I am a Hate-Filled Christian

I am a Hate-Filled Christian August 24, 2012

Being an evangelical Christian, of course, I grew up with vicious hatreds implanted deep within my heart.  Hatred (I refuse to use “hate” when the proper word is “hatred”) for women who obtain abortions.  Hatred for gays.  Hatred for criminals and illegal aliens.  Hatred for people of other faiths.  Hatred, basically, for anyone unlike myself and my cru.

I am a Christian, therefore I must be a hater.  I eat hatred for breakfast — and yes, it takes like hate.  So, at least, I’m told.

For a long time, I resisted this argument.  I spent time with people who had abortions, and with friends who were openly gay, and with people whose faiths were diametrically opposed to my own — but I never felt hatred toward any of them.  Love, yes.  Compassion, to be sure.  Concern, sometimes.  But not hatred.  Someone must have spiked my haterade, because I couldn’t seem to find within myself all these hatreds that, I was told, seethed and festered deep within me.

The curious thing was, I didn’t find this burning hatred in the evangelical Christians around me, either.  They were good-hearted people.  They took women in crisis into their homes.  They worked with troubled youth and delivered food to the homeless.  They started tutoring programs for children in East Palo Alto.  Many (though not all) of them supported Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2 and John McCain — which, I guess, means that they hated science, rationality, the environment, and evolution.  But if they were filled with hatred for actual people groups, it must have been buried down deep.  Most of these men and women in the churches I attended felt, as I do, that abortion is wrong and that marriage was ordained by God for the joining of male and female.  Many of them were strongly opposed to illegal immigration.  Still, try though I might, I couldn’t peel back all the layers of kindness and sincere conviction to find the trembling, bigoted, hate-filled hater underneath it all.

Now, I no longer resist the argument.  I’m willing to confess.  I am a Christian — a conservative evangelical Christian to boot — and there are many things I hate.  I am hate-filled.

I hate that I fall short of the imitation of Christ.  I hate the sin that threatens to consume me, and hate that I so often take for granted the grace that refuses to allow me to be consumed.  I hate my pride and I hate the fact that I have hurt people.

I hate that when some people hear that I’m an evangelical Christian, they assume that I must hate them.  I hate that I and other Christians have sometimes done or said things that contributed to that assumption.  I hate that not only I, but other Christians around the world and throughout history, have sullied the name of Christ and marred the image of the Bride of Christ.  But I hate too that we live in an inverted world where love is sometimes mistaken as hatred, where the truth is sometimes painful and offensive.  So I hate the caricature but I also hate that we have helped to create it.

I hate that unborn children are exterminated before they have had a chance to enjoy the gift of life.  I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of abortion worldwide, and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity.  I hate that women are sometimes pressured by men or by parents into abortions they mourn and regret; I hate that women are sometimes misled into believing that abortion for the sake of convenience is okay; as a father of two beautiful girls, I hate that unborn baby girls in particular are aborted in a twisted consequence of the “women’s rights” crusade for abortion.  But I also hate that so many women find themselves in terrible circumstances (I hate too that so many men are deadbeats) where they feel like abortion is their only hope.

Although I don’t believe the female vagina functions as a kind of venus fly trap to capture and kill rapist sperm (a view that has apparently been around in some circles, though this is the first time I’ve heard it), I must admit that I hate the thought of any unborn child, even one conceived by rape or incest, being killed.  I hate that some people cannot contemplate the innocence of that child without remembering the guilt the person (we cannot call him a “father”) who forced himself upon the child’s mother.  But I hate the fact that women are raped in the first place, I hate that they are placed in that situation through no responsibility of their own, and I hate that we in the church (though we have done much) have not done more to prevent domestic violence, child abuse and violent and demeaning attitudes against women.

I hate that my gay friends find my views offensive.  I hate that my convictions on this issue come between us.  And, I confess, I hate that it’s not up to me.  I hate that I’ve never found the arguments in favor of the view that the Bible does not really condemn homosexuality convincing.  I hate that the meaning of the covenant of marriage is not mine to define.  I hate that Christians have often failed to show love and reconciliation and forgiveness toward gays.  I hate that Christians have not always made it clear that God loves them and seeks them just as passionately as God seeks everyone else.  I hate that we have sometimes made it seem as though God will have nothing to do with gays until they leave their homosexual behavior behind, as though God redeems us after we are no longer sinners.

I hate that Christians have often fallen short of the example of Jesus Christ and been unkind and ungracious toward those whom society rejects and maligns.  I hate that gays are bullied.  I hate that some backwards church in Bigotville, USA, cheers at the notion of “homos” going to hell.  I hate that children who feel same-sex attractions get mockery and judgment instead of compassion and care.  I hate that many gays feel that, without access to marriage, they are second-class citizens.  But I hate too that the homosexual debate has been defined in such a way that there is no space for loving disagreement.  I hate that I’m told that my view, that marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female, is hateful by virtue of the fact that it oppresses a people group.  I don’t believe that’s true, but I hate that the traditional Christian standpoint has been framed as hateful, and I hate that there are gays who hate the “hateful” Christians.  Because I don’t hate gay people, and I certainly don’t hate my gay friends, but I hate that I’m told that I must hate them, and I hate that some part of those friends will never accept me because I’m trying to be faithful to what I believe God has made known.  I hate that this debate has pitted us against each other, because I love them and respect them and want to enjoy our friendship.

I hate that none of this will change anyone’s mind.  I hate that I will still be thought to hate gays even though the truth is that I hate the fact (even though I understand it, from their perspective) that this whole issue comes between me and the gay people I love.

I really hate that my Christian faith, which is so much richer and deeper and more beautiful than these issues on hot-button topics, is so often understood through their prism.  I am tempted to say that these are vanishingly small parts of my faith, but the truth is that they are not parts of my faith at all.  They are consequences of my faith, applications of the truths and the values that I profess, but they are nowhere near the heart of my faith.

I still can’t think of any people groups I hate.  But that’s it.  I’ve confessed.  I’m a hater.  Hate-filled.  And I hate that too.

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  • Steve

    Excellent article. I feel the same way. Christians through the centuries have sometime been persecuted–hated–and the New Testament seems to say that some of this is inevitable. I’ll never forget the testimony of a Josef Tson, who as a Baptist pastor faced severe persecution from communist authorities in his native Romania (?). He said one time he was filled with hatred at the lies, manipulation, imprisonment and loss of property he was facing and he prayed for God to set things right. He said the Lord filled him with a powerful sense of love for his enemies and it changed his whole perspective. He saw that the enemy didn’t have the real advantage. He said “love is the aggressor” and that the enemy couldn’t stop him from showing love. His change in attitude toward them so befuddled his captors that he was able to eventually lead some of them to Christ (as I remember the story). God’s holy love is the aggressor; it is the power that quenches hate.

    • Jay Newton-Thomas

      This article really hits it on the head that religion is not the reason we do good in this world. If anything, it is the cause of the hatred the author describes so well. I believe we are born in Christ’s image and therefore without “original sin”. This is a myth to credit religion with any righteous act we willingly commit. Christopher Hitchens, the well-known athiest, would have loved this article.

  • You will not find “To disapprove of someone’s actions, beliefs or lifestyle.” as a definition of “hate” in any dictionary.

  • robson church

    Brilliant. Gorgeous. Loved it! Just correct the jarring typo in the second paragragh “takes” should be “tatstes”. I hate the fact that people I know who should read the article will use the typo as an excuse not to read the whole thing…I hate that.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    I hate that my gay friends find my views offensive. I hate that my convictions on this issue come between us. And, I confess, I hate that it’s not up to me.

    This is one of the things I value most about my Judaism, as illustrated by a popular joke: Four rabbis are having a theological argument, with three rabbis on one side of the issue and the fourth on the other. The odd rabbi out is sure he’s right and calls out to G-d in his frustration. The room grows dark and starts to shake and a booming, otherworldly voice intones, “He’s right!” The room stops shaking and the light returns and the rabbi smiles and says, “Well?” One of the other rabbis shrugs and says, “It’s still 3 to 2.”

    This is not to say that anything goes and I’m not speaking for all Jewish people, it just illustrates one understanding of the relationship between G-d and man in Judaism. (Not to mention that the Conservative Jewish movement recently voted to allow rabbis to conduct same-sex marriages. Yay!)

    • Matthew B

      Could you tell me more about the particular view of G-d and man you see that joke espousing? I’ve always enjoyed the joke, but I don’t know what you are getting at here.

      • Kubrick’s Rube

        I think the joke gets at the long Jewish tradition of arguing and debating (two Jews, three opinions, as they say) with each other and with G-d (“Israel” literally means “Struggle with God”), exemplified by Abraham and Moses, who each win their arguments with G-d (to some extent). This dialogue between G-d and His laws and mankind with our need to apply those laws in ever-changing contexts has been a millennia long project, and it goes on even today- a good example being the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards recently voting 13-0 to allow Conservative rabbis to perform same-sex marriages.

        It could be argued that the joke is actually on the three rabbis who stubbornly maintain their opinion in spite of G-d’s answer, but I like to think it’s more an extension of the dynamic established by Abraham’s defense of Sodom and G-d’s willingness to have His mind changed.

        • Judy Harrow

          The version of that joke I heard, growing up Jewish, was slightly, but significantly different. The rabbis are still arguing. There is still supernatural confirmation of the minority view. Then the majority rabbis respond “don’t distract us with the special effects, let’s look at the precedent and reasoning, and how it applies to our lives now.” — and in Heaven the Holy One turns to His angels as says “look, rejoice, My children are growing up!”

          • Kubrick’s Rube

            I like that very much!

    • I hate that some gays find my choice to embrace celibacy, as a Christian with a homosexual orientation, offensive. Must we have sex in order to show we are accepting of other’s having sex? Ridiculous! Read about my struggle on my website. SJ

      • Hilary

        Your choice to embrace celibacy is fine, as your own choice. But do you respect those of us who have sex with the person we love, and have committed our lives to? I’ll respect your choice if you respect mine. I’ll even fight for you and your choice of celibacy, if you fight for my choice for a sexual relationship. Seems only fair.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I don’t think the question is whether you are respected and should be allowed your choice of a sexual relationship. Of course you are, and of course you should. The question is whether that relationship, even given a lifelong commitment of fidelity, is the same thing as marriage.

          Unfortunately, the Christian church has (to put it mildly) sometimes failed to make it as clear as it must that you are fully loved and respected, and you are free to follow your own moral convictions in your personal relationships.

        • Maria

          Respect…or approve? One doesn’t have to approve. That’s the problem today. Too many people have the notion of “love me, love every single thing I do.” That’s not the real world. There are people who don’t approve of others actions. No geniune Christian is going to give their blessing to sex outside of marriage. Love isn’t enough. That love needs to come with a COMMITTMENT and that commitment is marriage. Call me judgmental if you wish, but it’s still the truth. Deal with it.

  • SouthernGent

    You have me pegged, sir. And I thank you.

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    Do you moderate comments, or was my previous comment stuck in a spam trap because it had a link in it?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I don’t see a previous comment, Jason…?

      Since this was your first comment here, it was held for moderation. But I don’t see any previous comment in the queue. Maybe it was marked as spammy for some reason.

      If you have a chance, though, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Blessings.

    • Jena


      As an FYI, it took about 12 hours for my comments to make it through the moderator.

  • I hate that I didn’t write this. Well done!

  • Sadwyrn Emrys

    If you hate all these things, why not change them?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I try, my friend. I do what I can.

  • Fr. John W. Morris

    You should also hate the unfair characterization that if a person voted for Bush and McCain that “means that they hated science, rationality, the environment, and evolution.” That is a really unfair accusation that only shows your own prejudices towards those who do not share your political views.

    Fr. John W. Morris

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I was being sarcastic, Fr. John.

  • Fae

    Mr. Dalrymple,
    Allow me (a person who falls into some of the demographics groups that feel we are being ‘hated on’ by evangelicals) to suggest why you may be feeling all this hostility.
    You have strongly held religious views – and I honor that. Everyone is entitled to freedom of worship AND freedom of opinion. However, many of your coreligionists seem to feel the need to take political action to turn their religious views into law, and they have actually been rather successful in doing so.

    That is when the situation becomes both infuriating and frightening for the rest of us. It’s infuriating because we believe in a version of America where everyone’s religion is respected, but no one creed is allowed to make laws for everyone else. The same principles of religious freedom that ensure that we’ll never be under Sharia law tell us that what the Bible says about marriage shouldn’t be taken in to account when it comes to defining the civil version of that institution.

    It’s also frightening because we frankly don’t know where political evangelicals will stop. As an example, a few years ago it was clear that while there was a great deal of controversy about abortion – except for some mostly-ignored elements within the Catholic church – the conversation about the legality of contraception as just another part of health-care was effectively over. Now we have evangelicals actively campaigning for laws that would radically restrict access to contraceptives. What is next? The more radical fringe of political evangelical thinkers have been making noises for a few years now that the constitution shouldn’t protect the religious rights of non-Christians. Will the protections that let my children feel safe at school be repealed? Are we going to be re-legislating the rights of wives next?

    If evangelical Christians were willing to simply speak as to what they think is right and moral, and warn the rest of us that we are courting hell – that would be fine. But your coreligionists are actively working to create a world where I have to live by your moral code – with no regard to my own religious convictions. That’s wrong. It’s disrespectful. And, yes, hateful.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I don’t really feel that much “hostility,” Fae. If you failed to notice the tongue in the cheek in the post, I suppose that’s your deal. But I do feel frustration — with myself, with my coreligionists, and with the suffering so many endure.

      I’ve addressed this precise point many times. We all advocate for laws that reflect our beliefs and values, so Christians are not at all unique in this respect. But within limits. No one favors laws requiring church attendance, for instance, or tithing, or requiring that people confess to Christian faith. Of course not. But there are certain ways in which my faith impinges on my vision of a society that is healthy and just and flourishing.

      I simply believe it’s a fact of the matter that marriage is the union of a male and female. It’s not that I think that’s what it *should* be. It’s that I think that’s what it is, and that society is best organized on that reality. But trying to brand is at “hateful” to want to support the traditional family structure is simply absurd.

      • Seville

        But if you dig deep down, and look at what–in your “best organized society”–barring access to the 1,138 benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples by the federal government bestows upon same sex couples, what it does to their families, their children, their lives, what do you want to call it BUT hateful? Selfish? Small minded? Hurtful? Restrictive? Unloving? Unfortunate? Misguided? Ridiculous? Cruel? Wounding? Divisive? Insensitive? Spiteful? Inappropriate? Shameful? Absurd? (You came up with that one!) I don’t have a problem using a different word, if you don’t like, or don’t agree with, the word hate.
        Would you be making the same argument 5o years ago as a slave owner? There is ample, clear support in the Bible for slavery. Would you be waxing poetic about how you are so misunderstood as a Southern plantation owner who at least keeps his ten slaves under a tin roof that they wouldn’t have as freedmen? Besides, you’re just trying to support the “traditional” economy, the “traditional” way of work, the “traditional” use for these pieces of property (not human beings) in your land.

        P.S. I don’t think you hate that it’s “not up to you”. I think you love it. Because in this way, you get to sidestep any responsibility for this view. “Hey, it’s not MY view, it’s GOD’S view. And if you don’t like it, take it up with Him, not me.” Except it doesn’t work this way…which I pray God will reveal to you in your ongoing spiritual development.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Not really, Seville. I’ve dug down pretty deep, but thanks. I would prefer that it were up to me, so that I could simply choose a view that my friends find more palatable. I don’t really *like* getting hate-mail from people like yourself, believe it or not.

          If I were a slave owner 50 years ago, I would have been thrown into prison. So no, I would not have been making the same argument.

          The biblical treatment of slavery is much more complicated than you suggest. Slavery was a fact of the ancient world in which the Bible was written, but in the Bible were revolutionary ideas, such as God’s infinite care for every individual, such as there being “neither slave nor free” in Christ, such as male and female created in the image of God, that formed the seeds for the anti-slavery movements in England, the United States and the West in general.

          Is it hateful that I think two friends should not be given the 1138 benefits afford to married couples? No. The law makes distinctions between kinds of people (old and young, employed and unemployed, poor and wealthy), different kinds of relationships (doctor-patient, lawyer-defendant, husband-wife, parent-child, teacher-student) and different courses of action (voting, driving, stealing, murdering) all the time.

      • Wow. You just articulated this in a wonderful way.

    • Maria

      You only say that because you don’t agree. If the shoe were on the other foot, would you feel the same?

  • David Wiegleb

    Yes, you have every right to believe what you want about homosexuality and marriage. Your church has every right to choose whether or not to sanctify a marriage *within your own church*. I don’t think there is any disagreement about that.

    But to work to legally prevent gay people from being married either by other churches, or in the eyes of the state, is bigoted, unjust, prideful, and yes — hateful.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Since you simple asserted it, I will assert back:

      No, it’s not.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        (But, by the way, I’ve never worked to prevent other churches from sanctioning gay marriages. I’ve never really done anything to prevent the state from doing so, either — this is not really my cause — but I do support the state recognizing what marriage means and has always meant.)

        • FangedFaerie

          I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments already out there about how consensual marriage between two adults of opposite genders is, in fact, NOT what marriage has always meant. While that’s broadly true for most of this country’s history, there have been polygamist Mormons and child brides also. If you broaden that “always” to include Biblical marriages, especially back to the Old Testament, then you have quite a problem, indeed.

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            Yes, I’ve heard the arguments, and I’ve never found them convincing. For one thing, yes, there were Mormon polygamists, but 99.99% of Americans were *not* polygamists and the few exceptions did nothing to change the overwhelming consensus view of what marriage is. Child brides is another matter; the age of potential marriage has often been negotiable, but it doesn’t really change the fact that marriages were understood as lifelong covenants between a man and a woman.

            The Old Testament example is not terribly convincing, either. For one thing, concubines (often cited) are not the same as wives, and those who took concubines were criticized for it. Remember that just showing that someone (even a hero of the faith) had concubines does not mean that the Bible is endorsing concubines, it just means that the Bible shows people with all their faults. For another, in those cases where people had multiple wives, we’re talking three thousand years ago, and again it’s not necessarily an endorsement of the practice. Finally, even in those cases, it was clearly male-female. At least by the time the book of Genesis was composed, it was clearly understood as a lifelong covenant of a male and female. In some cases (kings, very wealthy people) there were men who took more than one wife, or who had a mistress, but this doesn’t make it right, and doesn’t change the fact that it was a lifelong male-female covenant.

            Yes, there are exceptions here and there, but the overwhelming testimony of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and I think it’s fair to say that the overwhelming testimony of human societies in general, has been for lifelong male-female covenants. Sometimes, in some societies, more than one wife was permitted, but that’s about it.

          • Mr. X

            Even in polygamous societies, marriage was still between a man and a woman. A man might be allowed to marry several women at once, but the actual marriage bond was still between two people; his wives weren’t considered married to one another.

          • These responses are very unconvincing, and they exemplify a way of thought I find all too common among conservative Christians: It’s all about what you want to believe. If the Bible contradicts what you want to believe, you can interpret your way around it — it’s 3000 years ago; there aren’t many examples and so on. But if the Bible supports what you want to believe — even if it’s just one obscure verse — then it’s the unchallengeable Word of God.

    • brisonc

      “Yes, you have every right to believe what you want about homosexuality and marriage. Your church has every right to choose whether or not to sanctify a marriage *within your own church*. I don’t think there is any disagreement about that.”

      But to work to legally prevent gay people from being married either by other churches, or in the eyes of the state, is bigoted, unjust, prideful, and yes — hateful.”

      Then it must also be bigoted, unjust, prideful and hateful to be legally against bigamy or poligamy or incenstuous relationships(that involve concentual adults) and other groups that are denied a marriage certificate. It isn’t that gays are being prevented from marriage, but that because they insist on partnering with someone of the same gender; it than can’t be a marriage because a marriage involves the union of 2 genders, unless you change the definition of marriage as ages of history has defined it.

      • “Then it must also be bigoted, unjust, prideful and hateful to be legally against bigamy or poligamy or incenstuous relationships(that involve concentual adults) and other groups that are denied a marriage certificate.”

        YES! THIS!

  • EssEm

    “Hate”. It’s the new “racism”. Just another way of saying, “Shut up.”

  • Matt Thornton

    Perhaps if you didn’t feel that your internal religion, however beautiful, was in any way connected to the choices made by people who are not you, you’d find a way to “hate” less.

    My own to-do list is short, because I’ve kind of a simple mind:
    1. Love my neighbors as myself
    2. When I get that right, there’s this log I’ve been meaning to remove from my eye.
    3. Right after that, I plan to move on to helping others see the errors of their ways or the ‘rightness’ of mine.

    Just wondering out loud.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      It’s absolutely important to take one’s own sin as the first priority — but that never meant that one should not profess the truth that’s been revealed by God.

      Let’s see…imagine you believe, as a matter of objective fact, that someone was riding their bike toward a cliff. Should you say nothing, believing that your conviction is not “in any way connected to the choices made by people who are not you.” Or is it more loving to say something?

      This is what I’m referring to when I talk about an upside-down world where love is hated. It’s more loving to speak the truth — with humility and grace. It’s *not* loving to simply say what your friend wants to hear, or to hold your tongue, if your friend is engaged in something self-destructive.

      • Kubrick’s Rube

        But what’s the cliff? Is it purely theological or is there some earthly pitfall unique to LGBT bikers which their straight peers riding on the same trail somehow avoid? If the latter, then the cliff has turned out to be an optical illusion, evidenced by biology, psychology, sociology, history and the personal experience of thousands of individuals, couples and families. And while out of love you call out a warning, more and more bikers successfully cross the invisible ravine, and the warning sounds less like love with each passing utterance. I wouldn’t call it hatred (someone here suggested supremacy and I think that may work), but it certainly doesn’t feel like love or appear humble or graceful to the confused recipients of the warning as they pedal on their way, not falling to their doom. When your “objective fact” is pointed out again and again by those upon the path to be an optical illusion, the continued insistence of the cliff’s existence seems ever-increasingly myopic, stubborn and dismissive of anyone else’s understanding of the world. And when after all that you put a fene up on the road to block the LGBT bikers’ way, don’t expect positive reactions from the exasperated riders as the straight bikers fly on by and you sadly shake your head.

      • Matt Thornton

        I understand, and fully agree with, the need to speak the truth. There’s power and humility in facing, with as much clarity as our backbone allows, the objective facts of our lives. Amen to reality.

        That said, I think we’re all well served to be humble before the vast complexity of existence. There are relatively few things I understand well, and none I understand completely. We all speak our own truths to our bathroom mirrors, even if the physics of those mirrors is identical.

        One of the calls is to be childlike, and I take that to mean in part that I should remain open to the possibility, the likelihood really, that I’m wrong about any given question. When I keep this idea in mind, especially while staring at images from the Hubble telescope, I just don’t find hate to be a terribly useful concept.

        So, I agree it’s loving to speak the truth. But, I find that truth shows up in my life as questions or as examples far more often than it manifests as injunctions. I see examples of truth shining in the lives of loving people I know, and I hear truth in questions like “what more can I do?”.

        When one focuses on narrow issues (homosexuality) without reference to broader, far more common issues (adultery, injustice, abuse) I start to feel like enthusiasm is getting the better of love, and it just trips the small voice in me. Speaking the truth with “humility and grace” is a great way to understand it. I just find that silence is often more truthful than sermons, and that speaking truth out loud is far more important in cases of injustice, rather than in cases of personal behavior.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I’m all for humility, but I also believe that God has made some things known to us, and humility should not become an excuse not to speak up in defense of those things that have been revealed even when it’s contentious and difficult.

          I think you and I would basically agree that there’s a balance here, but we’re just emphasizing different parts of the balance.

      • Matt Thornton

        Sorry – I also meant to address your very good point about friends. I think the closeness of a relationship changes the ethics of when it’s important to point out the truth of self-destructive behavior.

        Broadly, I’ve found that the utility of giving advice to people about the choices they’re making in their lives in is proportional to how well I know them, and know the situation. Advice in the abstract is easy to mistake for something other than love, however well-intentioned the giver.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          It’s certainly hard to give advice on important existential matters to those we are not friends with. It can be done, *sometimes* with success, but it’s definitely difficult.

      • Homa Sapiens

        There is no cliff there., no matter how fervently you believe there is one.
        Belief is not objective.

  • Meical abAwen

    >>I really hate that my Christian faith, which is so much richer and deeper and more beautiful than these issues on hot-button topics, is so often understood through their prism. <<

    But that's the prism that bends the light that we all too often see, as most Christians can't be bothered to stand in the way of that hate-filled limelight to cast a shadow of kindness and protection. To make it absolutely clear, many of us non-Christians only EVER encounter the haters. I, for one, never saw a Christian come to my defense when I decried my sexual abuse by a Christian priest at the age of 8. To the contrary, the assumption made was that I was wrong and the Christian priest was blameless. And the thing is, it wasn't a one-off case; it is a pattern that others have encountered and that is common today. If you're tired of being called a hater because you are an evangelical Christian, then work towards getting your fellow Evangelical Christians to raise prisms of tolerance and loving kindess to generate light that floods us all, Christians and non-Christians alike.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I agree with your last sentence, and thought I was pretty clear on that in the post. More importantly, however, I’m terribly sorry to hear about your experience. That’s simply awful.

  • Jim Robert

    I hate the fact that evangelical Christians have decided that everyone else is wrong–that somehow G-d made everyone else wrong, and only the evangelicals can fix that. I hate the fact that evangelical Christians are responsible for genocide, and that they alone beleive that they alone can be morally upright. I hate the fact that evangelical Christians have created a bad image in nearly everyone’s mind, and that they are subject to the same hatreds that they’ve foisted on the rest of the world. I hate the fact that evangelical Christians believe that by limiting free choice, whether it is in the bed room, the board room, or the TV room, they are creating the ability for human enlightenment. I hate the fact that they demand that everyone live by their “book”, yet they are unable to even read that book in its original languages.

    • cken

      Actually reading “their book” or any book in it’s original language(s) wouldn’t help much without knowing the various meanings and nuances of a word and how it was commonly used in the culture at that time. Actually the sacred books for most of the worlds religions contain the same spiritual truths. It’s up to us to ascertain the true spiritual meanings from their allegorical writings, regardless of what language we read them in. Unfortunately too many religions, particularly the Christians and Muslims, believe it is their divine right or purpose to force their religion on everyone. Expounding upon your religion to others is a good thing, coercing your religion on others is not what Jesus or any other great religious “teacher” ever taught. Although I am not sure if that’s true of Mohammad based on the Koran, but I think it’s true of all the others I have read.

  • Derrick

    Good stuff. Honest and heart-wrenching, and I identify completely.

  • DP Roberts

    So you don’t “hate” anybody. You don’t hate gay people, or people who have abortions, or illegal immigrants, or whomever. But, if these people don’t repent, they’re going to go to Hell, where they will burn for all eternity, right? I know, it’s not your plan, it’s God’s plan, and you don’t understand it. But you choose to go along with it. Even though you don’t understand it, and it kinda feels like a bad plan sometimes, you ultimately believe that burning everyone who disagrees with you is ultimately a GOOD plan. That sounds like hate to me.

    This being the internet, let’s invoke Godwin’s law right away. Suppose you were a German during World War II. You actually like Jews. You’ve gone out of your way to help some Jews. But your leaders say that they must all die. You don’t really understand their plan and you can’t really follow their logic, but you trust that they have a good plan. How is that any different?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      For one thing, please don’t assume that you know what I believe regarding the eternal destiny of the unrepentant. For another, I do believe it’s important to repent and trust in God’s forgiveness, but that’s as true for me as it is for gays, people who have abortions, and illegal immigrants (?!?!). And finally, trusting God with something you do not understand is categorically different than trusting a human — any human, much less Nazis — with something you don’t understand.

    • Rich

      Excuse me, but where and when, exactly, does anyone get to “choose to go along with” God? God, if he exists (and the author believes that He does), is not subject to human law, still less to social opinions, and will do what God damn well pleases, and neither you, nor the author, nor anyone else, has any choice in the matter at all. You might has well speak of choosing to get wet when it rains, or choosing to obey the law of gravity. The most you can do – and the author has apparently done this – is to choose not to condemn others on God’s behalf.

      PS. Before you go ballistic, I’m an agnostic; I think it’s ridiculous to even have an opinion on other people’s sex lives, and I consider people like the Westboro Baptist church to be hysterical idiots.

  • varados

    In the end, for many at least, it is not that you should not believe what you do, but that you (and others) believe that it has some relevance to the lives of everybody else. Freedom of association would take care of most of these social ills. Neither side, however, is willing to allow the other such a luxury, and it those two sides that always and inexorably look to the state to compel those who would not believe. Perhaps we have simply evolved in this manner, and perhaps it is only through the gas chambers that one side will purshase relief from the other.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Believing what I do, I cannot but believe that it has relevance for everyone. If I believed that truth is a matter of personal definition, then it would be otherwise. But if you believe it’s objectively true that God created the world, ordained certain things, revealed certain things, values certain things, then of course it’s relevant for everyone.

      • Rich

        “relevant” maybe. But relevant is not the same thing as “cumpulsory”. The obligation to spread the Truth (whatever it may be) does not imply an obligation, or even a right, to impose it by legislation – still less by force. If it’s God’s law, then it God’s business to enforce it; and if He doesn’t do so, should we do it for Him ?

      • Mike

        The sheer arrogance of this statement is your window on why others see you as hateful. Your views are based on faith, and the rest of us require fact. If you can make an argument based on something other than a religion we don’t share, I’d be willing to call it honest debate and good willed disagreement. Basing it on faith, as modern evangelicals are doing in today’s worldly power grab, is an attempt at theocracy. The rest of us Americans don’t view the attempt or the justifications behind it very charitably for very good reasons. You aren’t protecting your own rights. You are trying to strip others of theirs. Of course we don’t label that as kindness or generosity.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I’d really invite you to read through some of the other posts I’ve written on the topic of homosexuality and the argument over same-sex marriage.

        • Sage

          The sheer arrogance of yourself and others like you is proof positive of your insanity.

          If all the authority you can summon is your opinion, and the opinion of other animated heaps of “evolved” dirt, your opinion is irrelevant, on earth, or in the universe. According to you, there is no morality, no higher power, no eternal law. By your own admission you are a temporal anomaly, and temporal anomalies have no rights – that you engage in any discussion of “rights” defies logic, the very gospel you bow to.

  • Jena

    Thank you for writing this. Many Christians are good people and your post has been a good reminder that people in general are neither all good or all bad and that people we disagree with can do good. I hate many of the things you hate as well. With respect however, there are somethings I’d like to add to your list. I hate that many people spend more time talking about their faith than living their faith. I hate that people spend more time prothetizing than living their faith. I hate that in spite of the eloquent speeches and writings of our founding fathers and the excellent wording of the Bill of Rights, many people in this country insist that this is a Christian Nation. I hate that the letters of Patrick Henry (who wanted Christianity enshrined in the Constitution) and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (both of whom did not) aren’t taught in school. I hate that we have legislators and citizens who support what is now called Christian Dominionist Nationalist thinking. I hate that they call themselves Evangelicals. I hate that many members of Congress have devoted more time to promoting Christian Dominionism than addressing the problems our country is facing. I hate the fact that legistration is being introduced that isn’t based on need, reason, facts, science or common agreement, but on the religious beliefs of a minority.

  • Jena

    I hate the fact that these people don’t respect people who don’t believe in their faith or their interpretation of the Bible. I hate the fact that many Christians overlook that Jesus made a new convnenant with his people and use the Old Testament to support prejudice rather than using the New Testament to guide their actions. I hate the fact that the only verse (from Leviticus) that I’ve found condemning homosexuality is quoted while the verses surrounding it regarding shellfish, beards, and tattoos are ignored. I hate that lies are told to support biases against homosexuals. I hate that we have religious leaders and politicians advocating death for homosexuals. I hate that we have religious leaders and politicians protecting pedophiles and rapists instead of letting them face the justice of the courts. I hate that these people don’t see the hypocrisy of their actions. I hate that women need abortions. I hate that not believing that life begins at conception isn’t respected. I hate the hypocrisy of calling a fetus a child while not providing a burial or liturgy for miscarriges and spontaneous abortions isn’t discussed. I hate that in places where abortion is illegal, a woman is forced to carry a fetus that dies in utero to term.

  • Jena

    I hate that we don’t teach our children basic reproductive science in schools because many Christians think it will encourage premarital sex. I hate that we don’t teach our children about contraception because many Christians believe that teaching abstinence only will prevent children from having sex outside of marriage. I hate that some Christians believe the only people that want or use contraception are those that are immoral or trying to thwart “God’s Will”. I hate that in many states rapists have the same rights as a father. I hate that people think that women who choose to have abortions are feeble-minded, ill-informed, ignorant of the consequences, weak, selfish or pressured into making a choice. I hate that women who do choose to have an abortion may have to deal with waiting periods, “bait and switch” clinics, “counseling”, invasive medical procedures, aggresive protestors, and legal hoops just so someone they’ve never met and who isn’t going to help them can be really, really, really sure they want an abortion. I hate that an adult woman can’t have her decision respected simply because she doesn’t share the same religuous beliefs as some one else. I hate that many Christians agree with what I’ve written yet when the people who claim to represent their views sling hate, intolerance, and disrespect their voices are silent. I hate that some Christians claim persecution because not everyone shares their beliefs. I hate that there are Christians that use threats, intimidation, guilt and manipulation to force their beliefs on everyone else. I hate that while we as a nation could work together to support loving families, reduce abortion, and raise healthy children too often we don’t because too often it would mean dropping what we can’t agree on and working on what we can agree on. I hate that there are Christians who won’t respect me or my beliefs just because while I respect their beliefs, I don’t agree with them.

  • happydog1960

    You have gay friends? Somehow I find that very, very, VERY hard to believe.

  • mandi

    Well said, brother. Thank you.

  • chris

    I hate that people feel entitled to whine about being held accountable for the effects of their “love” on my life.

  • DearbornGuy

    Deeply honest. Thanks for writing it.

  • Mike

    Disagreement is not hatred. You got it right. I think there’s a better way of disagreeing though, that moves us away from “us vs. them”. The language and the “heart” do the evangelical community has to change or we will never bridge this chasm. Keep your love on!!!

  • I’m personally not bothered by the feelings and beliefs you hold in your heart, so much as by the hateful actions which you and others like you have chosen to take. These show me that you would rather I didn’t exist in the same world as you, and that you only want to share this world with an imaginary person who is superficially like me but isn’t queer or pagan.

    I feel that this is hateful regardless of why you did it.

  • As I clarified in an entry on my journal, about “Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day”:

    “Naturally, none of the people there hate me. They love me with Christlike love, and want me to find true happiness and peace. They just don’t want

    * Churches other than theirs, which believe in marriage equality, to be legally allowed to solemnize same-gender marriages.

    * Same-gender couples to be able to kiss, hold hands, or otherwise show affection for each other, on TV or in their sight.

    * Same-gender couples to be able to marry, have children, visit their spouses in the hospital, or really exist at all, period.

    I’m shaking with fear right now. I’m not used to being faced with the fact that my right to exist is considered a controversy, a thing to argue in abstract, an issue like the economy to be debated by talking heads. And when people yell at me, or bully me, or talk about how everyone like me ought to be shot or rounded up into camps or slapped stupid by our dads, it’s always somebody else’s fault … never the fault of the suburban moms who shop at Chik-Fil-A. Becaue they don’t hate me, they just don’t want me to exist anywhere near them or their kids. 5 percent of whom are LGBT, and will grow up knowing they’re not allowed to exist, either.”

    I should also replace “pagan” with “Shinto / Taoist / otherkin,” but since I pray to a deity other than Jesus you’ll probably see me as that.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Churches can do what they want. Whether the unions they solemnize will count legally as marriages is the issue, but any kind of church can have any kind of ceremony.

      I’m sorry you feel afraid. I genuinely am. And as I said in the post, I regret that Christians have sometimes condoned bullying or spoken gracelessly of gays. But no one — absolutely no one — is talking about outlawing homosexual behavior or relationships or displays of affection. (If you say, groups like the Family Research Council do want to outlaw homosexual behavior, then, well, you’d just be wrong, but you would unfortunately have some basis for that – nonetheless false – belief in a couple careless comments made over the years.) But the biggest red herring in your comment here is that anyone is disputing your right to exist. Of course not. You have as much right to exist as I do.

      I think that hospital visitation rights ought to be decoupled from marriage, so that those without a family in the traditional sense but with significant relationships of any kind can designate those they wish to have those special visitation rights. But honestly no one on the pro-traditional-marriage side is out to prevent visitation rights. No one really cares who visits whom in the hospital. They are out to maintain the traditional definition of marriage and the family — and that definition is present in the law in countless ways, and so it has consequences for visitation rights and a thousand other things. But most of those things can be addressed — and many have already — without changing the legal definition of marriage.

      Most importantly, though, I don’t know of a single representative of the Christian movement to defend marriage who is against your right to exist, much less advocating that “everyone like [you] ought to be shot or rounded up into camps.” I think we can tone it down a little from there.

      • Rich

        I’d take it a step further. Not only should Hospital visitation be decoupled from marriage; legal marriage should be decoupled from religious marriage. For legal purposes, it doesn’t matter whether a union is recognized by God, only whether it is recognized by the state; “render to Caeser” and so forth. In other words, there should be (and technically, I think there already is) a status recognized by the state but not necessarily by any church. Of course, this is is not acceptable to the extremists on either side. Religious extremists refuse to grant any status to such a union, while Gay marriage advocates refuse to accept any distinction between their relationships and “traditional” ones. The best answer is the ballot box – outvote the idiots.

      • Jena

        I’m not sure who this “they” are that you refer to as wanting to preserve the idea of traditional marriage since you’ve indicated that you are one of them. The definition of marriage is “the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities” according to the dictionary. The specification of man and woman is not universal. Same sex marriages have occurred in different cultures throughout history with documentation of such in ancient Rome, in China under the Ming dynasty, and in certain African cultures. There are some who maintain that same-sex marriages were allowed in the early Catholic Church. While I could see potential legal ramifications if polygamy were the topic, I simply don’t see any with couples. A spouse is a spouse. As for the argument that this is un-traditional, given that Christianity essentially destroyed most other faiths in Western Civilization and laws were predicated on what the church wanted is it any surprise that none were performed. It’s a bit of a circular argument – Christianity spread and didn’t allow gay marriage for several centuries therefore it not traditional, therefore we shouldn’t let homosexuals get married now. A variation of that argument was tried with school prayer and didn’t work. I personally think that marriages for the sole purpose of procreation, money, position, or marriages lasting less than 4 days, or underage girls to 50 year old men are far more detrimental to both the people in these marriages and society than marriages between 2 adults who love each other and want to spend their lives together. Yet the Abrahamic faiths have sanctioned and blessed all of the former, while howling about the later. As far as calling same-sex marriage something other than marriage, I’m pretty sure you could call it a strawberry smoothie and the same people would try to get it banned.

        • Mr. X

          “Same sex marriages have occurred in different cultures throughout history with documentation of such in ancient Rome, in China under the Ming dynasty, and in certain African cultures. There are some who maintain that same-sex marriages were allowed in the early Catholic Church.”

          What evidence is there for this? Admittedly I don’t know much about Africa or China, but I’ve never heard of same-sex marriages in Ancient Rome. (With the possible exception of Nero, but then he was widely considered to be insane, so I don’t think we can extrapolate too much from his behaviour.)

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            Yeah, I’d be interested to see the literature for this as well. I’m skeptical. Same-sex relationships, yes, in some cases (although Rome was famously anti-homosexual, as a general rule). Same-sex marriages? I’m open to where the data leads, but I’d love to see the data you have in mind.

          • Jena

            For historical documentation please refer to the following:

            I think you’ll find the following article the most interesting since you’ve brought up legal arguments. While a bit older, it is heavily foot-noted providing additional sources for more study if you wish to pursue this line of study.

            Eskridge, William N. (Oct 1993). “A History of Same-Sex Marriage”. Virginia Law Review 79 (7). It can be found online at http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2503&context=fss_papers

            The following is more recent: The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations In Human Societies By James Neill

      • “Churches can do what they want. Whether the unions they solemnize will count legally as marriages is the issue, but any kind of church can have any kind of ceremony.”

        This bring us back to that you want to legislate your faith. You have no particular problem with people believing other than you, but they will legally be obligated to behave as you wish them to.

        “But no one — absolutely no one — is talking about outlawing homosexual behavior or relationships or displays of affection.”

        Well, from 1997 to this year the Montana GOP had it as an official party plank and only dropped it this year to shorten their platform (http://www.towleroad.com/2012/06/montana-republican-party-drops-call-to-criminalize-homosexuality.html). The Texas GOP just added it as an official party plank as well as making same-sex marriage a felony offense (http://static.texastribune.org/media/documents/FINAL_2010_STATE_REPUBLICAN_PARTY_PLATFORM.pdf , you can find it under the STRENGTHENING FAMILIES, PROTECTING LIFE AND PROMOTING HEALTH section). I do have more examples if you’d like, though even two major state political parties really does contradict your “no one” assertion.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          So, you show me a Montana state party platform plank that was dropped…and a Texas 2010 platform that opposed the prior legalization of sodomy. I’ll grant you the Texas one has some evidentiary merit, but there were other reasons for opposing the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Still, I’ll give you Texas, although it would not make it “illegal for gays to exist” or illegalize PDA’s. Where your argument would really have merit would be if it were in the national GOP platform, of course.

          Listen, this has been a long conversation and way too time consuming for me. If you want to carry it on, please read some of the other pieces I’ve written on this issue before going any further. Thanks.

          • “Where your argument would really have merit would be if it were in the national GOP platform, of course.”

            Way to move the goalposts. A state party is not inconsequential, and is more than “no one.”

            As far as the Montana one, they dropped it for space reasons, not because their actual position has changed. Again, you seem to be claiming that I should care about intangibles when they are contradicted by actual actions.

      • “If you say, groups like the Family Research Council do want to outlaw homosexual behavior, then, well, you’d just be wrong, but you would unfortunately have some basis for that – nonetheless false – belief in a couple careless comments made over the years.”

        And why, exactly, would I be wrong about that? Are you suggesting that their statements cannot be trusted? Why should I not believe what they said? Are comments only “careless” when they make people look bad? Is Bryan Fischer at the AFA also making “careless” statements (http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/08/30/307760/afas-bryan-fischer-recriminalize-homosexuality/)? How often do people have to say that they do, in fact, want to make even the existence of homosexuals illegal before you stop trying to pretend that isn’t what they’re saying?

        “I think that hospital visitation rights ought to be decoupled from marriage, so that those without a family in the traditional sense but with significant relationships of any kind can designate those they wish to have those special visitation rights.”

        Which is the safest position to hold because nobody in power is actually pursuing it and you won’t withhold a vote or demand that anyone with the power to make it happen actually do so. I would love a manned mission to Mars, but I court no controversy by saying that because it’s not going to happen.

        • “But honestly no one on the pro-traditional-marriage side is out to prevent visitation rights. No one really cares who visits whom in the hospital. ”

          You mean other than Scott Walker who went out of his way to try and get the state to stop defending a law that did just that last year (http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/05/17/wisconsin-governor-scott-walker-to-prevent-same-sex-couples-hospital-visitation-rights/)? Then, of course, there was that hospital in Nevada last week (http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/08/20/713251/nevada-same-sex-couple-denied-hospital-visitation-despite-domestic-partnership/). Again, I have more, but this is certainly more than “no one.”

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            I didn’t say that no one’s views have those consequences. Scott Walker may care about preserving the meaning of marriage and not diluting that legal definition, but I assure you he could care less whether your partner visits you in the hospital.

          • He went out of his way to not have to defend a law that allows just that. Your assurances do not match reality. Regardless, if his views lead to this conclusion, there is no practical difference between those. The rhetorical differences are meaningless.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          The AFA has been clear that what Fischer says in his shows and on his blog are his own opinions and not necessarily representative of the AFA. But the AFA is quite different from the FRC, and we’re talking about the FRC. I really have no interest in defending the AFA or Bryan Fischer.

          The FRC has been clear that they do not advocate illegalizing homosexuality. See my recent interview with Rob Schwarzwalder, if you wish. There are careless, retracted statements, and then there are official position statements. Read the official position statements.

          There are a million worthy causes I haven’t the time or the calling to pursue. But if you took up the fight of decoupling hospital visitation rights from marriage, I’d support you.

          • I looked up that interview and absolutely no mention is made of whether or not the FRC wants to make homosexuality illegal. There is are a number of common distortions mentioned throughout, but nothing about sodomy laws or making homosexual conduct illegal. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you thought there was rather than assuming that you were banking on my not doing a Google search and checking it out.

            I also looked at the official policy statements and no mention is made of making anything illegal. In fact, the only contradictory statement we have is a tepid one from Tony Perkins on Hardball on Nov. 29 in which he says that the FRC is not currently working toward making homosexuality illegal, but refuses to answer questions on whether that is a long term goal of the organization or repudiate Spigg’s statement ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/40423304#40423304). So that also doesn’t support your assertion that we should ignore statements that the FRC won’t even retract.

      • “I don’t know of a single representative of the Christian movement to defend marriage who is against your right to exist, much less advocating that ‘everyone like [you] ought to be shot or rounded up into camps.'”

        Well, there’s the aforementioned Bryan Fischer. Let’s see, who else? Well, Charles Worley, Curtis Knapp, and Kevin Swanson. And of course we have Sean Harris who thinks that parents ought to beat their gender non-conforming kids. I suspect you’re going to now say that these people are not “representative” of your movement. I could also point out the time that Mississippi state rep Andy Gipson decided to quote Leviticus to show his opposition to same-sex marriage.

        I’d post links to all of those, but it keeps getting caught as spam. However, if you’d like to take a look at my blog, I assure you that all of those examples are documented and you can see the video evidence yourself.

        You are unambiguously wrong about your assertions in this comment and if your position relies on not acknowledging that these sorts of things exist, it may be time to reconsider. I presume that now that you’re aware of these facts you will no longer argue that your sweeping statements are true and will instead work to prevent such atrocities from happening.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Quoting Leviticus to defend your opposition to same-sex marriage is a far cry from advocating that gays should be shot or put in concentration camps. Please.

          I’m not familiar with those other folks, but there’s a tendency to find the person who says the most extreme thing and then blow up his importance and pretend he really represents far more than he does. Sean Harris – again, a random guy – said that’s not what he’s saying, but who knows about him. Bryan Fischer is the only one here who has something of a following, but he’s regarded as extreme and way out of the mainstream, and the vast majority of Christians in America have never heard of him.

          • Leviticus says, explicitly, that gay men should be put together. How is that not a call for the death of gay men? Please, yourself.

            As to the “random guys,” exactly how many isolated incidents actually constitutes a problem? There are plenty of other “random guys” I’ll happily link to saying things just as vile. Hundreds of pastors around the country say things like this all the time. Eventually a group of nobodies adds up.

            On a side note in Sean Harris, just saying that isn’t what he said doesn’t mean he didn’t say it. There’s video of it. He says that if your son’s wrist goes limp, “crack that wrist.” Is breaking a child’s bone not beating a child, or was he talking about a metaphorical wrist?

      • katiesays

        Oh, really? Well here’s a link about a christian pastor who doesn’t want gays to exist: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/north-carolina-pastor-gay-rant-starvation_n_1533463.html

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Statements like that are ridiculous and disgusting. This guy is an insignificant kook.

  • I know, you don’t want me to cease to exist, you just want me to find true fulfillment and happiness from following the teachings of your deity.

    You probably believe you have found people like me (people in same-gender relationships; you know nothing about genderqueer persons except that we’re weird) who have become “cured” to become people like you. You probably believe that anyone like me could go through this process. You probably believe that every one of us should, and that it is always healthy and never an abusive scam of financial extortion and sexual abuse.

    You will probably go on believing this because you want it to be true, because you don’t want to be in a world that has people like me in it.

    You will probably insist that that is not why you believe that, and that you are just being true to the teachings of your deity. But Jesus said nothing about gender transitions or same-gender relationships in any of the four Gospels, and taught both explicitly and through a parable that you do not even have to worship him to be received into his heaven.

    I feel there are other people whose teachings matter to you more than Jesus’, and that you value their teachings because they speak to you of a world where people like me are exceptions to Jesus’ teachings.

  • Jimmy C

    What phraseology would you rather see used for such disagreements? I doubt “wrong and harmful” is adequate, though the phrase may have to suffice. You believe my views hurt children; I believe your views hurt children. Round again and again we can go. Your arguments against homosexuality are little different to my mind than cheering on slavery and declaring young-earth creationism scientifically sound. Is classifying your position as evil, irrational, or both much more civil and loving? Sadly, I see no good answer.

    I do not hate you either. I hate the needless injury you do yourself and others.

  • Hannah

    Beautiful. Speaks straight into my life. Thank you for being so honest.

  • cken

    Interesting article. I can remember going to college and being shocked to discover people from other denominations actually believed they could go to heaven also. I also remember seeing a sign stating the reason there are so many atheists is because of christians who don’t act like it. Those were some of the things which made me think.
    I don’t favor abortion, but with the exception of those who use abortion as a form of birth control, for most women it is a very agonizing decision. Most of those who I know who have gotten abortions did so for what I consider very good and rational reasons, and I didn’t think it was in my place to try to force my personal morality on them.
    Recently I told one of my gay friends they shouldn’t vote for Obama becuse he evolved on gay marriage. I opined that some form of gay marriage would come into existance long before pot was legalized. It might not be called marriage so the sancitity of the word could be maintained, but some form of legal union would be established so they would have the same rights as a marriage.
    Actually some of the best christians I have met are gays, if by christian we mean living and acting Christ-like.
    When I was in grade school a black family moved into our district with three boys in the school I went to. This was several years before MLK and Alabama. It wasn’t long before some of my class mates started making racial slurs in private. I asked my mother about these remarks, and to this day I remember her response. She said, “God doesn’t look at your skin color, he looks at your heart and your soul, as a christian that’s what you should do too.” I have lived my life that way ever since. It never mattered to me if you were red yellow black or white, gay, Jewish or Hindu or whatever. It’s your integrity, character, actions, the goodness of your heart, do you follow God’s will for you, and do you intentionally hurt or help people, that matters to me. I believe that’s what Jesus meant when He showed us the way the truth and the life; so it’s likely that’s how God will judge us too. I could be wrong, but I am content to let God rather than me be the judge.

  • Jay

    @ Jim Robert

    I hate that you think all Evangelical Christians are what you explained. I understand why you would think that. I hate that people don’t understand that the bible’s most important message is to love.

    You know what I love?

    I love that we have an opportuninty to communicate the Word of God on almost all parts of the world with just a click of a button. I love that the message of God is still holding strong to the Evangelical Churches across the world. I love knowing that every Sunday I have attended at my church, at least one person gets saved by the message that was preached.

    I love that I have a blessed life- the house I abide in, the abundance of fresh water, food in a storage area, electricity, technology that makes life simpler, a form of transportation and the ability to go out and get a job to afford all these things in which I take for granted. (I hate that I take it for granted)

    I love the fact my holy book is the best archeological evidence based book in the world, I love that especially. I love how 2000 of its roughly 2500 prophecies have been fufilled and that a lot of prophecy covers the same event of people thousands of years apart making the same prophecy without a common manuscript to read.

    I love that, I really do. I love God’s work, his son that he sent to save us of our sins. It’s amazing, his grace. I am praying for everyone who hates.

  • The best response to this essay is an essay in the Owldolatrous blog: http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=369. The key passage is:

    “I don’t think you hate me. I certainly don’t think you’re afraid of me. Neither is Bristol Palin. She probably even has LGBT people she calls friends. She just disagrees with them about whether they should be invited to the party (the party, in this case, being marriage).

    “But here’s the problem: the basis of that disagreement is her belief that her relationships are intrinsically better than ours.

    “There’s a word for this type of statement: supremacist. … Supremacy and hate aren’t identical, but they often go together.”

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I love that: supremacist. What a great tool! If you believe anything is “better” than something else, does that make you a supremacist? If I believe it is more moral to care for the environment, and ergo environmentalists are more moral than non-environmentalists, does that make me an environmental supremacist? I suppose so, and beware, because “supremacy and hate…often go together.”

    • brisonc

      “But here’s the problem: the basis of that disagreement is her belief that her relationships are intrinsically better than ours.

      “There’s a word for this type of statement: supremacist. … Supremacy and hate aren’t identical, but they often go together.”

      No, it is that marriage requires the union of both genders(there are only 2) and 2 men or 2 women are not different genders, unless one of the two has gender reassignment.

      It is like insisting a beef roast can also be called a roast chicken or a pork roast. Of course it cannot though, they are totally different animals. So it is with marriage, which is something specific. Not just the “union of 2 people”, but “the union of a male and female person”.

      So it is homosexuals themselves that are keeping themselves from having a marriage because they refuse to partner with someone of the opposite gender.

  • Donalbain

    I can’t be a racist. Look. I have black friends.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Yes, Donalbain, that’s *exactly* what I was saying.

      [cue eye-roll]

  • Donalbain

    I hate that many gays feel that, without access to marriage, they are second-class citizens.

    Yeah.. the problem is the fact that they FEEL like that. Obviously, the problem can’t be that they ARE second class citizens. That is not the issue. When a gay person is not allowed to make decisions for their future with the person they love, the real problem is their insistence on feeling something that makes you sad. When a gay person is not able to visit their loved one in hospital, because they are not legally next of kin, the issue is that they selfishly feel upset about that, rather than the fact that the policies supported by the likes of you have put them in that horrible position. If only gay people (some of whom are your friends remember) would stop having those selfish feelings of pain and anger, then everything would be OK.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Who said it was selfish to feel that way?

      It doesn’t make you a second-class citizen if your closest relationship does not meet the definition of marriage. The view that gays are treated as second-class citizens because their unions do not meet the legal definition of marriage is not a fact, but an interpretation. It’s a spin that came out of the rhetoric of the battle over this issue.

      • Donalbain

        If you can make life decisions regarding the person that you love and spend your life with, but someone else can’t then they ARE second class citizens.

        And yet to you the problem is the way they feel. Not the way that YOU treat them.

      • Basil

        1138. That is the number you should remember. It’s from a GAO study in 2004, I believe, and it is the number of federal rights and benefits that are automatically available to married couples that not available to same sex couples, even if those same sex couples are legally married in the states they live in (such as NY). So, for example, even though I am legally married, if I die first, my husband has no right to social security survivors benefits. Your wife does, if you died. We both pay into social security, yet my family gets thousands less than in benefits than yours (or any similarly situated straight couple). That’s not an interpretation, that’s a fact. I have a financial penalty of thousands of dollars that you do not have because my marriage is not legally recognized by the federal government (or 43 states). If you cannot acknowledge that, that just means you are being completely dishonest.

        I hate that homophobia has made you blind to injustice. I hate that you use religion as an excuse to be callous towards your gay friends. I hate that you use “Christian” as a label to find solidarity with those who are open and gratuitous in their malice towards gays, rather than with your gay friends. I hate the wall you have put up with your gay friends. But I don’t hate you. I think on some level you know right from wrong, you know the duty of friendship requires support against injustice (not acquiescence to it) and I pray that God’s love will reach your heart and allow you to see and respect love in all of its forms.

  • Anita

    I see different points in the story of Sodom, Kubrick. I have never thought that Abraham defended Sodom. I think he was deeply concerned about G_d’s impending judgment and knew that many of his loved ones (Lot’s family) were still living there. So he bargained with G_d. The sad thing is that not even five righteous men were found in that city. Abraham didn’t bring the judgment, G_d did.

    • Kubrick’s Rube

      I agree. “Defense of Sodom” was not the best way to put it. The point is that Abraham did bargain with G-d, and G-d concedes a condition under which his wrath should be stayed. My take on the point of the story: while the math doesn’t ultimately work out for Sodom (not even 10? yikes), it wouldn’t have taken much for G-d to spare the city- the message seems to be that in general justice and mercy should be weighed not toward punishing the guilty but toward protecting the innocent.

  • Bob Wiley

    You keep this up Tim, I’ll be forced to start looking for a way to have you come and speak at the school where I work.

  • Basil

    I hate your spam filter. I’ll let others answer your questions. I can’t parse whether your article was sincere or sarcastic because of the closing sentence. I would note, that if you don’t want to be seen as hateful towards gays, perhaps you should not give softball interview (i.e., free publicity) to the Family Research Council. It’s inexplicable, and indefensable. How should your gay friends view you after a stunt like that? If you lie with dogs, you get fleas.

  • David

    The question is not about hate. When the US was segregated, the whites did not hate the back. They thought they were inferior people. You have the same attitude towards gays or pro-choice people. You not only think you are superior, you assume that God thinks so too and that God even prefers you to these sinners – that is the problem.

  • brisonc

    (1138. That is the number you should remember. It’s from a GAO study in 2004, I believe, and it is the number of federal rights and benefits that are automatically available to married couples that not available to same sex couples)

    And a federal statute establishing “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” with all the benefits of marriage, but keeping the word “marriage” for hetersexual couples only is an option already offered to homosexuals, but it was rejected because they insist on the word “Marriage” to apply to their relationships.
    So this is obviously much more than an issue of federal rights, but about forcing society to socially legitimize same gender couplings as the same as hetersexual couples. It is therefore an issue of culture and politics and not just legal equality.

  • brisonc

    “The question is not about hate. When the US was segregated, the whites did not hate the back. They thought they were inferior people. You have the same attitude towards gays or pro-choice people.”

    Believing a human being is inferior is hate. How is it not? Opponants of gay marriage do not believe those that engage in homosexual behavior are less human than those that don’t, but that a coupling of two men or two women is not a “marriage” because to have a marriage it must be the union of 2 genders. Two men coupling is not a marriage, just a coupling. It’s like saying a pork roast is the same as a beef roast because they are both roasts, but they are two, totally different types of meat. You can’t label a pork roast as a beef roast. It is saying something totally false just as the coupling of two men is a marriage when that is not true. To have a marriage requires 2 genders. How is that “hateful”?

    Pro-choicers do belief and profess a human in the womb to be inferior to those outside of the womb so that is why they are opposed. “The right to choose” does not mean the right to any and all options, especially when the option involves the killing of another human being without a claim of need for self-defense. That is why it is opposed. Because pro-choice is anti-human equality. Progressives of all types are for human equality and should therefore support the humanity of the human fetus and oppose the ability of anyone to harm or kill a fetus without a proven claim of self-defence.

  • Raymond

    The thing I find most incomprehensible is your assertion that the consequences of your faith are not your choice.
    I perhaps agree with you more than disagree with you about the morality or immorality of many things.
    What I would heartily disagree with you about is what I think is a fundamental abdication of your own responsibility for what you believe.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I take responsibility for forming beliefs that are justified and responsible, but I can still regret that those beliefs require me to do or profess things that others find offensive.

  • Karl Kunker

    God hates whatever makes people want to conceal their thoughts and behaviors from Him and one another – including the little children. Jesus said, “Unless you become (consider their way of seeing things) as little children you can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. “Adultery” is called sin beccause adults simply can not justifyit to little children. It’s called sin and it is easily identifiable by considering the perspective of the Kingdom of Heaven. If you feel its okay to openly discuss something with adults but not with a child under the age of 12, you may very well be a hater of your own thoughts and behaviors.

  • Valerie

    I hate that people with your beliefs (I’m not saying you, but maybe you) think their beliefs should interfere with other people’s lives (abortion, gay rights, etc). Believe whatever you want, but it’s your issue, not someone else’s. I just saw someone right above the comment box who said you did an interview with FRC? Well, then I’m not sure you really hate that your beliefs come between you and any gay friends. Those friends would be the tolerant ones, if they exist. Thanks for summing up exactly why I left Christianity and that Christians will always remind me why I’ll never go back.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I hope you check out the interview, Valerie. I made clear that I don’t agree with FRC across the board, but I thought it was worth giving them a chance to respond to some of the accusations.

      Let’s assume that you believe in global warming. Do you think your belief should have an effect on the laws that shape the behavior of others? How about your belief that child trafficking is wrong?

  • mermaidshells

    “Some of my best friends are gay.” Check.
    “I know people who’ve had abortions.” Check.
    “I have friends who are of other religions.” Check.

    But it’s still okay for them to support and give money to an institution that condemns, actively works against, spreads misinformation about all those things that…frankly they’ll never be or have any clue what it’s to be like. It’s okay to guilt, shame and vilify people because they don’t fit your straight, white, male, christian ideal.

    You have friends that are of other religions and you don’t go all CRUSADES! on them, you know (and openly judge) people who’ve had abortions even though you’ll never go through the process of pregnancy yourself, and you’re friends with gays but aren’t burning them…so apparently this makes you pass as a decent human being. Good job. Have a freaking cookie so you can shut up while the rest of us get things done.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      If you’re done with your bumper-sticker arguments, you might want to read through the fifty or so posts I’ve written on these topics, addressing these things. But it doesn’t sound to me like you’re ready to listen.

  • Doug

    I wonder, when it comes to the marriage equality issue, how much of your concern is limited strictly to the use of the word “marriage.” Fifty percent? Seventy-five percent? 100%? An answer to that question might help clarify your position for some of your readers.

    Personally, I support marriage equality because gay and lesbian people exist, they fall in love, make lives together, and sometimes they raise families. It is absolutely in their best interest, in their children’s best interest, and (I think) in the best interest of society at large that their relationships are cement-able with the same legal protections and obligations as anyone else’s. I wonder if you would agree with that? I think you might.

    Ensuring these protections legally could potentially be accomplished through the creation of a domestic partner status recognized by both state and federal authorities. But perhaps this is where we part ways. I don’t think that “domestic partnership” is, practically speaking, adequate. It’s not necessarily a strictly legal argument at this point (since rights and obligations are already secured) but a social argument.

    I’m afraid that when the civil government provides for the de-facto recognition of marriage between gay or lesbian people but denies them the term “marriage,” this leads (or is likely to lead), in practical terms, to the creation of a second-class citizen experience. For example, I don’t want some ten year old girl raised by two committed, loving dads to be told that her fathers “aren’t really married,” and for her to have no available answer for that.

    I consider unworkable the alternative, sometimes proposed, of getting the civil government out of the “marriage business” altogether, though I recognize that it’s a theoretical possibility. Yes, you could leave “marriage” to the churches alone, but the actual conversion of all existing civil “marriages” into “domestic partnerships” and the overcoming of historical precedent and cultural usage involved with this solution is at least as wrenching (much more wrenching, in my opinion) than extending the civil definition of “marriage” to include our gay and lesbian friends.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I agree that “getting government out of marriage” is attractive but unworkable. I wish that it were otherwise. I had a lengthy discussion about this with a marriage lawyer once. Marriage is so deeply written into our legal framework that disentangling the government from marriage would be enormously difficult and might well be against the state’s compelling interest.

      Part of the question here is whether the state has a legitimate and compelling interest in conferring certain rights and status on lifelong heterosexual covenants that it does not have with lifelong homosexual commitments. I believe it does. It would take an awful long time to explain why, and if I spend too much time in comments I never write new posts (!), but I’ll try to get back to this topic soon.

      I wouldn’t say it’s just “the word”, marriage. It’s the concept. If you believe that this is a covenant and sacrament essentially written into human nature by God, and not a social contract that’s up for renegotiation at will, then you have much more motivation to seek to preserve the proper understanding of marriage and even preserve its status as a sacred relationship that is charged by God with a sacred task.

      I do believe that most of the important legal issues — hospital visitation rights being one of the common examples bandied about, even though in most states these things are perfectly resolvable already — can and should be addressed through domestic partnerships. That’s a reasonable compromise that I would favor, if I knew that that would be the end of it. Some conservative Christians argue, and I don’t think they’re being crazy here, that it would be immediately leveraged for the legalization of same-sex marriage. So I understand the reticence.

      • Doug

        I assume you’ll object to this characterization, but I feel like I’d rather side with the real-world people in front of me who are without rights and undefended rather than with an idea that would keep them in that vulnerable position. We’re not talking about forcing the churches to bless gay marriages. We’re talking about equality in the eyes of the state. I do believe there’s a conservative case to make for gay marriage. It strengthens families, and what strengthens families strengthens our civic institutions.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I get that, brother. You represent your viewpoint well and hold it in a respectable, thoughtful way.

  • Well said. I hate that I am not coming up with a better comment than that.

  • Lisa

    I hate the hypocrisy of conservative Christians who give so much money and time oppressing gay people and women, but they rarely talk about divorce. Where are your campaigns to outlaw divorce.As a veteran teacher, I can assure you that divorce is much worse than gay people have equal rights, or women having control of their own bodies. But I imagine talking about divorce would create problems with at least half of your people, so you focus on gays, because 90% of your members don’t have to deal with that issue

    I could go on about issues such as Christian opposition to universal health care, acceptance of torture (As a group white evangelicals supported both wars and torture at a much higher rate than other groups – how is that pro life?

    BTW – I don’t have a dog in this fight, a heterosexual happily married for 29 years, but I do have a strong
    sense of fairness.

    You Christians need to take care of yourselves and leave the rest of us alone.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Christians and Christian churches spend about many, many times more money and resources on supporting marriages and avoiding divorces than they do on fighting gay marriage. Most churches have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with opposing gay marriage. Yet they all have marriage ministries, people who counsel couples, pre-marital counseling, interventions when couples are considering divorce, marriage retreats, marriage classes, etc.

      Where did this silly notion that Christians “rarely talk about divorce” come from?

      I’m not in favor of outlawing divorce, because I think it’s justified in some circumstances. But that’s an entirely different question from whether we should fundamentally alter the definition of what marriage means.

  • Evil Atheist

    You believe in God because you don’t want to take responsibility for your own actions. I’m an Atheist, and I have as much (if not more) compassion for humanity than any Christian. But there’s a huge difference, if I say I hate something or someone, I can’t go run behind the shield of some invisible man in the sky and say “It’s not up to me, he says I have to hate you!” No, I take responsibility for my own actions, my own thoughts, my own morality.

    It’s pretty rich that you state you hate that you hate your Christianity is understood through their prism. You do the exact same thing to all of us – Atheists, Gays, Women, etc. You look at us and cast judgement through your prism. And again, your faith is a consequence, something you have no control over. What’s it like to be alive, but not really living? What’s it like to be told how to act and behave every day of your life? You can’t be moral on your own, you have to have someone to answer to. That’s pretty pathetic.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Oh, this kind of juvenile atheism grows tiresome, doesn’t it? Yes, you’ve read a single post, so naturally you know everything about me. The rest is just boasting and blather.

      I long for serious atheists like Bertrand Russell.

      • Evil Atheist

        Timothy, your kind of juvenile christian apologetics grows tiresome. You take absolutely no responsibility for your own actions, instead you justify them by saying you have no choice in the matter because some invisible sky man has told you what to do.

        I was born and raised a christian republican, my father is a preacher and my uncle is rather famous evangelist. For 30 years the christian and republican indoctrination was hammered into my head. And for 30 years, I believed all that crap too.

        Yes, I know you and your kind very well. Better than you know yourself.

    • Sage

      Your sense of morality means what, exactly? Did you invent it?

      Don’t tell me it’s common sense. Why should evolved beings with nothing but physical connections do anything sensible? Take what you will. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.

      • Evil Atheist

        Sage, I’m moral and ethical because I care about human beings. I don’t need some mystical invisible man in the sky to tell me how to act.

        Your question is absurd and shows just how regressive you and your religion really is. BECAUSE we’re evolved we treat each other with respect, dignity, and honor. It’s clear that if you suddenly believed there was no God, you would run loose on the streets acting like madman.

        Loosen your chains, you’re in bondage. Slave.

        • Sage

          Ooh, you care about humans.


          Oh, I forgot you couldn’t answer the first question either…

        • Surprise123

          Evil Atheist, you write, “Sage, I’m moral and ethical because I care about human beings.” But, Evil Atheist, obviously that care does not include civil discourse with your fellow human beings.

          “Loosen your chains, you’re in bondage. Slave.” We’re all in bondage, Evil Atheist. Some to strange religious beliefs. Others to their own, individual egos. A little humilty, Evil Atheist, goes a long way. We are all but human, for the most part, groping our way in the dark….

  • Lisa

    I brought up divorce because that is something Jesus actually spoke about, unlike homosexuality, and abortion. If memory serves me, he said the only reason to divorce was adultry, and to remarry after a divorce is to commit adultry. Does your church follow these guidelines? Do you disfellowship people who don’t? probably not, because if you did the church wouldn’t exist for long.

    Another thought, aaccording to all of the polls I’ve seen, organized relion is losing member at a high rate, and the rate of those you don”t claim a relifion as well as atheists are groing. When the secularists are the majority, is it ok if we vote on your civil rights?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      My church does believe that the only clear justifications for divorce are adultery or abuse. There may be other extremes that are open to discernment, but my church — like most churches — does/do a heck of a lot to keep marriages together and flourishing. I don’t disfellowship people who get divorced, but I don’t disfellowship gays either. I’m not big into disfellowshipping as a general rule 😉

      Jesus didn’t speak directly of homosexuality because it was not really a live moral question in his environment. There wasn’t really any question at the time, in his setting, but that it was wrong. And certainly no one had suggested gay marriage. But Jesus also didn’t speak against rape and genocide; I’m not saying they’re the same, or similar, but I’m saying that Jesus didn’t speak to many things, but we can still apply principles to cases not addressed by him. And Jesus spoke an awful lot about marriage, including marriage as the union of male and female, affirming the vision for marriage set out in Genesis.

      There are protections for minorities against the “tyranny of the majority,” which is why I cannot (nor would I want to) take away the rights of gays or Hispanics or etc. to vote or exercise their faith or speak freely, or etc. I just don’t think that there’s a right for a same-sex couple to commit themselves to each other and demand the rights and status of marriage.

      • Matt Thornton

        But wouldn’t it be reasonable (by the logic we’ve been discussing here) to deny second marriages on the basis that they don’t meet the ‘definition’ of marriage? Perhaps with exceptions for ‘legitimate’ divorce?

  • Hilary

    Look, if you are going to stand in the way of GLBT people being able to legaly protect our families, and we get angry about, and our anger hurts your feelings, tough. Be willing to live with our pain, anger and distrust if you vote to limit or deny our legal rights to protect ourselves and relationships. Your hurt feelings when we get angry are not the moral equivalent to our lives being devastated when we have little or no legal protection for when life gets hard. If you vote to deny me any protection for my marriage, do not expect me to trust you. I can be polite, respectful and even friendly, but that creates a line in the sand beyond which I cannot trust you no matter how much you try to be ‘loving’ to me. If our situations were reversed, do you really think you could trust me? Would you feel the love if I tried to make it legally impossible to protect your family, but was really, really nice to your face?

    If you had no legal connection to the person you have vowed to live your life with, they got laid off of work, you could not put them on your healthcare and because of a pre-existing condition you could not afford independent healthcare and they got life-threatening pneumonia or hit by a car how would you feel?
    Love the sinner, hate the sin. In the above scenario if I brought over a casserole to ‘love the sinner’ – in this case you – but you knew that I was on my way to a political meeting to make it even harder to get legal protection for your marriage -’ hate the sin’ – by putting it in the constitution as well as state law, what would that casserole taste like? If I said I loved you and supported you, but worked to politically destroy your family, could you trust me? Would that really be love?

    It’s not jsut a matter of “access at a hospital” it’s a matter of not being able to put my wife on my healthcare benefits because people like you think the only thing that matters is the ratio of male to female genitals in a relationship for it to be legally worth something. Whatever you say, that is your bottom line – genitals. You will do nothing to stop a male and female athiest get married who are drunk off their ass and only just met each other, by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas. A man who pimps his school age daughter can legally marry a woman to breed more child to use, and while you might put them in jail, they can still legally marry. I work with several straight married men who will never have children. They have been married as long as I have, been working at the same job as long as I have, but because they have a penis and I don’t I can’t protect my wife’s health if she loses her job. That is being a second class citizen. If it hurts your feelings that I am angry about it, why don’t you do something to change my legal situation instead of wringing your hands and asking me not to hate you for enforceing that standard? Let legal, civil marriage be the law of the land for both straight and gay people, and let each church, temple, and mosque be free to marry or not whomever they will.

    It’s not just protecting our relationships; there are a lot of states where simply being gay is enough to get fired with no recourse. When in Christs name people campaign to stop or remove sexual orientation from workplace non-discrimination laws, how can Christ and Christ’s people be anything but an enemy for me? If I publicly campaigned so that you could not let anybody at your job know you were straight and had a family without the fear of getting fired on the spot, and did so in the name of my religion, how could you see my God as anything but an enemy, or be open to any of the good things I claimed my God had to offer? Can you even imagine what it would be like to go to work every day, smile and be friendly to the people you work with, and pretend to be single because if they knew you had a spouse and children at home they would turn on you and you could be fired at a moments notice? What if you couldn’t just change jobs because there are no other jobs available that pay enough, and you are your family’s breadwinner?

    I don’t even know why I am doing this, nothing I say will change you. It doesn’t matter how many lives are broken on your rules, what consequences they have to real people, the rules are more important then people. I’m not going to call you a Pharisee because I’ve studied them in their own words and in their original Hebrew and I have more respect for them then that. Yes, I’m Jewish. If you replaced “gay” with “Jew” who would you sound like? I’m sure you’re a nice person, but that is not going to stop you from denying my spouse social security benefits, even if we live together in perfect monogomy for 50 years until one of us dies. Of course, a woman who divorces and remarries 5 times and cheats on every spouse can still get social security, but hey she’s doing with men so it’s ok. So I don’t really care how nice you are, I’d rather honest hatred then this poisoned honey you call love.


    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I do think a lot of the privileges given to married couples should be given to same-sex couples through domestic partnerships. I don’t think it has to be a heterosexual relationship to be “worth something.” I just think it has to be heterosexual in order to be marriage. And like I said, I don’t think it’s up to me.

      It’s a nice line about “poisoned honey.”

      Life is hard for everyone, and I certainly understand your desire for you and your partner to have the same legal protections as married couples do. You can live in states where many of those protections are afforded to you and your partner. If I believed that my actions were denying you your civil rights, or your God-given human rights, I would cease those actions. You ought to have the same rights as other individuals. But the law does make distinctions between different courses of action, of course. I just don’t believe that there is a human or civil right for same-sex couples to have their relational commitments treated identically as what has been defined biblically and theologically and historically and legally as marriage. But if there are other ways — and there are — of addressing the concerns you raise, regarding health decisions and the like, then I’d like to address those.

      Hiring and firing is a tough issue. I don’t think anyone should be fired simply for his or her inclinations. If a Christian school believes that acting on those homosexual inclinations is sinful, and a teacher refuses to live in a way that honors or reflects those beliefs, then it’s a complex question but I would give the benefit of the doubt to religious liberty. I know you would disagree on that.

      I have a lot of respect for the Pharisees as well, actually. I believe some (not all) had lost the forest for the trees, but they were devout and truly trying to live their lives according to their beliefs. That’s terrific. I do know Hebrew, but most of my reading about the Pharisees has come from Greek, through the New Testament. Where were you reading the Pharisees in their own words in Hebrew? (Understand: I’m not doubting that one can; I helped teach Christian/Jewish courses at Harvard and I’m familiar with quite a lot of extra-biblical ancient Jewish writings; I’m just curious to know where exactly one goes to read the Pharisees representing their own points of view in Hebrew.)

      • Hilary

        Well, thanks for responding so quickly. First off, I’m impressed you have any respect for the Pharisees, but haven’t you heard of the Pirke Avot, if you’ve taught Christian/Jewish courses at Harvard? That is part of the Mishnah, and the most accessable Jewish writing comprable in time to when the Synoptic Gospels where written. The Mishah itself is dense and tough to understand without being a Talmudic scholar (which I am not) but the Pirke is easily understood and popular. It means the “Sayings/wisdom of the Fathers” and is basically a list of quotes on wisdom and ethics from the Parushim, the Pharisees. It’s easy to learn about in wikipedia, and I highly recommend the copy “Pirke Avot: Wisdom of the Jewish Sages” by Chaim Stern, c. 1997. It has the Hebrew on one side of the top of each page, the literal English translation on the other, and comparable quotes from different scholars, philosphers, and other parts of the Talmud on the rest of the page. There is a lot of other information given in introductions and discussions of the general Rabbi’s quoted.

        A few quick quotes:
        The world is based on three things: On the study of Torah, on worship, and on deeds of loving kindness.
        The world is sustained by three things: by justice, by truth, and by peace.
        Find yourself a teacher, get yourself a friend, and give everybody the benefit of the doubt.
        Be a disciple of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing it, loving people and drawing them near to Torah.
        Where a man who has sinned and is truly repentant stands, not even the most righteous of saints can stand in the same place.
        If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself alone, what am I? If not now, when?
        *that’s a really famous quote from Hillel – his other most famous quote is to sum up the entire Torah in one sentance: What is hateful to yourself, do not do to others, the rest is commentary, go and study.*

        I could go on but this isn’t the place to quote the entire book. But if your only view of the Pharisees is from Christian writting, you really need to get this book and study it. I’ve read some of the NT, and the complete charactature of the Pharisees, and Jews in general in gospels . . . imagine trying to understand the Republican POV by reading nothing but extreme Democrtatic political rhetoric in a presidential campaign year, a thousand years after the fall of USA and Wash. DC being destroyed in a nuclear attack, that is about how accurately Pharisees are protrayed.

        The other book you really, really, REALLY have to find is “The Pharisees and other essays” by Leo Baeck. This might be a little harder to find since it was published in 1947 and translated from German. Read that again, 1947 – after the Shoah, before the state of Israel, translated from German. Leo Baeck was a Holocaust Survivor of Theresienstadt. In the camp he would give lectures of great world literature to keep the other people human, remind them that they were more then cattle to be worked to death. I can’t sum up a 50 page essay of an incredable scholar in one response post, but he touches upon how they were trying to bring the rites of the Temple Priesthood into the community so that all people could be holy. After the fall of the Temple they had to repackage the temple sacrificial system into acts of prayer, worship, study and good deeds and create the portable diaspora Rabbinic Judasim out of the ashes of the last Roman-Jewish war that ended in the expulsion of all Jews from Israel in 135 c.e. Considering what Jews have had to survive between 135 and 1948, it’s pretty amaizing that what they created is still alive and flurishing!! Suffice it to say, I am proud to call myself a spiritual descendant of the Pharisees.

        I’ll get to you about some of the fallacies in trying to legistate ‘biblical marriage’ tomorrow.


  • Bobby B.

    So Tim, while you are chasing other rabbit trails, what do you have to say to those who don’t believe in God but argue that when they die dogs and cats go to heaven?

    Seriously, you’ve done a wonderful job answering comments. Hat’s off to you.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Heh. Thanks, Bobby.

  • Frank

    Keep up the great work Tim. You have answered all the criticisms wisely, lovingly and biblically.

  • mike h

    I hope you don’t mind me throwing in my two cents on this, but I gave the article a read through, and I think it demonstrates a popular misconception of how atrocities are committed on a cultural level. I think any anthropologist would be hard pressed to produce a historical record of a culture that had committed evils as a result of a communal pursuit of hatred or destruction.
    A fundamental characteristic of our species, and maybe all species, is to view oneself as pursuing what is just and right. When societal atrocities occur, it is not because these characteristics have vanished, but because the cultural definition of justice and rightness has demanded these actions.
    Nazi Germany would be a great, moderately contemporary example of this. The citizens of Germany were not guilty of a unilateral decision to pursue evil, or hatred, but simply allowed what we now see as ignorance to subvert their perception of justice.
    To hold up the decency of individuals within a culture as evidence of the integrity of that culture’s agenda is disingenuous or naive.
    To try and steer the discussion on any ideology away from the merits of it’s beliefs, and toward the benign nature of individuals within it is dangerous. I’m not necessarily suggesting conservative values will result in another Holocaust, but that this argument made for any cause is a hallmark of a very dangerous ideology. Social and economic policy should always be weighed as objectively as possible through a comprehensive knowledge of history and a sincere pursuit of empathy.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      No one disputes that argument should be examined on their own merits, but when you’re consistently accused of hateful motives, a defense of your motives is not unwarranted.

  • Ben

    “But I hate too that the homosexual debate has been defined in such a way that there is no space for loving disagreement.”

    The reason you can’t have your hate-free framing and your bigotry, too, is because that “loving disagreement” destroys and oppresses the lives of innocent people. You expected that to be brushed under the rug?

    Sorry you have to live in a world where the oppressed project their trauma onto your delusional mental states erroniously.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Next time try engaging with the argument, please, or at least looking at the many places in the comments where I’ve already addressed this.

  • Apologies if you’ve addressed such a question in other posts; if so, feel free to just point me there.

    Imagine your positions were reversed. I’m an atheist and humanist; imagine a world where Christians have been in the minority for all of human history, and as a result, a long-term romantic and sexual union between two Christians is not, and has rarely or never been, recognized as a marriage. Then you decide to point out that this condition for marriage makes no sense, and is actually kinda horribly discriminatory (which of course it would be … notice that no gay folks are advocating for straight marriage to be illegal, and no atheists are advocating for Christian marriage to be illegal, so I hope you can see how it looks to us when Christians whine about not getting to force other people to follow their religious beliefs).

    So you speak up. Heck, some Christians are even saying that this discriminatory policy is hateful! Is there a chance that you’d take a rather dim view of any atheists or gay folks that patiently (or condescendingly) explain that this is just what the definition of marriage is, we can’t go and do something crazy like change it. There’s really no call to say that we’re “hateful;” that’s just beyond the pale. No, you still can’t have the same rights that I have. I flat-out do not recognize any right of yours to have your life-long romantic/sexual loving relationship recognized by law. Honestly, will it make any difference to you if someone advocates this position right to your face, but they insist that it’s a “loving disagreement,” and not “hatred”?

    Of course you think that you’re factually right, … except that your arguments are terrible. As others have pointed out, just about the only thing that Biblical marriage DOES have in common with modern marriage is the condition that spouses be male and female; every other aspect of it is different. You try to argue that the Bible mentions but disapproves of those different arrangements, but that’s factually wrong. The Bible clearly condones everything from a man having multiple wives and concubines to Israelite men marrying virgin prisoners of war. You say that the Bible condemns these practices, but I’ve scoured the relevant passages, and God either passively condones or outright orders these practices. Do you have a reference for God’s disapproval of these arrangements? Again, if you can just point me to any such reference … because honestly, I can state flat-out that your god does not condemn multiple marriage partners as you say he does.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Why don’t you list for me some of the places where God endorses multiple marriage in the Hebrew scriptures? I’d appreciate that. Responding to comments here is taking a lot of time. My point was that people should not assume, just because the Bible shows someone doing something, even if that person is otherwise highly regarded, that the Bible is endorsing that thing.

      But even if we dispensed with some of the older Old Testament material, and said this…for 2500 years, with a subatomically small percentage of exceptions, the Judeo-Christian tradition (and for 2000 years the Christian Church) has taught that marriage is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman…would that make you feel better? What if we clarified that, even in cases where other facts varied (like the terms for divorce or the acceptability of having two marriages to different women), the one fact that never varied was that it was male and female…does that feel better? Do you think that makes your case *stronger*, to note that there was some variation in other matters but never in this one?

      Another point – and one commenter on here made this point as well – is that what you tend to see in the Bible, in those cases amongst the patriarchs or the kings of men having multiple wives, was not a “marriage” that could include more than two people. The marriage was always between one man and one woman. But in those cases, some of them had multiple marriages at once. So the definition of marriage remained more or less the same, but what was different was the supposition that one could only have one marriage at a time. It’s a subtle distinction, and may not be terribly important, but again we’re talking about an awful long time ago, a view that was left behind as the scriptures move forward, and that the church has never accepted as normative.

    • Marianna

      Dear Mr. Flimsyman,

      Thanks for leaving some comments that made me chuckle after alot of tirades by Christians and non-Christians some of which made no sense, and some of which did by universal laws of logic that people of most faiths agree with. What I found so humorous in the way in which you flipped the coin on Mr. Dalrymple’s mostly orthodox Christian arguments against homosexual/lesbian unions is that the underlying principle of your response was based (in my perception) on the Golden Rule (for those who might not know- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”- a famous quote by Jesus Christ in the gospel of Matthew). I really appreciated hearing a different atheistic/humanistic perspective on how Christians would be treated if they were considered the underdogs in a socio-political-religious (or non-religious for an atheist I suppose) fight over what marriage means in their biased opinions. And of course I am very impressed that in this hypothetical situation the majority is not trying to “advocate for straight marriage to be illegal.” I am wondering it is too overwhelming for them to try to crush all Christian opposition or if the majority really has a genuine concern for even the minority’s opinions.
      Sorry if I sound slightly satirical since Mr. Darymple has given any reader an overdose on that literary style in his original article “Christian=hater” (he must be a fan of Gulliver’s Travels).
      One last response to Mr. Flimsyman’s last paragraph which was a startlingly good tangent to the issue at hand- you could read Genesis 1:26,27 to find out the Judeo-Christian God’s first and lasting opinion on sexual relationships. Also a work of literature (such as the Bible) is allowed to tell factual stories with characters in it which the Author of the work does not condone as righteous (more concretely the Author would not look on polygamous marriage as a good thing- example: Jacob’s family is portrayed as rather dysfunctional because of his two wives and two concubines-see Genesis 16-40 . Readers of religious literature are allowed to learn from others’ mistakes instead of mindlessly copying them.) Anyhow thanks again to Mr. Flimsyman for the chuckle and Mr. Darymple for stoking the non-dormant fire again in his thought-provoking essay. (also had a chuckle that few people picked up the conversation on his detailed opinions about abortion- apparently for the general populus who visited this site discussing babies rights is not as interesting as defending the rights of adults)

  • sage

    Where is true logic then?

    Your average atheist/supremacist: “There is no god, but what I say is law! If you don’t respect my rights, you’re a hate-monger. Save the planet for my grandchildren or get out of the way!” Aren’t these the thoughts of a frenzied mind? If there is no god, and the spirit of man is not immortal, nothing in the universe that man can conjure is of any intrinsic value. Man is but to be mocked then, by an amoral universe as it observes him demanding at the top of his shrill voice in the oblivion of space-time, “give me rights, respect, and freedom!”

    Your average agnostic, “Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”

    The true disciple of Christ, “I love you all. Please, for the love of my earthly children, my stewardship, help me keep them from temptation’s path. Live as you will in private, but remove filth from the eyes and ears of my children. Beguile them not when they are young. They will choose as adults, for God has given all men agency. Will stand in the way of no one’s rights, and ask that the same privilege be afforded unto all.”

  • Mark

    Thank you for speaking for me and doing so well!

  • Daniel

    Tim – very well written. Thanks for articulating the way you do. Just want to encourage you. I rarely read the comments section of any article but today I found myself captivated by comment after comment that was ironically full of hate. I feel what you feel pretty much 99% of my day. Thanks for encouraging me and speaking truth in love especially when it is very unpopular. Remembering John 15:18.

  • Jay Saldana

    wow, what a read. So many people talking past one another. But there may be a solution…
    The Roman Catholic Church (hereafter RC) had for a very long tradition and still has in canon law a section which says what is a “sacramental marriage” and secular marriage. In a sacramental marriage the bride and groom interact with God’s Grace to marry themselves before Him forever. The priest is there for the Nuptial blessing (and cause the state says so). The “secular marriage” is with civil authorities and while recognized by the civil authorities *is not recognized* as a “marriage before God” by canon law. Like most legal systems there are all kinds of in and outs here but we will stick to the basics.
    It seems to me that these two distinctions are the source of the problem. I am sure Tim will concede that not every marriage between a man and woman is a sanctified marriage before God. There are many reasons and we are NOT going into them except to say that it happens. So we are left with a two classes of marriage between a man and a woman: Sanctified (or religious) that may or may not include civil, and, Civil, binding by the cultural authority alone. Both are “culturally” marriage. Both are recognized for the purposes of cohabitation. Both do not get in the way of the other except when they operate at cross purposes – a couple wants to be recognized religiously but can’t for some impediment. Since this process is already recognized by the Christian Protestant Church (CPC) and the RC, why can’t you agree to allow civil law settle the matter and not get involved. You cannot use the argument that its a sin and therefor you can’t allow it, since we both know there are MANY sinful marriages ongoing in the CPC (and RC too for that matter) and church discipline is just not enforced. It seems to me the only reason to insist on having it be any different goes back to a self righteousness not supported, in fact inveighed against, by Jesus (making mud with your spittle on the Sabbath). That’s my two cents….
    Tim, by the way, my first reaction on reading your this blog was to cry. I have not seen much of this naked humility in our Faith. Sad really, but then maybe that is what is really meant by “fallen world”.
    have a God filled day,

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, Jay. I appreciate your comments.

  • Timothy, thank you for the provocative post. In reading the comments (yes, I read them all!) my thought is, “There is a God, and we are not him.” I wish we all could just concentrate on following the commandment – Love thy neighbor as thyself. What a different world this would be. . .

  • Michael

    What Mr. Dalrymple hates is being called a bigot. He doesn’t hate it enough to stop being a bigot, he just wants people to stop calling him one.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I love it when you write a careful and (I think) pretty nuanced piece, and people boil it down to one point — which, not coincidentally, is what they had been convinced of already.

      • Michael

        Other people have commented on other parts of your post. I just commented on one part that I thought was worthy of comment. Sorry if I failed to appreciate your nuanced justification of your homophobia.

        Actually I’m not sorry, just like you’re not sorry that you use religion to rationalize your hatred of homosexuals. And please, don’t tell me you “love” gays, because if you did then you wouldn’t deny them the same civil rights that the rest of us enjoy.

  • DavidR

    Very nicely done, Tim. I just want to say (again, perhaps; I haven’t read all the comments!), not for you but for non-Christian readers, that there are Christians who do interpret the Bible differently and have no problem with same-sex marriage. Not only is Supporter/Christian Hater a false dichotomy, but these days so is Supporter/Christian. I hope that this post may help some Christians who are on opposite sides of such issues to get past their feelings of being hated by Christians on the other side.

  • Carla

    Loved Kubrick’s, Doug’s and Valerie’s input. Been some very interesting dialogue. I hope this issue can be worked out with love and sanity, to a happy and workable outcome for all concerned.

  • Carla

    Personally, I really don’t understand however, what an ‘illegal alien’ is supposed to mean. If you are talking about a human being crossing your borders in search of a better life, I find the term inhumane, inhospitable and quite contrary to what Jesus was about as far as I understand his ‘Sermon on the mount’. It seems to me that Jesus wasn’t particularly concerned with protection of human-constructed borders and particular nationalist interests. How do you justify that term as a Christian?

  • carla

    On a slightly technical note, I wanted to post a couple of thoughts on your blog ‘Narcissist camera’ but there was no way for me to do so. How do I go about that?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Oh, I shut down comments on posts that are old, because they get lots of spam. But I may be able to undo that setting now, since we have better spam protections. What did you want to say there?

  • Dogfacedboy

    You people are all idiots. If you believe in god, you may as well believe in Santa Clause. Dumbasses. SATAN RULES!!

    • bexx

      And you’re foolish if you believe in satan but don’t believe in God. They kind of go hand in hand.

  • Zob

    Bigotry is not really about “hate”. It’s about privilege. It’s about entitlement. It’s about being born into a group with special rights founded on the lack of rights of another group.

    You feel entitled to write your personal religious beliefs into laws that affect the non-religious.
    You feel entitled to have your relationship held up as better than other people’s.
    You feel entitled to interfere in the lives of your friends and complete strangers without them getting mad.

    It doesn’t matter that you don’t think of yourself as being hateful. It doesn’t matter that your contribution to the second-class status of gay Americans and to the hateful climate that drives children to suicide only comes from a place of apathetic ignorance instead of obsessive loathing. You think that if two people want to marry each other, they need your permission, based solely on the one particular interpretation of the one particular faith in the one particular God you elected to follow.

    You claim to love your gay friends and you show next to no understanding or consideration of how hurtful your actions really are. Thinking you have God on your side when you’re a jerk doesn’t excuse you being a jerk, least of all to people who don’t believe in a god or at the very least, who believe that God couldn’t be the jerk you worship.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      “You feel entitled to write your personal religious beliefs into laws that affect the non-religious.”

      No, I don’t. But I do, as an American, have a right to express my personal opinions in the public square and vote on them in the voting booth.

      “You feel entitled to have your relationship held up as better than other people’s.”

      No, I don’t. I have a lot of work to do on my own marriage. I am, however, convinced that marriage means a man and a woman.

      “You feel entitled to interfere in the lives of your friends and complete strangers without them getting mad.”

      No, I don’t. I have no desire to interfere in the lives of my friends. I do, however, have an interest in the laws that shape a healthy society and a flourishing culture. I accept that people who disagree with me will get upset. I don’t like it — but it doesn’t mean I feel entitled to them simply accepting my views without getting upset.

      Hope you feel better, though, for having gotten your anger out.

  • carla

    It doesn’t matter. I can’t even find that particular blog now…
    I am probably more interested in the ‘illegal aliens’ question and your response to it. I might add, I am not American, but I am Australian, and we confront very similar issues here, as you may be aware, with what has become coined as ‘boat people’.
    I find it devastating that rich nations such as yours and mine, who live in a relative state of peace and comfort, who have an incredible amount of power, intelligence, resources, etc expect those fleeing from often horrific and injust political climates to have access to ‘legal and rightful means’ ,,and the finance, documentation and so on…or ‘stay put’. I believe we have to come up with a lot better solutions than this kind of thinking, And as a Christian.. I can not accept such a term as ‘illegal aliens’ as anything other than a way to keep many who suffer, a great distance from enjoying my slice of the world-pie.

  • I agree with your post. Well said.

    As an editorial professional, I appreciated the distinction between ‘hate’ (verb) and ‘hatred’ (noun). I was also interested to see you refer to ‘the female vagina’. Is there another sort? 😉

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      The world’s a crazy place, full of many wonders! 😉

  • Matt Phillips

    WEll, not so much on the gay issues. It may be “soft hate.” or “hatred,” if you will. (I think “hate” as a noun is perfectly fine, because it conveys exactly the same meaning, whereas “will be forever” and “ever shall be” are different, and
    something valuable is lost in losing the distinction between “will” and “shall,” but I digress.) But it is still hate. Misconstruing biblical passages because of personal distaste (and much, much, much “inspired theology” against homosexuality is rooted in the majority cursing what they don’t like), misrepresenting and hiding from science, clinging to a highly s
    elective biblical literalism because it makes you feel righteous, well, you may think you are trying to “save” me from my sin of homosexuality, but you are disrespecting my rights in favor of avoiding a little insecurity-causing complexity in admitting the flaws in you fetishist approach to selectively applying the Bible, as understood by seventeenth century categories that neither admit current science nor appreciate ancient cultural context. It is hateful for very intelligent people to explain away the obviously natural and vigorous phenomenon of homosesuality as a facet of “fallenness,” when you insist on treating The Fall as a literal event. I love my partner because some chick ate a fruit? No, we have to treat The Fall as the allegory it is and not load it up with everything that makes us feel righteous and comfortable. The serpent is crafty and subtle. He tempts to call homophobia good by dressing “love my comfortable world view and despise the homosexuality God created because it makes me feel safe” up as “love the sin and hate the sinner.” To refuse to be an intelligent, twenty first century person is to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and arrogate to yourself judgment you do not have. It is prejudiced and bigoted and hateful. Of course, I am a theological liberal, and I would write things like that. Both theological liberals and theological conservatives believe in progressive revelation. The difference is that liberals admit science and experience and facts as part of that revelation, and admit that earlier believers got the application of eternal and overarching principles wrong from time to time, including some applications recorded in Scripture. But, that’s just what I think, I could be wrong.

  • Wil

    I have just finished reading this article and the posts and most times when reading blogs, I can’t be bothered to post simply because of types of responses I see read. I can’t remember whose quote it is but I think it is quite appropriate here as it says “Most people aren’t looking for the truth, they are just looking to validate what they already believe in.” So it really doesn’t matter what you say if people have preconceived ideas about you based on what you believe, than it doesn’t matter what you say or do because it will never be enough. The atheist will always think I am an idiot unless I renounce my insistence on a mythical God – it doesn’t matter how much science I research or how much information I try to assimilate – If I believe in God than I cannot be taken seriously. Pro Choice will always insist that I mean them harm unless I endorse abortions for any reason because I am a threat to their way of thinking and GLBT will always believe that I am a bigot unless I say it’s OK to be gay. Now I am all for equal rights, You shouldn’t be fired for being who you are, you should be allowed to visit in the hospital and yes you should get the same medical coverage, etc, etc, I am against anything that takes away from the dignity or respect of another group. God created every single one of us in his own image and that is good enough for me. but that will never be enough for others. I will always be a bigot because in their eyes Christian=Bigot. Its that simple. We simply cannot agree to disagree anymore – its kind of an all or nothing mentality.

    I also think you must have know what you were getting into when you posted this because this is the Internet after all, so I am sure you are not that surprised by the reaction to your post.


  • “I hate that my convictions on this issue come between us. And, I confess, I hate that it’s not up to me. I hate that I’ve never found the arguments in favor of the view that the Bible does not really condemn homosexuality convincing. I hate that the meaning of the covenant of marriage is not mine to define.”

    It IS up for YOU to define. Who do you think interprets your Bible? YOU DO. You have a choice, you can keep a strict black & white dogmatic interpretation, or open it up to a non-judgmental, not oppressive viewpoint. The choice is yours alone.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I understand your point of view, but I find it simplistic. My responsibility is to try my best to understand what God is communicating through the Word. While I recognize the role of interpretation, and understand that it should humble me and cause me always to question whether I have properly understood God’s word, I’m not simply free to interpret the scripture in any way I wish. The Word itself places constraints on my interpretation. I cannot say, “I choose to interpret the scripture to mean that it’s perfectly fine to worship many Gods,” because the most persuasive interpretation of the Bible leads one to the conclusion that one is to have no other gods but God.

      If my reason and my prayerful act of interpretation, my best attempt to understand humbly what the scripture is saying, leads me to the conclusion that God has ordained marriage for the union of male and female, then, at that point, it’s really not up to me any longer. I am not free to redefine according to my wishes what God has already defined according to his wisdom.