The Biggest Threat to Christianity Now in America: Our Own Buckling Knees

The Biggest Threat to Christianity Now in America: Our Own Buckling Knees June 29, 2015

I get it.  Everyone is depressed after last week’s big ruling against traditional marriage.  Everywhere you go, people are wondering about the ramifications for people of faith.  Though many social media memes mock the idea that the Supreme Court’s embrace of same sex marriage will affect religious freedom, it’s undeniable.  Things will change.  They already have.

Check out this tweet from Father Jonathan Morris:

My husband David French is a Constitutional attorney who has done much work in the area of religious freedom over the years.  He writes in NRO:

Even before the Supreme Court concocted a constitutional right to gay marriage, American religious liberty was being systematically undermined. There were widespread efforts to exclude orthodox Christian organizations from American colleges and universities, occasional attempts to literally coerce Christians into voicing support for homosexual conduct, and well-known efforts to destroy businesses that aren’t willing to participate in gay weddings.

All of this is worrisome, and all of it should be resisted, but none of it represents an existential threat to the church. The only real threat is surrender — caving to the cultural, legal, and political forces demanding conformity. The church can and will survive persecution. It will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth.

In previous pieces, I’ve amply documented the decline and fall of the Protestant Mainline, those churches — like the United Churches of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — that abandoned biblical orthodoxy decades ago, in the name of cultural relevance and “inclusion.” Some are declining so precipitously that they may cease to exist within a generation. Already we’re seeing similar signs of decline in those Evangelical churches that are abandoning biblical truth on questions of sex, family, and marriage.

Because of his legal expertise, we’re getting many calls about this ever encroaching threat.  David suggests defying the culture.

Defiance, however, means more than merely ensuring that your church or your Christian school doesn’t change its policies. It means more than still donating to your church even if the day comes when you can’t deduct the contribution. It means a willingness to lose your job, your prosperity, and the respect of your peers. It means saying no every time you are compelled to applaud or participate in the sexual revolution. It means standing beside fellow Christians who face persecution or job loss — not just shaking your head and thinking, “There, but for the grace of God . . . ” It means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message — even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment. And through it all, it means being kind to your enemies — blessing those who persecute you.

So what’s the bottom line?  David has salient words (really, you should read them all here).

As the church stands, it must remember that our present troubles are meaningless compared to the deadly challenges facing the church in the Middle East. And, always, we must remember who controls our destiny.

In the book of First Kings, Elijah faced a wave of persecution and mortal danger beyond anything any American has faced on American soil. He felt alone — terrified that all was coming to an end. He declared to God, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” God’s response echoes through the ages: No, Elijah was not alone. He had reserved 7,000 in Israel who’d never bowed to Baal.

God will always preserve his people. All we have to fear are our own buckling knees.

Stay strong, friends.

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  • josephw

    Thank you for your post!

  • Hurmann

    No, ” everyone” is not depressed by the SCOTUS’ ruling. In fact most people aren’t. You make the same mistake Rick Santorum does when he decries the Court’s power and says now let the people decide. The people already have…. And they support gay marriage. The Churches, or at least some of them, realize this and through a mix of compassion, evolution and probably self preservation, have changed their position on homosexuality and gay marriage. You can do as your husband suggests but it won’t change things much if that’s what you’re after. At least the ruling seems to be a boom in business for your husband.

  • PleaseKillMe

    One thing that the non extreme sects of the religious communities should at least agree on is that they do not deserve a tax exempt status. This ruling is hopefully a gateway into that.

  • Fortunately the separation of church and state creates a two way street. The Constitution, and its various court interpretations, is not the Bible. It’s a government document that’s more pliable than microwaved rubber bands.

    Christian churches have their own rule book to go by. The Bible. Stick with it. Churches aren’t going to change Sunday school songs from “The Bible tells me so” to “Justice Roberts tells me so.” The Bible has historically run averse to the flow of society’s whims and their government’s rules. This is why we have the Bible. It’s knees can’t buckle. It’s truth doesn’t contort to fit the latest social trend. It’s the solid rock for which to grasp and hold onto, not to chisel away at…as man always does to his own laws.

    There is nothing to be sad about. Courts are made of men, thus they will bend to man’s will until they topple over. Let’s face it, Man’s will is historically awful, selfish, and ultimately fails over time. The Bible endures. Be happy we have it. Be ELATED! Then Stick with what sticks.

  • Steve Tuter

    As a Sociology major I learned one thing if nothing else, when you don’t have moral standards & social and traditional folfways society eventually unravels.It take a generation or so to see the damage and then it’s too late.The Romans did’nt see it coming and history is repetative if nothing else.These “enlightened LGBT groups are as undermining to our culture as communism or terrorism could ever be long run.

  • Hurmann

    Right…… Homosexuality is a threat to heterosexuality. Well, just because. Gotcha.

  • Hurmann

    Well actually I think even before this ruling modern marriage, even ones ordained by the church, are very different than in the bible. Yes?

  • Mr. Avatar

    Our threat isn’t our buckling knees – it’s our anger – we are righteously angry and have every reason to be. What we need is to galvanize ourselves and by the millions do it in numbers.

  • Hurmann

    Angry? Angry at what? That homosexuals are allowed the same rights and privledges under marriage that we are? How does that affect you?

  • MBern

    Christians opposed to “Gay Marriage” waving their bibles have conveniently skimmed passed the versus which they themselves would never want to live by. Timothy talks about women not being in a position of authority over a male, or ever teach a male. I have yet to see Bible Waving Christians storm the Board of Ed and call for an immediate dismissal of all female teachers. No march on corporate American forcing women to resign management roles. I see plenty of bible waving Christians leaving and entering Red Lobster and the bible has shellfish as an abomination, for that matter Gluttony. No marches forcing rapists to marry their victims as prescribed by the bible. I drive through city centers all the time and there are no areas for public stoning; women that remarry are guilty of adultery – stoning, Dis-obedient Children – Stoning, all very clearly detailed in the bible. Good Christians remember Christ said love one another as I have loved you. The rest of these negative comments are people justifying prejudice, by picking and choosing the verses they choose to live by, and ignoring others. There are religiously controlled countries, laws of Islam and look how those people struggled for personal freedoms. Not everyone shares the same faith, not everyone missed Christs message never to judge and simply love one another.

  • Hurmann

    Love the photo used. Not only does it show the diversity of marriage equality supporters, but it’s also from Australia showing how this progress is global.

  • Linda Prince Johnson

    Yes, immorality IS global.

  • Syd Barrett

    “Everyone is depressed after last week’s big ruling against traditional marriage. ”

    “Everyone”? You mean everyone who thinks like you…which nowadays happens to be a MINORITY of Americans.

    My word, the sheer arrogance of that statement is staggering. I thought Christianity taught humility? Clearly, you missed that lesson…along with many of the others.

  • Hurmann

    Your religion may say homosexuality is immoral, but not everyone shares your religious beliefs. And that’s okay.

  • Linda Prince Johnson

    People who know little or nothing about the Bible like to pick and choose verses they think support their reasoning. No where in the Bible does it say that women can’t have authority over men in their secular activities. That verse is talking about the worship of the church and classes that are held for members of the Lord’s church. That has no bearing on what women do in their secular daily lives. The other verses you quote are from the old testament. The laws contain in the OT were nailed to the cross with Christ and after his death and resurrection are no longer in effect. If you read the ENTIRE new testament you will find what the apostle said about bringing the law of Moses into the church and binding it on Christians.

  • Linda Prince Johnson

    Not for Christians. Those truly following in the steps of Jesus have the very same marriages that exist when the church was established.

  • Linda Prince Johnson

    Everyone I come in contact with is unhappy about the degradation of morals in this country. Perhaps all the people you associate with are immoral? Or so it appears from what you post. The true church doesn’t “evolve” and the Bible was written in Greek which is a dead language specifically so it wouldn’t evolve. The gate into heaven is NARROW and I won’t expect to see you inside.

  • Hurmann

    Well Linda, those Christians are different than the ones that make up the majority in this country. And they’ll probably tell you they follow the bible. Apparently it evolves too

  • Hurmann

    Oh aren’t you a peach! Sorry but I don’t believe in an afterlife so you don’t scare me Linda. As far as I’m concerned, we will both live on in the memories of those we touched and our atoms will reassemble into somethings else after we are gone. But yes, most people I know of support marriage equality whether they are gay or not. And guess what? The majority of Americans do now too. And that only going to grow with time. And I don’t consider the marriages and committed relationships that my homosexual friends and family have as immoral. Hardly. But then again, I do not share your religious beliefs

    And btw Linda, Greek isn’t a dead language. But the Koine Greek that the NT was written in is now……but not when it was written.

  • Kristotofer Gray

    Someday we’ll hear from a “Christian” population that talks about following Christ more than they talk about following the “Bible.” Christians, the Bible is not your God. It just points the way to your God. You can read a book about Yoga, but until you do Yoga that book means shit.

  • Kristotofer Gray

    Our Great Country is founded on an unwillingness to live without Religious and Social Freedoms. The last thing we want is a Government that is ruled by a certain sect of Religious conviction. Even if I don’t agree with the Supreme Court I LOVE that they are not ruled by One religion or One President. Long live American three tier Democracy!

  • Hurmann

    Or better yet, Christians that understood their religion is their own and not all of us share each others religious beliefs and that’s okay.

  • With the Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage God has given the U.S. over to the Devil so that the sinful nature will be destroyed I Corinthians 5:5. I think it is a good thing as the government will have to get out of the churches and all Christian ministries. Christians will have to pledge their life and treasure to standing for God’s laws. I expect to see in my lifetime more Christians going to prison in this country.

  • Hurmann

    Really? For what?

  • Kenneth Johnson

    God can take care of himself. If you believe, God will take care of you. As for the world, the USA, you can’t do anything about that. It is in God’s hand, you know.

  • PhooPhan

    And which interpretation of the Bible do you want us to follow? Then tell me, how branches of Christianity are there or have there been since Christ walked this earth? How in the world can this issue be debated when there are so many interpretations of the New Testament and even more branches of Christianity? Just look at Northern Ireland for example? How many thousands of people have lost their lives in the past 50 years alone for what? Because one half of the city is Protestant and the other Catholic? And YOU or any God fearing Christian is going to educate us on what the Bible says or means for ALL of us? Pleeeeeesssse! Christianity has much bigger problems than Gay Marriage to deal with.

  • PhooPhan

    And which interpretation of the Bible do you want us to follow? Then tell me, how branches of Christianity are there or have there been since Christ walked this earth? How in the world can this issue be debated when there are so many interpretations of the New Testament and even more branches of Christianity? Just look at Northern Ireland for example? How many thousands of people have lost their lives in the past 50 years alone for what? Because one half of the city is Protestant and the other Catholic? And YOU or any God fearing Christian is going to educate us on what the Bible says or means for ALL of us? Pleeeeeesssse! Christianity has much bigger problems than Gay Marriage to deal with.

  • Hurmann

    Agreed Phoo Phan.

    And I don’t care what version of the bible people follow. They just shouldn’ t expect all of us to share their religious beliefs. They are personal.

  • pdigaudio

    For opposing the homosexual agenda.

  • Seamus

    I like the posts on Patheos because I am devoted to Christ and his teachings of compassion, love and forgiveness. This article is the first I’ve found to be a relic of a dying, rather than growing church. Traditionalism does not contain the breadth of the grace God rains on us, and it is our worldviews that evolve to contain ever widening swaths of our fellow man.
    Ethnocentric (and heterocentric) worldviews are being transcended for more beautiful perspectives of love, which I believe God watches with affection like we watch a blossoming flower. Except his joy is 10,000 times greater than ours with our limited vision.

    “The degree of our transcendence is measured by the scope of our inclusion”. The conventional church dies as universal love expands.

  • Hurmann

    The “agenda ” for equal rights? Well I suppose it depends on how you intend to oppose it that will determine if you go to jail. Repeatedly disrupt gay marriage ceremonies? Vandalize the homes of gay couples? Fire people who ate gay simply because they are gay? If that’s your plan, it’s not very nice and David French says you are some of the nicest people in the world.

  • Kimberly

    When I read the title I at first connected ‘buckling knees’ to kneeling in prayer, which seemed like a good thing. I agree wholeheartedly with Seamus–the arc of the story of God is always toward greater love and inclusion. I certainly think there are things to stand up for (compassion, justice, enemy love) but in my opinion us/them exclusion is not one of them.

  • As I read this article about a privileged and exclusive form of Christianity that feels it will become a persecuted minority, it is difficult to feel sorry for a religion that has continually preached about and advocated homosexual persecution. The persecutors now begin to feel what it is like to be despised by society. Rather than persecute you, however, I think society will now just ignore you. You will find your particular form of Christanity in the dustbin of history. Younger generations will avoid you like the plague.

  • mirele

    Koine was not a dead language when it was written. It was the language of the people and of commerce. Archaeologists find letters and receipts written in Koine Greek *all the time*. They’re as secular as all get out. This idea that God had the New Testament written in a dead language so it couldn’t be tampered with is only slightly more sophisticated than the “King James Version is advanced revelation and better than the Greek manuscripts” idea. Plus, it’s apparent you have never looked at a Novum Testamentum Graece Nestle-Aland edition, which has the text of the New Testament AND ALL THE VARIANTS. Yes, variants.

    If you want a book “handed straight from Heaven,” may I suggest the Koran? That’s the belief of Muslims…

  • mirele

    You know, good Southern Christians prior to the Civil War believed their slaves were property, and, as property, they weren’t allowed to get married. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution changed that situation. But my goodness, all those godfearing Christians of the South, with their slaves, and they wouldn’t allow legal marriage because *property*!

  • mirele

    What are you going to do? I’ve heard some of your co-religionists call for the wrath of God to be poured out on the USA for what occurred. Interesting–God didn’t intervene to get rid of slavery or the massacre of American Indians, but he’s supposed to intervene and judge America over gay marriage. Others talk sedition and say states should secede. We know where that went in 1861-65.

    Or are you just going to become the Christian Taliban and enforce your religious beliefs on the rest of us by force?

  • Monica Ruth Brands

    “That has no bearing on what women do in their secular daily lives” – so you’re saying the version that says “I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man” has no implications for most of a woman’s life, other than Sundays? What about women teaching in Christian colleges and schools – is that “secular”? Or Christian non-profits? The idea that there’s something inherently wrong with an adult woman ever having authority over a adult man is so self-defeating that most Christians don’t even try to make sense of it in practice or smooth out the contradictions – they just exclude women from being taken seriously at church (!) but let them do whatever they want outside of church. I’m sorry, but we either have to reinterpret that passage, or recognize it was continent on a unique situation.

  • Monica Ruth Brands

    Oh brother. When did Christians get the idea they were meant to be in control of the political realm? This power-hunger you display has nothing to do with the way of Christ.

  • pdigaudio

    Nice. A homofascist surfaces. #Gaystapo

  • Tina Hagy

    “I get it. Everyone is depressed after last week’s big ruling against traditional marriage.” Actually, no. Most of the people you know are depressed. Most of the people I know are happy, myself included. This was not a ruling against anything, it was a ruling FOR something, much as Loving vs. Virginia was a ruling FOR something, not against something.

  • If the writings of the apostle Paul are to be trusted, the early Church discouraged marriage on the plausible grounds that the Second Coming was imminent (1 Corinthians 7:25-29). Inexplicably, this view persisted well into the Middle Ages, long after the sense of urgency abated.

    The Church did not articulate a doctrine of marriage as a sacrament before the synod of Verona — and even then, it seemed like more of an afterthought amidst persecution of the Cathars and Waldensians. The earliest recorded suggestion that marriage is anything more than a secular institution occurs in Augustine; to suppose that the idea dates as far back as “when the church was established” is to engage in sheer speculation. The bulk of Christian writing on marriage in the period between the Gospels and Augustine has more to do with the church’s stance on interfaith marriage (and can be summarized in one and a half word: “don’t”).

    Jesus Himself has only ever seen fit to institute one rite (the Eucharist — not marriage), and while attending a wedding was satisfied to ensure a steady supply of intoxicants. The oft-cited “one flesh” ruling, though highly evocative, concerns flesh — not spirit, only flesh — and is a far cry from an articulate doctrine of marriage as a naturally- or divinely-sanctioned union. If anything, it reads more like a reiteration of Deuteronomy 24:5.

    More to the point: it is not self-righteous indignation which keeps the Church alive, but caring and compassion for all of God’s children.

  • Mowdave

    Love your earthly judgement!

  • Doreen A Mannion

    Wait, I thought being depressed means you are sinning against God? That’s what conservative theologians usually say. But now now? It’s so hard to keep up with.

  • Doreen A Mannion

    More?

  • Doreen A Mannion

    Where can I find this supposed agenda so I make sure I am following it correctly?

  • Doreen A Mannion

    Do you know where I can buy a gaystapo shirt?

  • Shannon Menkveld

    It clearly hasn’t occurred to anyone making this very common argument that our culture’s acceptance of gay relationships, gay marriage, and, yes, even gay sex are the products of a set of moral standards…

    … they’re just different standards than the ones that the person making the argument chooses to adhere to.

    It’s a similar error to that made by those, (almost always Abrahamic monotheists,) who argue that being gay is a choice, and so gays should not have their civil liberties protected by the law… they never seem to consider the fact that one’s religion is likewise a choice.

  • Barbara Vaughan

    I’m not depressed. I’m elated for my friends who may now marry. And I’m also a pastor. Not everyone is dismayed. Not everyone is gnashing their teeth. And my religious freedom is just fine, thank you. Please don’t confuse the acknowledgement and support of constitutional rights, participation in government and business benefits and programs with religious persecution.

  • Hurmann

    This is an excellent point Tina. Conservatives keep saying its a ruling against traditional marriage. It isn’t. It changes nothing about traditional marriage. Men and women are still free to marry. And people are still free to practice their religion. What are they so angry and afraid of anyway?

  • Justin Vest

    YES. This is more like it.

  • Justin Vest

    You’re a part of it. Trolling on an evangelical blog.

  • Justin Vest

    Eight upvotes for this? You and at least eight people pretended not to be familiar with the common usage of the word “everyone” in such a context.

  • Justin Vest

    And old! Nothing ever changes. It’s always cyclical. And God is always in control.

  • Hurmann

    If believing we all should have the same rights makes me a fascist , well then color me fascist! It must be a new definition. And say, where do I get one of those cute gaystopo tshirts. You do know that just ridicules you pdigsidio, don’t you?

  • Luke DeLong

    “The church will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth”. The church survived while the founding fathers, who many say created this Christian nation, committed mass genocide on American Indians. The church survived when its members used the scriptures to justify slavery. The church survived when males used the scriptures to oppress women and force them into patriarchal family systems, not giving them equal rights. The church survived when a majority of its members support the death penalty and war, killing over 4 million Muslims.

    Yes, I see what you mean, the church in America has been oh so faithful, and must prevail against people wanting to be married. What’s even worse, I am a part of a church family where this ruling immensely changed the lives of the people for the better, and you can’t even acknowledge how this decision could lead people to a fuller, richer understanding of the love of Christ.

  • Justin Vest

    Good for you, Linda. Thanks for telling the truth, even in the face of this onslaught of trolls. The lurkers need you.

  • Hurmann

    Exactly Luke! Well put.

  • Hurmann

    Tell that to the Frenches who are busy making a living off it.

  • Justin Vest

    Those four examples you gave are pretty much what history is. Across continents and millennia. How they relate specifically to Christianity is anyone’s guess. You describe the actions of ruling oligarchs and accuse churches of condoning them, but I doubt you can offer reasonable historic proof that such a dynamic was at play in local churches.

  • Justin Vest

    No, it wasn’t. It was stupid. It’s a list of how the powerful have exploited the weak throughout history, naively put forth as something related to American Christianity.

  • ahermit

    ” they never seem to consider the fact that one’s religion is likewise a choice.”

    That’s a really important point which doesn’t seem to come up nearly as often as it should.

  • Justin Vest

    I was actually beginning to accept gay marriage. “This is a free country of the self-governed”, I reasoned, “and if this what the people want, then this is what we will have. Clearly, public opinion is shifting rapidly.” Instead, it was rammed through the Supreme Court in what was one of the worst legal decisions I’ve ever known of, which de-legitimizes the entire thing. There are plenty of people who are pro-SSM as well as pro-Constitution that are dismayed by this. Not awful “bigots” like me, but people who are good, like you!

  • Hurmann

    Justin his point is that Christians did not stand up against those things and yet the Church survived.

  • Also worth noting: the whole of the Bible was not written in Koine. We cannot even be certain that Koine was the first language of the Gospels (although that is certainly the consensus view).

  • Hurmann

    Really Justin? You were about to accept gay marriage had it not been for this? I call
    Bullshit.

    Congress could have and should have done the same thing but it was up to the SCOTUS to resolve because our Congress is so dysfunctional.

  • Tess Stanley-Hannah

    Keep on keeping on! Do exactly what you’re doing..excluding, shaming, judging and condeming. You will see your numbers dwindle to nothing but extremists, hate mongers and lunatics. Your biggest threats are yourselves.

  • Justin Vest

    Yes. Are you not familiar with the thinking of conservatives on legal matters? Read Roberts’ dissent. I try to govern my own activity in accordance with scripture, and I expect the nation to be governed at its highest levels by the Constitution. I live in Maryland, and I accepted it here with nary a complaint. Why? Because it was done the right way. Sure, I think it’s a bad idea, but what am I going to do? That’s self-governance, and I believe in it.

  • Justin Vest

    And what does that have to do with church attendance in 2015 America? The fact is that David French is absolutely correct that churches that embraced liberal theology are dying fast, significantly faster than orthodox/evangelical types. The reason can be found in the above comment–look at the cynicism and contempt he has for historic Christianity. WHAT DID THEY DO ABOUT SOCIAL INJUSTICE, the modern liberal Christian screams. To a congregation of 25.

  • guycooksey

    We are quickly turning into Sodom and Gomorrah and we know what God the Creator did to them. When perversion becomes the norm God’s righteous judgment will soon follow. Look for the market to crash, more natural disasters coming and even terrorist strikes that will make 911 look like a party. Following clear Biblical warnings in LEV 26 and DUET 28 it is all coming. Go ahead lib-leftists mock and scorn what I have just written, but judgment is coming.

  • They are afraid that in a few generations their beliefs on this subject will be embarrassing to their descendents and that the people who hold anti-LGBT beliefs will be a radical and politically isolated fringe. They know they won’t be persecuted, but they equate the fact they’ve failed to convince others with being oppressed. That is why their emphasis is on “stay firm on this issue” rather than “stay firm in faith in Christ.” That is why they are equating faithfulness as a whole to belief on this particular subject. Anything to avoid the nagging voice of doubt that maybe – just maybe – they are missing something.

  • Justin Vest

    Yeah, people are just clamoring to get up early on Sunday to go someplace that espouses the same values of the popular culture they consume for three hours a day. It’s a nice change of pace for them, I’m sure.

  • Justin Vest

    “This article is the first I’ve found to be a relic of a dying, rather than growing church. Traditionalism does not contain the breadth of the grace God rains on us, and it is our worldviews that evolve to contain ever widening swaths of our fellow man.”

    This sounds like something you hope is true, rather than something that is. There is certainly no similar sentiment to be found in the Bible, unless I’m mistaken.

  • Justin Vest

    “Anything to avoid the nagging voice of doubt that maybe – just maybe – they are missing something.”
    This entire debate is a subsection of a larger debate–that of the New Left vs. traditionalists, which so often revolves around questions of family and sexuality. Far from worrying that I’m missing something–every day brings new confirmation that our fears are justified. Gay marriage, marriage equality, call it what you will–what’s at stake is an entire value system. Those that say “hey, men and women are free to marry, it’s no big deal”–they are the ones missing something. This is much bigger than that. And I think you know it.

  • Justin Vest

    Yes, but you’re screwing up the narrative. This isn’t a gateway to anything! That’s a rightwing lie!

  • Justin Vest

    The majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of the federal government. Almost half thinks Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. So, you’re right, but I don’t think it’s as good a point as you think it is.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    Thanks for the reminder that a segment of our society is determined to imagine themselves persecuted, and that they can be counted on to produce unverifiable anecdotes about having been spit on and talked mean to. No doubt you imagine atheists, skeptics, scientists, and historians to be part of some unholy axis of evil with gays.

  • chad

    The bible is clear about homosexuality being a sin, gay “marriage” is a celebration of sin, i really don’t see how any Christians can support gay marriage, and call themselves Christian. You either accept the bible as the word of God, or you don’t.

  • Harold ‘Russ’ Aylsworth

    People are different always have been always will be so embrace your difference’s and who you are, But don’t ever think that your way is the way for everyone else.
    Live your life and allow others the grace to live their own in peace.

  • Luke DeLong

    Justin, yeah I see what you mean and you raise a good point. And you’re correct, I cannot name any local churches who took place in genocide or the slave trade. I do believe that is besides the point, as we know all too well that the bible was/is used in the involvement of oppression. But to answer your question, were there specific local churches that would preach against blacks and whites intermingling? Of course. I haven’t looked up any, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too awfully difficult to find them. What about the oppression of women? How long of a list do you want? We could start with all of the Mars Hill churches in Seattle. They are closing, but Driscoll is a great example of a misogynist. Actually, the whole Acts 29 network believes women shouldn’t teach a man. I unfortunately was at a church for two years that wouldn’t allow a woman to teach a person over 18. And being from Columbus, Ohio, we have a number of churches who are right outside of the city and are right winged activists for war, so that “we” may be free. Rod Parsley is a great example, simply because of his bad theology and political ties. I see what you’re saying, yet I think the thought of naming individualized churches when we know that large groups of Christians are supportive of these sorts of oppressions explains enough.

  • Brian Thom

    Yes, stay strong friends. Continue to hate and ostracize those of God’s children, made in his image, who don’t quite live up to the standards set forth in your dusty old scrolls. I for one believe if God is indeed loving and all wise, he will embrace all of us, gay, straight and trans, one day in heaven. If not, I want to be with all of my LGBT friends and relatives in hell, no doubt a much better party.

  • “An Entire Value System.” Do you have any statistically significant indicators (i.e. divorce rate being higher in states that supported marriage equality early on)? Because its difficult to measure free floating ideas like “entire value system declining correlated with marriage equality” from a public policy perspective. On the other hand, we have some data to indicate that the states with the most traditionalists against marriage equality are actually faring worse in the divorce department, at least in recent years. I’m open to more data but you’d have to do the work of showing specific detrimental effects rather than inveighing against a generalized trend in which you lump marriage equality.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/States-That-Allow-Same-Sex-Marriage-Have-Lower-Divorce-Rates-213335351.html

    All that aside, there’s no reason that commitment and family stability, if those are really your goals, cannot exist in a same-sex couple marriage. There are many such examples to cite. And it is a very big deal to marry – which is why people that want to make that commitment fought so hard to get it over the resistance of people like yourself.

  • MrCorvus
  • MrCorvus

    Soon follow?

    The Netherlands legalized gay marriage in 2001. Canada in 2005. They seem to be doing fine.

    If you think Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because “homosexuals”, you don’t know your Bible very well. Here, I will help:

    48 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Look,
    this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had
    pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she
    strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

    Ezekiel 16:48-49

  • Without Malice

    How disgusting that you would use the example of a Jewish prophet who would have railed against the worship of a man as if he were a God to further your vile hatred against homosexuals, just as at one time the church used Jewish scripture to further its hatred and oppression of Jews themselves, a hatred and oppression that led directly to the Holocaust. You should be ashamed.

  • Without Malice

    Look for idiocy and religious fanaticism to increase exponentially among all the crazy Christian idolaters who worship a man as if he were God. Woe unto thee.

  • Without Malice

    Yeah, but Barbara, don’t you just really want to go out there and hate someone sometime like your evangelical brothers and sisters? I mean, what’s the point in being perfect (like them) if you can’t shove it into the faces of those who aren’t?

  • Without Malice

    Most of the folks in prison are Christians. Seems that worshipping a man as if he were God does something bad to the brain.

  • Without Malice

    If that’s the lesson your learning in your sociology classes then I must assume your taking classes at some bone-headed bible institute of “higher” learning. Other wise knows as idiot mills.

  • Without Malice

    Ain’t it funny how there are so many brands of Christianity. Jesus supposedly spent 40 days after his resurrection teaching his followers all there is to know about the kingdom of God. If only someone had taken notes.

  • Without Malice

    It took a thousand years for the first Christian to stand before a minister and recite wedding vows. Before that it was strictly a private matter regulated by the state.

  • Without Malice

    The way is narrow because only a few fools care to walk it.

  • junebug

    Sure, I’m familiar with what they’re saying now. I’m also familiar with how they weren’t exactly exhorting states’ rights when DOMA was on the table…

  • junebug

    Evangelical Christianity in America, a case study of when privilege becomes so established that equality starts to look like oppression.

  • Justin Vest

    DOMA wasn’t great law, true, but it had the benefit of being bipartisan legislation, signed by the president. With opinion shifting this rapidly, marriage equality activists could have similarly legitimized this new policy.

  • Joe Monte

    Since you put it that way it sounds like the Republican Party!

  • ortcutt

    For that matter, there has been same-sex marriage in Massachusetts since 2004, so there’s no need to look abroad. Society hasn’t ended. People straight and gay have continued to marry. Churches have continued to be free to only solemnize the marriages that meet their standards.

  • Joe Monte

    Mark, my words! There IS judgement coming and it already has come. The beginning of the end of the Religious Right started with the Roman Catholic Church’s sex scandals (was that priest being persecuted or was he the recipient of the anger of those whose lives were made miserable by hypocrites?) Then there were the scandals that keep on keeping on: PTL Club, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Rentboy.com, Duggars and stay tuned for more!

    Of all the stupid hills to die on you Evangelicals are choosing to perish on the one where your demands to interfere in other people’s bedrooms is being ignored. Don’t expect a hero’s funeral. You will die in obscurity without so much as an obit.

  • LNae

    By this argument doesn’t that mean the SCOTUS was right in its ruling? Filing out a state (secular) marriage certificate should get one the right/privileges and responsibilities. I’m fine with my future marriage not being recognized by your church, but please keep your bible out of my ‘secular daily life’.

  • Dorfl

    […] Greek […] is a dead language […]

    When people in Greece talk to each other, what language do you believe they usually speak?

  • Dorfl

    I’d kind of hoped for something more dramatic. “Today I shall further the Gay Agenda, by arguing on the internet!” lacks a certain authority.

    Have you ever worried that you might just be taking everything that happens to bother you and ascribing it to this gay agenda?

  • chad

    If you want to quote scripture that backs your sinful behavior be my guest, but don’t link a random lefty blog.

  • Dorfl

    On the blog that calls torture ‘enhanced interrogation’, this is maybe the wrong bit of Orwellianism for me to get stuck on, but this

    […] last week’s big ruling against traditional marriage.

    is really silly. There was no ruling against traditional marriage. There was a ruling for gay marriage.

    I know that calling yourselves ‘anti gay marriage’ would sound really negative and be bad for PR, but it would be an accurate description of what your views actually are. Instead you’ve picked a positive term ‘pro marriage’, which sounds vaguely virtuous while conveying no useful information. And now your own misleading terminology have got you believing that opposition to traditional marriage is an actual thing you need to worry about.

  • Magical Unicorn

    Christianity is dying. Dead. Christ’s morals were corrupt and now the religion founded on this peasant is over. Let the funeral procession begin.

  • chickadee

    Yes, stay strong in pretending that Bronze and Iron Age mythological texts rule your lives, while you violate every rule they set forth because you can be forgiven. What a bunch of bull.

  • Hurmann

    True. And silly too because once we forget calling it gay marriage and just call it all marriage, this group will need to change their name.

  • Justin Vest

    Eh, it would have been more accurate to say you’re a manifestation or result of it. “Part of it” makes it sound more conspiratorial than I was going for.

    But there was and is a coordinated agenda. All you have to do is look at how quickly opinions have changed about this issue. I think in 1990, over 90% of Americans polled thought ALL homosexual contact was wrong, to say nothing of gay marriage. It is a fact that this incredible shift was in no small part due to a massive propaganda campaign, originally outlined in this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/After-Ball-America-Conquer-Hatred/dp/0452264987

    If you weren’t aware of it in general, there’s a decent chance you were one of the brainwashed. If you’re younger than 40, well…those chances are pushing 100%.

    Now, this doesn’t mean same sex marriage is wrong, by itself. But most people like to think of themselves as independent thinkers, and don’t like being manipulated. So this matters.

  • Rob

    You are so blinded by your fundamentalist/conservative worldview that you have absolutely no idea what the biggest threats to Christianity are. Here…let me help you….

    Things that are harming Christianity in the US (NB. not an exhaustive list):
    1. Associating itself with a narrow, right-wing, part of the political spectrum
    2. Setting itself against areas of scientific inquiry in the face of an increasing body of evidence (e.g. regarding the age of the Earth)
    3. Many of its members aligning Christianity with the gun lobby
    4. Banging on and on and on, ad nausaeum, about homosexuality and same-sex marriage as if it were the most important issue facing mankind (hint: it isn’t)
    5. Insisting that the Bible is inerrant/infallible when anyone that has read it can see that this is far from the case
    6. Acting like (and often openly stating that) Christians are morally superior to non-Christians when this is patently untrue
    7. Fake faith healers

    Etc, etc, etc.

    There are, I know, many Christians who are honest about their own failings and those of their ‘holy book’ and Christians who realize that the plight of the poor is way more important than homosexuality, abortion, and all the other issues that the ‘christian hate brigade’ never tire of screaming about.

    However the most strident voices in Christianity belong to those who are damaging it and driving people away. Like yours for instance…

  • Justin Vest

    You can’t. Progressive Christians are no different than the atheist trolls. They believe all the same things. Their shared disdain is for us, those that assume that 1) there really is a God, and 2) He doesn’t change based on the whims of a declining civilization. You will discover that most progressive Christians, when pressed, do not really believe in any of the miracles of the Bible, including the Resurrection.

  • Justin Vest

    “However the most strident voices in Christianity belong to those who are damaging it and driving people away.”

    This is something liberals say over and over again, hoping it’s true in general because it was true for them. One of the things that’s so attractive about Jesus is that He is so unlike people, and as we replace traditional values with whatever amorphous, ever-changing blob of goo you ascribe to, He becomes even less so. And that is very comforting.

    Who in the world wants to get up early on Sunday and worship a God who has the same warmed-over Marxist values pop culture now has? No one, which is why, as David French rightly points out, mainline Protestants are dying.

  • Justin Vest

    Oh, stop it. Conservative Christians are the best friends the Jews have on this planet.

    And, “vile hatred?” That’s a little hyperbolic, don’t you think?

  • Justin Vest

    “This…this PEASANT. This PROLETARIAT. I dismiss it all in the name of my own superior mind. I have read several books. For I am…avatar name: Magical Unicorn.”

  • Hurmann

    Who? Apparently a lot of Catholics because the Catholic Church has toned down its message and modified its position to keep members.

    Note, people aren’t flocking to more conservative churches. They are however leaving religion altogether. Who in the world wants to get up early on Dinday and sit in a pew to hear some preacher rant about that person’s family member or friend or neighbor who is homosexual and say their love and marriage is an abomination?

  • Justin Vest

    Haha, they don’t say things like that. I don’t know, I suppose there are probably some rural Southern Baptist congregations that still get down like that. For most, it’s just an acknowledgment that acting on same sex attraction is a sin, just like sex before marriage. The attraction itself is not a sin. God’s design for sex is a simple one–a man and a woman in marriage, or not at all. I know that’s a bummer for most of us–after all, there are way more straights that violate this than LGBT, and nearly all of us would LIKE to violate it at some time or another.

  • Rob

    Attaboy – you keep clinging to your delusions…

    All Christian denominations are dying. The only difference for Evangelicals is that the attrition on their numbers is being (almost, but not quite) balanced out by the fact that some folk who leave mainstream denominations, instead of quitting organized religion altogether, are ‘doubling down’ by seeking out a more hardline version of their faith.

    The net effect is that Evangelicalism is acquiring an ever-increasing concentration of right-wing, homophobic, hate-mongers. Once your pool of potential right-wing fundies has dried up, your sort of Christianity will fall just as fast as the type practiced by your ‘liberal’ co-religionists that you so despise. In fact, once the most poisonous elements of Christianity have been gathered into this one grouping, I expect it will fall faster than any other denomination.

  • Justin Vest

    They’re not seeking out a “more hardline version”. They probably just wanted their church to worship the same God as their parents and grandparents. It is their churches that changed based on the opinion polls of morally declining society. They had no choice, other than to say, “oh screw it, the Bible doesn’t make sense, plus I want to think the way the cultural elite does! They’re so smart, what with their university educations and such!”

  • Justin Vest

    And it is the left that are the hate-mongers. They always have been. The right disapproves of certain behaviors and, yes, would like to see some potential benefit to change, rather than just changing and seeing what the hell happens. The left lies to its minority coalition to stoke their anger and keep them voting and thinking properly. The fiction of Matthew Shepard being Exhibit A for the purposes of the gay marriage discussion.

  • Justin Vest

    “Historians”, that’s a good one

  • Justin Vest

    What do you think about online porn, Rob? Let me guess…there’s nothing really wrong with it, the performers have agency and are just sex workers that need protection from exploitation, and that the fear of the sex slave trade is, like, way overblown. Does that about sum it up? The reason I ask is because male champions of gay marriage typically have no problem with 18-year-old girls getting slapped around on camera and made to vomit on flesh and “fake prosthetics”.

    They defend the industry and deny the girls are victims in any way, contrary to all reason and all consistency of their usual SJW impulses. The reason, of course, is that they very much love their precious porn and must defend it, because acknowledgment of the truth might make them change. Better instead to look yonder at those Christians! Yes! Yes, it is THEY who are the bad ones! Now, on to some more porn! I do so love it!

    Your moral superiority is absolutely BLINDING compared to Christians, who as a matter of faith are constantly reminding themselves how they fail to measure up to a standard. So much of what’s wrong in this country can be laid at your feet, 100% of what’s wrong sexually.

  • Hurmann

    Well, and actually do violate it. You do realize that nearly everyone has premarital sex, conservative Christians included?

    And as for conservative churches and homosexuality, whether they call it an abomination or a sin it’s all the same to that person sitting in the pew.

  • Justin Vest

    I do realize it, yes. But I also know of a handful of people who waited until marriage, and their experience sounds incredible.
    Sin, you say? Well, yes, there is sin. The denial of its existence is, in my estimation, the cause of Christianity’s decline. If you’re sitting in the pew and you don’t think you have sin, I wonder what the point of being in church is. What would you need Christ for?

  • Rob

    Porn? Porn?? Did I just slip through a wormhole into an alternative reality where this thread was anything to do with porn???

    Oh no….wait…it’s just the old “when I have no rational response I’ll just totally change the subject ‘cos that’ll really show him” ploy.

    You’re not actually very good at this…are you? Look – I’ll make it nice and simple for you…the strapline of this website is ‘hosting the conversation on faith’. OK? Got that? Good. Now…I made a point on the subject of faith, so…its now your turn to continue this conversation on faith. (If you want to and are capable of doing so of course.)

    I’m sorry that you couldn’t keep your mind off porn for long enough to answer my actual point, me…I have no use for the stuff.

  • Justin Vest

    Your point? Did I not leave three replies? And spare me the headline, you and every other godless leftist come here to preach at the faithful. You have no interest in a “conversation on faith.” So I did you the courtesy of not boring you.

  • Justin Vest

    Hey I noticed you upvoted this moronic comment here, an important contribution to the conversation on faith:

    “Christianity is dying. Dead. Christ’s morals were corrupt and now the religion founded on this peasant is over. Let the funeral procession begin.”

    What a great convo starter!

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “Historians” were included because legitimate historians are fact- and evidence-based in their research. Having observed the Texas Board of Education, David Barton, and Christian broadcasting, it’s clear that historians are also on the faith-based hit list.

  • Justin Vest

    Christians love history. We love old books, old authors. We love the ancients and we revere the dead. History confirms what we know to be true of human nature and of our Creator, and put modern aberrations into perspective. You think our generation is “big”. “Important”, probably. Trailblazers and innovators! No. History proves we are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

  • Rob

    OK…I did not notice that you had left 3 replies – I was just stunned by your bizarre (not to mention lengthy and graphic- you really do think quite a bit about this stuff don’t you?) excursion into pornography.

    I will address your real, substantive points below.

  • Rob

    Your identification of me as ‘liberal’ and ‘left’ is a bit wide of the mark. I am fiscally somewhat conservative (though not a total hawk) and socially somewhat liberal (but not an anything-goes libertine). As for whether hatred is a characteristic of the left or right – surely even you can see that there is a group of haters on both sides?

    My point about hatred is that US Christianity is increasingly being defined by what it hates than what it loves. Surely this is not what Christianity was meant to be? Don’t you think that if Christianity is meant to be universally true (and more about love than hate) that it should reach across political divides rather than cozying up to one wing of one political party?

  • Justin Vest

    I just saw a movie called “Hot Girls Wanted” two days ago (currently on Netflix) and was shocked and dismayed by the left-wing critical reaction to it. Out of context, it probably did seem bizarre.

  • Why would anyone want to believe in something that is categorically false?

  • This is what is commonly referred to as a non-sequitur.

  • Justin Vest

    Well, yes. Screw the Republicans. But I do not “hate” anyone that identifies as LGBT, any more than I hate people who have sex before marriage, watch porn, or any number of things my faith teaches as wrong (things I have at one time or another been guilty of myself, for which I need forgiveness). I don’t hate them, but neither can I in good conscience condone them.

    EDIT: I’ll note in passing how Rachel Dolezal, the confederate flag, and SSM have dominated the national discussion these past two weeks while TPP was pushed through by a strange alliance of the president and congressional Republicans. Suits the multinationals just fine, I’m sure.

  • Justin Vest

    Only because in my haste I failed to say what one’s got to do with the other. And don’t you owe me replies on another thread, sir?

  • Justin Vest

    “Categorically” false, he says! Gracious! Guess I’ve been wasting my life.

  • Rob

    You claim that people attracted to Evangelicalism just want to get back to the faith of their parents/grandparents. this argument does rather ignore the fact that Christianity has, for centuries, had many different traditions – some tolerant, some intolerant, some ascetic, some rather more fond of ceremony. Which version are they trying to get back to? It also ignores that fact that some seemingly popular offshoots of Evangelicalism (mega churches, prosperity gospel, etc.) are modern phenomena that look nothing like the faith of anyone’s Grandparents.

    I think that, as secularism is increasing in society and it becomes increasingly normal to live without religion, the people with the most doubts are leaving religion altogether whereas those that cannot, or do not wish to, entertain any doubts are seeking the fellowship of equally hardline believers. What this means is that the Evangelical church is gradually being boiled down to a group of extremely right-wing social conservatives. Many evangelicals are fine with this – they see it as some sort of purification that is drawing together ‘the elect’. What is really happening though is the creation of a small band of fundamentalists that the rest of the world will quickly learn to ignore. That is why I disagree on your (and Mr. French’s) analysis of statistics on the decline of various Christian groupings.

  • Do you consider the stories of resurrections in other religions to be true? Or do you consider them false? If false, for what reasons?

  • If you cannot bring a point about after going off-topic, perhaps you should simply stay on topic and address what the other person actually wrote.

    But then, that would require to defend a position which has little defensible territory.

  • Justin Vest

    Except–these other faith traditions all had way more in common theologically with today’s orthodox/evangelicalism than any of them have with, say, the Christianity over on the Progressive channel. I can read the Brothers Karamazov, for instance, with its depiction of 19th century Russian Orthodox, and the differences between their faith and mine are inconsequential.

    I’m not sure where your analysis and David French’s differ. If people are leaving progressive churches and finding conservative ones, not the other way around, it contradicts the liberal folk wisdom that my “brand” of Christianity is driving people away.

    You are quite right about mega churches and prosperity gospels. To that I have no answer. I’m a member of a megachurch, although it was a small church when I was a small kid. I can say that, at least theologically, it hasn’t gone off the deep end yet.

  • Without Malice

    Yes you have.

  • Hurmann

    Hilarious non-sequitur fr a guy who also claimed to be just about ready to support gay marriage! Glad i called bullshit in that.

    Oh Justin you’re all over the place.

  • Rob

    Then…we don’t disagree nearly as much on at least some of the points in my original post as we both thought we did.

    In the interests of full disclosure I should say that your characterization of me as ‘godless’ is, I suppose, correct. Reading the Bible front to back and researching the historicity of it left me with just too many doubts to carry on believing.

    However, I recognize and respect the fact that many people hold a different viewpoint. The church (in the developed world at least) is undoubtedly going through a period of decline and only time will tell if this decline will accelerate and become terminal, or stabilize. My personal view is that the church, whether it continues to decline or not, could be a force for good and it saddens me to see it become increasingly defined by its ‘anti’ attitudes to gays, gun control, democrats, science, etc, etc. That sort of Christianity I can neither understand or respect.

    That was my motivation for posting – if that makes me a “godless leftist come here to preach at the faithful” – then I plead guilty.

  • Justin Vest

    Whatever contradiction you think you see, it isn’t there. I support self-governance, not gay marriage. The former may lead to the latter whether I like it or not. Bare majorities of the Supreme Court is NOT self-governance.

  • Hurmann

    The point again is they don’t want to sit in a church and listen to a love they know called a sin. So they leave.

    So you know a handful of people who didnt gave sex before marriage. That’s actually a hilarious way of putting it, though I’m sure the pun was unintended. Josh Duggar similarly waited until marriage before having sex. The Duggars have made a fortune showcasing their family’s virtuous life.

  • Hurmann

    It is necessary when you have a dysfunctional Congress. And in this case their ruling is supported by the people.

    But you did actually write that you were ” just about beginning to accept gay marriage”. Glad I called bullshit on that.

  • Justin Vest

    The Duggars,…your schadenfreude is unbecoming. I’ve never seen their show. The only thing I know about them is that they are numerous, religious, one of them had sexual issues as a child, and the left was delighted. Cool story.

    People don’t like to be told when they’re wrong. You’re right about that.

  • Justin Vest

    Yes, “accept”, as in “time to accept this negative thing is going to happen. May as well get used to it.” Sorry. Your “bullshit” call was still premature. Stop touting it, you look silly.

  • TheMarsCydonia

    But isn’t what is “clear” in the bible a matter of interpretation? There is, after all, 42 000 christian denominations so as time passed, what is “clear” about the bible did not become more precise among christians but more diverse.

    For exemple, there are still christians today that claims that the bible does not support slavery when it is quite clear that it does.

  • TheMarsCydonia

    You have a very broad generalization with the “we” as there are obviously plenty of christian revisionists. Sure, there are christians history but it is a disservice to deny that there are some that to do not.

  • Hurmann

    Oh that’s even more hilarious! So …. You were going to not actually accept gay marriage but instead accept it was going to happen? Why? Because the country is moving in that direction? But now that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of it, you can’t accept that it’s happening? Even though the people support it? Now, if you want to talk about looking silly……

    Thanks for the laugh Justin.

  • James

    Well said Rob – the hypocrisy and sanctimony of the far right knows no bounds.

  • James

    I think it’s cute how you try to paint someone who disagrees with you as a pornographer. You do realize that the highest concentration of porn subscribers is in the Bible Belt, right?

  • Justin Vest

    Glad you got a chuckle, try looking up the word ‘accept’, then if you can, return to whatever point I was making that clearly was giving you second thoughts, because this is sad

  • James

    The left doesn’t have churches where we spend all day Sunday preaching hate against people we don’t know or any other comparable institution- I’ve been there many times. I know exactly what goes on in right wing churches.

  • stefanstackhouse

    About those job losses, mortgage payments, etc.:

    There are places in the world (I am thinking in particular here of Egypt) where there are Christians who have been reduced to earning a living by recycling refuse, because that is the only occupation that is allowed them by the majority, hostile culture. We have become so used to looking up at those among us who have risen to high prestige/high paying jobs, and of wishing the same for our children. Folks, those days are coming to an end. We are going to see more and more occupations and professions effectively closed off to those who are unwilling to make any and all compromises with the dominant culture. Today it is people in ancillary wedding services. Increasingly, large swaths of academia and the media are effectively closed to uncompromising Evangelicals. Certain health care professions are already problematic for pro-life Christians. Don’t think it is going to end with these. It won’t end with just pro-gay and pro-choice litmus tests, either. The list of causes that those who hate us advocate goes on and on and on. Check out all the bumper stickers on their cars sometime.

    Christian parents have been so used to dreaming of their child as being a future doctor. For increasing numbers, you might have to make your peace with the reality that if your child remains in the faith, janitor might be the best they can do with their career. Are you all OK with this? You had better be, because it just might be coming to this.

    Which gets us to those mortgage payments. We’ve enjoyed our nice middle-class and upper-middle-class lifestyles, and we can be thankful for what we’ve had while we’ve had it. A time of choosing is coming, however, and it might not be possible any longer to have all this and heaven too. Our Lord said that “foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” The truth is that most faithful disciples in most times and places have not had it all that good. God can and will provide what we need, but he will not provide for our greed. We need to be prepared to adjust our expectations and our lifestyles radically downward, not just as a statement of solidarity of the poor, but because we may all very soon be made poor. It is time for us all to assume the worst, to get rid of every impediment that is weighing us down, and to prepare for life as a poor, discriminated-against, and despised minority.

  • James

    It’s hardly schadenfreude. When hard-right fundamentalists start living up to the arbitrary standards that they attempt at every turn to impose upon others through hijacking our political process, then we’ll start to take you more seriously.

  • Hurmann

    Oh Justin, you’re adorable. Its not about the meaning of accept, but rather that you first claimed to be accepting gay marriage and when you were caught in that you thenn claimed to merely be accepting that it was going to happen and now that it has you can’t accept it. And because why? You really can’t say. And yet you keep trying to get out if this with all you’ve got. Gotta love that.

  • Hurmann

    Sorry I’m still laughing about your ” handful of people” pun.

  • Justin Vest

    Yeah, you’re right, I said I accepted gay marriage for the first time anywhere, with an extensive comment history, then continued to argue against it everywhere else on this article and this site. I thought complete capitulation was a good debate tactic. Good grief.
    If you weren’t a Constitutional illiterate, this thread would have died several comments ago.

  • Justin Vest

    I accused no one of being a pornographer, you medium intellect. If you’re going to jump into the fray with all the control and dignity of an 8 month old Rottweiler, then don’t.

  • Hurmann

    There that wasn’t so hard now was it? Honesty is always the best policy. Have a good day Justin.

  • pdigaudio

    SIeg Heil to you, you Nazi bastard, GFY.

  • The Happy Atheist

    “History confirms what we know to be true of human nature and of our Creator, and put modern aberrations into perspective.”

    I am a historian and no, it doesn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  • pdigaudio

    Here’s your fag flag. #Fascist

  • Hurmann

    Hmmm… Nazi bastard. Interesting. Where do you come up with these gems? Can I get that on a tshirt too?

  • The Happy Atheist

    Justin, you are obviously a really intelligent person, so please leave off with the disingenuous chiding. The word “everyone” is hyperbolic at best. In context, though, it really suggests how small the author’s world and worldview really are.

  • Justin Vest

    Argument from authority, eh? I submit!

  • Brian Thom

    I have been reading the posts and thinking about my own experience, and how it informs my views on gay marriage. I was raised a Catholic and, as a small child, infused with the idea that Christianity is all about love, the squishy-friendly kind — I can recall images of Jesus surrounded by docile animals and small children. I can see in my mind’s eye the donkeys assembled in the manger, stretching to see the infant Jesus, the sheep looking on approvingly. Maybe the only good thing I took from those years as a Catholic and later a Presbyterian is the hope that Christian love should be all about forgiveness and respect (I can hear the nuns playing acoustic guitars at a folk mass, literally singing Kum Ba Yah in my brain, all good). Fast forward a couple of years. I’m sitting in a pew at Catholic mass, maybe I’m thirteen years old. I’m listening to a sermon, the one chance in the mass where perhaps something is said that I can understand or relate to. It’s all bad. Hate, rules, darkness, despair, hellfire. By my mid-twenties, I was gone. Issues surrounding birth control, abortion; indeed, the Catholic wedding ritual, with its insistence that the wife be subservient to the husband, all together drove me from the church. But I took with me that distant belief that, more than anything, Christianity should be about love, first and foremost, a child’s view. But the condemnation and rigidity, no doubt grounded in what might be a good faith belief in the literal words of scripture, runs counter to my hope and clearly informs my present day views and beliefs. As an atheist, I firmly believe I can lead an objectively good life based upon my childhood belief that Jesus is all about love and forgiveness. Strip Jesus out, I still think I land in the same place, and we can have an orderly and just society, loving even, without the need to turn to the Bible. But spare me the rules and please don’t bring them into the public square. Feel free to practice whatever faith you want in your churches and homes. But in the secular world, we acknowledge (indeed, embrace) the idea that our LGBT brothers and sisters are our equals, and entitled to every privilege we straight folk enjoy, and that includes every civil/legal advantage that marriage brings to a couple. Mr. French encourages his followers to engage in a form of civil disobedience, his eyes wide open to the consequences. “It means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message — even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment.” In the workplace, giving voice to that sort of hate is likely grounds, yes, for immediate termination for cause, as it should be. That sort of hate has nothing to do with my mythical and maybe aspirational Jesus, the one I think all should search for and embrace, the one that somewhere lurks in the each of us, regardless of the faith we abide (or even if we embrace no faith at all).

  • Justin Vest

    Indeed. We can pray it does not come to that, but we had certainly better prepare.

  • Justin Vest

    You don’t need to be a Christian or even religious to find nonsense in mandatory diversity training, though.

  • Rob

    That is a fair point…up to a point.

    However, although 19th century Christianity was largely characterized by conservative orthodoxy, it also included groups such as the Clapham Sect. These were people who, although orthodox evangelical protestants in many ways, looked past the parts of the Bible which suggested slavery was OK (something to be regulated not outlawed) and instead worked tirelessly, and ultimately successfully, for its abolition.

    These people had the courage to recognize that some parts of the Bible were flat out wrong and jettison them (e.g. the “…slaves obey your masters…” injunction in Ephesians 6). However they did this while remaining identifiably evangelical protestants. As a result they brought about a great social victory and ultimately improved the lives of millions of people less well off than themselves.

    Now that’s the kind of ‘religion of our grandparents’ that I wouldn’t mind re-emerging in today’s evangelical church. It would do much more for Christianity’s standing (and probably its future prospects too) than the current anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-science rhetoric so beloved of many evangelical preachers & commentators today.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Ugh. The fall of Rome had nothing to do with any supposed decline in “traditional morality.” Roman mores changed in radical ways during the millennium or so of its existence. Sometimes Roman culture was very conservative (by their standards), and other times it was much more liberal. If any one thing precipitated the fall of Rome, it was the rise of Christianity, which introduced foreign ideologies that proved damaging and divisive. In a larger sense, though, Rome sowed the seeds of its destruction much earlier during its period of expansion. By the fourth century CE, Rome could not secure its borders in any meaningful way. It was tied down in continuous conflicts along its outer edges, not to mention a costly war in North Africa. When the Huns charged out of the Steppes into eastern Europe around 325 CE, the Roman military was almost fully committed elsewhere and could do little to save the capital.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Well, yes, and you should. If I were a mathematician and you were spouting off all kinds of crazy equations that proved your ignorance of the subject, I would likely not try to correct you as that would involve spending years teaching you the basics, then leading you through the proper steps. I would say, “I’m a mathematician, and you’re wrong.”

    You know what a basic understanding of history involves? A bachelor’s degree. One only begins to enter the “expert” territory at the graduate and post-grad levels, and then only in a fairly narrow field. If you don’t want experts to tell you you’re wrong, then don’t post on topics with which you are unfamiliar.

  • Rob

    Christians will become a minority, but there is absolutely no reason for them to be a despised minority. Don’t act despicably (or act as if you despise others) and no-one will have any reason to despise you.

  • Justin Vest

    The relevant breakdown is not by “states that support marriage equality”, but by demographics. One demographic is regular churchgoers, who have a 15-20% divorce rate (still very high):

    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/june/church-divorce-rate-way-lower-than-anyone-thought/?cpid=RSS_FAV

    I can tell you from personal experience that the only reason my children live with both of their parents is the church. We came back from the brink of divorce based solely on our faith. Anecdotal, I know, but church attendance is begrudgingly known to at least slightly increase pro-social behaviors even among secular researchers.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Why is it nonsense? White Americans are so steeped in their own privilege that it takes systematic education to open their eyes.

  • Justin Vest

    Does the advanced study of history inoculate one against ideological and confirmation biases? There are Christian historians, as well.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Yes, some very fine ones. And no, it does not inoculate anyone against bias of any kind. In fact, it serves to point out precisely where one’s biases are so that other historians can account for them. When a historian picks up a scholarly monograph, do you know what they read first? The footnotes. Why? Because the sources the author used suggest to me where he or she is coming from. Also, advanced study, at least at the MA level, tends to focus on a thorough understanding of the historiography of a subject. Why? So that the student understands how historical understandings have changed over time. Make sense?

  • Justin Vest

    “White Americans are so steeped in their own privilege that it takes systematic education to [get them to abandon everything unique about their culture, and in fact to feel shame for their success, something no other group is asked to do].

    Diversity training is leftist indoctrination. Maybe you think that’s a good thing. I do not.

  • Brian Thom

    I’m an employment lawyer. Diversity training is something clients do to try to foster a healthier workplace environment and, frankly, to lower litigation risks. Again, if Mr. French wants to show up and register his displeasure with whomever, his employer will no doubt call security. But from what I can see in his bio, he doesn’t have a job, but exhorts his fellow travelers to commit employment suicide. Nice.

  • stefanstackhouse

    I could show you any of several different places on this planet where there used to be large numbers of Christians, but now there are none – nothing left but a few ruins of some old churches and a few footnotes in dusty old history books to even hint that they used to be there.

    Yes, that might very well happen here in the USA as well.

    However, I wonder if you would really find any of those formerly Christian places to be such great places to live? I suspect that you will find that what replaced the Christians was not actually all that desirable.

    I wonder if you won’t see the same thing here?

    Be that as it may, there are plenty of Christians in this world. Our numbers are increasing, actually. If we’re no longer welcome in the USA, no matter. The last remaining US Christians – IF they are allowed to leave rather than being killed – will no doubt shake the dust off of their shoes as they leave. Then you can have your country all to yourself. It isn’t really our country, you see: we already have a Kingdom, and unlike all of the nations of the world, it most assuredly won’t be disappearing into that dustbin of history.

  • Christianity is not under attack. Intolerance is. You seem to think that your extremely conservative form of Christianity is the only legitimate kind. You are wrong. There are many Christians who don’t subscribe to your beliefs.

    The empty churches in Europe and Canada, and increasingly in America are due to people walking away from your kind of unloving faith. They don’t hate you. They just have no more use for your kind of exclusive religion.

  • Dorfl

    If you don’t mind, this is something I’d been wanting to ask an actual historian about. My understanding of the reasons behind the fall of the Roman empire is something like this:

    Rome fell due to a large number of problems appearing at the same time, most of which it would probably have been able to handle in isolation. There is no consensus on the relative importance of these factors, and may never be. The “Romans became corrupt and the empire fell apart”-story is a morality tale with no real basis in reality.

    Would you say this is more or less correct?

  • James

    Yeah, cause everybody ought to be exactly like you. Please refer to Mark 12:31

  • The Happy Atheist

    That is an accurate summary, yes. For example, the Roman military would almost certainly have defeated the Huns had they not been tied up in North Africa at the time, then when it turned to face the Asian threat, it lost control of the northern European territories.

    The decline of Roman culture is so complex that various historians specialize not in Roman history, but in particular eras and topics of Roman history. Reducing it to a single cause is absolutely absurd.

  • The Happy Atheist

    My favorite part of the “loss of traditional” values narrative, though, is the irony at the core of it: Roman values were corrupted by – wait for it – Christianity!

  • Justin Vest

    And why do litigation risks need lowering? Because of insane, out-of-control political correction. Because of leftist indoctrination. I understand employers have to do what they have to do to protect their interests (I guess. To an extent). Not all diversity training is bad, but there’s a portion of it that consists of lies, and consenting to lies. You can either go with the flow or stand up for what you believe in.

  • Justin Vest

    It’s the left that wants everyone to be the same. Socialism depends on it. “Diversity” means looking different on the outside, but conformity on the inside.

  • Justin Vest

    Oh, I just noticed you used the word “fellow travelers”. Are you suggesting that, like the fellow travelers of the 30s and 40s, there is a ideology they ascribe to in secret that they can’t admit in public? Anyway, it sounds like you and three of your upvoters admire prudence and dishonesty in matters of career over honesty and moral courage (regardless of how you judge the morality itself).

  • Justin Vest

    So “loving my neighbors” means nodding politely while they sound like insane people, and trying my best to agree with them in order to fit in? Doesn’t sound like any kind of love I’ve ever heard of.

  • guycooksey

    If you think that God did not condemn the sin of Sodom (sodomy) then you don’t know your Bible (or don’t believe it is true). Besides the clear teaching of Genesis 18-19 there is Leviticus 1822, Romans and 1:126-27, 1Timothy1:9-11, COR 6:9-11 and, Revelation 22:15 (to mention a few key passages. Sodomy goes against God’s law and His Natural Law. it is a disgusting abomination and will be judged. Period.

  • Brian Thom

    Employment law simply recognizes that there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable in the workplace, it is not a manifestation of political correctness. Again, those harboring beliefs deemed unacceptable to the larger society are free to voice them at home, in church, on patheos.com, etc., but not necessarily at work. And, frankly, I don’t much care what people of faith believe (even if motivated by what they say is “moral courage”), and I take some comfort in the knowledge that if they “stand up for what [they] believe in” at work, they will quickly be shown the doors.

  • Justin Vest

    Canada is lucky they have the US to the South to absorb the Third World hordes. Poor Europe will be majority Muslim before I’m out of middle age. Then we’ll see how well gay marriage holds up. I predict a lack of rainbow flags over there, too. They have no notion of what Christianity has done for them, but they’re learning, as they replace it with codified belly-exposing to foreigners who do not thank them for their submission. Because that’s what liberalism is. It’s not “love” or “kindness” or “tolerance”. It’s submission. Submission to government, submission to foreigners…submission to anyone but God!

    We orthodox Christians, we don’t hate. We just see. It’s not pretty, let me tell you.

  • Justin Vest

    “I don’t much care what people of faith believe”
    Lucky for you, we’re not invited to give mandatory training sessions to everyone

  • Brian Thom

    I think I was unclear. I am respectful of everyone in the workplace, even those whose views I may strongly disagree with. To live in a polite, ordered society, I bite my tongue. Nevertheless, Mr. French seemingly insists that people should go into work and, in the context of diversity training, explain to those assembled that gay marriage is a moral abomination, as he reads scripture. He also understands that such behavior will cost him his job (if he had one), and, thankfully, the order and politeness I think best will prevail. All good.

  • The Happy Atheist

    But you DO! When I lived in the coastal South, I could hardly go anywhere without being harassed by a Christian evangelist. Everything is infused with this cloying, fundamentalist religion – civil ceremonies, club meetings, you name it. Christians might have to take diversity training in the workplace once every two years; non-Christians are forced to endure public religious indoctrination at every turn, so please spare me the petulant tenor.

  • James

    So people who just want to be treated with decency and fairness sound like “insane people” to you? There you have it – that’s why legalistic Christianity is on the decline and why they have abdicated their claim to moral leadership.

  • James

    What does socialism have to do with civil rights, exactly? Please try to stay on topic, this isn’t the Rush Limbaugh Show.

  • chad

    Do you think “slavery” ended? We are all slaves to one thing or another, don’t you think? There are still places in this world that slavery is very prevalent, some more than others. The bible does not mention anything bad about slavery, but it don’t mention anything good about it either, its just a fact. The weak will always be dominated by the strong, that’s just nature.

  • TheMarsCydonia

    Yes, slavery, not “slavery” has ended, at least legally in North America and as far as I know, every European countries.

    The bible does not mention anything bad about slavery, it supports it and condones it.

  • Actually, you DO hate. A lot. Also, you are extremely paranoid. That is a sign of a sect. Perhaps you should give up your “orthodox” Christianity and start following Jesus. He could teach you a lot about love.

  • Justin Vest

    Jesus wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, pal. He was kind of feminist for His day and age, but He was also manly as shit. There’s no room for my Lord in your social gospel. It’s a ladies room.

  • Justin Vest

    Glad you clarified! It originally sounded like you thought the Christian right should just not have jobs.

  • Justin Vest

    I know, the South, ugh! Why can’t they just get with the program already!

  • KeJorn

    “David suggests defying the culture: Defiance… means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message — even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment. And through it all, it means being kind to your enemies — blessing those who persecute you.”

    So are you suggesting that diveristy training at work may be an example of modern Christians being ‘persecuted’?

    A young gay man is attacked by religious fanatics, tied up and dragged behind a truck to his death.

    A black man is wrongly accused of raping someone, simply because the accuser was afraid to tell the truth and said a black man raped her.

    Those are history-based examples of innocent people being persecuted in ‘modern’ days.

    Having to attend a mandatory diversity training through your job in an effort to bring the people of that organization on the same page when it comes to respecting another person’s rights would not be considered persecution (no matter how bad the trainer was – though I feel your pain if that were the case).

    Some people in our nation suffer from a desire to be victims, even when they are not.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Right!? I’m glad we’ve reached consensus on that point, anyway.

  • KeJorn

    leftist?

    THAT mentality is at the root of our nations demise. Nothing else. This idea that the politically left (or right) minded people are dead wrong just because they are “liberals” or “conservatives”, going so far as to consider them evil. Seriously… this let it go.

    Americans have become so wrapped up on political nonsense they cannot see the forest for the trees anymore.

    Stop it.

  • KeJorn

    “honesty and moral courage” – You think referring to anything you disagree with as ‘leftist’ or ‘insane’ is being honest or morally courageous? Perhaps you need to do some soul searching before you end up doing something terrible like Dylann Roof…

  • KeJorn

    “The reason I ask is because male champions of gay marriage typically have no problem with 18-year-old girls getting slapped around on camera and made to vomit on flesh and “fake prosthetics”.”

    Sounds like you are very well versed on the content of porn these days… guilty pleasure is it?

  • I would say, yes, you have. But that’s my opinion.

    If believing that a Jewish gave birth to a baby without ever knowing the touch of a man, that’s on you. Just realize the likelier story is that she got busy with a friend and didn’t want to get stoned to death by her husband-to-be and father.

  • No, they can work. After all, the world needs reminders of how not to act in public.

  • Christians won’t be a despised minority. Bigoted Christians who think gay people should be treated like lepers will be a despised minority. You know, just like the asshats with swastikas and white sheets over their heads.

  • Dorfl

    I just wanted to say I agree with this very much. I keep getting into discussions where I want to explain that, while “Look at the evidence and think for yourself” is a great slogan, in reality the ability to think about the evidence often requires a knowledge base and a set of mental tools that may take years to acquire. Most of the time, when we think we’re thinking about the evidence in some field outside our own expertise, we’re really thinking about a sketchy summary of the evidence, within a framework of pedagogical metaphors that only roughly capture some important aspects of how a person who actually understands the subject thinks.

  • Justin Vest

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-28939089
    It’s not paranoia when it’s real. This is what liberal deconstruction of words like “tolerance” and “love” and “hate” lead to.

  • Justin Vest

    Certainly not. Another lie of the cultural left (all men watch porn). I saw a stomach-turning documentary called “Hot Girls Wanted.” Currently on Netflix.

  • Justin Vest

    No, because leftist indoctrination leads to this:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-28939089

    It leads to appalling cowardice. Be thankful there are still men in America.

  • Justin Vest

    Here’s your history-based example right here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/26/the-truth-behind-americas-most-famous-gay-hate-murder-matthew-shepard

    Don’t know what rape-hoax you’re talking about, but it’s not surprising.

  • Justin Vest

    It does make sense, yes. Please continue.

  • Justin Vest

    Thank you so much for explaining to me how myths could begin if you remove supernatural explanations as a possibility.
    “Prepare for the force of reason, as I explain to you the origin of the Resurrection…I read several thick books to get to this conclusion, and I present to you now the fruits of my labor…get ready for it…his followers made it up.
    I’m blown away.

  • Do you believe in the resurrection stories of other religions? What makes yours any more real than those?

  • Justin Vest

    BORING. We can save ourselves time by finding one of tens of thousands of similar debates and just reading them. Let’s try a different tack–why do you care what people believe? Is it because it leads them to dumb conclusions about science, philosophy, and eventually to public policy decisions that affect you? Is that it?

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “…You think our generation is “big”. “Important”, probably. Trailblazers and innovators!…”

    Not really, no. I think modern people are as vulnerable to biases and errors in reasoning as we’ve been in history. We’re not smarter or necessarily more wise. We simply have access to more information than people in previous eras, often because of their hard work exploring how the world works, and that’s why we’re better off than they were.

    “Christians love history. We love old books, old authors. We love the ancients and we revere the dead.”

    I do, too. Especially the Bible. The problem is not respecting and appreciating the dead and the ancients; it’s treating their writings as more than a reflection of what was understood about the world at the time. Their being older and having existed previous to us doesn’t make them less intelligent, but it also doesn’t make them wise in ways that are useful today.

  • DanH

    This is not meant to be disrespectful in anyway it is only to make people stop and think about America.

    Do you feel that homosexuality is an abomination and should be illegal and Christians because of their religious beliefs should be allowed to discriminate against gays?

    Do you think the Jewish people that think eating pork is an abomination should be able to make it illegal and discriminate against Christians that eat pork?

    Do you feel a Christian baker should be allowed to discriminate against gays?If so why?

    Do you think a non Christian baker should be allowed to discriminate against Christians?If not Why?

    Because of the discrimination by religious universities and hospitals some people are questioning the tax exempt status of religious organizations that discriminate since originally the tax exempt status was given because religious organizations were considered a common good like other non profits.In the Bible Jesus not only paid taxes he stated clearly”Render unto Caesar that which is Ceaser’s and unto God that which is God’s” when asked about paying taxes.So If Jesus paid taxes and said to pay taxes do you think the church is usurping the authority of Jesus by not paying taxes?

  • pdigaudio

    #Gaystapo

  • Justin Vest

    What information do we have access to today that makes changing the definition of marriage so important that not only must it be done, and agreed upon as wise policy on penalty of being labeled a bigot, but it must be done so quickly that not only the Bible, but the Constitution, must be disregarded? It is a laughably small period of time between when marriage was universally regarded as man/woman only and today. Surely we didn’t need five unelected lawyers settling the matter for us, especially when the gay rights movement was making such strides in convincing the public. I find this, in a way, more troubling than the religious aspect of it. Because I understand that people who don’t believe in God or the Bible will reject much of it if they feel it doesn’t apply. But for goodness sake, what about the Constitution? Separation of powers? Legal precedent involving the regulation of marriage? Realizing that desirable policy outcomes is NOT what constitutes a good court decision, no more than undesirable outcomes make one bad. This is basic stuff that ties into your identity as an American. It, too, has been rejected this week. To point it out is to invite as much scorn from the droolers on social media as saying the sun revolves around the earth.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Historical research definitely reflects a viewpoint, if that’s the same thing as “bias,” but the rather rigid peer-review process acts to weed out confirmational or ideological bias. What else would you like to know?

  • The Happy Atheist

    “Most of the time, when we think we’re thinking about the evidence in
    some field outside our own expertise, we’re really thinking about a
    sketchy summary of the evidence, within a framework of pedagogical
    metaphors that only roughly capture some important aspects of how a
    person who actually understands the subject thinks.”

    Yes! Brilliant.

  • Jesus was definitely a man who stood up to religious and political authorities. And he taught us all how to become the kind of man he was. You are correct – Jesus was not all sunshine and rainbows. He faced evil. And his response to evil was love. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you. Give to all who ask. Give with no thought of return. Turn your cheek toward the one who hits you. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Welcome the stranger. Forgive over and over. This is what it means to be a real man – a man like Jesus.

  • Halo9x

    Nancy, you have hit the nail on the head! The only answer is the answer all of God’s faithful have ever said, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” And, “We must obey God rather than man!”

  • Halo9x

    DanH, It was not the churches that demand tax exemption. That was something the government decided because of the positive impact from the work churches do that benefit society as a whole. By the way, as a Christian, I do pay my taxes just like everyone else and as a citizen have just as much right to a say in what and how my government works. That doesn’t mean I have to support immorality or infant genocide (abortion) or any other idiotic idea those in government wish to foist on Christians.
    You are free to do whatever you want, just don’t expect me to endorse it!

  • Justin Vest

    His response was also to stroll into the temple like a total pimp and kick over the money-changing tables for defiling the house of His father. Read Matthew 10:9-37. All words of Jesus. Read over that, and tell me if your description of Jesus, while correct, isn’t a little incomplete.

  • DanH

    ” It was not the churches that demand tax exemption. That was something
    the government decided because of the positive impact from the work
    churches do that benefit society as a whole. By the way, as a Christian,
    I do pay my taxes just like everyone else and as a citizen have just as
    much right to a say in what and how my government works.”

    You said the positive impact on society as a whole, that is why I mentioned discrimination by church owned and operated schools and hospitals as a citizen I hope you pay taxes.What of all the LGBT that pay taxes that go to support religious organizations?LGBT help pay the property taxes that churches don’t,their taxes pay for the up keep of the roads that lead to the church,their taxes pay for the fire dept that protects the church and all the other costs that churches do not pay but it is O.K. the churches will take LGBT tax money then discriminate and persecute them.

    Just for some enlightenment Google pastors calling for killing gays.If LGBT went around calling for killing Christians how much news would that make how many people would be talking about it?

  • Jesus demonstrated in the temple against those who ran the temple and exploited the poor. We are also to speak to powers and principalities that oppress poor and maginalized people.

    See my article on the politics of Jesus –
    https://postmodernfaith.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/the-politics-of-jesus/

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “…What information do we have access to today that makes changing the definition of marriage so important…”

    A more valid question would be “what information do we have that justifies denying equal protection under the law to gay couples?” That’s the question that was settled, and it *was* done Constitutionally. Stripped of the religious bias that motivates most opposition to gay marriage, there are no good arguments against it.

    Your arguments against gay marriage were primarily faith-based, which is why I made my comment about having more information now than the ancients did when writing the books included and unincluded in the Bible.

  • Justin Vest

    What taxes do LGBT pay that Christians don’t? Contributions to churches are the after-tax dollars of their members, same as donations to LGBT non-profits are.

  • DanH

    LGBT taxes go to help support churches as do everyone that pays taxes but of what benefit or common good have churches been to LGBT?Look into how much churches should be paying just in property taxes and because they don’t everyone makes up the amount they don’t pay.

  • I think conservatives need to find another windmill to tilt at. Standing in the way of marriage? Have you stopped to think about how that looks? I disagree with your stand on abortion as well, but at least you can spin that in a better way.

    Let me suggest that you look around the world and pick an actual problem–conflicts, access to clean water, childhood disease, whatever–and refocus on that. As it is, I see America’s Christians simply being played for political gain.

  • Justin Vest

    By that logic, my taxes go to support LGBT non-profits that push for things I think are harmful to society. Can’t you leftists ever just debate without asking the government to step in and settle disputes unfairly?

  • Justin Vest

    LOL, as opposed to America’s disparate minority coalition, who are unified in truth and common agenda by benevolent Democrats. Go back to your own blog and leave us troglodytes to debate among ourselves.

  • Hurmann

    Oh that’s adorable pdigaudio! Can I get it as a bumper sticker too for my Prius? How about for my rescue dog?

  • DanH

    ” Can’t you leftists ever just debate without asking the government to step in and settle disputes unfairly?”

    Actually it is conservatives that continuously pass or try to pass laws that restrict peoples freedom.

  • Justin Vest

    Nothing at all! I thought you were waiting for an acknowledgement of your comment, and that you had planned to follow up on it once I had done so. Thank you, your comments have been valuable.

  • Hurmann
  • Partly, yes. If people believe in fairy tales, that’s one thing. When their invisible friend tells them they have to make my life miserable just to satisfy its ego, that’s when I get offended.

    If you want to worship your particular deity, feel free to do so. Just don’t try to tell me I have to live according to the same rules if I don’t share your faith.

  • Justin Vest

    Yeah RIGHT. If our “invisible friend” isn’t real, then the rules in the Bible are just made up by men. And that doesn’t make them any less valid than YOUR rules. All that’s left is debating which rules are better. And nearly ALL the rules in the Bible are ones we share, anyway (though shall not murder, lie, steal, etc).
    You are also being disingenuous with your “live and let live” rhetoric, given that your other comments clearly show you have major control tendencies, like forcing not just private businesses to conduct transactions they’d rather avoid, but pastors, too. Change your faith, betray it, or give up your livelihood! That about sums up your position, right? “Feel free to worship [my] particular deity” my ass. “Live and let live”, expect for exceptions to be found in thekingscrier’s opinion Appendix! You may submit the tenets of your faith for thekingscrier’s approval, fill out all forms as directed so as not to delay processing! If you are bigoted, do not omit this info! Recall that “bigoted” means having opinions expressed by the American right wing circa 1940-2015!
    I’m tired of kicking your ass up and down this thread. The only difference between you and any other tyrant is that you’re not actually in charge. I’m done with you.

  • The rules of your Bible are made up by men. I can write that with a degree of certainty because there is nothing progressive about those laws. Every culture places a great deal of emphasis on not committing murder, theft, and perjury. Those are three of the most ubiquitous laws across human cultures. But for a supposedly all-good deity to miss out on slavery, which is the easiest GED, human-rights question one could fathom, shows that the deity in question was really a group of men wishing to control a large population through superstitious fear.

    If a private business operates in a state with anti-discrimination laws, then they must abide by those laws or move their business elsewhere. Simple as that. The same would be true of a Muslim business, or a Hindu business, or any religious denomination operating a business. As for pastors, it has already been pointed out by myself, others, and pretty much anyone with half a brain, that the SCOTUS ruling does not force churches to conduct wedding ceremonies for LGBTQ citizens. If your church wants to act like that, you’re well within your rights to do so. You just don’t get to legislate your twisted form of morality any longer.

    It’s funny to me that you bring up tyranny, which is a government or rule by an absolute ruler. We don’t have that in America, despite what many alarmists and morons think. You know what does have an absolute ruler? Your religion. You have an unalterable, unchecked dictator for a deity that cannot be questioned or reasoned with. You must obey the dictates of this deity, as set down by the deity’s spokespeople, or suffer fiery torment for all of eternity.

    And then you have the nerve to call me a tyrant. You are the walking embodiment of cognitive dissonance.

  • Eileen

    “As the church stands, it must remember that our present troubles are meaningless compared to the deadly challenges facing the church in the Middle East. And, always, we must remember who controls our destiny.

    In the book of First Kings, Elijah faced a wave of persecution and mortal danger beyond anything any American has faced on American soil. He felt alone — terrified that all was coming to an end. He declared to God, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” God’s response echoes through the ages: No, Elijah was not alone. He had reserved 7,000 in Israel who’d never bowed to Baal.

    God will always preserve his people. All we have to fear are our own buckling knees.”

    Amen & amen.

    Stand.Strong.

  • The truth

    Open fire

  • Leo Mann

    So, it seems only those who share your ideology are deserving of liberty. The Constitution of the United States says differently. We just happen to be under the tyrannical reign of a President who circumvents our Constitution to serve his own political and personal agenda unilaterally and illegally despite the will of the majority of the citizens as demonstrated by the 2014 election results.

  • Leo Mann

    The congregations as individuals also pay taxes to maintain the roadways that lead to LGBT events and the homes those folks live and their taxes help pay fire fighters and police to preserve and protect them and their own personal properties. For someone speaking in the interests of a group constantly crying out about discrimination it appears you are quite the bigot. Not hating on you nor your beliefs but take much effort to make this observation.

  • Chris

    The biggest problem with your mindless little rant was right at the start! “I think” clearly you don’t nor do you know what it means to “think” The only thing clear in your worthless rant is you believe that whatever you say is right! You’ve proven to be just as big an Idiot as the oneone you support in the White House!!

  • “it seems only those who share your ideology are deserving of liberty.”

    Does it? You certainly didn’t get that from my comment. I’m eager for all Americans to share in our liberty.

  • Yay! Lots of words!

    Or if you actually want to discuss the issue, I’m available.

  • Josh Boyd

    Everyone on the far right likes the expression, “If you don’t use your rights, you loose them.” That’s true, sure…but you know another way to loose your rights? Abuse them. What the fundies are doing now is quickly going to lead to the concept of religious liberty being closely examined and reigned in so it can’t be used to hurt other people. The worse it is abused now, the more it will be restricted later. Fundies are a passionate bunch, but they aren’t so keen on being able to think about what their actions in the here and now will do to their long-term agenda.

    Moderate Christians who oppose what the fundies are doing need to stand up and make their voices heard loud and clear…and they need to do it now. The media is biased towards sensational stories that get people to tune in, and the shit religious nut-jobs do is pretty damned sensational. If you can’t drown them out, what they are doing will end up coming down on you. I’m an athiest, but I don’t want that. I would stand for religious freedom for the exact same reasons I stand for gay rights, because our country is founded on freedom and I don’t want people to have to live here without it. This still can’t be my fight as of yet, though. It’s the moderate Christians that have to stand up to their tribe. The rest of us can’t do it for you.