Christians behaving badly

LivePrayer’s Bill Keller really did not need to comment on a tragedy he knows nothing about, but he did.

In a press release out today, Keller used the suicide of 15 year old Jamie Hubley to go on a rant about gays.

Keller blames the victim, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres for the suicide, assuming that the boy was in distress because he had come out as gay.

Last Friday, a 15-year-old Ottawa boy Jamie Hubley, committed suicide after documenting his hardships of being “gay.” Liveprayer’s Bill Keller said that while the media wants to demonize anyone who dares call this CHOICE of sexual activity what God calls it in the Bible, a sin, it is those in the media who glamorize and promote this choice as normal and acceptable, along with gutless pastors too afraid to speak out against this sin, along with faux churches that glorify this deviant, unnatural, and unhealthy choice of sexual activity, who are most responsible for Hubley’s death.

Rants by fundamentalists about homosexuality are not really news, but this one is so noxious that it illustrates the growing gulf in the church between those who know something about homosexuality and those who don’t. The scholars, ministers and lay people who are making an attempt to understand the subject are moving in one direction and what is left are those who ignore abundant evidence to the contrary of their beliefs.

Recently, I was talking with a 20-something minister who told me that he had become disillusioned with the culture war machine, most clearly over homosexuality. He told me of his struggle to relate to a gay friend, because the friend was more devout in his Christianity than many of his straight Christian friends. His friend was nothing like the right wing stereotypes about “the gay lifestyle.” He also said he worked with some gay men and lesbians at a job where they talked freely about their lives. This young man told me about how common their descriptions were and how normal their families sounded.

He struggled because what he read and heard from evangelical leaders did not square with his own experience. He felt internal pressure to conform his attitudes to the conventional wisdom he was hearing and to disregard his direct experience. He also told me that he didn’t care what anyone said, he didn’t believe his friends could change their orientation, “any more than I can change mine,” he said.

I fear that the rants and rhetoric from those who seem threatened by social change will become more strident. Like a huge self-fulfilling prophecy, they will behave badly toward gays and others who disagree with them, and then they will use the natural reaction of those attacked as a proof of their righteous stance.

I just wish suicides by 15 year old kids could be left out of it.

  • Lynn David

    I wonder how steeped in confirmation bias his statistic are.

  • Lynn David

    I should have thanked you again, Warren.

    So, yeah, thanks.

  • Bernie

    Keller’s words are unconscionable.

  • StraightGrandmother

    From the Press Release=

    Over the past 20 years, Liveprayer has helped thousands of men and women make the choice to turn from the sin of homosexuality.

    “…it is those in the media who glamorize and promote this choice as normal and acceptable, along with gutless pastors too afraid to speak out against this sin, along with faux churches…”

    About Live Prayer: In 1999 Bill Keller launched LivePrayer.com. It has gone on to become the most successful online Christian ministry in the history of the internet. Each morning, Bill Keller’s Daily Devotional that he has written every morning for over 12 years is emailed to over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide. Information on Liveprayer is available at http://www.LivePrayer.com

    StraightGrandmother= First off LivePrayer is an internet ministry. Keller does not meet his followers in person, doesn’t look them in the eye. It is far different to sit on the internet and bang on a keyboard than to become a living breathing member of your community and come to know your congregants and their families. It is far different to condemn sexual minorities from the comfort of your home office than to be a Pastor who is counseling a person who s/he has known for 30 years. And then get up on Sunday and forcefully condemn homosexuality in your Sunday sermon.

    Sure is easy for him to call Pastors gutless since he never has to meet anyone face to face and the Pastors our out on the front lines. Additionally I blanched when I read about faux churches, how many weddings, baptisms first Communions confirmations funerals has he done over the internet. I am not saying he doesn’t have a ministry but he sure isn’t a “church.”

    I am with the young pastor you wrote about who says that he does not believe that people can change their sexual orientation. Do these 2 women appear to you to be able to change their sexual orientation? To walk away from each other and their child and go marry a man?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SouthernEquality#p/a/u/1/vU4mJ9uNiIU

    I cried yesterday for Jamie Hubley as I looked at that picture of him and his father. I just feel so so bad for these kids, every one of them breaks my heart. I sit in my home and cry for them, every single one. Then I think about the ones who are still living and what we can do to make their life better. For Keller to take the opportunity of a bullycide to lash out at sexual minorities is simply the lowest of the low, the lowest of the low. Easy for him to do, he has no congregants to face, it is just him, his keyboard and his monitor. What a bully Keller is, calling Pastors “gutless,” he is a Bully!

  • Pingback: A "Christian" Uses Gay Teen Suicide To Rant About The Liberal Media | Care2 Causes

  • ken

    I recall news articles about how younger people are leaving the churches (and christianity) because of guys like Keller. Not just the attitude about gays, but the whole, “believe exactly as I do or you are condemned to hell” attitude.

    And articles like this don’t exactly improve the impression about christians intelligence either.

  • http://johnshore.com John Shore

    Good job, Warren. Great piece.

  • Jayhuck

    I just wish suicides by 15 year old kids could be left out of it.

    I do too.

  • Patrocles

    “I fear that the rants and rhetoric from those who seem threatened by social change will become more strident. ”

    The best solution would be to protect those people from social change. Nobody ought to be the victim of enforced social change, if it can be avoided.

    Warren, I don’t doubt that a lot of American gay guys are nice and decent people indvidually.

    On the other hand, gays have allowed the culture industry to make them token figures in a culture war between traditionalists and modernizers. (That wasn’ always so, it began in the sixties.) And that culture war is fought aggressively by both sides.

    So where’s the organized gay voice who declares: We take no side in the culture war; “not in our name” are traditionalists attacked? Where is the “gay task force for the preservation of traditional lifestyles”?

    An organized and practical, not only rhetorical, example of support may make a difference, even if we aren’t strong enough to protect people effectively.

  • Richard Willmer

    (John Shore : I’ve just pinched something from your website: that rather splendid reflection by Pastor Bob on Atheists … hope you don’t mind.)

  • stephen

    Can this person be even counted as Christian? Seriously. I know he shrieks about his faith but judging by his website he seems more UFOlogist. Among other choice indicators of delusional paranoia is a picture of the president bearing the caption ‘God’s Enemy’. Beside it is a picture of the president with Hitler. I’d heard the silly stories about Hillary replacing Joe Biden for the next election but wasn’t aware they’d decided to go with Adolf instead.

    If I were running Jonah I’d ask for the banner ad to be taken down.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Following up on stephen’s suggestion perhaps the title should read,

    “Christians” behaving badly

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWFc6hXYCA

    Which is why I think religion is superstition, and don’t believe in gods.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I hate it when people put quotes around words identifying important identifiers about me or people like me. Like when people talk about the “marriages” or “families” of gay people. Or when we’re called gay “Christians”. I hate it when people like Keller belittle my faith and my family. I don’t support the belittling of his own faith identity.

  • sam

    Warren,

    I don’t understand why are you being troubled by Pastor Keller’s comments? What he does is stating his beliefs about that the practice of homosexuality will not bring people joy and happiness, but most likely bring depression that might lead to suicide.

    Do you now believe that the practice of homosexuality and societal approval of it, will actually make lives of openly gay people emotionally healthy and happy?

  • StraightGrandmother

    I offer another example of Christian behaving badly.

    http://minnesotaindependent.com/89988/archdiocese-plans-anti-gay-marriage-committees-in-every-minnesota-catholic-church

    Archbishop John Nienstedt sent a letter to every priest in the state at the start of October urging them to put every Catholic church in Minnesota tow work passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    “It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the Church’s teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of the amendment,” the letter read. It went out on Oct. 4 to every priest in the state.

    The archbishop said it wants priests in every parish to identify a “church captain” in order to create an “ad hoc committee” in every church in the state. The “church captain” is a component of the Schubert Flint strategy used in 2008?s divisive Proposition 8 battle in California.

    I think this is very bad behavior. The Roman Catholic Church is trying to force it’s doctrine into our civil laws and they are organizing political action committees to get it done. I have no problem (although I don’t agree) with the RCC preaching from their pulpits how their believers should live their lives. I have a problem when the RCC works politically, Church Captains, to tell everyone how to live their lives and to deny Equal Civil Rights to all citizens, and they are working in our democratic system to achieve their supremacist goal. Adult citizens citizens have the Liberty to choose their own destiny and not be forced to live under the RCC doctrine. IMHO this is bad behavior.

  • Teresa

    SG, thank you for the link. Quite eye-opening. I’m a Catholic, who would really like the all-male priesthood, hierarchy to spend their time, money, and effort cleaning their own house. Of course, that’s not likely to happen; so, guess what folks, they’ll offer their parishioners a political ‘distraction’.

    YIPPEE!! Gentlemen, start your engines.

  • Teresa

    Jon Trouten said:

    I hate it when people put quotes around words identifying important identifiers about me or people like me. Like when people talk about the “marriages” or “families” of gay people. Or when we’re called gay “Christians”. I hate it when people like Keller belittle my faith and my family. I don’t support the belittling of his own faith identity.

    Jon, John Corvino summed it up nicely in a talk:

    Heterosexual people have relationships, gay people have sex. Heterosexual people have lives, gay people have lifestyles. Heterosexual people have a moral vision, gay people have an agenda.

    It’s rather annoying to me, to say the least.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I thought about what you wrote Jon T as far as “Christians” I didn’t respond for a while because I was thinking about it. I think you are right. But I gotta say it is hard for me to not do it in this instance with Keller, such an obviously non-Christian uncharitable thing to write, he actually he exploits a bullycide. It is SO unChristian it really does deserve the “Christian” scare quotes, but even though it is deserved, we should rise above and not do it. I guess you are right Jon T.

  • sam

    I tend to avoid using the word “lifestyle”, I say that both gay and straight people have relationships.

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    I don’t understand why are you being troubled by Pastor Keller’s comments? What he does is stating his beliefs about that the practice of homosexuality will not bring people joy and happiness, but most likely bring depression that might lead to suicide.

    Wow! LOL! Really? You believe this?

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    Unfortunately for you, gay people have been living happy, fulfilling and openly-gay lives for the past 50, or more, years – at least in this country and possibly longer in others. What society has done is make it easier for gay people to have “normal” lives here in the U.S..

  • sam

    Well, to be honest with you, I grew up in northern New Jersey, a very liberal part of the country, free of the so-called Christian Right environment, and I’ve known quite a few young gay men who felt depressed after being sexually active. I had to pull my 2 friends out of detox twice. It always made me wonder, if being out and proud is a such a wonderful thing, especially in New York/New Jersey area, where everybody is pretty much tolerant, then why people who practice homosexuality still feel very lonely and depressed?

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 20, 2011 at 2:22 am

    “Warren,

    I don’t understand why are you being troubled by Pastor Keller’s comments? What he does is stating his beliefs about that the practice of homosexuality will not bring people joy and happiness, but most likely bring depression that might lead to suicide. ”

    Probably because Keller’s beliefs are based on misinformation and falsehoods, not facts. And his stating them like he did gives christians a bad name. So it is important for other christians to speak out and say “No, that is wrong and not how I believe christians should behave.”

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 21, 2011 at 2:16 am

    “why people who practice homosexuality still feel very lonely and depressed?”

    What does “practice homosexuality” mean exactly?

    And you have never known of any people who “practice heterosexuality” who have felt lonely and depressed?

  • sam

    Practice mean in a sexual way. Btw, Keller speaks as a pastor not as a scientist. Many, but not all, Christians believe that the Bible says that the practice of homosexuality is against God’s will thus will not bring peace and joy to those who practice it. It is a very famous, though not popular, religious belief, and I think that pastors who share it in the public should not be condemned.

  • Teresa

    Practice mean in a sexual way. Btw, Keller speaks as a pastor not as a scientist. Many, but not all, Christians believe that the Bible says that the practice of homosexuality is against God’s will thus will not bring peace and joy to those who practice it. It is a very famous, though not popular, religious belief, and I think that pastors who share it in the public should not be condemned.

    sam, I I understand you correctly, pastors who share in public the gay persons who indulge in sex (how they would know that, person by person, is beyond my comprehension … I suspect they think anyone who is homosexual is ‘practicing’ sex) … anyway, pastors who share in public their condemnation of these persons, should not themselves be condemned.

    Is this what you’re saying, sam? You can condemn me in public, sam; but, I can’t condemn you in public. Right?

  • Teresa

    Bad typing today: The First Sentence in above Comment should read:

    Sam, If I understand you correctly, pastors who share in public that gay …

  • sam

    I don’t see the criticism of homosexual sex alone, is not condemnation of homosexual individuals. The opposite appears very illogical. I also think that pastors need to be careful how they say it, so they wouldn’t appear like they are condemning the individuals. Many religious people have made this mistake. However, in this particular case, I see that pastor Keller was trying to criticize the positive portrayal of gay relationships in the media, which, in his opinion, sends a negative message to the youth.

  • sam

    Oh, I meant to say that I don’t see the criticism of homosexual sex alone as a condemnation of homosexual individuals. Sorry.

  • Blake

    “I fear that the rants and rhetoric from those who seem threatened by social change will become more strident. Like a huge self-fulfilling prophecy, they will behave badly toward gays and others who disagree with them, and then they will use the natural reaction of those attacked as a proof of their righteous stance.”

    Warren, I share your fear. I think we’re seeing the beginnings of this new dynamic reflected in the incident in Illinois (what with LeBarabara & Lively living at the forefront of behaving badly toward gays for quite some time now). Do you have any suggestions on how to stop this fear from becoming reality?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Ken =

    And you have never known of any people who “practice heterosexuality” who have felt lonely and depressed?

    StraightGrandmother= ROTFLMAO

  • sam

    Of course, I’ve known people who practiced heterosexuality but felt lonely and depressed but not as much as those who practiced homosexuality. I don’t know the reason for that.

  • stephen

    Sam, I don’t believe you know any gay people.

    However, in this particular case, I see that pastor Keller was trying to criticize the positive portrayal of gay relationships in the media, which, in his opinion, sends a negative message to the youth.

    Because clearly you have no conception how outrageously offensive this is.

  • sam

    Ken,

    I know quite a few gay people and, in my observation they are so feelings-oriented which sometimes surpasses logical reasoning.

    Speaking of feelings, I know that many gays take a huge offense at hearing religious beliefs condemning homosexual relationships and I know that there are Christians who take huge offense by the sight of Prides parades, and it makes me wonder why our society is promoting an ideology that the feelings of the former are more important than the feelings of the latter?

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    “Ken,

    I know quite a few gay people and, in my observation they are so feelings-oriented which sometimes surpasses logical reasoning. ”

    Actually, I think you maybe be confusing me with Stephen. However, based on the comments you’ve made, while you may know some gay people, I imagine you don’t know them that well.

    “I know that many gays take a huge offense at hearing religious beliefs condemning homosexual relationships and I know that there are Christians who take huge offense by the sight of Prides parades, and it makes me wonder why our society is promoting an ideology that the feelings of the former are more important than the feelings of the latter?”

    So you can’t see any distinction in these 2 cases you give? Nothing that might indicate why the offense taking by the gays is different than that by the christians? I’ll give you a hint, there is a key word you actually used (in the above paragraph I quoted) that highlights the difference in these 2 cases. Lets see if you can pick it out though.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    LOL I love it. He’s basically saying gays are too hysterical to be logical.

    I guess as a woman I’m doubly damned. When I’m not being rendered incapable of logical thought by my menstrual cycle, I’m being rendered incapable of logic by my gayness!

  • stephen

    I think we have a troll. It being near Hallowe’en and all. That’s just too silly to be real. Unless Warren titled this thread more accurately than even he would know.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Yeah, I think your’e right stephen. This is the variety known as “concern troll.” They pretend to be all centrist and “both sides need to be represented” but actually they’re as fringy as the rest of ‘em.

    why can’t people just be themselves?

  • Patrocles

    Personally, I’ve lived first a gay life and then a straight life, and I wasn’t very happy in either of them. Supposedly, because I just haven’ the gift to lead a happy life. (Indeed, when I decided to change for a straight lifestyle, I had just worked that out, and so I wasn’t expecting too much of it.)

    So there’s at least one gay man – myself – who never takes offense if he hears a preacher speak about homosexuals being unhappy. (In fact I’ve given up taking offense at all. It isn’t necessary.) Only, I would recommend to those preachers: Don’t promise your hearers too much happiness from a straight life.

  • Patrocles

    Correction,

    taking offense – and in partucar feeling “collectively insulted” as a member of a collective – is not only unnecessary. It’s a bad habit which has become fashionable. But I hope it will become outdated some time.

  • Frank

    Sam, what we do know about young people as a whole is that they abstain from sex and drug use if and only if they believe they have a future.

    What traditional Christianity and Judaism tell young gay people is that if they every have sex, they deserve to be murdered (see Leviticus) and damned to hell ( see the writings of Paul). Moreover, traditional religion militates against gay people having a life partner and even employment.

    The Pastor makes his living and feeds himself by pushing gay Christian youth to suicide. He’s not human; he is a ghoul.

    As for your offended feelings, my advice to you is to grow a thick skin. I’ve been called everything from child molester to sodomite by Christians.

    As for the lack of logic shown by gays, you have to be kidding. Some of the greatest logicians and philosophers who ever lived were gay. One of the most recent was Alan Turing, the father of computer science, without whose contributions you would be unable to spread your bile.

    As for anti-gay Christians, they blame everything from earthquakes and hurricanes to war and economic problems on the existence of gays. They are no better than the savages who called children born during thunderstorms “cursed” and killed them. They are a detriment to society.

  • Frank

    Patrocles,

    Why go to a witch doctor for a medical condition?

  • sam

    Patrocles gave an excellent account on the issue at hand. That’s what pretty much I wanted to say. The Levitical law has been fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, thus there is no need for the death penalty for anybody. The whole concept of Christianity is that people need to believe that the death of Jesus Christ has forgiven them for our sins, and the faith will influence us to live godly lives and abstain from sinful behaviors.

    I am aware of Alan Turing, the inventor of computers, but he is an exception from the gay community, he was a genius. I found more gay people to be more sensitive than logical reasoning oriented.

  • Lynn David

    sam…… I am aware of Alan Turing, the inventor of computers, but he is an exception from the gay community, he was a genius. I found more gay people to be more sensitive than logical reasoning oriented.

    Talk about irresponsibly pigeonholing a class of people without real cause.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    How about Leonardo Da Vinci? He was not only artistically brilliant but also scientifically brilliant. And he was gay.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K
  • sam

    There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, but extreme sensitivity could make people develop a very thin skin. People with thin skin usually have difficulties dealing with life’s problems.

  • Frank

    Sigmund Freud: Letter to a Mother of a Homosexual

    Dear Mrs. X

    I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you, why do you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function produced by certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest among them (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and cruelty too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

    By asking me if I a help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way, we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies which are present in every homosexual, in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of the treatment cannot be predicted.

    What analysis can do for your son runs in a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind that he should have analysis with me (I don’t expect you will!!) he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don’t neglect to give me your answer.

    Sincerely yours with kind wishes,

    Freud

    P.S. I did not find it difficult to read your handwriting. Hope you will not find my writing and my English a harder task.

    Source:

    Freud, Sigmund, “Letter to an American mother”, American Journal of Psychiatry, 107 (1951): p. 787.

  • sam

    These individuals are uniquely gifted. Da Vinci was also a genius.

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    “I found more gay people to be more sensitive than logical reasoning oriented.”

    I suspect this is more a case of you seeing what you want to see than what is actually there. You’ve demonstrated you have a propensity to do that in the Things get ugly in Illinois discussion.

  • Mary

    This thread is disturbing. It used to be that people from various viewpoints could blog here but now it seems if you have a viewpoint that the GLBT community does not like then that person is called a troll. Disturbing. No you cannot vary from a viewpoint least you be called a name – sort of like a bullying tactic to me.

    I certainly won’t make comments to the contrary if I’m going to come to this blog and be called names.

  • Frank

    sam,

    Dr. C. Evelyn Hooker conducted a study of gay men in the 1940′s and 1950′s to challenge the then popular hypothesis (H1) that gay men have a pervasive pathology in their emotional nature which interferes with every day life. Note that H1 is essentially your hypothesis. Hooker’s null hypothesis (H0) was that gay men did not differ in a quantifiable way from straight men in every day life (e.g. decision making). She then tested gay and straight men according to the best standardized psychological tests of the day and used the tests in a blind study with psychologists were considered experts on homosexuality and had those experts classify test subjects.

    The so-called experts proved to be no more accurate in classification than a random classifier. Hence H0, the hypothesis that gay men function as well as straight men could not be rejected.

    Now, I’m certain that you’ll ignore this study or dismiss it out of hand. That will say much more about the anti-intellectualism of many so-called Biblical Christians, who routinely dismiss systematic studies because the personal opinion of a Biblical Christian backed up with a few irrelevant Bible quotes trumps any careful systematic study of any subject.

    Now that’s illogical.

  • Richard Willmer

    I cannot see any Biblical text that suggests that gay people per se are in any way intrinsically less ‘moral’ than heterosexual persons. The very few texts that purport to deal with ‘homosexuality’ can be interpreted in a number of ways. In the New Testament, the most interesting, and – perhaps – important, reference to ‘homosexuality’ is that in Romans 1. When I read that chapter (which should never be ‘isolated’ from the chapter immediately following it), what strikes me about the text is that what is actually being condemned is not a particular sexual behaviour, but attitudes and behaviours that lead to people becoming prey to “envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.” (v. 29)

    The truth, as it appears to be the case, to ‘experts’ and non-experts’ alike, that there are many gay people who are not filled with “envy, murder, …“, and some straight people who are. This suggest to me and to many other Christians that it is not same-sex relationships per se that are being ‘condemned’ here.

    And the O.T.? Well, what is it says about God must always be subordinated to the Revelation – as Christians believe – of God in Christ. It is no accident – but rather a fundamentally Christian expression of belief about the nature of God – that, in the Mass, the most important Scripture is that from one of the Gospel accounts. Some ‘Bible-believing Christians’ say that there is no ‘pecking order’ when it comes to the various parts of the Bible. I could not disagree with them more!

  • Frank

    Richard,

    What strikes me about Paul’s letter to the Romans is that he claims homosexuals were cursed by God with homosexuality for not believing in Him. This very same curse results in daily temptation that God can then use as an excuse for damning them.

    It is, in essence, the license that Christians have for treating gays as not only morally suspect but less than human.

    I would counter that Paul persecuted (that’s a euphemism for “mass-murdered” Christians) but was born again to mark 5% of the human race for a life a persecution and frequently violent death followed by damnation. BUT CHRISTIANS AREN’T PERFECT JUST FORGIVEN.

  • Richard Willmer

    Frank

    Saint Paul was a ‘man of his time’ – just we are ‘men of our time’. I could never, as a Christian, underestimate his courage and vision. That would be definitively wrong of me. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the spread of what was then a new and radical sect of Judaism that sought to free that religion from the constraints of both the prevailing cultures and the Mosaic Law, and was martyred for his efforts. He is worthy of the most profound respect and gratitude on the part of anyone who calls him/herself a Christian.

    Look carefully at what he says in Romans 1, and I think you’ll find that he is talking about neither homosexual orientation per se nor loving human relationships of any kind. He would, of course, have been influenced by what he would have known about ‘homosexuality’ at the time (just as Christians like myself and Warren are, in our own ways, influenced by what we now know).

    As for ‘christians’ who today misuse biblical texts to justify the murder or abuse (physical or verbal) of gay people: well, that will in the end be their problem …

  • Frank

    Richard writes:

    “Look carefully at what he says in Romans 1, and I think you’ll find that he is talking about neither homosexual orientation per se nor loving human relationships of any kind.”

    Of course, I’ve heard this before.

    First century and second century Hellenistic culture certainly exemplified loving, same sex relationships to the degree that contemporary cultures exemplified loving heterosexual relationships. (The accusation of age exploitation falls flat when one observes the accepted age for heterosexual marriage.)

    Paul was extremely well-traveled all over the Mediterranean world at this time. He was constantly brought into contact with Hellenistic culture. In fact his letters are frequently focused on condemning it. He can’t be defended on the basis of ignorance of such relationships.

    Paul’s claims are not a product of his time. They are a product of his tribal culture which, at one time, used homosexual religious practices as one justification for genocide against the people who lived in Israel before the Jews did. It is, at best, a kind of racism that eases the consciences of a people about a great atrocity they committed. It is akin to post-bellum Southern racism.

    I won’t extend profound respect to Paul; he was an evil man whose propaganda is still responsible for the daily murder of my people. He is the one that I remember every time a gang of heterosexuals take it upon themselves to enforce Leviticus by beating a gay man’s brains out.

  • Mary

    he was an evil man whose propaganda is still responsible for the daily murder of my people

    No. The people who murder other people are responsible and no one else.

  • Frank

    “No. The people who murder other people are responsible and no one else.”

    In Texas, which as the buckle of the Bible belt, there were 8 brutal anti-gay murders in 18 months during the early 1990′s; all of the murderers were teenagers. A documentarian interviewed the perpetrators in jail for a film called “Lone Star Hate.”

    When asked why the killed these people, some of the perpetrators replied “God said it’s ok to kill these people.” (they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13).

    What’s even more interesting is that while Texas has the highest rate of executions of any state, many of these murderers got less than 5 years in jail. One judge read Leviticus from the bench during the trial. Another judge prosecuted the victims by accusing them of cruising for teenagers, when the physical evidence showed that the two men were having a private picnic when they were approached by their murderers in a public park.

  • Mary

    Just because a person quotes the bible does not mean they understand nor practice its principles.

    People mistreat other people.

  • Frank

    Mary writes:

    “Just because a person quotes the bible does not mean they understand nor practice its principles.”

    That’s the usual Christian “No true Scotsman” defense. It’s a logical fallacy.

    “People mistreat other people.”

    Yep. :”Stuff” happens.

    Gays get their brains beaten out with two-by-fours and the murderers get lenient sentences because a Christian judge approves of their motive., which you don’t seem to give a damn about, but you’re being “bullied.”

  • Richard Willmer

    I’m not asking you to extend ‘profound gratitude’ to Saint Paul, Frank; I’m just expressing my own view of the man.

  • Frank

    As for being bullied, perhaps I can provide a basis for comparison. I attended a Catholic all boys high school and I got called “faggot” every day because I followed Christ’s own example of charity to outcasts. The other boys assumed Stephen was gay. I befriended him to help him carry his cross and discovered I was gay. No priest ever defended either one of us.

    In a Catholic high school in the 1970′s, there were no GSA’s and no “It Gets Better” campaign. At 13, I read in our school’s library a quote from St. John Chrysostom calling me worse than a murderer and saying I would be better off dead.

    Having no standard of right and wrong other than my religion at the time, I had no resistance to the hateful ideas that Catholics and other Christians believed about gays. They said we molested children; they compared us to men who raped angels (Sodomites). They said we were insane. When gays died they were denied funerals merely because of their orientation and the assumption they must be acting on it.

    If I had trusted anyone at my high school and discussed what I was worried about, I would have been expelled and committed as an inpatient for brainwashing (“conversion therapy”). This would have meant the loss of higher education and the hope that I could escape my situation.

    Every day for four years, I carried a razor blade with me; only compassion for my mother stopped me from using it.

    I had concluded I was damned by the time I was 14, although I stayed a virgin. I would not be responsible for leading anyone else to damnation.

    This was the worst time of my life; it made having cancer twice seem trivial by comparison. Being afraid of death is not as bad as wanting it or, worse still, thinking you deserve it.

    I stayed Catholic anyway, but I learned that Christians don’t turn off the persecution of gays just because they behave well. In 1992, my Church endorsed the right to discriminate against gays in employment, education, housing, and military service. I expected outrage from my fellow Catholics because this endorsement was persecution of even celibate gays. That outrage never came.

    I finally quit the Church at 39 when I read that the Church was introducing “reparative therapy” for gay students in junior high and high school. I knew that this therapy would lead to more suicides. I renounced my religion right then and burned every reminder I had of it in my home.

    During all that turmoil, I had achieved a PhD in mathematics in four years while under treatment for cancer. I remember finishing a take home exam while I was being prepped for an orchiectomy. The second cancer hit when I was a postdoc at Princeton. I worked through that one too and the results of our work were published in _Science_, one of the two most prestigious science journals in the world.

  • Mary

    Gays get their brains beaten out with two-by-fours and the murderers get lenient sentences because a Christian judge approves of their motive., which you don’t seem to give a damn about, but you’re being “bullied

    Frank you are blaming the bible. Not holding people responsible for murder when murder happens. A judge who make those decisions can be voted out or not. But I see it is much easier for you to blame the bible rather than to do something that really helps gays.

    As a Christian, I am fully aware of the misuse others take with scripture. It is my biggest complaint in the church – the way they treat gay people. But this is a personal issue that each individual has – not God and not the bible. And certainly not everyone. I doubt if Paul were alive today that he would condone what others have done because of his writings.

  • Mary

    I think people calling other people trolls is an act of bullying or intimidation. I think your use of switching the topic is your way of saying that I don’t care. Well, I am ex gay and I DO CARE. People don’t all of sudden treat me better because of a personal decision I have made. At times, I still look pretty gay and get a lot of crap for that. I don’t like it anymore than you do. And I don’t like the fact that gays are beaten and mistreated by society and churches all across this nation. though there have been great strides in the last two decades. Not enough in my opinion – but change is happening. And it is because of Paul’s letters to be encouraging to thers. I encourage you to be strong even when others are just plain old shitheads.

  • Mary

    Frank you are blaming the whole of God and church on people who are broken. you should not be mistreated. Nos should ever have been mistreated. I realize now after years of hating the bible and church that it was the people who performed these acts that needed my attention – not the church – not God and not staying away from the bible.

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    Well, to be honest with you, I grew up in northern New Jersey, a very liberal part of the country, free of the so-called Christian Right environment, and I’ve known quite a few young gay men who felt depressed after being sexually active. I had to pull my 2 friends out of detox twice. It always made me wonder, if being out and proud is a such a wonderful thing, especially in New York/New Jersey area, where everybody is pretty much tolerant, then why people who practice homosexuality still feel very lonely and depressed?

    Ah – If I had a dime for every story like this I heard from people trying to denigrate gay folk ;)

    Of course, I’ve known people who practiced heterosexuality but felt lonely and depressed but not as much as those who practiced homosexuality. I don’t know the reason for that.

    As for the sensitive and thin-skinned comments – well I’ll just chalk that up to more of the same here. First, sensitive doesn’t necessarily mean thin-skinned. Second, I think you would be surprised and shocked to know of all the contributions made to society by gay folk . Third, I find it exhausting that we are revisiting these kinds of arguments even today – sigh

    Of course, more babble I’ve heard spouted by folk who are trying to make a negative point about sexuality. Your opinion isn’t scientific proof anymore than mine is. And I can tell you for a fact, that I know more severely depressed straight people than I do gay. But that’s just my *own* experience :)

  • sam

    Personally, I feel compassionate to all people who feel lonely and depressed, whether they are gay or straight, and I really want to help them, but to some people who are so oversenstive, I’m having difficult time knowing what to say to them, because they get easily offended and feel denigraded.

  • Richard Willmer

    IF it is the case that gay people are more prone than straight people to things like depression, then it must be remembered that, even in places where there is little or no open hostility, there are often low levels of subtly-expressed prejudice or disdain. As Jayhuck suggests, this makes it very difficult to be ‘objective’ about these things.

    I was interested to read Frank’s account of his experience at school. It is true that, with regard to respecting certain people for who they are, the Church, and asscoiated organizations, have often performed very poorly indeed. I for one was extremely annoyed when, in late 2008, the Pope made some very crass comments about ‘gender identity’ (saying that ‘confusion’ in this regard posed a greater threat to humanity than did climate change) … and I was not alone: the Catholic bishops of England and Wales took the unprecedented step of publically criticizing the Holy Father, suggesting that what he had said was pastorally inept. I would have gone further and said that it was, ‘scientifically-speaking’, self-evidently a load of bunkum (humanity has survived millenia of various forms of so-called ‘gender confusion’, but the effects of rapid climate change – especially on the poor – are already showing signs of being very severe and potentially catastrophic). The Vatican seems to have performed much better over recent events in parts of Africa: I believe Benedict was genuinely shocked by things like the Bahati Bill in Uganda – he got a ‘wake-up call’, if you like. It was, I suspect, no accident that – in the famous ‘condom statement’ last year – he chose to use the example of a male prostitute showing ‘elemental moral awareness’ when using a condom to protect his client.

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 24, 2011 at 12:55 am

    “Personally, I feel compassionate to all people who feel lonely and depressed, whether they are gay or straight, and I really want to help them, but to some people who are so oversenstive, I’m having difficult time knowing what to say to them, because they get easily offended and feel denigraded.”

    And has it ever occurred to you, Sam, that the problem might be with YOU and not the gay people you know?

    “Evvverrrybooddy’s soo diff-erent, I haven’t changed!”

  • StraightGrandmother

    Frank =

    In Texas, which as the buckle of the Bible belt, there were 8 brutal anti-gay murders in 18 months during the early 1990?s; all of the murderers were teenagers. A documentarian interviewed the perpetrators in jail for a film called “Lone Star Hate.”

    StraightGrandmother= Frank, I found your whole comment that starts with the above very compelling and extremely disturbing. It rings true to me. Furthermore all the rest of your comments were very enlightening. I’ll tell you what, if I was a sexual minority I sure wouldn’t be Catholic either. Thank you for participating here.

  • sam

    I must admit that I have problems. But who doesn’t? This is why I’m trying to learn how I can improve myself. I think we all have difficulties in doing something, but that’s part of life.

  • Richard Willmer

    Anglo- and Old Catholicism tend to be rather more ‘accepting’ that Roman Catholicism. But the Roman Catholic Church is much broader than it used to be … certainly here in the UK.

  • Patrocles

    Sam

    over-sensitivity in gay men may perhaps in some cases be part of a more feminine temperament (I’m not sure about that). And I admit that some persons are not able to develop resilience and those persons have to be protected from the more blunt expressions of life. (In the same way persons without immunity have to be protected against germs.) But I also think that the problem of our time is less the problem of the person who unintentionally suffers than the problem of the person who basically likes feeling offended, gloats in it and looks for it.

    There were such persons already in the good ol’ times, but they were seen as nutty or miserable or objects of pity.

    Only nowadays has it become a kind of sport to take offense. It’s part of minority politics: people are educated that they, as a minority, are always surrounded by insults and are to be sensitive about it. A treat which I find unhealthy (perhaps there are psychological studies about the advantages and disadvantages of intentional sensitivity – or at least, there ought to be)

  • Patrocles

    Frank, Oct.23, seems to have mixed up two different movies, both of 1997/98. “Lone Star Hate” concentrates on the murder of Nicholas West, Texas; whereas “Licensed to Kill” is about seven (in the DVD version: ten) different perpetrators/killers, but from different states.

  • stephen

    Pat

    How do you feel about Jews and money? That’s kind of a weakness with them, right? And blacks and the whole ignorance thing? And women with needing to be told what to do by a man. And priests and the whole molesting kids thing? I get you, brother. Trouble with gays is the whole hypersensitive girly thing. If they didn’t have to be so faggy I could totally get behind them. So long as they don’t try to cram it down my throat. I’m like you, bro. A totally normal guy obsessed with gay sex. Like any normal guy would be. You me and sam should like totally get together and NOT go to a gay pride parade.

  • Frank

    Patrocles writes:

    “Frank, Oct.23, seems to have mixed up two different movies…”

    No, I haven’t the first national account of these murders in Texas was in “Lone Star Hate: On the Trail of Texas’s Brutal Gay Killings”—Vanity Fair, February 1995 by Buzz Bissinger.

    The Vanity Fair article covered all 8 murders in that eighteen month period in Texas; the “Lone Star Hate” documentary by Paul Yule focuses on a just the Nicholas West murder.

  • Frank

    StraightGrandmother,

    I really appreciate your contributions here. I don’t like telling that story, but it’s necessary to explain why I believe the church of my baptism is severely broken and not just a few people in it. There’s an old joke that Hell is where the lovers are German, the cooks are Greek, and the bureaucrats are Italian. I’m sure Hell has nothing on the Vatican.

  • Richard Willmer

    Surely it is not being ‘over-sensitive’ to point out reality: that there is still much homophobia around and that this is unacceptable.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Patrocles=

    Only nowadays has it become a kind of sport to take offense. It’s part of minority politics: people are educated that they, as a minority, are always surrounded by insults and are to be sensitive about it.

    StraightGrandmother= OR because of the internet where information is now easily available for all, the sexual minorities no longer feel isolated like the good ol’ times. The internet, connects them, and knowledge is power. It could be Patrocles that in the good ol’ times they took offense also but simply didn’t say anything as the power of one isn’t as strong as the power of many. So currently they speak up and tell society that they are offended by the blatant discrimination perpetrated against them.

    You just might speak up yourself Patrocles if there were a national, well a world movement to deny everyone with the name Patrocles the same rights as the rest of the citizenry, as in a popular religious book all people with the name of Patrocles are declared evil. In less enlightened countries if your name was Patrocles you would be thrown in jail for life as the government has to protect the citizenry from all the evil Patrocles’s. Through the internet you might seek out support from others with the name of Patrocles, which is not that popular a name, meaning there are not many people with that name, and your group of Patrocles’s just might start speaking up and mentioning how offended you are at the discrimination perpetrated against all persons with the name Patrocles. You might try banding together and trying to get those discriminitory laws anti-Patrocles laws changed and educating the public that you are not evil at all, that you simply have a name that not many people have and that that popular religious book got it wrong.

  • Frank

    “Patrocles,” in English the name of the lover of Achilles was Patroclus.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Can we have a topic called Doctors behaving badly? I would like to nominate FoxNews Psychiatrist Kieth Ablow

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201109160022

  • StraightGrandmother

    Catholics Behaving badly. Yup. United States Confernece of Bishops believes that homosexuality is caused by Satan. Yeah…. I don’t make this stuff up…

    “In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture’s account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God’s handiwork.”

    Catholic Bishops’ ‘Marriage Guy’ Says Satan Makes People Gay [Right Wing Watch]

    http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2011/10/nom-star-blames-devil-for-homosexuality-personally-ive-always-indicted-orgasms.html

  • StraightGrandmother

    I don’t know how I missed this one!

    This is IT in a nutshell. This is what it is all about!

    http://youtu.be/q28UwAyzUkE

  • StraightGrandmother

    Huge Billboard in Ohio Next to expressway

    Homosexuality is a sin

    But Christ can set you free..

    paid for by by the ever loving

    http://www.SouthwestBaptist.org

    Story and really good comments on JoeMyGod

    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/11/church-sign-of-day.html

    From the Petition at Change.org to take it down

    I am writing regarding a billboard I saw on my drive home that states, “Homosexuality is Sin,” on I-71 South between North Royalton and Brunswick. This sign was promoting the Southwest Baptist Church located in Brunswick, Ohio.

    Upon driving past this sign, I was disgusted. In a time when many gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and queer (GLBTQ) individuals are turning to suicide as an outlet for not feeling accepted, this type of hate speech will not be tolerated in our community. It literally mortifies me that any organization would attempt to use unfounded, inaccurate, bigoted rhetoric in order to lure others into their association. We have a moral responsibility to remove any message that promotes the manifestation of hatred, such as this organization.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/pastor-remove-their-hateful-billboard-that-says-homosexuality-is-sin#

  • StraightGrandmother

    Oh here is another on. Westboro Baptist protesting in Las Vegas

    http://youtu.be/isY1wsGcH9k

    Although everyone agrees they are not Christian, but they think they are.

  • Richard Willmer

    Indeed, they think they are. Maybe they are correct … but I highly doubt it.

    My view is that they heretics (i.e. ‘christians’ who are profoundly in error); I would not categorically say that they are not Christians, because I am not capable of being the ‘judge’ of that, but, by their attitude to other human persons, they do contradict what even ‘conservative’ (as in ‘traditionalist’) Christians generally regard to be the ‘core values’ of Christianity. The notion that God makes people gay because he hates them has absolutely no credence in Scripture, Tradition or Reason … and neither does the notion that God hates people because they happen to be gay.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Texas Christians behaving VERY badly making a 7 year old child cry.

    When Latisha Pennington and Dondi Morse of Haltom City took their 7-year-old daughter to the Texas State Fair last weekend, they just wanted to have a fun day seeing the animals and trying out the fair’s famed array of fried treats.

    But the women said this week their plans were ruined when one vendor verbally gay-bashed them in front of their daughter, leaving the little girl in tears and forcing the family to cut their outing short.

    …“We were just there to have fun with our daughter,” Pennington said, adding that PDAs “just aren’t our style.”

    But that wasn’t enough to ward off some unwanted attention from the men at the booth for the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America

    …Pennington said he asked them, “What do you think will happen to your soul when you die?” Then he answered his own question with, “I know what’s going to happen to your soul. You’re going to hell for being a homosexual.”

    The man then began “slinging biblical quotes at us” that supposedly condemn homosexuality. And as his harangue continued, their daughter began to cry, prompting the mothers to get her away from the booth and the man there as quickly as possible.

    Especially interesting are the comments from the readers on this article.

    http://www.dallasvoice.com/anti-gay-tirade-ruins-family%E2%80%99s-state-fair-outing-1091488.html

  • StraightGrandmother

    Staying on Topic, even if I have to remember and dig back for the appropriate thread…

  • Richard Willmer

    Anyway, here are some Christians behaving well! Two human rights activists greet: one from Uganda and the other (a bishop) from Mexico: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/391187_2614940410584_1167270935_33051074_894511622_n.jpg

  • StraightGrandmother

    I just come across random stuff sometimes. Does this qualify as Christians behaving badly?

    http://bedeviant.com/caption-please-4

  • StraightGrandmother

    Ohhhh I got another one. Amazon.com is selling a Calendar Titled, “I’m Not Gay I’m Just a Sissy”

    Interesting reviews of the product. This customer review caught my eye-

    “The author cites his membership in the Christian Comic Art Society. Seems he’s just another hypocrite acting in an un-Christlike manner. That’s not all that surprising, but come on Amazon – would you sell a calendar entitled “I’m Not an Evangelical, I’m Just Deluded”?

    http://www.amazon.com/Im-Not-Gay-Just-Sissy/product-reviews/1466226641/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

  • StraightGrandmother

    Huh? Imagine that? There are no gay or lesbian people, they do not exist according to Uber Christian Linda Harvey at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz1XjW7Sj84&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.MissionAmerica.com

    I also read her article on the Top 10 Abuses by homosexuals in 2011

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=380149

    i learn so much, like who is Linda Harvey, at http://www.GoodAsYou.org Jeremy Hopper is terrific.

  • James

    I have discussed this at length from within church and from without it as I chose to leave the cultish atmosphere that had been appearing more and more as time goes by. Anyone and I repeat ANYONE who would strive to remove others rights to live and choose and exercise their free will, is an enemy of the people who fought and died for those liberties. Anyone who would strive to remove the rights of another US citizen, has not read their Bible they so angrily wave in others faces (see;terrorists). JESUS not Paul is whom this religion is based around. Jesus words were to his disciples to treat others as you would want them to treat you. How would you feel if there was a group of persons out there who sought to remove the rights you have as a Christian? Search your soul you will find that anger towards others is Satan’s work and not Jesus.


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