone and the need to make sure its members express the identity and general beliefs of the church in their way of life. Typically .. the more involved one is in church leadership .. the more expectations a church may have of them to agree with the morals and theology of that church both in faith and practice. This, especially with leadership, is not judgment. It is how a church chooses leaders that express its beliefs and identity.

    I think the question for you is whether you are comfortable with how your church expresses itself. Does if fall in a range that is acceptable to you? Only you can answer this question. It is a question, not of judgment, but of where you see yourself at this time in your life. Be aware that no church will be exactly where you want it to be. But is that their problem or yours? Are they challenging you to move from your position or is your life there a challenge to them to move from their position? Does God want you to stay there and be an influence from the inside or go elsewhere? Some folks are called out of certain churches by God … others are called to stay in certain churches by God. This is a matter of prayer and contemplation between you and God. No one else can answer this question for you.

    May the Lord direct you in this and all aspects of your journey,

    Dave

  • Ann-Marie

    Ann

    If the message/sermon stirs something inside you and leaves you a better person than when you came in, and if it is able to bring out the best in you afterward, during the week, then I certainly think it is worth going back again.

    I do feel my church gives this to me now…

    Richard

    It may be that the church you currently attend can ‘grow’ in love, and you may be someone who can help to promote that growth.

    I really feel this might be a positive outcome of all of this…I’m starting to talk about this with a lot of people and it’s been interesting. For example, the other day I talked with someone from my bible study group who I think falls a bit into the “stuffy” category. I began the conversation and his tone was harsh at first…but within an hour, by the end of the conversation he understood and was sincerely filled with support for loving my brother and seeing this issue from the perspective I was struggling. I know my brother might continue to see my attending this church and even the argument that I might be helping the church to grow in love as being in denial of my “bigotry”. But I guess I’ll continue to cross that bridge.

    Dave

    It is a question, not of judgment, but of where you see yourself at this time in your life. Be aware that no church will be exactly where you want it to be. But is that their problem or yours?

    I spent the morning yesterday with a friend, she’s relatively new to my church. And she helped me to see that people go to churches for all types of reasons. And that, something like what you’re saying, that a church might not have 100% of the things I need, but that doesn’t mean it’s invalid. I’m growing in faith, grace and love. My relationship with my family, although it seems pretty bad right now, is actually more love-filled than it’s ever been. It’s about love now, not about struggle or resentment. And she helped me to see that it might not be where I will always want to attend church, but that it might be right for now.

    She also helped me to see that the real focus needs to be on my relationship with my brother and healing things with him. That this will take time, but the answer doesn’t lay in changing churches, even if my brother might see it like that.

    I think the immediacy of all of this has come about because of the holidays and that I’m leaving for Africa for two weeks starting tomorrow. And the estrangement from my brother feels really difficult right now…as it should.

    Thank you all, so much, for helping me to work through this. I think back to where I was even a week ago and things have changed in my heart so much. There isn’t a quick fix to this, it’s so much more important than that at so many levels. The grey area I’m sitting in right now is painful, but so meaningful.

    Thank you again.

  • Ann-Marie

    I think the question for you is whether you are comfortable with how your church expresses itself. Does if fall in a range that is acceptable to you? Only you can answer this question. It is a question, not of judgment, but of where you see yourself at this time in your life. Be aware that no church will be exactly where you want it to be. But is that their problem or yours? Are they challenging you to move from your position or is your life there a challenge to them to move from their position? Does God want you to stay there and be an influence from the inside or go elsewhere? Some folks are called out of certain churches by God … others are called to stay in certain churches by God. This is a matter of prayer and contemplation between you and God. No one else can answer this question for you.

    Dave

    My unsettledness continues. Today I find myself feeling sad that I feel far from God. That the choice I am being put under, it seems, by my family is scaring me that I may not feel close to God again if I choose their path for me. My mother is irate, as is my brother about my choice in a church.

    I have to be honest, when I joined the church a year and a half ago, it was a no-brainer for me. I loved the place, I felt everyone there was unabashedly in love with Christ which made me feel so at peace, so at home. When I first told my mother about the church, she started questioning me on the gay issue. And there wasn’t anything I heard from the pulpit, the members of the congregation or in the membership class that had to do with gay people really one way or another. It just wasn’t on the radar for me in my decision for finding a church home. I figured there were gay people at the church and I had the sense there was a broad range of views on the topic, but it just didn’t call me as an issue. And now I’m doubting even my own perception, my own experience.

    But this has become a major issue. I think my brother vocalizing his incredible anger at me has scared me. And I’m scared of being scared. And my mother has joined him in this (although she has given a bit of a concession – “this is a _very_ important thing to your family, but you get to choose how you live your life Ann-Marie. It’s your life.”)

    I feel trapped in that if I stay in my church, I am dishonoring my family in their eyes, although I feel I have learned to love my family in an amazing new way that is a direct result from my faith growing which I see in connection to where I am currently hearing the message of love and hope every week. On the other hand, if I try and do right by my brother and mother and seek out a new church that would be more pleasing to them, I may be sacrificing aspects of my faith in the process – for example turning away from what has nourished me spiritually in order to help my family through this. And, as my mother has told me, it probably wouldn’t make a difference to my brother.

    It just seems there is something here more going on. I honestly can’t tell which way God is asking me to go.

    From the heart of Africa,

    Ann-Marie

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Hi Ann-Marie

    I am sorry to hear that you are having to face these difficulties. I am sensing an issue here separate and unique from the issues with understanding homosexuality and how you might respond. It seems your brother’s anger has an effect on your mother which then in turn collectively has an effect on you. There is nothing wrong with you. You have a right to choose any church you want to go to. I think that at some point you might consider finding someone you can trust .. an unbiased pastor or church leader or perhaps a trained counselor that you can sit down with and help you sort out your feelings. Also, you might find some insights in the following book: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.

    I do trust and believe that God is very near to you. He is leading you. He has led you through this time of growth and is still leading you. Be still and know that He is God. Find worshipful times of quietness to spend with God. I personally find reading the Psalms helpful for this but you might find other things that are helpful.

    Expect and allow yourself some time to work things out in your own heart and mind.

    May the Lord bless you and guide you as He leads you down these new paths,

    Dave

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  • sam

    Dear Warren,

    I was wondering how come you accept what SPLC and other liberal groups at face value, without even considering that they might be wrong? I went to FRC website, and found out that SPLC have misinterpreted their positions.