Baptist minister justifies child abuse

This is disgusting.

(via Good as You)

Things are getting crazy. Dan Savage goes off on Christians, and this “minister,” Sean Harris, justifies child abuse.

As tempting as it is to get into the mudslinging, cooler heads need to step up and speak truth to both extremes.

The pastor is now saying he “misspoke.” He is also saying he was taken out of context. This is ridiculous since his own words were quoted and available on audio. He could say he regrets advocating smacking gender non-conforming kids but he has to blame others first for his careless words. This is one of those non-apology, apologies.

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  • Lynn David

    The laughter bothered me the most.

  • Richard Willmer

    Actually, IMHO, Dan Savage ‘had a point’ (although I’ve not seen the full text of what he said), but using inappropriate language to express it: some ‘christians’ do get very touchy when they are criticized for attacking others by using ‘bits of Bible’ taken out of context.

    That ‘minister’ … well, I hope that if that had happened here in Britain, he would now have a criminal case to answer. I think the law provides for such – and if it doesn’t, it should.

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

    No Warren, it’s the face of Evangelism in many places. It’s you who are out of touch.

    Try finding any Baptist pastor in that area who will publicly condemn this. Just one. Oh, you’ll find any number of actual christians, but when it comes to the ministry, this is mainstream.

    We really need to have a talk about how gender conformity is enforced. This is something separate from questions of sexual orientation. I think you’re clueless on this issue.

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

    At least he’s now issuing a non-apology apology. He “mis-spoke”.

    http://pastorseansblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/important-clarification-to-sundays.html

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Zoe :

    I could find you some that would condemn certainly the call to violence, and maybe the stereotyping as well. (In fact, I think I’ll give it a go when I get a mo’.) On the broader issue: I take the view that this vicious lunatic (sorry, I meant, ‘minister’) is pig ignorant as well as everything else. Doesn’t he know that, for example, there are many cultures (including in that paragon of Christian virtue that is sub-saharan African) where it is the MALE that ‘beautifies’ himself?

  • Richard Willmer

    (Of course my reference to ‘that paragon of Christian virtue’ is drawn from the [gnostic?] ‘gospel’ according to Scott! Yes, I know, I’m very naughty!)

  • ken

    I wonder how many people walked out of this guy’s speech.

    While Dan Savage’s remark were controversial, that is generally his style. And I do agree with him about how some christians are hypocrites when it comes to the bible. Fro example, no one is addressing any of the issues he raised, they are just claiming he is a bully.

    However, he was wrong to attack the people who walked out on him, and he did apologize for that.

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/04/29/on-bullshit-and-pansy-assed

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

    Richard Willmer – just one Baptist minister from the area is all I ask.

    Just

    One

  • Kyle

    Richard, I think the problem with Dan Savage’s rant is that he did the very thing he was decrying: bullying. It was the tone more than the language (and the name calling). Moreover, he made no distinction between criticizing using the Bible and Christianity to justify bullying, and criticizing the Bible and Christianity themselves.

    Of course, there is a context here. I am sure the man is been very abused by Christians in the past. But it very much damages his cause against bullying to use rhetorical methods that are quite bully-ish.

  • Kyle

    Ken,

    I think we should have a respectful conversation about (a) how the Bible is misused to abuse people, and (b) whether the Bible actually is a “radically pro-slavery” document, and the like. But Savage did not set the tone for such a discussion, nor did he distinguish between these two things.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    “As tempting as it is to get into the mudslinging, cooler heads need to step up and speak truth to both extremes.”

    Whoa, Middle Ground fallacy. There is a huge difference between making the entirely accurate statement that the Bible justifies all sorts of awful and inhuman behavior that most people choose to ignore and saying that gender non-conformity should be violently beaten out of children. Suggesting that these two things are somehow equivalent and need to be addressed as extremes is incredibly reductive.

    That being said, the idea that Dan Savage is being a “bully” is absolute nonsense. Unless any of those students were writers of the Bible or characters in it, he was not attacking them when they walked out. I’ll agree that he was out of line by calling them “pansy-ass”, but that occurred after the supposed offense was taken.

    This goes to the misguided notion that religious ideas are more sacrosanct than other ideas when all they are is a hypothesis about the universe. We should be able to criticize those ideas as easily as we criticize any other idea. Dr. Throckmorton criticizes ideas all the time: in fact, he has a book coming out criticizing the ideas of David Barton. Is Dr. Throckmorton bullying Barton by pointing out his bad scholarship and outright fabrications?

    What Savage did was no different than the many posts here pointing out the flaws in the logic of innumerable people, but a far cry from threatening people with eternal, conscious torment, directly attacking their personal character, or openly mocking an inherent trait rather than an idea. This sort of “there are extremes on both sides” argument doesn’t identify both extremes, gives a largely homophobic mainstream right a pass, and sets the bar on the left much lower for “extremism.”

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

      Kaoru – If I said all people named David mislead people about history, or all Christians mislead people about history, then I would be stereotyping them (still not bullying them). If I vilified them for their misdeeds and did so without remorse as if such actions were justified and with an implication that all should follow my lead, then I would be bullying. I really don’t think you can link with Savage did with a critical analysis of another person’s ideas and writing.

  • Kyle

    “There is a huge difference between making the entirely accurate statement that the Bible justifies all sorts of awful and inhuman behavior that most people choose to ignore and saying that gender non-conformity should be violently beaten out of children.”

    Many Christians would strongly disagree that the Bible “justifies all sorts of awful and inhuman behavior that most people choose to ignore.” It’s the fact that this is *assumed* to be “entirely accurate” (without argument), mixed with the strongly disrespectful and abusive tone, that adds up to a completely unhelpful outburst by Savage.

    There’s nothing wrong with evenhanded, respectful criticism of any ideas as such, including religious ones. But this simply was not that. Nor is any of the New Atheist literature, really (Sam Harris et al).

    This is damaging to gay affirming Christians, to his anti-bullying campaign, and it just gives red meat to those who would (wrongly) stereotype gay people as a bunch of sex-crazed, rabidly anti-Christian people.

    We need argument, not rhetoric. And this is rhetoric.

  • Kyle

    Moreover, Savage dumped all Christians into the same category: as people who use the Bible as a tool for bullying. The whole rant was really injudicious and unhelpful. It wasn’t just the language, or even the name-calling–it was the overall tone of disrespect.

  • ken

    Kyle says:

    May 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

    “he did the very thing he was decrying: bullying”

    How was what Savage said about the bible “bullying”? Note, he admitted what he said about the students was wrong and has apologized for it, so I’m looking for something other than that part.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:22 am

    “But Savage did not set the tone for such a discussion”

    And why do you think Savage used the tone he did? Do you think he was using a tone others have used?

    If you wish to respond to Savages points about the bible, feel free. I, however, am not interested in a religious debate. Your religion is not mine and I really don’t care what you do or don’t believe about your religion, as long as you are not trying to force others to live by your beliefs.

  • hazemyth

    Is that still really ‘bullying’? Since ‘bullying’ has arisen as a salable topic, calling public speakers ‘bullies’ has become commonplace. To my mind, this has the real danger of diluting the discussion. Not all obnoxious, denigrating, or offensive speech is ‘bullying’.

    Real bullying is first and foremost a dynamic of power. Whatever you might make of Dan Savage’s or Pastor Harris’ words, there’s a big, objective difference between them and some brute that has you cornered in a schoolyard, or a gaggle of kid that relentlessly (and inescapably) taunts you day in and day out. (Now, if parents followed Harris’ advice, they WOULD be bullies — and worse.)

    Calling vitriolic public discourse bullying undermines the significance of the term and the far greater hurt of those that are genuinely bullied.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    “Many Christians would strongly disagree that the Bible ‘justifies all sorts of awful and inhuman behavior that most people choose to ignore.’ It’s the fact that this is *assumed* to be ‘entirely accurate’ (without argument), mixed with the strongly disrespectful and abusive tone, that adds up to a completely unhelpful outburst by Savage.”

    They would disagree, and this is to their credit, however it’s not borne out in a book that either encourages slavery or refuses to condemn it in many places, that does promote stoning of non-virgin brides, homosexuals, practitioners of witchcraft, and people with tattoos. It advises that women are to be silent in certain places and are unclean during their periods. These are not assumptions, they are in the text, and if you are arguing that the Bible does not justify inhuman behaviors, you are left with arguing that these behaviors are not inhuman. If you jump through a bunch of apologetics hoops, you can say that these things no longer apply or don’t mean what we thing they mean, but that does very little good for people who have no interest in apologetics and believe their “plain reading” is correct. You’re arguing over the interpretation of a series of largely disconnected stories and essays with no objective way to determine who is right or wrong in their interpretation, so the claims that the Bible justifies slavery are equally valid as the claims that it doesn’t. You can’t break that tie.

    However, as Savage pointed out, most people ignore these things. This is a manifestly good development. They choose the interpretation that leads to not having slavery, not killing people with tattoos, etc. That doesn’t mean those things aren’t in there, just that they are either categorically ignored or made to say something else by complex textual backflips. Either way, I’m happy about it.

    “We need argument, not rhetoric. And this is rhetoric.”

    We need both. Significant social change has never been achieved by patiently waiting for oppressive people to voluntarily give up their oppression. There is a place for diplomats, but suggesting that never confronting people’s ideas in a way that might offend them is the best way to achieve progress is simply not demonstrated historically. I could be wrong in presuming it never happened, and I would be delighted to see any evidence of a time in which an oppressed people stopped being oppressed because their oppressors simply decided to stop, but the majority of times in which people have earned rights it has been because they confronted, offended, and challenged the bad ideas of others.

    “Moreover, Savage dumped all Christians into the same category: as people who use the Bible as a tool for bullying. ”

    “If I vilified them for their misdeeds and did so without remorse as if such actions were justified and with an implication that all should follow my lead, then I would be bullying.”

    I’d like to reply to both of these comments simultaneously because I believe they both make the mistake of confusing a book with a person. Examine the text of what Savage said. At no point does he make a blanket statement about Christians other than to say that most have abandoned a lot of prescribed behaviors that we consider morally reprehensible today. He does specifically target people who used the Bible to promote slavery, but I think we can agree that those were, in fact, bad people. He mentions that people are dying because there are those who “can’t get past this one last thing in the Bible about homosexuality”. That’s a statement of fact. At no point does he go after anyone who doesn’t use the Bible to justify homophobia or slavery or non-virgin-bride-stonings.

    I will agree that his comments at the end were right out and pointed at specific people. Absolutely wrong in every respect. But people are not books, and making the factual statement that the Bible can and has been used to justify terrible things because the most direct and literal reading of it does say these things cannot be construed as an attack on people. He’s not saying they are going to hell, or that their lives are an abomination, or spreading false information about them, or trying to pass laws to make their lives more difficult. He’s saying the book they base their morality on has a lot of manifestly immoral things inside of it, most of which is tacitly ignored, therefore we should ignore this other part, too. If anything, it’s far more complimentary of Christians than I would normally expect from Savage.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    All of the above is to say that denying that there are terrible things in the Bible along with good ones is simply inaccurate. And it’s ok for it to have bad things as well as good ones because, as Savage points out, most people are able to tell the difference. However, there are a few people that aren’t quite on the same page, and they do need to catch up to the rest of us. But it’s not an automatic criticism of people who believe in the Bible if you say that it has bad things in it, especially when you follow up by saying that most people ignore them.

  • Michael C

    hazemyth: “Calling vitriolic public discourse bullying undermines the significance of the term and the far greater hurt of those that are genuinely bullied.”

    What Savage said about the Bible does not constitute bullying. When he implied that a small group of individuals were weak and effeminate in front of their peers, he was guilty of bullying.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned for the safety of children in this pastor’s congregation, I contacted the local Child Protective Services agency. They have since spoken out against his comments. I hope they will also pay a visit to the church to make sure the kids are OK.

  • Kyle

    “How was what Savage said about the bible “bullying”? Note, he admitted what he said about the students was wrong and has apologized for it, so I’m looking for something other than that part. ”

    He was disrespectful throughout the rant, long before he called them names. I think it’s fairly unmistakeable in his tone. There is a difference between the way New Atheists (like Sam Harris, quoted by Savage) critique religion, and the way older, more respectful atheists criticized religion. They both have sharp things to say against religion–that’s not the problem. The problem is in the disrespectful and condescending tone, as well as the failure to make certain critical distinctions, which usually get washed out in rhetoric.

    “And why do you think Savage used the tone he did? Do you think he was using a tone others have used?”

    Certainly the man has a context, and we should have compassion for him. But I don’t think that excuses his responding in kind. Plenty of people who have been bullied learn not to bully, precisely because of their experience. Also, by saying this, you are sort of admitting that he used an inappropriate, bullyish tone.

    “If you wish to respond to Savages points about the bible, feel free. I, however, am not interested in a religious debate. Your religion is not mine and I really don’t care what you do or don’t believe about your religion, as long as you are not trying to force others to live by your beliefs.”

    I’m not too interested in talking about his specific points here, although it’s worth point out that his criticisms are not new to Christians, and have been addressed in the past.

    More than anything, Savage’s rant saddens me. It saddens me even more that people are defending it. It is bad for his cause.

  • Kyle

    I’m sure there are levels of bullying, the worst being the kind that you cannot escape. But I think bullying happens whenever someone tries to demean you, put you down, make you feel less than.

    “Calling vitriolic public discourse bullying undermines the significance of the term and the far greater hurt of those that are genuinely bullied.”

    If acrimonious discourse is demeaning, I think it’s bullying.

    Look, I’m all for opening the floodgates wide for strong, trenchant criticism. But there is a point when that passes over into disrespect, and I think Savage crossed that point.

  • Ann

    Bullying is meant to be punitive – verbally or physically. It is equated to harrassment in some ways as it is threatening to another person’s well being. It is never necessary. It is unappealing and ineffective. It may win a perceived battle but always looses the war. Savage lost a good opportunity to be a champion for a good cause. When he began to attack in a vindictive and personal way, the message was lost. The minister is an a-hole (sorry Dr. Throckmorton). Thank you Michael B. for what you did.

  • Kyle

    Savage turned a complaint about how some people use the Bible as an excuse to bully to an attack on the Bible itself. If he thinks the Bible itself is the root of the problem, he has a right to voice that opinion. He can do that in a far more respectful way, however–a way that doesn’t lump all Christians in with those who use the Bible to abuse people.

  • Kyle

    And Ken, I don’t want to give the impression that I believe in forcing my religion on others. I don’t, fear not.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    but using inappropriate language to express it:

    I have a problem with this argument. It’s basically a repackaged Tone Argument, which amounts to “I’m not going to take you seriously until you express yourself in a ‘tone’ I approve of.” The problem is, personal experience has taught me that many people who use the Tone Argument will never consider the other person’s “tone” appropriate enough to respond. The Tone Argument is a common tool of the oppressor to excuse ignoring the oppressed.

    Rather than merely criticizing Savage’s or anyone else’s “tone,” they might first consider what led him or others to conclude that such a “tone” was necessary or appropriate.

  • Ann

    Rather than merely criticizing Savage’s or anyone else’s “tone,” they might first consider what led him or others to conclude that such a “tone” was necessary or appropriate.

    Jarred,

    I think putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes is always important. It is, in my opinion, the only path to understanding and connecting. This becomes difficult when one is being verbally attacked or harassed or bullied. Savage was inappropriate to demean people and their values. His tone was contemptuous to the point that people were offended and left. He came across as emotionally immature and undisciplined as most people do who want to be vindictive. He missed a very good opportunity to connect and be a champion. I hope he gets another chance and is able to be that champion because we need as many as we can get.

  • ken

    Warren says:

    May 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

    “I really don’t think you can link with Savage did with a critical analysis of another person’s ideas and writing.”

    I do. I think he did quite well in justifying calling “people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the bible” hypocrites. And those were the people his comments were about. Not all christians. Nor did he “vilify” them either. At points ridiculed, but I saw nothing that would be considered bullying in his comments about the bible.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    “Savage was inappropriate to demean people and their values.”

    I keep looking over Savage’s comments and cannot find a single place in which he makes any broad statement about Christians themselves other than that most of them ignore the brutality that the Bible occasionally endorses. The rest were criticisms of a book, not of people, and a call to continue with the cherry picking that he lauds as a positive approach in order to simply decide to ignore anything negative about homosexuality the same way most Christians ignore Jesus’s specific prohibition against divorce.

    Can you point to where, exactly, he demeans people and their values? Unless it is specifically a Christian value to believe that every word of the Bible is perfect and in no way advocates for the things he points out, he does nothing but accurately criticize a book.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    This becomes difficult when one is being verbally attacked or harassed or bullied.

    Agreed. So think about the amount of harassment and bullying that gay people — likely including Dan Savage — have endured over years. Perhaps those who were offended by Savage’s comments should take their offense as an opportunity to empathize with LGBT people.

    His tone was contemptuous to the point that people were offended and left.

    So where are the “brave non-PC truth-tellers” of the right to tell them they don’t have a right not to be offended?

    Seriously, LGBT people have endured with that sort of treatment and far worse for years. Yet I’m supposed to feel sorry for those who experienced a tiny taste of it, quite likely for the first time?

  • Kyle

    “Unless it is specifically a Christian value to believe that every word of the Bible is perfect and in no way advocates for the things he points out, he does nothing but accurately criticize a book.”

    I think when Savage went after the Bible itself as endorsing slavery and the like, quoting Sam Harris (noted New Atheist), his attack clearly extended beyond the bounds of individual hypocritical Christians. He didn’t make any such distinctions in his speech: the rhetoric was very broad, and equally unhelpful.

    And yes, *of course* Christians deny that the Bible endorses slavery. To say his comments about the Bible are “accurate, plain and simple” without any arguments is essentially to illustrate the point that this is just inflammatory rhetoric, not argument.

  • Kyle

    Jared, I agree that we should have compassion for savage, given the context. And I also agree that we should take much care in not silencing the voices of the oppressed.

  • Kyle

    Again, there’s nothing unseemly or wrong about criticizing the Bible. But there is something wrong with doing it in a tone of ridicule and disrespect, as if it were obvious, and as if anyone who disagrees is an idiot, etc. The New Atheists are notorious for this.

  • Ann

    Seriously, LGBT people have endured with that sort of treatment and far worse for years. Yet I’m supposed to feel sorry for those who experienced a tiny taste of it, quite likely for the first time?

    Jarred,

    I am not asking you to feel sorry for the people who were offended. They can take responsibility for their own feelings. No one was harmed – they were just offended. My point is that Savage missed a good opportunity to connect with potential allies and bring awareness to the subject of bullying. His speech cannot equate to what others have had to endure because they are perceived as different or inferior.

  • hazemyth

    Michael C.:

    “When [Savage] implied that a small group of individuals were weak and effeminate in front of their peers, he was guilty of bullying.”

    Kyle:

    “If acrimonious discourse is demeaning, I think it’s bullying … there is a point when that passes over into disrespect, and I think Savage crossed that point.”

    Disrespect and bullying are not commensurate. Nor does all demeaning and insulting discourse qualify as bullying. I mean this both in that: a) this is not what the term ‘bullying’ has heretofore generally meant, and b) these behaviors are of a different order of magnitude from the abusive power relationships that have more conventionally been called ‘bullying’ (such as the examples that I provided). It may be reasonable to refer to these things metaphorically or figuratively as ‘bullying’ but it’s also important to distinguish them from literal bullying. Otherwise, we end up with people exchanging volleys of unproductive accusations and mis-leading equivocations that drown out the main issue.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    “I think when Savage went after the Bible itself as endorsing slavery and the like, quoting Sam Harris (noted New Atheist), his attack clearly extended beyond the bounds of individual hypocritical Christians. He didn’t make any such distinctions in his speech: the rhetoric was very broad, and equally unhelpful.”

    By “very broad,” I can only assume you mean “nonspecific” and have jumped to the conclusion that since he didn’t bend over backward to make it clear he’s only speaking about certain people that he must then be speaking about all Christians. Which, again, he did make quite an effort to target his attack. Can you please demonstrate how quoting somebody who is otherwise hostile to religion making an accurate statement (i.e. that there are plenty of Biblical endorsements of slavery such as Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21, Luke 12:47-48, Ephesians 6:5, and 1 Timothy 6:1-2) somehow makes it “clear” that even though he made no broad statements about Christians that he was actually making a broad statement about Christians?

    I feel as if you’re falling prey to the Genetic Fallacy. Because he quoted Harris, and Harris is hostile toward religion (though not in the way you seem to assume), then clearly Savage’s argument was meant to apply to all Christians everywhere despite no reference to Christians broadly speaking other than to laud their general ability to avoid monstrous behaviors.

    I also feel as if you’re continuing to tone troll. As I pointed out above, no powerful majority that I can find (and I am amenable to examples I may have missed if you could provide them) has ever relinquished power over a minority because the minority was reasonable and considerate of the majority’s feelings. Oppressed people have always, to my knowledge, had to confront their oppressors and make it clear that those oppressors held fundamentally wrong ideas. And consistently, the privileged majority has dismissed legitimate complaints by talking about how rude and inconsiderate the minority is being in pointing out how wrong they are.

    Now, if you want to argue that Savage was making a statement about Christians broadly, please point to the section where he was or demonstrate why quoting Harris talking about a book automatically means that he was “clearly” talking about people. Otherwise, you are, simply put, tone trolling. You’ve made a positive claim, now please provide evidence for it that doesn’t boil down to “well, we all know what he was *really* talking about.”

  • ken

    Kyle says:

    May 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    “He was disrespectful throughout the rant, long before he called them names.”

    Being disrespectful is not the same as bullying.

    “The problem is in the disrespectful and condescending tone, as well as the failure to make certain critical distinctions, which usually get washed out in rhetoric.”

    Specifically, what distinctions?

    “Also, by saying this, you are sort of admitting that he used an inappropriate, bullyish tone.”

    No, I am not. I do not think is tone was inappropriate or bullying (ish?). I’d say is tone was somewhat inflammatory, maybe a bit angry. And certainly not out of character for him (if you have ever seen him speak elsewhere you would have seen that).

    May 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    “But I think bullying happens whenever someone tries to demean you, put you down, make you feel less than.”

    And who do you think Savage was trying to demean, put down or make feel less than in his talk?

    May 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    “If he thinks the Bible itself is the root of the problem,”

    Except he doesn’t think that. He thinks people hypocritically interpreting the bible to justify their own bigotry is the root of the problem.

    “a way that doesn’t lump all Christians in with those who use the Bible to abuse people.”

    Nor did Savage do that in his talk. He makes clear (at about 3:13 in this link to his talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao0k9qDsOvs), that the people he is referring to are: “people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the bible” In fact he never even says the word “christian” in this segment of his talk (although it is clear he is talking about the christian bible, he never references the christian people, let alone claim ALL of them are the same)

  • stephen

    Right. So any number of ignorant fundie preachers tell gay Americans that they are filth and are going to hell. They organize to strip us of our civil rights. That’s OK. But let someone push back and it’s the end of the world.

    Pathetic.

  • StraightGrandmother

    While this has turned into the Dan Savage discussion I’ll interrupt with a comment about Pastor Harris. I was so happy yesterday that I had the time to take action. I am so glad we took him down, and by we I mean ALL the people who called and wrote and e-mailed. Probably the best comment I read was this one,

    I wrote to their pastor and told him that i am sure jesus would love to beat little gay kids with a belt! i can just see jesus doing that kind of thing. jesus is that kind of guy!

    Zoe asked for One, just one minister in that area who spoke out. Well I found one on a blog called Baptist Today. I don’t know if he is a minister or not though.

    Also Zoe on this website is a video of the “sermon”, if I remember right at about 13 minutes he talks about transgender people and how they are wrong to God. at 45:30 minutes is where he preaches to punch your four year old son if he acts to sissy. Please do listen to the rest of the “sermon” it is only 10 more minutes until the end.

    http://www.baptiststoday.org/cartledge-blog/2012/5/1/read-it-and-weep-or-worse.html

    I did add a comment to this blog and I did mention Warren in my comment.

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

    One minister or pastor would be enough. One opinion-leader from the area.

    There’s this:

    After listening to the sermon Tuesday, a divinity professor at Campbell University called it “one of the most disappointing and un-Christ-like diatribes I have ever heard.”

    “I would not dishonor the word ‘sermon’ by identifying it as such,” said Tony Cartledge, who teaches Old Testament at Campbell, a Baptist university in Harnett County.

    He noted Berean Baptist appears to be an independent congregation.

    “We must be careful not to assume that every Baptist, or even everyone who believes homosexual behavior to be sinful, would endorse Harris’ over-the-top promotion of beating gay tendencies out of their children,” Cartledge said via email. “At the same time, we have to state unequivocally that Harris’ position presents a distorted view of scripture that is completely out of keeping with the teachings of Jesus.”

    No, not every Baptist does endorse it. There are quite a number who don’t, at least a substantial minority in fact. I personally believe, from talking with Trans people from that background, those who don’t are even a slim majority. Only about two in three trans people from Baptist backgrounds has been raped, beaten, or shot at by their families to “man them up” – and survived. That may seem like a majority, but it’s a self-selecting sample: those who don’t get bones broken etc tend not to need psychological help afterwards.

    I don’t know how many “run away” though, their bodies buried in the woods after an “honor killing”. We know that number is non-zero, as a few have survived the wounds, and a few more have had their bodies found. Certainly it’s a very common threat that’s used.

    At a guess, I’d say the proportion of Baptist pastors who would actively approve of such actions is about the same as the proportion of Catholic priests who rape children. Between 1 in 20 and 1 in 60. The rest just enable it. Lacking good data though, such a “guess” is mere conjecture. The only thing I know for sure is the testimony from the hundreds of survivors if it.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Jarred

    I think you misunderstood me: I was not saying that Savage should be ‘dismissed’ simply because he used ‘inappropriate language’ (or indeed because he allegedly made unfounded ‘generalizations’ about Christians). I really do think he ‘had a point’ – as I said originally. (One of my ‘pet hates’ is when [e.g. homophobic] aggressors pose as victims!)

    @ Kyle

    I’ve not yet had time to look closely at everything Savage said, so can’t give a properly-informed response to the comment you’ve addressed to me.

    @ Zoe

    I’ve not yet had the chance to speak with two Baptist seminarians with whom I’m friends here in London. When I have done so, I’ll report back their reactions. My expectation is that they will be horrified by this ‘pastor’s’ behaviour. I hope I’m not disappointed.

    BTW, I don’t see any justification for saying that Warren is ‘clueless’ about ‘T’ issues, especially in the context of this post.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Zoe, you would have been proud of me. I put out the contact information for Social Services to report him and a lot of people did. Then when they said that Social Services wouldn’t do anything I called the District Attorneys Office. A LOT of people were outraged with “Punch Away The Gay” as administered to FOUR year old children. A lot of people took action yesterday, I was one person in a small army, and we did it! No we did not get a full apology, but what we did get is, we made him walk back on his instructions to his church members to harm children. We made him take that back.

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

    The (one hour) sermon is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rROFJyeSp6I&feature=share

    The part from around 11:32 onwards is particularly interesting when it comes to children who are Intersex or Trans.

    The part about what should be done to such “gender nonconformant” children is from 45:45.

    Really, one should view the whole thing to get the context.

    Warren is a thoroughly decent man, one who knows far more about sexuality than I ever will. I stand by my assertion that he’s clueless about gender issues, as is the pastor. The latter rails on about homosexuality – sexual behaviour – but his sermon is about how gender is ordained by God, a completely different issue. There are both straight and gay transsexuals, for example, just as there are both right- and left- handed ones.

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

    SG – I *am* proud of you. Not just for this.

    For that matter, I’m proud to know Richard Willmer. We disagree on a few things,but his heart’s in the right place, and he’s not just all talk either.

    Parenthetically, I think Savage’s sermon – and that is what it was,no different from the kinds of things tens of millions of Americans are exposed to every week, just mirror-imaged – was inappropriate. As would any other religious sermon have been.

  • Bernie

    @Zoe, I’m glad Grandma furnished the article from BaptistsToday, as I was just about to do that. I watched his entire sermon last night. Needless to say I was sickened that this animosity and ignorance would come from a ‘man’ of God. Myself and many others took to the internet today, to expose what was clearly stated in his sermon.

    Yes, he was expounding about gender, and how that is ordained by God in the Bible,”Male and Female He made them.” That only describes the dimorphism between the two genders. It offers nothing as to their sexual orientation, which, I believe is ordained by God as well.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Oh Bernie I am so glad you are here. In fact it was YOUR comment Bernie over at Good As You who lead me to this Baptist Today Blog, so props to YOU! We are all learning from each other and the internet is the great leveler.

  • Bernie

    Sorry Grandma, I was busy all day with about 10 websites at a time. After watching that disgusting excuse for a sermon, all in the Name of Our Good Lord Jesus the Christ, I was in archangel mode today. Props to YOU my dear Lady for calling the DA, et al.

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

    You want to know what I find “disgusting”?

    http://www.bilerico.com/2012/05/death_and_the_maiden.php

    Many defendants are pressured into plea deals when facing hyper-aggressive charges. In this case, Ms. McDonald faced 40 years in prison under Minnesota’s second degree murder charge. The judge’s rulings against her on the evidence were also likely determining factors in her decision. These would have allowed in the gruesomely bloody shirt of the victim, but not his swastika tattoo, her own bad check conviction, but not the theft convictions of the witnesses against her. She also would have had to face the likely transphobia of the jury. Did you know that it is still legal in Minnesota to exclude people from a jury because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?

    According to reports from the courtroom, the judge excluded from the trial the deceased’s criminal record, which includes three assault convictions. Dean Schmitz was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend’s 14-year old daughter and his ex-girlfriend’s father. He is said to have excluded the swastika tattoo on Schmitz’s chest, proof of his history of hatred, violence and bigotry, but allow a prejudicial photo of the victim’s blood-soaked T-shirt, which adds nothing to the determination of whether this was self-defense or murder. The judge is said to have excluded an expert witness to testify about climate of violence transgender people navigate in Minneapolis and nationally, while other defense experts are still awaiting the judge’s ruling. Witnesses against Ms. McDonald have criminal theft convictions — but these reportedly cannot be mentioned in court to impeach their credibility. Meanwhile, Ms. McDonald’s conviction for a bad check was reportedly allowed to be used against her court. Again, I am outraged.

    Judge Moreno is alleged to be related by marriage to an Assistant County Attorney who handles criminal matters, a relation that often requires recusal. Is that true? Is he impartial?

    Ms. McDonald faced her trial as she stood her ground in self-defense, despised by society and the system, not worth the media coverage, hyper-aggressive over-the-top charges, the evidence of her self-defense disputed by the forces of the state despite its compelling nature, court rulings going against her right and left. Perhaps she is assumed to belong in prison by virtue of her race and gender identity, perhaps assumed to deserve what she will get in our transphobic prisons, maybe raped while the guards laugh, perhaps by the guards, no one listening to any complaint she might make, precluded by the courts from filing, maybe kept in solitary confinement in a 4′x10′ concrete box the size of a small bathroom “for safety” until her mind crumbles. My outrage is fueled not only by the events in this case, but by the despicable manner in which human lives of transwomen of color are thought to be of less value.

    Warren – and others – I deal with this EVERY SINGLE DAY. There is no respite, no let-up, no “day of rest”.

    I’m in Australia, in a relatively safe environment. The risk personally to me is small. But my son wants to visit the Kennedy Space Centre, he won a prize to go there. It would mean staying in one of the “black spots” in the USA, one of the no-go zones for those like me. One of the places where the odds of getting an effective death sentence for “disorderly conduct” – walking while Intersex – aren’t 1 in a million, but 1 in 10. Not a clean execution either.

    A lot of Judges and Law Enforcement officers have listened to such sermons. A lot believe it is their Christian Duty to persecute those in rebellion against God, “in Jesus Name”.

    And trying to tell rational, reasonable people of goodwill that is an exercise in frustration. The more over-the-top the Reality is, the less believable it is. All I can do is put the evidence before you all.

    The attacker who initiated the incident by attempting to cut Ms McDonald’s throat to “kill the nigger faggot”, slicing her cheek open, hasn’t been charged of course.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Well Zoe if your son won a prize to the Kennedy Space Center you know you gotta take him. About the only thing I can thing of is to bring a friend with you. If you can’t do that then order some pepper spray or mace over the internet and get it delivered to your hotel so it is waiting for you when you get there. Although illegal in many States I think if you buy it over the internet they ship it almost anywhere. May the odds ever be in your favor….

  • Bernie

    @Zoe, You will be just fine, trust us!

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

    “CeCe was briefly taken to the hospital where she received 11 stitches in her cheek….. She spent the next several months in jail and had to wait almost two months between her initial doctors’ visit and a much-needed follow-up appointment.

    During that time, her cheek swelled into an extremely painful, golfball-sized lump, making eating difficult and producing headaches and pressure on her left eye and ear. Ironically, the only gesture towards CeCe’s well-being that authorities made during her incarceration was to put her in solitary confinement “for her own protection” on two separate occasions, despite her stated desire to be housed alongside other prisoners.”

    I’m not Black, so the odds are much, much lower. Should I be assaulted or mugged in Orlando, Florida, and report it, I *will* be arrested though.

    In most of the USA, by FBI figures, the odds are 30% that a Trans woman will be arrested, 31% that anyone else will be, if she reports being assaulted. In that part of Florida though, it’s 100% and 0% as near as we can make out.

    Possessing a weapon – such as a nailfile, pair of scissors, and God Forbid a pepper-spray, and the best offer you’ll get is 15 years without parole. As a foreigner, I don’t have the right to bear arms. Not that I’d take such a “plea bargain”, I don’t believe in pleading guilty for something I didn’t do, regardless of the cost. That would be perjury.

    I know one trans woman who was arrested on suspicion of being an “English Spy” in Orange County, California, due to her accent.

    The really bad bigots are not known for their high IQs.

    It’s important I don’t gild the lilly. Most places in the US are comparatively safe. But going to a few parts, I face the same odds as a Black Academic driving through Mississippi in 1920.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    My point is that Savage missed a good opportunity to connect with potential allies and bring awareness to the subject of bullying.

    Ann, you haven’t established that the people who left offended would have listened to Savage — let alone been persuaded to become allies — if he had used a “gentler, kinder tone.” Quite frankly, I’ve seen people play the offense game too much — no matter how civil the oppressed person tries to be — to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Kyle, you might want to consider the claims that the Bible is pro-slavery in light of the preferred hermeneutic of many virulently anti-gay people. These are people who insist that a “literal, plain text reading” of certain passages makes it “clear” that homosexuality is not only sin, but an abominable one. Based on that insistence, it strikes me as only fair to point out that a “literal, plain text reading” of certain passages — such as Paul’s command to slaves to obey their masters — as at least tolerant of slavery, if not outright endorsing it.

    Yes, a more nuanced understanding of the greater message of Scripture might suggest other insights on the topic of slavery. But those nuanced understandings should not go unchallenged when offered up by those who trumpet and insist on a “literalist” interpretation of Scripture when it suits them.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Even my apology is being judged by those who are supposed to be the most tolerant as insincere. At this point nothing seems sufficient.” ~ Pastor Harris

    http://twitter.com/#!/Pastor_Sean/statuses/197769029157523457

    I think they are judging his apology as “insincere” because he lies. First he says:

    “I should not have said what I said about “cracking,” “punching,” and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words “special dispensation.”

    Then he says:

    “I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion.”

    Then why is he saying he shouldn’t have said it — if he didn’t say it? And aren’t Christians supposed to be the “most tolerant” and loving ones? Man up, Pastor. Quit whining that people were offended by your remarks. Your words were disgusting — and anything but “Christ-like”.

  • Michael Bussee

    ?”What kind of ‘holy man”, what kind of ‘man of God’ LIES about what he has said in a video-taped sermon?” ~ Lawrence O’Donnell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkRKIMeF89I&feature=youtu.be

  • http://blakealverson.blogspot.com/ Blake

    Jarred, it is pointless for Savage to talk about the bible to Christians. Who is going to be convinced by the authority of Dan Savage on biblical questions? Not only does he lack credibility to speak about the Bible but he chose a level of discourse which makes him look bad, makes our movement look bad, and wrecks any good he was trying to do. Personally, I don’t think he was bullying, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is the level of discourse was already damning. From the moment it happened we’ve had to offer qualify what he said. These qualifications either strain our credibility or make us look like arrogant screaming harpies. Stop defending Savage. Let him take his own foot out of his own mouth on his own. And he’s got a ways to go yet.

  • Dan

    Savage is sex columnist who is renowned for his blunt, salty language and who was invited to speak to a general audience and give his personal opinions. He was not there as a spiritual leader. He was not addressing anyone in particular. Anyone was free to disagree with him, agree with him, stay or leave. He criticized writings and the people who selectively interpret those writings, and did not tell anyone to do anything nor do his words carry any weight beyond their persuasive effect.

    The pastor was speaking as the head of the church and the leader of his flock. His words carry authority. He didn’t criticize ideas or writings. He prescribed behavior for his flock. He instructed – ordered – parents in the congregation to punch their 4-year old boys and crack their limp wrists, and to do so immediately and as the very first response to perceived effeminacy. And then, in his capacity as spiritual leader, he gave them dispensation to do so.

    If Warren Throckmorton and the other Christians here can’t see the difference between these 2, then he and they are really beyond hope.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Here is the latest Comment on that Baptist Website

    “FYI – THIS PASTOR IS SPEAKING BIBLICAL TRUTH AND FEMINIANE BOYS ARE UNHOLY ACCORDING TO GOD. HE MAY HAVE SAID IT WRONG BUT IF HE DOESNT PUNISH HIS CHILD FOR THIS BEHAVIOR THEN SOMEONE ELSE WILL DO IT LATER”

    http://www.baptiststoday.org/cartledge-blog/2012/5/1/read-it-and-weep-or-worse.html

    This is another supporter of “Punch the Gay Away” I guess. That seems to me to be what the comment is expressing. That you need to “Punish” your child for non conforming gender expression.

  • David Blakeslee

    Grotesque.

    But this is our heritage. Time to own up. Beat you kids to make them straight was the remedy of a NARTH scientific advisor.

    There are no biblical guidelines about how to raise heterosexual children; or “cure” homosexual children. Narcissistic disgust dressed up in “godly authority.”

    It is interesting that this is overwhelming applied to boys, but not to girls. It is more OK to be a tomboy…no beating required.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Mark Yarhouse wrote a blog entry on the Punch Away the Gay “Pastor” and surprisingly he recommend Ken Zucker out of Toronto as a resource for children. I don’t know much about Zucker but I guess NARTH likes him.

  • Jen

    I wish once absolutely once when someone says something that is not liked by another group of people that person stands up and says YEP I said it and I mean it. Then stick to their guns and own what they say. The problem with this country is we don’t own our words. We blame and push everything off. I would have more respect for either side of this issue if they just own it. I think what that minister said was horrible and it scares me about the level of Christians in this country considering I am a gay Christian, but why can’t he just say yes this is what I believe and go with it. I think it is worse for him that he did what he did to back track. At least with groups like Westobro Baptist you can just pass them off as crazy. I am just tired of people always pushing their responsibilities off on others

  • Bernie

    @Michael Bussee, yeah I, and 100′s of others pointed his lies out on twitter. Esp. his altering the original transcript itself. It made absolutely no sense to me. The video is there with the real words, now you’re going to alter the sermon in type? I don’t get it. SRSLY, a case of CYA!

    The whole, “I was only joking” Thing fell like a lead balloon. That was my first comment on the “Christian Post”. I just simply said the video does not lie, and his intentions are captured on film.

    Suffice to say, between my humble expositions of the antithetical rants yesterday, my voice was one of 1000′s. I did not want to spend my day calling someone on the carpet.

    I made my contentions known on their, “Support Pastor Sean Harris” FB page. I stated,”Free speech is one thing, but vilifying others by propagating falsehoods in the hopes of instilling fear and prejudice through ignorance is, quite frankly, an entirely different ballgame.”

    In essence, their intentions, by their words, are the adverse of what the Holy Gospels reveal to us.

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

    Meanwhile, here in Australia, here are the official views of organised religion, speaking about Intersex people like myself, and our right to marry:

    Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee : 03/05/2012

    Senator PRATT: But what if someone is of indeterminate gender? I am unclear whether they should have the right, according to the way you would argue it, to be part of such a union.

    Mr Meney : People suffering from Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome and things of that ilk are typically infertile or regarded as being mentally handicapped in some way. Many things about marriage require people to have the capacity to consent to what marriage is all about, so a significant mental incapacity might be something that might mitigate against a person being able to consent to a contract of marriage. But that is true of any marriage.

    Rev. Slucki : I think we are coming up against statute law, which wants to try and make provision for every eventuality, as opposed to common law, which tries to do the right thing in principle for the overwhelming majority. That is what this tried and true definition of marriage is—it for the overwhelming majority. The definition we have at the moment has worked well throughout the centuries and that is what we should stick with. Yes, there are unusual instances. But I think we get into dangers and difficulties when we try to fit every eventuality into our laws. I do not think we should do that. I think we should leave it.

    Mr Meney is the Director of the Life, Marriage & Family Centre, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, and speaking in his official capacity.

    Reverend Slucki is the Convener, Church and Nation Committee, Presbyterian Church of Australia, and speaking in his official capacity too.

    Needless to say, neither Klinefelter nor Turner syndrome, let alone Intersex variations in general, are associated with “mental retardation”. They are associated with specific learning difficulties, and specific intellectual talents though.

    Although they are not mentally retarded, most XXY males have some degree of language impairment. As children, they often learn to speak much later than do other children and may have difficulty learning to read and write.

    Mental retardation is not a feature of Turner syndrome, despite such claims in older medical textbooks. Thorough psychological studies show that these women are normal intellectually, but often have a characteristic pattern of intellectual functioning. While their verbal 10 usually is average or above, their non-verbal IQ may be considerably lower because of problems visualizing objects in relation to each other. This difficulty may show up in poor performance in math, geometry, and tasks requiring manual dexterity or sense of direction.

    So we have two religious leaders: one saying that Intersex people like myself are mentally incapable of consent to marriage, the other saying that small minorities like us are inconsequential. That’s the official line of two mainstream branches of Christianity, not the ravings of some backwoods cult.

    You can see how important it is to me that I visit this site, and see that even in the bowels of the Beast, in US Evangelism, there exist people like Warren. Those with common human decency.

    The official line and public face of Christianity today is so very different from that.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Zoe

    I’m afraid that (as I’m sure you know) the legal arrangements here in the UK are also very far from satisfactory. One example I’m aware of involves a transgendered person who, from what I can see, is not able to have, on the NHS, a proper medical assessment of the PHYSICAL (i.e. genetic, homonal, etc) aspects of her situation without either being dealt with under MENTAL health legislation or having to pay large sums of money.

    France is better, I gather, after some long overdue legal reforms a few years ago.

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

    SG –

    Mark Yarhouse wrote a blog entry on the Punch Away the Gay “Pastor” and surprisingly he recommend Ken Zucker out of Toronto as a resource for children. I don’t know much about Zucker but I guess NARTH likes him.

    Two people who I think highly of, and whose opinions I value, think highly of Ken Zucker.

    Both Warren Throckmorton and Milton Diamond – the latter the person I consider knows more about the science of sex identity than anyone else on the planet, respect him. Certainly his publishing record on the subject is unparalleled. He is personally charming, and with the best of intentions.

    I, unfortunately, must put him alongside Dr Mengele. I’ve seen the results first-hand of his treatment, the human wreckage he’s left behind, because he hasn’t used appropriate metrics in evaluating the results of his treatment.

    Unlike Mengele, his experimentation on children has some good science behind it, and he has modified his claims in light of new evidence. He still confuses mere paediatric gender-nonconformity with transsexuality though, and claims “cures” when the syndrome never existed in the first place. I think he may be starting to realise that.

    Whether child experimental subjects get his coercive reparative therapy or not, only 1 in 3 are transsexual, the rest with significant gender-nonconformant play patterns merely gay. Those with mild non-conformance are usually straight. All suffer the usual side-effects found in reparative therapy though.

    Yet Zucker’s approach has its own disturbing elements. It’s easy to imagine that his methods—steering parents toward removing pink crayons from the box, extolling a patriarchy no one believes in—could instill in some children a sense of shame and a double life. A 2008 study of 25 girls who had been seen in Zucker’s clinic showed positive results; 22 were no longer gender-dysphoric, meaning they were comfortable living as girls. But that doesn’t mean they were happy. I spoke to the mother of one Zucker patient in her late 20s, who said her daughter was repulsed by the thought of a sex change but was still suffering—she’d become an alcoholic, and was cutting herself. “I’d be surprised if she outlived me,” her mother said.

    The Atlantic

    Ken Zucker calls that a success. I don’t. That’s where our differences lie.

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

    Still waiting for the condemnation from other Baptist ministers in the area… or one of the MegaChurches……

  • StraightGrandmother

    This is THE most confusing discussion I have ever read on Warren’s blog. I understand how it happened, his new book came out so he is no doubt constrained for time and made one blog entry about two completely different topics.

    But to try and follow the conversation from 1 comment on Dan Savage to the next 2 comments about “Pastor Punch” is somewhat challenging.

  • Teresa

    Both Warren Throckmorton and Milton Diamond – the latter the person I consider knows more about the science of sex identity than anyone else on the planet, respect him. Certainly his publishing record on the subject is unparalleled. He is personally charming, and with the best of intentions.

    @Zoe,

    I’m confused here, Zoe. I trust Warren very much; and, have come to rely a lot on his judgement. I believe you share many of the same feelings re Warren. Ken Zucker sounds very much like George Rekers. Why would Warren ‘respect’ someone like Ken Zucker?

    Perhaps, I should be asking Warren.

    @ Warren,

    Warren, I’m disinclined to make much of Ken Zucker; and, truth to tell, I’d never take a child of mine to him for therapy for gender non-conformance. Warren, would you?

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

    I think Zoe may be partly right about the mixing of transsexuals and gender nonconformity in samples of those researched by Ken and others. Ken is actually very accepting of gays and thinks that many who are considered transgender by advocates are developing gay people. Having said that, I consider the whole area of gender as being so unclear that I hesitate to comment much on it. I feel like I am learning still and wait for more research, specifically on the brain development and structure of GNC, transgender, intersex, etc., people. RE: referral – I would get an opinion from Ken and have worked with him on one case, but I would not consider his opinion to be without possible contradiction.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Blake:

    Jarred, it is pointless for Savage to talk about the bible to Christians. Who is going to be convinced by the authority of Dan Savage on biblical questions?

    Exactly my point. So why are we pretending that the people who would have walked out would have been more apt to listen if he had just used a “more respectful tone?” Their minds were almost certainly made up and would have remained made up if Savage would’ve spoken in language that made June Cleaver look like a dirty-mouthed and belligerent sailor by comparison.

    Stop defending Savage.

    I’m not defending Dan Savage. I’m challenging the oppressors who play the “I’ll only listen if you meet my impossible standards of how I expect you to conduct yourself” game and the well-meaning people who enable and embolden them.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Blake:

    Or to put it more bluntly., true allies are people who will support gay people and call for an end to anti-bullying simply because it’s the right thing to do. So-called “allies” who have to be coddled and spoken to in ways that never make them uncomfortable for enjoying heteronormative privilege or for doing things — even inactivity — that promote and continue a system that hurts and disadvantages LGBT people are not true allies. They’re still all about themselves. Being an ally means putting the needs and problems of the people to whom you ally yourself over your own comfort and/or privilege.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    @Zoe Just catching up on this. I’m an LGBT activist here in Orlando and if you do come here and are afraid for any reason, I would recommend contacting The Center Orlando (our local LGBT community center) about tips to make sure you and your child are safe. I don’t think you’ll have very much to worry about, but we do have a support structure here as well as a vibrant trans* community. Honestly, I think you’ll be ok, but the people at the Center are pretty good at answering concerns like yours.

  • Dan

    @Jarred:

    ” Being an ally means putting the needs and problems of the people to whom you ally yourself over your own comfort and/or privilege.”

    No it doesn’t. No one in the real world has that definition of an ally and no alliances that I can think of operate in that manner. More to the point, that definition is paradoxical, as it would mean that, at any given time, 1 or more of the allies whose interests and goals would be predominating would fail to satisfy the criteria. This is the problem with “queer” ideology. It isn’t well thought out and it its proponents aren’t terribly insightful or introspective.

    You can prattle on about privilege and heteronormativity all you like. It isn’t remotely persuasive. I took Throckmorton to task, so I am not defending him here, but issuing meaningless criteria to be an ally is silly.

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

    Teresa – while I have significant and profound differences from Ken Zucker, there is no way I’d put him in the same league as George Rekers, neither professionally nor personally.

    Ken Zucker experiments on children. However… so do all other researchers in the area, as was pointed out to me by Milton Diamond when I expressed (in heated terms, for an academic discussion) my opinions. None of us know what we’re doing with surety, only that to do nothing leads to an unacceptably high mortality rate.

    My difference with him is the metrics he uses for deciding that a child has “Gender Identity Disorder” – metrics which do not match those of other researchers, and contradict those in the DSM-IV-TR – and that his follow-up does not include a holistic evaluation of quality-of-life and functioning, only the coarse measurement of Sex Reassignment, desired or not.

    Compare and contrast with other researchers:

    In several studies this protocol has been evaluated [16–18]. From these studies it appeared that the youth who were selected for early hormone treatment (starting between 16 and 18 years) no longer suffered from gender dysphoria, and that 1–5 years after surgery, they were socially and psychologically functioning not very different from their peers. Their scores on various psychological instruments, such as a shortened Dutch form of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Symptom Check List-90 [19], were considerably more favorable than scores of a group of subjects who had been treated in adulthood in the Amsterdam clinic, and scores were in the normal range as compared to normative samples. By contrast, there was also a cohort of adolescents presenting with gender dysphoria, who after longterm assessment (which, depending on the degree

    of gender dysphoria and nonrelated pathology, could take a year or even longer) were not deemed eligible for early treatment, and they did not pursue SR at later ages. So, the burden of the GID, the unabating pursuit of SR, and clinical assessment provided by our clinic appeared to provide acceptable selection criteria for good candidates for SR before adulthood.

    The Treatment of Adolescent Transsexuals: Changing Insights Cohen-Ketternis et al, J Sex Med 2008;5:1892–1897

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

    Warren –

    Ken is actually very accepting of gays and thinks that many who are considered transgender by advocates are developing gay people.

    It’s not “advocates” who consider gender nonconforming children to be universally transgender, that’s been the view of the psychiatric profession and organised religion. George Rekers, Pastor Harris etc.

    The evidence is that they’re not, not more than one in three anyway. No “advocate” says otherwise.

    What we do say is that it doesn’t make a halfpenny worth of difference to their gender identity how you rear the child. A gay boy will be a gay boy, no matter how much you encourage or discourage them in gender-variant behaviour. Now some will be bi-gendered, borderline cases, and for them, pointing out the grave disadvantages of transition is appropriate. There has to be some resistance – but it’s not as if there’s a problem there, is there?

    A significant proportion though will be trans girls. To force them into what is, for them, gender-nonconformant behaviour can be, and often is, terribly psychologically damaging. It won’t affect their gender identity, but will often damage them in other ways, even more so than “reparative therapy” for non-consenting adults does.

    Having said that, I consider the whole area of gender as being so unclear that I hesitate to comment much on it. I feel like I am learning still and wait for more research, specifically on the brain development and structure of GNC, transgender, intersex, etc., people.

    +1 Insightful.

    You could start by having a look at http://aebrain.blogspot.com.au/p/reference-works-on-transsexual-and.html which has a small collection of links to papers on the subject. Yes, it’s all in the physical anatomy, and because biology is multi-variant and fuzzy, so is this issue.

    You could also listen to Intersex and Trans people like me. My personality profile, as near as I can make out, is typical of girls with CAH. Because I was born looking male though, there are also just as many similarities with “classic secondary transsexuals”.

    I looked like a boy. Like other girls with CAH, I exhibited male-typical play behaviour due to partial masculinisation of the brain. If such behaviour was a reliable indicator of gender identity, then given my appearance and sex of rearing, I’d be male.

    But I knew I wasn’t before age 10. Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?” M.Diamond Sex Roles (2006) 55:589–600 may not be universally true,. but it certainly fitted my case with frightening accuracy.

    One data point – but an interesting one, as it’s on the border in so many ways. Biologically, I’m more F than M, but that’s irrelevant when the situation is so close to the arbitrary border. If my body hadn’t staged a “Palace Revolt”, I’d still be pretending to be male. The Dutch clinic protocols would have excluded me from early treatment.

    Yet I cannot adequately express the relief that transition has brought to me. Objectively, my functionality has increased by leaps and bounds, I’ve acquired a sexual orientation, and now not only know but have experienced the meaning of the word “happiness”.

    Had I known…. perhaps I could have held off, I desperately wanted children. But if I could have stored gametes, nothing would have stopped me from transitioning, and at as early an age as possible.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Dan: I stand by what I said. And if you don’t take heterosexual privilege as a serious problem, then I feel can safely assume that you are an “ally” only when it’s convenient for you. Quite frankly, I tire of such allies.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    More on the subject of being better allies.

  • krissy

    dan savage was definitely right to mention the bible’s endorsement of slavery. im sure it was news to people.

  • Jaymax

    @ Kyle.

    You think Dan Savae was being a ‘bully’?

    Would you consider Jesus a ‘bully’ when he called the Pharisees “Brood of Vipers!” “Snakes!” “Hypocrites!” “Blind fools!”?

    Dan Savage railed against the hypocrisy of some Christians.

    Jesus railed against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in his day.

    23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

    http://niv.scripturetext.com/matthew/23.htm

    Have you seen the YouTube of Dan Savage’s speech? Some of the “Christians” staging their walk-out had smirks on their faces.

  • DAVE G

    Pastor Harris should instead direct his anger —as Jesus implies in Matthew 18:6 —against those who contend that homosexuality and transgenderism are OK, and that God’s Word can be ignored in this regard. Moreover, his sermon should enlighten his hearers on WHY the Bible says what it does, since the definition of sin is “human behavior that is harmful and ultimately destructive of humanity as a civilized species.” God loves us, and does not want this to happen.

  • DAVE G

    Has any civilization of empire survived normalized sexual promiscuity, including accepted homosexuality, to the seventh generation?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    God’s Word can be ignored in this regard.

    God’s Word is not being ignored. Your interpretation of God’s Word is being questioned and challenged, as was pro-slavery Christians’ interpretations of God’s Word were questioned by abolitionists. And some of us may be questioning whether the Protestant Bible is actually God’s Word, which is our right. After all, even some of your fellow Christians (such as the Orthodox) might remind you that God’s Word is a man, not a collection of scrolls.

    But to insist that people are merely “ignoring God’s Word” when the reality is far more complex and nuanced than that is disingenuous.

  • Richard Willmer

    Well now, Dave G., we’re not talking about what Harris might – or, in YOUR opinion, should – have said; we are talking about what he DID say. And what he DID say was totally indefensible and, I suspect, (in the view of many people of all faiths and none) morally definitively wrong and (in the view many Christians, myself included) theologically indivisibly wrong.

    Whatever one’s views might be about same-sex relationships or gender identity, advocating the commission of the actual or grievous bodily harm of a child can never be justified.

    You reference to promiscuity is completely irrelevant in the context of this discussion. ‘Manly’ heterosexual men can be really quite promiscuous, can’t they?!

    Jarred : I agree with you that the Bible (which, as you rightly suggest in your comment, is not to minds of many Christians ‘God’s Word’ – that’s Jesus!) is open to many interpretations, and that making assumptions that one’s own interpretation is the only truthful one is always dangerous, perhaps even idolatrous (because one’s own interpretation can so easily become the object of one’s worship).

  • Richard Willmer

    A further point, Dave G.: ‘homosexuality’ and (what you term) ‘transgenderism’ are quite distinct issues. While it could be plausibly be suggested that ‘the jury is out’ on the matter of a clear genetic / biological basis for same-sex orientation, there are well-documented such bases (e.g. Klinefelter’s Syndrome) for many of those who identify as transgendered. Don’t conflate these two phenomena; treat each of them in turn with the careful consideration that they both merit (even ‘Maazi NCO’ – remember him? – was able to see that one should do that!). Don’t be blinded by half-baked ideology; rather engage with reality.

  • DAVE G

    Jared: I’ve read the scriptures in many translations, as well as in the Hebrew and Greek; the proscription of homosexual sexual conduct is quite clear. I’m aware of some convoluted exegesis attempts to convert intended meaning, but they fall short of convincing. And yes, God’s Word lives as a man, who says He is come not to abolish the Torah, but to fulfill it. Check out that Matthew 18:6 passage again for what He has to say about those who would steer youth away from the expressed Will of God.

    RW: Homosexuality is just another form of sexual promiscuity. As sexual beings, we humans can express our sexuality in many ways; homosexuality is one of many options. Morality, based on millennia of human experience, is established to warn us of which possible options will produce harmful and devastating results for any culture, and which behaviors will prove beneficial to humanity.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Morality, based on millennia of human experience, is established to warn us of which possible options will produce harmful and devastating results for any culture, and which behaviors will prove beneficial to humanity.

    Except that those warnings have already been challenged by historical and recent empirical evidence when it comes to loving same-sex relationships.

  • DAVE G

    Jared: Please note: the warnings are about sexual conduct, not about love. Everyone has a deep need to love and be loved –it’s part of who we are as human beings. Sex is something else: rape is sex; child molestation is sex, sodomy is sex; adultery is sex. fornication is sex. . .

    Love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

  • Richard Willmer

    DG : We’ll just have to agree to disagree, won’t we. I don’t accept your statement that ‘homosexuality is just another form of promiscuity’ and you’ve not even bothered to address my point about (what you term) ‘transgenderism’. Christians disagree all the time, so we needed get to excited about it all/

  • Richard Willmer

    Whoops! Last sentence should have read: “Christians disagree all the time, so we needn’t get too excited about that.

    However, I still maintain that what you, Dave G., are saying here is not relevant to this post.

  • Richard Willmer

    RANT ALERT! (Yes – I’m about to have one!)

    The more I reflect on what Harris said, the more furious I become. I don’t have children of my own, but I have, over many years, worked with and/or cared for children (including a short spell as an ‘informal foster parent’, for want of a better description of the situation)/

    There is simply no place for deliberately inflicting bodily or psychological harm on a child, particularly a young one. On this point, there can be NO COMPROMISE – not one millimetre. The explicit teachings of Jesus in relation to the honouring and care of children should leave us in no doubt whatsoever of this.

    If Harris’ words are merely ‘cheap and sh*tty rhetoric’, then they are – at the very least – profoundly irresponsible; if they are anything more than that, they are profoundly wicked.

    People like Dave G. must understand just how strongly some of his fellow Christian feel about this.

    And Savage? By comparison what he might have said was utterly inconsequential … in my (on this occasion not-so-humble!) opinion.

    End of rant.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    I tend to agree with you, Richard.

    Of course, on a personally amusing level, I had a brief moment upon reading your comment where I wondered what I had done that was so offensive. I happen to share this minister’s last name and couldn’t remember if I appended it to my comments here or not….

  • DAVE G

    RW: You’re right; homosexuality and transgender are different –except that they are both “head trips” –false convictions about objective reality.

  • ken

    To Richard and Jarred.

    Please stop feeding the troll.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    Not sure he’s a troll, actually. The problem, as people like Zoe have pointed out, is that there are too many (people who identify as) Christians who tend to take something akin to his line. And perhaps it’s even ‘useful’ to be reminded of this; it helps to sensitize us to the need to step up appropriate ‘counter-measures’.

    (There is sometimes a temptation to dismiss those say things we find profoundly objectionable as ‘trolls’, when, in reality, we need to take seriously the fact that there are ‘genuine commenters’ who hold these views.)

    Where I do understand your ‘request’ is that this particular individual is making comments that are, strictly speaking, completely irrelevant to this post. The central issue concerns who children should be treated, and ultimately has nothing to do with ‘sexuality’ or ‘gender identity’ (this so-called ‘pastor’ could have spouted similar vicious nonsense in relation to some other allegedly ‘biblical’ issue … and maybe he has, but we’ve just not heard about it).


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