Two offensive analogies in the gay marriage debate from David Gushee and Andrew Wilson

Two offensive analogies in the gay marriage debate from David Gushee and Andrew Wilson November 19, 2014

During the past couple of weeks, two arguments have surfaced on opposite sides of the gay marriage debate that are based upon offensive analogies (or “provocative” ones, depending which side you’re on). At the Reformation Project conference in DC, evangelical ethicist David Gushee made an analogy between the Biblically-based, tradition-affirmed anti-Semitism of the pre-Holocaust church and the church’s opposition to homosexuality. Then in response to the Reformation Project, British neo-Calvinist Andrew Wilson wrote a “satire” in which he substituted the arguments for an LGBT-affirming interpretation of scripture with arguments for supporting idolatry. It should be no surprise that I saw a major difference in caliber between the level of discourse offered by Gushee and Wilson, and I’m sure that anti-gay Christians will wave away my analysis as a product of my bias, which is fine. But just in case there are people out there who are genuinely “on the fence” and not locked into complete epistemic closure, I figured I would offer my thoughts.

1) Anti-gayness vs. anti-Semitism

David Gushee opened his speech at the Reformation Project conference with the following paragraph:

I want to talk tonight about a small minority group that was for almost 2000 years the object of a tragically destructive, religiously motivated, contempt on the part of the Church of Jesus Christ.The Church’s teaching about this group was grounded in a number of biblical texts drawn from across the canon of scripture, as they had been interpreted by Christian leaders, and reinforced by centuries of Christian tradition. This destructive pattern of interpreting these texts went back near the origins of Christianity and eventually was very broadly shared by Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant strands of Christianity. One could even describe it as a rare point of unity for these warring groups—they could agree on little, but did agree on this. It was hard to find many dissenters to this tradition, as it was grounded in knowledge sources at the very center of Christianity: scripture, tradition, and major church leaders, generation after generation. Everyone just knew that the group that was the object of this negative teaching was well worthy of the church’s rejection and disdain, that this disdain was “biblical,” and that it was attested to by the highest authorities of the Church. Indeed, expressing rejection and disdain for this group became a core part of Christian identity, even Christian piety.

He goes on with a set of descriptions that seem very clearly to apply to queer people, saying that they were sometimes welcomed into Christian fellowship but often as second-class members of the church. Their identity created obstacles for them in terms of pursuing church leadership positions or ordained ministry. It seems obvious that he’s talking about gay people, until he drops the bombshell:

Eventually the centuries-old tradition of disdain for this group, which lay deep in the marrow of western civilization and survived the transition into secular modernity, metastasized into a massive eruption of state-sponsored violence. By the time it was over, 1/3 of all members of this group in the entire world had been murdered. I am one of the scholars who have sadly documented that most Christians stood by doing nothing to help the targeted group.

Then he reveals that he has been talking about the Jews. There are specific verses in the Bible that were used to justify anti-Semitism, such as Matthew 27:25, in which the Jews say to Pilate about crucifying Jesus, “His blood be on us and our children.” In John 8:44, Jesus says to “the Jews” (or “Judeans,” in my personal “revisionist” translation), “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” This latter verse was the basis for the widespread belief that Jews had horns in popular Christian piety for many centuries.

There are two reasons that anti-Semitism is not “self-evident” as a “Biblical” position for Christians today: the Holocaust and dispensationalism. The Holocaust forced Christians to reconsider their anti-Semitism theologically through declarations like Vatican II’s “Nostra Aetate” in which the presence of truth in other world religions was officially acknowledged by the Catholic church. Then, the “end times” theology of dispensationalism coupled with the establishment of Israel as a nation-state caused the Jews to be on “our side” in the “us and them” dichotomy of conservative evangelicalism, at least in the United States. Now shouting down critics of the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is a cornerstone of American conservative evangelical popular piety. Muslims have replaced Jews as American conservative evangelicals’ favorite religious scapegoat, and the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Plus, as an added bonus, American conservative evangelicals are able to experience “persecution” vicariously through their solidarity with Israel. So Jews are now “in” with evangelicals (they’re even officially white people now after centuries of not being so), not because anything that the New Testament says about “the Jews” has changed, but because a quiet revisionism has occurred from the way these verses “have always been interpreted.”

David Gushee acknowledges that the analogy between anti-Semitism and anti-gayness has its limits:

I am not claiming that LGBT people have faced genocide.But it is true that it remains physically dangerous to be an LGBT person in many places. I have students from other parts of the world who tell me of routine violence inflicted against sexual minorities in their home countries. We have heard of such violence already this evening. There has been no genocide. Still, we speak of a group of people that even today, even in our country, sometimes hear diatribes, with quotes from scripture, suggesting that they should all be executed by the state. I once was the next guest on a Christian radio show where a preacher had just said that.

In any case, anti-Semitism has at least as many Biblical proof-texts as anti-gayness and actually far more affirmation in the embarrassing diatribes of church fathers throughout the centuries basically up until the Holocaust. So Gushee’s argument is that dismissing new interpretations of the anti-gay clobber texts in the Bible because of how they have “always been interpreted” is no more valid than justifying anti-Semitism based on how anti-Semitic clobber texts had “always been interpreted” before the Holocaust. The fact that the church is mostly not anti-Semitic today is because of “revisionist” interpretations of passages that were used for centuries to rail against the Jews from the pulpit.

2) Affirming gayness vs. affirming idolatry

I’m not sure to what degree Andrew Wilson’s post should be viewed as a response to David Gushee, but it went up immediately after the Reformation Project conference. He starts off by saying:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to worship idols. It’s not that my parents raised me that way, because they didn’t; I was brought up in a loving, secure, Christian home. But from childhood until today, my heart has been drawn to idolatry. In fact, if I’m honest, one of the defining features of my identity has been my desire to put something else – popularity, money, influence, sex, success – in place of God. That’s just who I am. For many years, I was taught that idolatry was sinful. As a good Christian, I fought the desire to commit idolatry, and repented when I got it wrong. But the desire to worship idols never went away. I wanted it to, buguns bible flagt it didn’t.

So in other words, human beings are naturally inclined to worship idols. I would agree with that. The two biggest idols among American grassroots conservative evangelicals who have been shaped by the “orthodox” teaching Andrew Wilson espouses are guns and the American flag, which they value about the same as the third prop they put in their selfies, the Bible. I would suspect that the two main idols in Wilson’s British context of American-exported patriarchal Calvinism are Eisenhower-era gender norms and the nuclear family. From my limited exposure, it seems like British conservative evangelicals are mostly free of the idols of patriotism and gun-worship, but God only knows when these items will be exported to them as well.

Wilson goes on to parody the “revisionist” arguments for LGBT-inclusive Biblical interpretation by pointing out that the same things could supposedly be said about idolatry:

Jesus had no problem with idolatry. He included everyone, however many gods they worshipped. If we want to be like him, then we should adopt the same inclusive approach. We should also remember that, as we have discovered more about the human brain, we have found out all sorts of things about idolatry that the biblical writers simply did not know. The prophets and apostles knew nothing of cortexes and neurons, and had no idea that some people are pre-wired to commit idolatry, so they never talked about it. But as we have learned more about genetics, neural pathways, hormones and so on, we have come to realise that some tendencies – alcoholism, for example – scientifically result from the way we are made, and therefore cannot be the basis for moral disapproval or condemnation. To disregard the findings of science on this point is like continuing to insist that the world is flat.

Wilson’s “parody” runs into some trouble here. Who has ever argued that a genetic basis for alcoholism means that no one should criticize alcoholics for getting drunk? There’s a difference between saying that something is a disease and not merely a “moral” issue, and calling for a behavior to be approved. For the analogy between alcoholism and homosexuality to work, Wilson needs to show how homosexuality destroys people to the same degree that alcoholism does. Of course, the fact that Wilson’s piece is a lighthearted “satire” not to be taken too “seriously” means that he doesn’t have to defend making an analogy between alcoholism and homosexuality on the mere basis of their alleged genetic foundation.

Wilson continues to “parody” the argument for an LGBT-affirming understanding of scripture by “arguing” that what Paul meant by idolatry is nothing like what idolatry looks like today:

In [Paul’s] world, idolatry meant physically bowing down to tribal or household deities – statues and images made of bronze or wood or stone – and as such, the worship of power or money or sex or popularity had nothing to do with his prohibitions… In other words, when Paul talks about idolatry, he is not talking about the worship of idols as we know it today. As a Christ-follower, he would be just as horrified as Jesus if he saw the way his words have been twisted to exclude modern idolaters like me, and like many friends of mine. For centuries, the church has silenced the voice of idolaters (just like it has silenced the voice of slaves, and women), and it is about time we recognised that neither Jesus, nor Paul, had any problem with idolatry.

Wilson is right that discerning modern idolatry cannot rely upon a literal reading of the Bible alone. It requires an extrapolation of Biblical concepts. Nothing that the Bible literally says can repudiate hanging an American flag in a megachurch sanctuary next to Jesus’ cross as an idol of equal importance. That’s why most Biblical inerrantists in our country have no problem with idolizing the American flag in this manner and get offended when people raise the question of whether the American flag should be elevated as an object of worship in a Christian sanctuary.

So there’s a deep irony in Wilson’s “parody.” In order to understand the problem of idolatry, we cannot make the 1st century manifestations of what idolatry looks like into timeless principles. We have to make arguments based upon underlying principles extrapolated from the Biblical text rather than expecting idolatry to always look like the silver Artemis statues of Acts 17 that the apostle Paul was dealing with. This is precisely where the Biblical argument against homosexuality fails, unless you believe that patriarchal gender roles are God’s permanent will for humanity. Apart from making patriarchal gender norms into an underlying sine qua non of the Christian faith as complementarians like Andrew Wilson do, there are no underlying principles that invalidate homosexuality, only isolated, tenuous proof-texts that can be interpreted differently. In fact, I would say that the onus is on complementarians to prove that their obsession with gender norms is not itself idolatry.

Though many conservative evangelicals argue that acknowledging the existence of sexual orientation is inherently idolatrous, I find Andrew’s glib analogy between queer identity and the human proclivity toward idolatry to be belittling and unjust to queer Christians. Personally, I struggle plenty with various idols. But my struggles are nothing like the agony of discovering your queerness and trying to repress it for years because you believe it’s sinful until you finally receive some kind of assurance that seems to come from God that there is a chaste and holy way to live out your queer identity without spending your life completely alone. It seems profoundly cruel to me to compare this very painful, difficult discernment process to idolatry.

According to a mutual friend, Andrew Wilson experienced some degree of same-sex attraction at some point in his life. Whether or not that’s the case, it doesn’t give him carte blanche to ridicule the queer experience by reducing it to idolatry. If he wants to be taken seriously outside of his echo chamber, he’s going to have to do a lot better than a “parody” that only people who already agree with him will consider brilliant and clever.

Interestingly, Andrew writes in a separate post that when trying to speak persuasively to people of an opposing view on an issue, one should “listen carefully and respectfully to the opposing argument in its strongest form, adjusting your views where necessary” and “seek the unity of the church more than the acceptance of your particular perspective.” He would do well to follow his own advice on the homosexuality issue instead of offering up glib, insulting parodies to entertain his followers.

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  • Well said, Morgan. A good satire should cause the reader to realize the problems in what is being satirized by virtue of having the objections to the satire also apply to the actual issue. As you’ve shown here, that seems to be the case for Gushee, but not for Wilson.

    I don’t know if what you’ve said here about Wilson not having to defend his “lighthearted satire” is something Wilson actually said or your interpretation of his attitude, but in either case, any satire that’s defended with the logic of “you shouldn’t take this too seriously” has already failed at a primal level. You’re supposed to take satire seriously, because it’s supposed to show a fundamental flaw in the logic being satirized. Instead, taking Wilson’s logic seriously shows a fundamental flaw in the logic of the satirist.

  • drdanfee

    Wilson’s ‘satire’ nicely sidesteps all the pragmatic, common sense differences that, say, John Shore and others have noted about comparisons of sexual orientation variance (LGBTQ+) and any/all other ‘sins’. That is, what is the harm that actually occurs via sexual orientation variance which so far as we know, results in a fairly stable minority percentage of sufficiently large human populations? (Even animal populations, it seems?)

    So far, the traditional or legacy answers are not all that convincing in real world terms. The most loudly espoused one as of late has been ‘gender’ or ‘gender complementarity’. We are all supposed to quickly understand that being same sex oriented in your person/embodiment is a violation of a God-given, Creation-order gender category, i.e., male or female.

    Then we are supposed to be persuasively gripped by the corollary ‘truth’: Oh gee, that person is not a genuine ‘man’ or a genuine ‘woman’ !!! Oh my goodness sakes !!! A great many sexual minority folks will of course, already be quite familiar with the general punch of this claim. Too many of us heard, starting at fairly young ages in childhood and/or youth, how we were not real boys or real girls because people couldn’t help but notice we seemed different.

    This claim was whispered. This claim was shouted. This claim was spoken in dismissive, angry, fearful, scornful and/or pitying tones of voice. But it always boils down to the folk notion in which we were raised and steeped. If only that boy could throw a baseball or bait a fishing hook or butch up his manner, he would be a great kid. If only that girl would take to pigtails and spice and everything nice, we could stop worrying about her.

    Empirically, of course, this is all folk tales and nonsense. Yet we still hear it so often, dressed up in the fanciest theological, ethical or intellectual garb that can be managed at a given moment. Even seminary professors like Gagnon or others, cannot seem to get beyond their deep fondness for the legacy folk beliefs that gender and gender roles always line up neatly with sexual orientation. Alas. Lord have mercy.

    Check out Professor Gs essay in the Washington Post online, for October 24, 2014.

    • Father

      The argument made is that homosexuality damages the social fabric of the community and destabilizes the country socially and economically, much as “child free” couples (who likewise are indulging in selfish desires rather than abiding by God’s will to marry and multiply, according to this line of thinking) do.

      I am so conflicted by that argument. I mean, yes, we are seeing now in other countries the disastrous effects of dipping below the replacement level and entering a demographic winter, and I get that the state has a vested interest in protecting the common good by promoting heterosexual marriage and procreation, but… it just seems so ridiculously unfair to the modern mind, right?

      Here is a write-up of the argument for the damage that homosexuality does, dressed up in an argument against gay marriage. It leaves me dissatisfied, but at least it starts to answer your question of: what harm?
      http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/how-to-make-the-case-for-marriage

      • WilmRoget

        “The argument made is that homosexuality damages the social fabric”

        That argument has no basis in fact. However, homophobia, anti-gay theology and prejudice, demonstrably damages the social fabric – as the centuries of overt persecution and destruction of homosexuals demonstrates.

        “I am so conflicted by that argument.”
        How sad to be conflicted by a nasty fantasy.

        Got give the Roman catholic denomination credit for the extreme hypocrisy of using ‘make babies’ to justify persecuting homosexuals, while making its clergy live celibately. Of course, we’ve seen that children are not particularly safe in the hands of the Roman Catholic denomination.

        Homosexuals are not generally sterile, by the way. When they want children, they can, through the assistance of a surrogate, have children. This means that the children they raise, unlike so many in the world, are genuinely wanted, cherished, rather than seen as unwanted accidents caused by poor rhythm.

        of course, the huge fallacy in the premise your source puts forward is simple – only some people are homosexual, not everyone, and allowing homosexuals to marry will not decrease the birth rate to any significant way. Those homosexuals who would’ve wanted children, will still have them, with the assistance of a surrogate. And those who don’t, won’t. Just like heterosexuals – well, except for those heterosexuals who’ve been told they cannot use birth control, even if they have no desire for children and are unwilling, at heart, to take on the task of raising children.

        If one is concerned about the welfare of the children, it most certainly better for them to be raised by parents who want them and love them, regardless of sexual orientation, than to be raised by people who don’t want children, who won’t love them.

        Don’t you want children to be raised by people who actually want the responsibility of raising children?

        • Father

          You’ll have to tell me how ridiculing those who are on the fence works out for you. I can’t imagine it wins hearts and minds to your perspective.

          • WilmRoget

            Since I have done no such thing, maybe you can explain how it is that you are exempt from ‘thou shalt not bear false witness’?

            But I understand, you could not address what I wrote with integrity, so you resorted to the sin of false accusation instead to continue your self-aggrandizing at the expense of others.

          • Father

            “How sad to be conflicted by a nasty fantasy.”

            “the Roman catholic denomination”

            “Of course, we’ve seen that children are not
            particularly safe in the hands of the Roman Catholic denomination.”

            I had to look up “self-aggrandizing” to make sure that I hadn’t been using it wrong all these years. Apparently not. I’m not sure how me trying to answer your question by explaining a position that I don’t hold is, in any way, ruthlessly increasing my own power.

          • WilmRoget

            Not a word of that is mockery.

            The idea ‘homosexuality damages the social fabric’ is a nasty fantasy, and you admit to being conflicted. Is it not sad to be conflicted, to be driven to such a state, by something that is both lacking in reason and evidence, and derogatory as well?

            Roman Catholicism is but one denomination of Christianity. There is no mockery in that assessment, only a recognition that the standard RC contempt for other denominations is dishonest, and sinful.

            And the systemic cover-up of sexual predation, the harassment of victims and their families, by the Roman Catholic denomination, has made is clear that children are not particularly safe. Nor are women, for that matter.

            So, about your false accusation. How exactly did you acquire your obvious exemption from ‘thou shalt not bear false witness’?

            “I’m not sure how me trying to answer your question by explaining a position that I don’t hold is, in any way, ruthlessly increasing my own power.”

            Gee, don’t you think it is a bit dishonest to presume to explain a position you, theoretically, don’t hold to? Not that I believe, for a second, that you don’t hold to the opposition to same-sex marriage.

          • Father

            Not mockery? It seems rather contemptuous. You called it “nasty”, and mock my faith by ignorantly referring to it as a denomination (when Protestant denominations are not even churches but ecclesial communities), and then get in a dig at the priest pedophilia scandal (when studies have shown that the majority of clergy arrested for pedophilia have been Protestant).

            “Gee, don’t you think it is a bit dishonest to presume to explain a
            position you, theoretically, don’t hold to?”

            Of course not. If that were true, criminal psychology departments would be full of mad criminals and history departments would be full of Nazis and ideologues of every other stripe.

            “Not that I believe, for a
            second, that you don’t hold to the opposition to same-sex marriage.”

            It sounds like you have closed your mind and hardened your heart. I don’t have any way to prove it to you. If you were on the WELL, I could point to the remnants of a decade of posts in , but I don’t expect you to purchase a membership to do it. Marriage was co-opted by the state long ago, and is an entirely secular matter in my view. I understand that there are some who believe that a secular case against it can be made, but as I said, I am not convinced. I see no reason nor grounds to oppose it. I think it simplifies a lot of legal, secular matters tremendously.

          • WilmRoget

            “Not mockery? It seems rather contemptuous.”

            One could conclude the same about your posts on this subject. After all, you interpret criticism as mockery and contempt, which indicates that your posts questioning the persecution of GLBTQ people by the Roman Catholic denomination, were written in the spirit of mockery and contempt.

            ” and mock my faith by ignorantly referring to it as a denomination”

            Your false accusation of ‘mock my faith’ is sin, and your term ‘ignorantly’ is clearly written in the spirit of mockery and contempt. You are clearly projecting your state of mind into my posts.

            “When get in a dig at the priest pedophilia scandal (when studies have shown that the majority of clergy arrested for pedophilia have been Protestant).”

            What an interesting way you have of telling lies. Remember, what makes the Roman Catholic denominations sexual abuse scandal so horrific to every civilized person is the way the cover-up by the denomination’s hierarchy facilitated highly elevated count of victims. And then there was the way the denomination’s leadership openly harassed and persecuted the victims and their families, the obstruction of justice, the unwillingness to report offenders so they could be denied access to children. Compounding that with your unsubstantiated accusation only brings back the unanswered question:

            By what power are you exempt from ‘thou shalt not bear false witness?’

            “Of course not.”

            It is sad that you don’t think it dishonest to explain a position you don’t hold. It is also presumptuous and arrogant as well. Rather like celibate priests presuming to be experts on something they renounce, sexuality.

            “It sounds like you have closed your mind and hardened your heart.”

            You are resorting to ad hominem in an obvious spirit of mockery and contempt. While a nice demonstration of projection on your part, it accomplishes nothing.

            ” I don’t have any way to prove it to you.”

            That is all to often the case with people who promote prejudices, they simply cannot prove that anything they claim is accurate, and yet, they demand absolute proof from others.

        • ADG

          “Don’t you want children to be raised by people who actually want the responsibility of raising children?”

          Well yes, but I would also like to see them raised by the individuals that they are actually descended from.

          It’s one thing if someone is unable or willing to take on the responsibilities of a child, and in the best interest of the child to give it’s care and upbringing to another. It’s quite another thing to deliberately create a child that will never know at least one of it’s true parents.

          • WilmRoget

            “Well yes, but I would also like to see them raised by the individuals that they are actually descended from.”

            So you oppose adoption then. How heartless.

            “t’s quite another thing to deliberately create a child that will never know at least one of it’s true parents.”

            Nice fantasy, but it has no bearing on the matter at hand. But considering your obvious hatred for orphans . . .

          • ADG

            If you hadn’t deliberately excised the middle of my reply, it should be obvious that adoption may be the best option in some cases where parental responsibilities cannot be fulfilled.

            To twist this and claim that I have “hatred for orphans” is reprehensible.

          • WilmRoget

            Your dishonesty does not help you. You clearly hate orphans.

      • Zed

        While I’m glad this argument leaves you dissatisfied, I wish it left you highly motivated to speak out against it.
        Here’s the thing: Saying homosexuality is bad for the fabric of society is the most disingenuous of the anti gay arguments. It’s like men pre suffrage making laws forbidding women from working outside the home without the husband’s approval, denying them the right to own land or inherit financial resources or have a bank account and then saying that they’re not capable of being trustworthy voters because they’re incapable of financial independence or unable to support a family. Of course not, you made sure of it!
        Homophobia, discrimination and marriage inequality have forced most LGBTQ people to function somewhat in the margins. Even so, wherever they are even modestly tolerated, LGBTQ families have a great track record of volunteer and service work, parenting well, contributing economically and strengthening the community. Stop the proactive discrimination and grant some fundamental civil rights and this will only continue. Regardless of gender, couples and married people live longer, are more physically healthy, have higher incomes and education levels than singles. Marriage equality strengthens the social fabric.

        Discrimination, not homosexuality, weakens society.

        While it’s probably fair to say that fewer LGBTQ couples than straight will have children (whether biologically, via surrogate, fostering or adoption) that is unlikely to impact overall population for the simple fact that homosexuality is not contagious. Straight people will not procreate less “because of the gays!” And LGBTQ folks will continue to exist in the numbers that they have done.
        You cannot create a toxic, discriminatory situation and then call the target the unhealthy one. If you truly want to strengthen the social fabric, quit ripping holes in it through the disenfranchisement of LGBTQ people.

        • Father

          Well, there’s the ideal and then there’s pragmatism. Women working outside the home damages society. Birth control damages society. But how much damage to society are we willing to put up with, and for what trade-offs?

          • Zed

            If affirming marriage equality is a trade off it’s a clear benefit. Healthier, more productive, more financially stable, more connected members of family and community. It’s not my job to sell it to you, but I encourage you to seek out married LGBTQ christians. The fruit of those things will be evident. Oh, and it’s not a benefit for some women to work outside of the home but a gross misstatement to say all women. Really! ?! Single women? College students? A bit much to say all.

  • Usually professing Christians are bi-gots (By-Got!) in one of two ways, anti-gay or anti-gun owner. Now we know your particular bigotry.

    A few Americans are bigotry free, like these good folks:

  • WilmRoget

    “I am not claiming that LGBT people have faced genocide.”

    Of course, we have faced systemic attempts to slaughter us because of who we are. While perhaps not technically genocide, it has been “the deliberate and systematic extermination” of a group of people based on their shared trait.

    “There has been no genocide.”

    And yet there has been. The Nazi’s tortured and slaughtered homosexuals, and so did the RCd (Roman Catholic denomination). In the colonial period of the U.S., homosexuality was punished by death, homosexuals were executed. The deliberate blindness to HIV/AIDS in the 80’s produced a genocide of gay men in the U.S., and a genocide of African heterosexuals in much of Africa to this day. Homosexuals were slaughter, or imprisoned in horrific conditions, in much of Europe for centuries. To this day, thousands of GLBTQ people are brutally attacked, many killed, in a slow, quiet, but all too deadly genocide perpetuate by conservatives like Gushee.

    It simply hasn’t been as visible, or as meticulously documented, as that of the Jews during the Holocaust, it has taken place quietly, in ones and twos, or twenties and fifties and hundreds, over 17 centuries. But many of the genocides in history have been equally overlooked by those who participated in or profited from them.

    So Gushee is attempting to minimize the actual damage that he
    was long a part of, indicating that he really has not faced the extent
    of his sin against GLBTQ people, and that his repentance is at best
    partial, if not a sham.

  • Zed

    I appreciate this piece of writing very much and was perplexed disgusted by the Wilson satire.
    However, I am appalled that you would “out” Andrew ‘ s history of same sex attractions. It’s unacceptable and unworthy and lacking basic human decency. I trust you will apologize and remove the relevant part of your article.

    • WilmRoget

      Actually, “Andrew ‘ s history of same sex attractions” is relevant given his overt homophobia and the obvious malice towards GLBTQ people that he expresses.

      “It’s unacceptable and unworthy and lacking basic human decency.”

      No, Andrew’s derogatory comparison of homosexuality to idolatry is unacceptable, unworthy, and lacking in basic human decency.

      • Zed

        I don’t disagree with you at all that Andrew ‘ s little satire was inexcusable. Still, I don’t think the answer to his indecency is to give up our own human decency. I know we have different opinions about outing in the lgbtq community. This is my perspective. I acknowledge yours and the pain and abuse that has led us to engage in the issue of outing.

        • WilmRoget

          “Still, I don’t think the answer to his indecency is to give up our own human decency.”

          “We’re” not. By reviling homosexuals, Andrew made his sexual orientation relevant. People like Andrew don’t demonstrate any concern for GLBTQ people, and they are the ones who make it necessary for anyone to be in the closet about their sexual orientation in the first place.

          • Zed

            Internalized self hatred and homophobia creates victims who victimize. I believe that he denies the impact of the work because it helps him convince himself of his success in overcoming his attractions. That’s frustrating. He just this week wrote a blog entry about a conversation with a colleague about Zionism and how to deal with difference in opinion about important issues within the church. It was very insightful and generous with the opposition. If you go check it out, look at points 8 &9. The trouble is, that excellent advice was largely ignored in parody piece. I don’t know how to get him to address that without a deluge of accusations of whining. Perhaps you will find better success.

          • WilmRoget

            “Internalized self hatred and homophobia creates victims who victimize.”

            Is that your excuse for your post attacking Morgan?

          • Zed

            I agreed with his post and hoped he hadn’t outed Andrew, which he hadn’t. Apologized for any possible offense and thanked him for his work. Not sure how that equals Internalized hatred. But I can see you’re doing a fine job of externalizing your anger, if perhaps a questionable job directing it. I’m not your enemy but I can pretend if it suits your needs. Just let me know what gender/orientation/worldview/hangup you want to assume I have so I can get in character. Regards. Zed

          • WilmRoget

            ” Apologized for any possible offense and thanked him for his work.”

            Yeah, I saw your sham apology – “apologize if I came across as critical” rather than “I’m sorry I falsely accused you”. That doesn’t work when some homophobe pulls it, why should it work for you?

            “But I can see you’re doing a fine job of externalizing your anger,”

            Your slander only reflects poorly on you. It comes across as projection.

          • Zed

            You are taking up an offense against me for someone who has already forgiven me. You’re welcome to do so. I will clarify the sincerity of my apologies to him if he desires and will otherwise trust him and his stated forgiveness. Best i can do for you, brah.

          • WilmRoget

            Nice dodge, rather fanciful. You offered a sham apology, and insulted me, and all you can do is wiggle out of it.

          • Zed

            I pride myself on being limber, so I can receive that. I am happy to rewrite my sham apologies as follows:
            Outing people is bad…
            I thought you had…
            Forgive me for accusing you…
            Your blog is great…
            and I would hate…
            to get hung up on something you didn’t doooooooo…
            Got nothing but mad love for yoooou!

        • He has shared public testimony about his “battle” with same-sex attraction. I wasn’t outing him.

          • Zed

            Okay, then let me wholeheartedly agree with your writing, apologize if I came across as critical and thank you for responding to clarify. Much appreciated.

          • No harm done

      • Zed

        (and if Andrew or anyone similar in the public eye had disclosed his past experience/story himself anywhere publicly, I would be joining right in pointing out the relevance.)

  • Julie

    Many great points in this piece.

  • Jane Newsham

    Andrew Wilson should take care – he appears as one of those who idolise their own church leadership status, their ‘superior’ Bible knowledge and theological training, and their unchallengeable church power base in order to demean and diminish those who don’t conform to their own theological viewpoints. This sounds rather like the Pharisees to me.

  • Good article. I have no particular position to defend in the same sex relationships debate, but even so I found Wilson’s apparent smug self-righteousness quite nauseating.