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DIG DIRECTOR

Larry Gross
Larry Gross is the director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and is a pioneer in the field of gay and lesbian studies....








 
 

Inventing Sin: Religion and Homosexuality

No matter their own scandals, religious institutions through history have a consistent scapegoat: homosexuals.

(Page 4)

In this ecumenical enterprise, homosexuality’s threat to the “traditional nuclear family” and to heterosexuality itself is constantly emphasized. As the Ramsey Colloquium, a conservative theology group, put it, “heterosexual marriage, despite its divine origins, is a fragile institution in need of careful and continuing support.” And, as Jewish theologian Samuel Dressner worries, acceptance of homosexuality is the first step down a familiar slippery slope: Once “heterosexuality within the marital bond is dismissed, then how can adultery, pedophilia, incest or bestiality be rejected?”

Among mainline Protestant denominations, the United Church of Christ was the first to permit the ordination of open lesbians and gay men, and in July 2005 its rule-making body voted to endorse same-sex marriage. In 1992 the Presbyterian Church initiated a three-year study of homosexuality, which failed to resolve the issue of ordination of gay people. In 1993 a draft statement on homosexuality by a committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America set off what a church official called “the most volatile explosion in the life of this church.” In 1996 conservative Episcopal bishops failed in their attempt to force a heresy trial for a bishop who ordained a non-celibate gay man, and in 2003 the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire rocked the Episcopal Church in the United States and reverberated through the Anglican Church around the world.

In this, as in other arenas, the issue of openly gay clergy widened a split not only between liberal and conservative factions within the American church but between the Old World churches of Europe and the United States and the fervent, rapidly growing churches of the Third World in Latin America and Africa. Reacting to the election of Robinson in the United States, Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who leads the largest church in the 70 million-strong Anglican Communion, set the tone by describing it as “a Satanic attack on God’s church.” In 2004 the leaders of two Southern California Episcopal churches, St. James’ Church in Newport Beach and All Saints’ Church in Long Beach, voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church of the U.S. and put their flocks under the authority of the conservative Diocese of Luwero in Uganda, with the blessing of the bishop of Luwero.

In February 2005 the leaders of the global Anglican communion asked the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to temporarily withdraw from a key council-a move designed to avoid a permanent schism over differences on homosexuality and same-sex unions.

[PBS Newshour report]

The issue of openly gay clergy continues to roil most mainline Protestant denominations. In December 2004, an openly lesbian United Methodist minister was stripped of her ministerial credentials by a church trial court. The Rev. Irene Elizabeth “Beth” Stroud was found guilty Dec. 2 of engaging in “practices that are incompatible with Christian teachings.” Stroud’s case was the third lesbian trial in the United Methodist Church since the denomination adopted a law barring “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from the ministry in 1984. On April 29, 2005, however, the denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals overturned the trial court’s verdict and penalty, citing legal errors, and restored Stroud’s clergy standing. On Oct. 27, 2005, a hearing on the appeal was held by the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, and on Oct. 31, it defrocked the Rev. Stroud for violating the denomination’s ban on “self-avowed, practicing homosexual” clergy.

Beyond the fringe of mainline denominations lies the rapidly growing domain of the Protestant fundamentalists who erupted onto the public stage in the late 1970s, amassing enormous financial and political power through broadcast and cable programming, direct mail and videocassette distribution. Organizations such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America, the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, the Rev. Lou Sheldon’s Traditional Values Coalition, and the Christian Coalition founded by televangelist Pat Robertson have made attacks on lesbian and gay people a major attraction of their crusades and their fundraising.

In August of 2003 Jerry Falwell informed his followers that:

I am dedicating my talents, time and energies over the next few years to the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which will protect the traditional family from its enemies who wish to legalize same-sex marriage and other diverse “family” forms. I have just created a special website (http://www.onemanonewoman.com ), whereby one million American are being recruited to sign a Federal Marriage Amendment Petition which will be forwarded to all 535 members of Congress and to President Bush. My line in the sand has been drawn!

Even farther out, beyond the pale for most Christians, lies the website God Hates Fags, created by the Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps and his followers are best known for picketing the funerals of gay people who have died of AIDS or anti-gay violence, such as Matthew Shepard. As they put it on their website:

WBC engages in daily peaceful sidewalk demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth. We display large, colorful signs containing Bible words and sentiments, including: GOD HATES FAGS, FAGS HATE GOD, AIDS CURES FAGS, THANK GOD FOR AIDS, FAGS BURN IN HELL, GOD IS NOT MOCKED, FAGS ARE NATURE FREAKS, GOD GAVE FAGS UP, NO SPECIAL LAWS FOR FAGS, FAGS DOOM NATIONS, etc.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church gathered to elect a successor to John Paul II. In the shortest conclave in memory they elected as the new pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Whether Pope Benedict XVI will, like Nixon going to China, surprise both his supporters and his detractors remains to be seen. What is unquestionable at the moment of his election, however, in the words of Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson, is that “the church fled to yesteryear, hoping to avoid facing today.”

Dig last updated on Nov. 30, 2005


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By czechmate, April 4, 2010 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

As a physician and scientist I feel compelled to point out that the behavioural/neurophysciatric pathways associating power religion and sexuality are curiously related. It is therefore not surprising to me that variuos humans that chose to put on festive trapings and other ceremonial clown suits, would take a break from talking to their immaginary friends “above”, and feel compelled to comment about sexuallity.
Pox on all your houses.

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By Mary Mallum, August 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Ann. C.S. Lewis deals with the issue of how so-called secular progressives are so apt to destroy religious values, yet they do not examine their own value systems with the same amount of scrutiny.

“In actual fact Gaius and Titius will be found to hold, with complete uncritical dogmatism, the whole system of values which happened to be in vogue among moderately educated young men of the professional classes during the period between the two wars. Their skepticism about values is on the surface: it is for use on other people’s values; about the values current in their own set they are not nearly skeptical enough. And this phenomenon is very usual. A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional or (as they would say) ‘sentimental’ values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process. They claim to be cutting away the parasitic growth of emotion, religious sanction, and inherited taboos, in order that ‘real’ or ‘basic’ values may emerge. I will now try to find out what happens if this is seriously attempted. ” C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

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By Ann Weaver, August 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What fools you all are. Men and women are not made to biologically funtion with the same-sex. THAT IS A BIOLOGICAL THAT SUPPORT THE RELIGIOUS PROHIBITION. Like it or not nature is not politically correct, which is why there are many harmfull and deadly diseases associated with using the rectum for sex. The purpose of the rectum is to excrete waste. Consult any credible doctor, biologist and scientist on that and they will support that statement. Or better yet, look it up. Female homosexuality has it another set of challenges but, like male homosexuality,  is fruitless. Tell me, would you try to eat from your rectum? Would stick food in your ear to give your body nutrients. No, because you would die.

If everyone were exclusively homosexual, society would DIE.  I wonder what is next beastiality? Or pedophila? What are your arguements against those behaviors? If you are against those behaviors and let’s say incest, but pro-homosexual. What moral basis do you have for criticizing those behaviors but not homosexality which is unnatural. For those of you who do not know what is meant by natural, natural [behavior] is defined by how your body is meant to function, and not by your sexual desires.

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By hippy pam, November 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

I read a comment put in by AKGURL…Are your REAL INITIALS S.P.?There is a BIG difference between homosexuals and pedophiles.I’m sure you can find it at a library near you since PALIN WAS NOT ALLOWED TO BURN THE BOOKS.And you might want to be cautious about leaving a small child with an older male relative.The odds of a child being abused by a family member are very high…..MOST NEVER GET REPORTED…BY A PARENT WHO KNOWS WHAT IS HAPPENING AND IS IN DENIAL[oh-no-uncle charlie doesn’t do that any more.He only did it to me]........I Know The Odds and Statistics…I Am One…

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By shadow_man, September 26, 2008 at 2:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems a lot of Christians dont know about their Bible. Scholars who study the Bible in context of other lines and of the times, rather than cherry picking lines and misinterpreting them to spread lies and bigotry, have shown the Bible says nothing about homosexuality. Lines by Leviticus, etc etc all have to do with idolatry, rape, and prostitution, not homosexuality, and this is why its never mentioned by Jesus as well. Learn your Bible, stop twisting God’s words, because if you remember properly, Jesus hated hypocrites. The true evil going to hell are not homosexuals, but the hypocritical Christians (probably about 90% of them).

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By Shade, April 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
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Ha ha! What a great comment!

Never mind that homosexuals reproduce all the time; they just don’t necessarily produce more homosexuals. Jim McGreevy, former governor of NJ, fathered several children. Yet he was gay. In the very, very unlikely event that the entire world would turn “homo,” my guess is that there would still be some who would produce offspring. Gayness, you horse’s ass, is not an “either/or” state of affairs. Homosexuality, like heterosexuality and many other human traits, exists along a continuum. Yes, continuum. Look the word up, asshole.

Also, reality check, you bigoted piece of shit. Homosexuals are ALREADY in your schools, but they’re no more likely to be abusing children than are heterosexuals. There are gay students, teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses - you name it, shithead.

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By AKgurl, April 27, 2008 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Flat out and with putting God into this even though I believe in Christ strongly..here is goes..

  IF EVERYONE WAS HOMOSEXUAL EVEN 100 YEARS AGO, YOU HOMOSEXUALS WOULDN’T EVEN BE COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS TODAY!! WHY YOU MAY ASK, BECAUSE THATS BECAUSE THE WORLD STOP PRODUCING!! (except through test tubes and cloning).

BTW: STAY OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS AND YOUNG CHILDREN!!!!!

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By Almighty Michael, December 27, 2007 at 2:00 am Link to this comment
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silly people. you should all be ashamed of yourselves arguing and talking about God and Jesus. It makes my eyes bleed to see what you fools talk about. Now! Go watch Zeitgeist and your mind will be cleared up and you won’t make my eyes bleed anymore by posting such moronic comments(Nelson)

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By rachel, December 27, 2007 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

It’s people like this that make me lose my faith in humanity:

“Let me guess, your one of those who believes your a monkey.lol. Who’s delusional. Why are there still monkeys around than? Some changed and some didn’t? lol.”

Right, yeah, it’s a LOT more likely that we all came from, you know, dust. And a rib. Goodness, how could we be so silly as to think that primates might, uh, be interrelated? Silly scientists.

“Scientists are contantly argueing these facts and not agreeing with one another. God’s will and laws are always the same. they don’t change. Why don’t you give me some proof that God doesn’t exist?”

No. I’m not going to give you any proof that God doesn’t exist, and stop asking. Sure, fine, have your beliefs, but WHY can’t anyone admit that hey, yeah, maybe things like evolution have some serious holes in them, but there’s one big hole in the stories from the Bible: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF AT ALL. NONE. I’M NOT KIDDING. So maybe you should quit “argueing” with such a weak point.

Dude, nelson, having faith is a good thing and using the Bible as a moral code is a good idea. But your defense against scientific theories with at least SOME basis in fact is, “Yeah, well, you can’t prove that God didn’t create the world.” Good one. You must’ve stayed up ALLLL night on that one.

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By nelson, September 12, 2007 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
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PROVE IT! Prove to me that there is no God! You can’t.
Have you ever heard of the “arguement of motion”?
It proceeds form a simple fact: everything in the world that we experience and know “undergoes change”, proceeding from the potential to the actual. Everything moves or changes. Yet, nothing moves or changes itself. Everything that moves must be moved by something already in motion. But this chain of motion can not regress infinitly. An infinite chain of movers would not suffice to explain the motion. It must have a beginnig that is unmoved. The unmoved prime mover is what we call God.
“The degrees of perfection”. St Thomas observes that we all judge certain things to have a greater or lessor degree of perfection than others. We say something is more or less true, more or less good and so on. Such relative measurements imply an absolute standard of measurement. A tape measure must mark the distance between two end points. Its degrees-whether inches, feet, yards or miles- must be marked relative to some constant and absolute standard. This is true of all qualities. But there must be some perfect standard against which all qualities are measured. That fullness of all perfection we call God. That’s if you want to argue from a scientific point of view which I really don’t care much about. My beliefs are based upon faith. But I have done some reading too Budd! I can go on and on. Let me guess, your one of those who believes your a monkey.lol. Who’s delusional. Why are there still monkeys around than? Some changed and some didn’t? lol. You believe in the Big Bang? Why don’t you throw a rock against a wall and watch it break open. You think its going to break up into fine spherical marbles. Oh it must be the forces in space that made them that way! Not good enough! Why are there all kinds of meteors out there that could posibly be older than the earth and are all unporportioned. Scientists are contantly argueing these facts and not agreeing with one another. God’s will and laws are always the same. they don’t change. Why don’t you give me some proof that God doesn’t exist?

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, September 11, 2007 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

When you base your arguments on a FUNDAMENTAL FLAW, nothing that follows can possibly be taken seriously.

The fundamental flaw?

Believing that there is a God, when there’s not a shred of evidence to support that position, and further, to conduct your life “religiously” according to rules and regulations that other PEOPLE have concocted for their own reasons and benefit, is just plain silly.

Enjoy your days as a slave to fantasy!

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By nelson, September 11, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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In my opinion, I don’t think that they are expoiting anything. I love all people and I see all people as God’s creation. I think they do too. They are just simply stating that “sin” is not acceptable. We tolerate it, but it should not be accepted. We should be teaching people, especially the young, that living a life of sin or remaining in that state of sin is not only disregarding God’s will, but you are denying the gift of salvation that he gives you freely and abundantly. That is what the churches are trying to get across. They know perfectly well that we will always sin from time to time, even the Pope goes to confession at least once a week, but we should know the wrongs that we do and ask for forgiveness and the strength of God to resist these temtations. It’s about know the difference between right and wrong. Ultimately, God holds the final judgement of that, not you or I. Just read the first chapter of Romans if you want to know where the churches base there beliefs on this issue from. After all, they are men of God, what do you expect them to say? If you say one thing is right, than everything is, including incest, bestiality, 1st degree murder (under the right cercumstances) and so on. You would be starting a downward spiral of sin. We should be striving for righteousness. By the way,  I know that many of you are just wanting to throw the whole sex assault issues in the church at me and I only have this to say. The media likes to take a couple of issues and turn them into mega storms. Shur, I know that there have been wrongs committed within the church and there always has been. Even Christ said once; “Have I not chosen you 12 and yet one of you is the devil?”
There has been a very miniscule fraction of priests and Popes that have abused there power or the innocence of women and children among thousands throughout the ages. Are you going to stop going to school because you heard that a teacher sexually abused a child? or a doctor with his patient? And this happens All the time. ALL THE TIME with other professions.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, May 3, 2007 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I did not read the article but it was nice to see the gay convention in the picture above.Dresses jewelry and funny hats.Must have been a party.Oh my I just read the article those guys are straight?

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By John Hanks, April 15, 2007 at 10:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even the worst of “sins” are only weaknesses.  Religion exploits “weaknesses” by blowing them up to the size of sins.

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By M Henri Day, December 18, 2006 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Shade51,

If I repent - really and truly in my heart of hearts - and keep the bacteria in my stomach from moving on that night of nights, do you think I could get that coal out of my stocking ? My carbon footprint is sufficiently large as it is….

Henri

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By CarryingOn, December 16, 2006 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment
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“Do I believe a flood covered the earth?  Well, it says it happened in the Bible, and the earth definitely shows signs of a mass flood even now.  So yeah, I guess I do.  Do I believe Jonah could have built a boat to survive the flood with all the animals?  Well, it took him and his sons about 60 years or something, and they were bigger, had more oxygen, and they had the time.  They took all baby animals most likely, and God helped with that.”

Uh… Kevin?  In my Bibles Noah and his sons built the ark.  Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish.

And wasn’t it you ranting on another site about Sodom spilling his seed?  Last time I checked Sodom was a city.  Onan spilled his seed. 

I hope you can understand my reluctance to grant any moral authority, based on your knowledge of the Bible.

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By Joe, December 10, 2006 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In my interpretation of Christ’s teachings, I find the intolerance of any lifestyle that does no harm to any person or their neihbors to be a direct assailing of Christ’s teachings. Christ and paul insisted that the most important laws of all are to love thy neihbor and love thy God. If you read the passages used to condemn Homosexuals in their original context, they are very ambiguous and they don’t directly condemn homosexual oriented people. They condemn particular acts and many scholars believe that they refer to pagan rituals of the time. These interpretations may be wrong. But so too may be the church’s interpretations. If you claim that your interpretation of scripture is infallible, especially on an ambiguous passage, to me that is claiming that you are God which is a serious sin. The churches interpretations of scripture have been wrong in the past. They used to to justify slavery, the restriction of women, racism ect. and other persecutions, I find this to be no different. If you claim to be a true christian, I believe you should not concern yourself in deciding what is sinful and what is not “Judge not lest ye be Judged” according to christ your sole purpose on this church is to love thy neihbor as thyself and do everything in your power to help them in this world. I hardly consider thousands of gay teens killing themselves because of something they cannot control to be the will of God. It has been proven by psychological studies that gay people are deeply harmed by such condemnations by society. You must consider the consequences if your interpretation of scripture is wrong. It means you will be judged for the suffering that your neibhors endure. If you are wrong you will be judged because you chose to judge people rather than to accept them for who they are. Christ spoke out against hypocrisy. Not to mention most of the passages used to condemn homosexuality are from the old testament. There are many rules of the old law no one follows. Unless you are God, you have no right to pick and choose which passages in scripture to uphold and which to ignore. I find this to be pure and unmittigated bigotry and intolerance. You may claim that helping them repent from their sins. “Judge not lest ye be judged”. I don’t see how it is for you to decide what is sinful. The most emphatic message of christ was to love people above all else. Practice what you preach.

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By Ken Schreier, November 16, 2006 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, again all this talk about religion & sin!
Religion is an invention of man and not THE ALMIGHTY !
There is but ONE SUPREME BEING and many religions ! 
Sin comes from man and not God !
Man has free will to chose between good & evil !
The 10 commandments, written down by Moses with the inspiration of God is the instruction manual to achieve good !
Men run religions and do evil, God runs the world through the righteous to bring peace and love to his children !
Don’t blame God for evil, it is man who does that !
The Almighty never required that there be a religion or religious people , only righteous people following the commandments of peace between all humans !
Men who use religion to get power and respect will always be sinners, whether religious or not, only the righteous of the world who follow the will of God will be able to bring peace & love into the world ! 
So whether, Christian, Islamic, Jewish or any other religion, if there are men there will be sin ! We all sin, but repenting our sins and doing good is what righteousness is all about !
God bless you all !

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By Shade51, October 11, 2006 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

C. Bentley,

Hi! Tell you what - if you quote from something other than the bible to attempt to show the validity and/or truthfulness of the bible, I may be more inclined to pay attention. Otherwise, I tell you this: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” was divinely inspired, I most fervently believe. Don’t offend my beliefs by telling me otherwise. And lo, the sacred scripture states: “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Literally, that means that NO living thing was stirring before our most precious lord and savior Santa made his appearance. Now, some have questions such as - Well, what is meant exactly by “creature?” Do bugs count as creatures? Well, to that, I say, it is perfectly clear to me that Santa also included insects and protozoans among the definition of “creatures,” but not plants. Of course, there are those who disagree, but they are WRONG and will be receiving COAL in their Christmas stockings unto all eternity, verily I sayeth unto you!

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By Scott Lamont, October 10, 2006 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The sad thing is that not all religions promote this kind of hatred. Indeed, some value queer folk of all kinds and in all roles, but those religions tend to be small in number and stature. Unfortunately, the Abrahamic faiths have influence, if not outright control over a huge proportion of the Earth’s population.

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By ERNEST KIGHT, August 26, 2006 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I FIND IT EXTREMELY HYPOCRITICAL (OR AT LEAST, IGNORANT) THAT ANYBODY COULD ABHOR GAYS AND JUST SIMPLY OVERLOOK THE PEDOPHILE! I’D BE HORRIFIED IF I FOUND MY CHILD WAS BEING ‘OVERSEEN’(WHILE PERFORMING AS AN ALTAR BOY/GIRL) BY A PEDOPHILE! DOES NOBODY KNOW THE DISTINCT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO! NO - THEY JUST ‘RELOCATE’ THEM TO ANOTHER PARISH, THEN BEAT THE DRUMS OF HYPOCRICY! IGNORANCE IS DESTROYING THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY - NOT TO MENTION - OUR CHILDREN!

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By Paul Murray, April 25, 2006 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment
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And yet, the ranks of the religion professionals have allways been full of homosexuals. Who do you think designed all those fabulous robes and gorgeous interiors?

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By C. Bentley, March 13, 2006 at 12:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Shades51 #2948:

RE: Your bible is meaningless to me - and yes, I have read more of it over many years than most “typical” christians probably. God is all powerful but apparently was unable to state his “holy word” clearly, explicitly, and with no need of interpretation?

1 Cor. 2:14

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

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By R. A. Earl, March 11, 2006 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, tharpa, your questions are good ones. I only wish I had a few more lifetimes so I could become more knowledgable and perhaps wise to the lessons available from human history.

If what I’ve read and heard re Islam and Muslims amounts to “propaganda” then yes, I’ve fallen prey to it.

I understand that Islam teaches followers that they are NOT to be the first aggressor… that it’s OK to do whatever must be done to eliminate the infidel but only AFTER the infidel has made some “move” on the believer. Would part of the reason for Muslim non-aggression towards other countries lie in this instruction? I’m only asking… for sure, I don’t know.

It’s my view that religious people (at least the ones with whom I’m familiar) harbor a “situational ethic.” Believers have been at the game for centuries… millennia… and have worked out “answers” to virtually any challenge to their dogma.

Even a “commandment” as clearly and plainly fundamental as “Thou Shalt Not Kill” has been “modified” by “regulation” in so many ways as to give any “killer” practically a green light. There are exceptions piled onto conditions overlaid with notwithstandings to such an extent that to break any “rule” one just has to find or manufacture the appropriate justification. We do it as individuals and as nations.

It may be that I really should be praising Islam for being HONEST about its intentions… not to rest, or leave a soul alive, until everyone becomes a follower and believer. You’d never get that straighforward an approach in Christianity, especially Catholicism. With Christians it’s much more subtle… Oh no, you don’t have to become Christian… you just have to ACT as if you are and follow Christian “values” as defined by Christians from time to time.

Catholics that I know clearly demonstrate that, in spite of having volumes-full of sins to transgress, they don’t live in fear of committing any of them… they just go ahead and commit any misdeed they have in mind, and then head for the confessional and say a few “Hail Mary’s” to wipe the slate clean. What a joke!

Human sexuality is far too complex a variable to be brought under the effective control of any religion… unless, of course, the poor, brainwashed follower chooses to be, or needs to be controlled. There’s little or no hope for those individuals anyway so I don’t really waste my energy dealing with them. Not my job to fix the world! But if it was, the first thing I’d do is get rid of the major polluters… religions.

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By tharpa, March 6, 2006 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

R.A. Earl,

nice post! I agree there is no point beating a dead horse on this stuff but cannot resist this little jab in reply:

if you really think it’s true what you say about most Muslims believing in the black vs white, fundamentally aggressive world you depict, then please explain (you don’t have to reply of course) how it is that a Muslim diaspora of over a billion has not invaded any non-Muslim countries this century?

Now, if I had to answer that question, I would reply: because they are too broke and disorganised to mount military operations against superior, wealthier countries, i.e. they haven’t caught up after the industrial revolution yet.

That begs the question: assuming they were as rich and powerful, would they all go on the warpath? And if so, is that because of Islam, or is that something to do with why many other small nations or regions which have grown powerful have then attempted expansionist Empire-building, nearly always relying on military conquest as the main tool? One thinks of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon, Germany, the Moghuls, the Mongols etc. In other words, there are so many non-Muslim examples of this that I think anyone would have a very hard time making a case the Islam is exceptional as a religion in encouraging violence.

In short: I think you have fallen prey to propoganda.

I still liked your post though, and do not in any way wish to sound insulting or derogatory. That sort of interchange is not cup of tea in any case. Life is too short.

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By Thomas Fieselmann, February 22, 2006 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

During the early history of the church, homosexuals for fear of persecution, went into the clergy as this was a method of legitimizing their preference to not marry, to obscure the fact that they were gay, to gain a measure of respect within their community, to obtain some measure of power.
(Pardon for any misspellings…not my strong point.)
At least, this is the theory of a friend of mine in Spain, who having attended catholic schools in the early 80’s, had many times witnessed the hidden touching and caresses of the students, the intention of a intimate whisper between priest and student, the implied favor if something was done to please the instructors.

Regarding the article, The churches will certainly NOT condone the political activities of homosexuals because this would destroy the legitimacy of the church in society itself - doing what needs to be done to maintain the structure of the institution even if it involves denying that which provided, and provides, the sustainance of the institution.  (Pardon for any misspellings…)

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By R. A. Earl, February 20, 2006 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tharpa, I both agree and disagree with your comments…

You wrote

“But I think the way you characterized ‘Muslims’ in general was far more over-simplifying.”

I understand that Muslims who are true “believers” are taught that the greatest thing they can do to honor Allah is to “jihad” - participate in an ongoing war against ALL who are not believers. This religion teaches that it’s a far more grievous crime to not believe in Allah or to denigrate the name of Allah or Mohammed, the Prophet, than it is to KILL. And so on. This is just for starters. It’s black and white with Muslims. “Either you’re with us, or you are our ENEMY” and slitting the throat/beheading of an ENEMY is a “good thing.” Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow.

I see NO WAY for co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Muslim philosophy of life and belief system is completely INCOMPATIBLE with both the secular and religious views of the “west.” (Yes, even the bizarre absurdities held by the Christians and others… at least Christ was fundamentally a pacifist.)

The entire issue of homosexuality is almost irrelevant in the face of such profoundly evil and dangerous attitudes as are preached and practised by true “believing” Muslims. Mohammed or Muhammed was first and foremost an aggressive, hate-mongering WARRIOR… he led armies into battles… he beheaded and otherwise murdered with his own hands, and ordered millions of his followers to do the same.

I don’t care what religion a person follows or doesn’t follow just so long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s right to enjoy the life he or she wishes… including homosexuals.

As soon as any religious belief even URGES you to, in any way, threaten, harm or interfere with anyone else, you become a potential CRIMINAL in my view and should be treated as such the moment you act upon such idiotic teachings.

You also wrote:

“I do think that as well as respecting homosexuals we have to respect those who deplore their behaviour and feel that it influences situations beyond the bedroom alone, i.e. society at large, i.e. their own family life.”

Of course having homosexuals running free in society “influences…society at large.” So does each and every “variation” that appears in any heterogeneous group. Those who want a HOMOgeneous society… one where everyone thinks as they do, and does what they’re expected to do… should perhaps consider buying some bankrupt country, building a huge fence around it’s borders, and setting up their fascist police state any way they want it. It won’t work of course, but you’ll never tell a fundamentalist ANYTHING!

People, ignorant and fearful, are the problem. And since the world is FULL of such organisms, the problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

Your final point that “social groups need to be smaller” about heads my list of badly needed changes on this planet. But, as in the preceding paragraph, in this world where big is better, and all the financial strings are being held by “Global Corporation International” “smaller” just isn’t on the radar. Our BIOLOGY and PSYCHOLOGY attunes us to SMALL GROUP LIVING… look at aboriginal indigenous groupings.

Corporate and personal greed has gotten far out of control… what used to be “a chicken in every pot” is now an SUV (or two or three) in every driveway, along with all the other toys, bells and whistles Madison Avenue can convince the masses they need.

I’d better stop now… this could go on for pages. There’s no point. And, pardon my pessimism, there’s no hope for us that I can see. I’m convinced humans will not make any of the sacrifices necessary to “mend their ways” until FORCED to do so… and then it will be far too late.

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By tharpa, February 16, 2006 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
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R. A. Earl :

Now: imagine you’re a Muslim living in Iraq; or a Palestinian refugee, living over ten years now in settlements in Palestine. Or you have had a father killed in a drive-by bombing; or a sister; or a younger brother was picked up and had his testacles man-handled by grinning US GI-Janes. Or your cousin’s entire family was wiped out at a wedding celebration. Etc. etc. Etc. Now, read the following paragraphs which you wrote, imagining that one of the above people is saying it about America and Americans:

” I’m a non-violent person, but this behavior infuriates me to the point where I’m not sure I wouldn’t take up arms. I don’t want to IMPOSE my way of life/thinking on them, BUT I WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO IMPOSE THEIRS ON ME, and I guess, I support whatever it takes to prevent such having such fascism in my society.

Radical Western Imperialists need to learn that in a civilized society one either uses PEACEFUL means to bring about wanted changes, or you just won’t be allowed to participate in that society at all. It’s an awful irony that FORCE must be used to bring about PEACE. There’s something about this connundrum that really bothers me.”

Note that all I did was change one word ‘Muslim’ to ‘Western Imperialist’.

Now I’m not saying the whole thing is that simple. But I think the way you characterized ‘Muslims’ in general was far more over-simplifying.

People get angry and outraged for a reasons, both good and bad ones. And this relates back to the ‘inventing sin’ theme, or imposing your view on others that is our topic here. Just like you feel, despite being non-violent, that perhaps you might have to fight ‘them’ who are threatening your way of life, so some people feel that licensing homosexuality in society is essentialy a way of throwing our entire way of life to the dogs. That such behaviour is essentially evil, that it undermines any dignity, decency, honour. For some, this is as important as ‘freedom’.

This is not my point of view, exactly; but I do think that as well as respecting homosexuals we have to respect those who deplore their behaviour and feel that it influences situations beyond the bedroom alone, i.e. society at large, i.e. their own family life. It ain’t easy, this whole business, which is why it has been argued about for centuries!!

My personal feeling, fwliw, is that social groups need to be smaller, i.e. local communities should have far more say (including percent of tax receipts) in how they structure themselves, i.e. liberal, conservative, tight, loose etc.. But we live in the age of huge nation states with federal regulations and governments, not to mention the fact that we live in non-localised cultures, with automobiles, trains, telephones, internet etc. Makes things a bit hard to sort out…

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By R. A. Earl, February 15, 2006 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
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In #3745, tharpa, asks, and then answers:

“I don’t get the problem. Unless it is that people just can’t let go of the sense that the RC or any other Xtian organisation somehow speaks for how reality is and therefore how we should or should not live.”

You’ve hit the nail on the head, tharpa, or at least you’ve landed a glancing blow.

The problem is as you’ve identified… there are many who think it’s quite OK for the “majority” to impose their values, rules and regulations on any and all minorities. They think that’s what “democracy” is all about… tyranny of the majority. Any member of a minority (and I think that all the minorities taken together constitute the majority of the population) objects to this but since they’re all divided up into separate groups, they’ve been “divided and conquered” by the larger minority (Christians).

One other thing… only 5-10% are gay or lesbian so the discrimination only directly affects them… not the 90-95% who are “straight.” When it’s not YOUR ox that’s being gored, it’s hard to generate much passion or enthusiasm to change things. I’m surprised there’s as much support for gay and lesbian issues in our society as there is.

This means to me that there are many “straight” people who DO understand that gays and lesbians have every bit as much right to the enjoyment of life as they do… only in a different way. Equal but different.

This gives me hope.

But then, there’s this Muslim thing… and I again despair… here we have MILLIONS who think theirs is the only correct way to believe and live, and are willing to KILL and DESTROY to have it their way.

I’m a non-violent person, but this behavior infuriates me to the point where I’m not sure I wouldn’t take up arms against them. I don’t want to IMPOSE my way of life/thinking on them, BUT I WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO IMPOSE THEIRS ON ME, and I guess, I support whatever it takes to prevent such having such fascism in my society.

Radical Muslims need to learn that in a civilized society one either uses PEACEFUL means to bring about wanted changes, or you just won’t be allowed to participate in that society at all. It’s an awful irony that FORCE must be used to bring about PEACE. There’s something about this connundrum that really bothers me.

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By tharpa, February 14, 2006 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
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seems to me that the problem stems from the Abrahamic insistance that ‘our god is the one and only’, and therefore that all others are false. And people believe this to be true, seemingly. Otherwise why the fuss?

If the RC says that homosexuality is sinful, what’s the problem? If, in a democracy, RC congregation members want this sort of thing to be included in the legal framework of their society. Nothing wrong with that, just like, for example, setting up laws that forbid killing and stealing.

And if the RC says it will not honour a homosexual marriage, what’s the problem?

The problem is only if the RC (or any other church, denomination, organisation etc.) has the power to change or create laws that favour its agendas at the expense of others. In other words, the RC (as our example) should ideally not be able to make homosexuality itself illegal or have any say as to what the legal, civic definition of marriage is in terms of secular tax laws, hospital visitation rights etc. In fact, what right has the US govt as constituted to determine such things anyway? What has marriage got to do with citizenship? Why can’t gay partners see whomever they want in a hospital? In the current legal-societal setup in the US, most of these things shouldn’t even be issues anyway.

For example, if you want to set up a gay-only church, you can. If a lesbian only church you can.  A woman-only, man-only etc. club or church etc. you can. The RC can say: we won’t marry gays and we disapprove of gays. Whether you agree or disagree with their position, (for example that casual sex is essentially immoral), so what? Aren’t they entitled to their beliefs? Aren’t they also entitled to having prejudices, just like most people feel that murderers cannot be treated as ordinary law-abiding, trustworthy citizens. Or would you trust someone who always steals to work for you? Or someone who always lies to live with? So why not accept that for some people sexual mores are no less important. It’s not that outrageous a notion, since as most adults know, a huge amount of emotional damage happens around relationships, both to the partners involved, and/or related individuals (the wife whose husband is cheating on her, or the children whose family life is shattered by divorce etc. etc. ).

I don’t get the problem. Unless it is that people just can’t let go of the sense that the RC or any other Xtian organisation somehow speaks for how reality is and therefore how we should or should not live.

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By R. A. Earl, February 8, 2006 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
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In the piece by Larry Gross, he refers to Paul’s alleged statements as printed in Romans 1 (KJV) and summarizes the jist of them as…

“Ultimately, the Catholic Church adopted the influential formulation of St. Augustine, taking as the core Christian belief a definition of sexuality as inherently sinful, and exculpated only by the sacrament of marriage and the need to procreate. All forms of sexual intercourse outside of marriage and the possibility of conception were sinful.”

This example clearly indicates that it is MAN not “God” or Jesus or any other mystical/mythical entity that has, bit by bit down through the ages, formed and formulated CHRISTIANITY.

This crap is fed to youngsters as GOD’S WORD before they have developed any ability to defend themselves. It is crystal clear to me that it’s ONLY intention is to CONTROL by psychological terrorism.

What kind of anal-retentive mental misfits come up with such classically idiotic remarks as “sexuality is inherently sinful” or “all forms of sexual intercourse outside of marriage and the possibility of conception were sinful?”

Better question yet… what kind of mini-minds actually BELIEVE this codswallop today?

It’s hilarious to think millions actually believe that women, over the age of 50, should never have sexual intercourse because after menopause they can’t conceive? Have you ever heard such nonsense?

Apologies in advance if you are one of those who actually believe this stuff. You have my sympathies. A mind is an awful thing to waste.

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By Kevin, February 4, 2006 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
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Reply to Shade51  
——-I deny all of these books as guides to moral living or salvation. If I truly followed the precepts laid out in them, I’d be on death row.———
  The precepts in the Bible are there so you will NOT follow them. As I said before, much of the rules do not apply to us today.  (This is most of the Old Testament).  So, yes, you would be on death row.  We use lethal injection and stuff like that now, instead of stoning and crucifixion and the like.  Punishment hasn’t changed, and the rules haven’t changed much either.
——  God is all powerful but apparently was unable to state his “holy word” clearly, explicitly, and with no need of interpretation?——There should be NO need for debates about stuff like this if these holy books made sense to begin with.——
  This is why I assumed you did not understand the Bible.  I don’t think I was incorrect with this assumption based upon what you have said.

Reply to R.A. Earl:
  For R.A. Earl- You might as well just stop leaving your input.  It is wrong.  Maybe the Catholic church wanted just money and control, but that’s human mistake and not supposed to be equated with just religion.  Real Christianity does not call for a person to do anything to get to Heaven.  This is what makes it different than all the other ones (including old Catholicism).  They are not Christians because they do not follow Christ.  And since we are human, we can’t say we follow Him all the time.

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By Shade51, February 4, 2006 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
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To “Kevin” -

What makes you assume that I can’t understand what I read, that I would need someone’s “help” - or that I even SHOULD need help to understand what you would consider such obvious holy truth?

The bible is pretty clear about a lot of things - stoning people to death for working on the sabbath, to cite just one of many examples. So, is that to be read figuratively - killing is just supposed to mean “ostracize?” Not if the bible is to be believed literally.

I do agree with you that more people should really delve into the bible - not just the “greatest hits” - but all of it, including accounts of the atrocities not only sanctioned, but encouraged by god. The more people really read the bible - and if they are able to do so “objectively” as you suggest, the more they would realize it for what it is - an ancient book of myths mixed with some history, no more inpired than the myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

So, I’ll repeat what I said: I’m still here. If God wants to reveal the truth, he’s omnipotent and can do it in a heartbeat, in an infinite number of ways. Don’t tell me that he wrote or “inpired” a book that supposedly laid out his commands and precepts thousands of years ago and everyone should just accept that. If that’s the case, then everyone should also accept the Koran as well, since God supposedly laid out his precepts and commands through Mohammed some 1400 years ago. And while we’re at it - the Book of Mormon as well. At least God is supposed to have “inpired” that book relatively recently. Why should I or anyone else look to the bible for “truth?”

I deny all of these books as guides to moral living or salvation. If I truly followed the precepts laid out in them, I’d be on death row.

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By Kevin, February 4, 2006 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
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Reply to Shade51, #79:   
    Just because the book doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean that the book doesn’t make sense.  You shouldn’t just look at the Bible yourself.  Get people to help you read it.  Some concepts may be hard to understand.  There should be no debate about the book if people read it properly and took things as they were written.  Before something profound is stated about the Bible, research should be done thoroughly.  You don’t need me or God to interpret for you if you read objectively, draw logical conclusion, look at the overall historical context, and keep your ideas out of it.  I feel the Bible was pretty clear about homosexuality.  I also feel the 1st amendment is clear, but that has been interpreted improperly (somehow).  God has shown Himself explicitly. 

——-Know what? If god has something to teach me, something to say to me, then here I am.———
  God did tell you something.  Just because He does not show up to you in a dream or something does not mean He did not tell you something.  Maybe He can use other people.  Don’t be upset if you interpret something wrong (unless you had your own agenda).  At least you read the Bible.  Now just practice studying harder.  It’s a deep book, and something everyone should get into.

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By R. A. Earl, February 3, 2006 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment
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Applause and hoorah for Shade51 in #79.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with my brain. I read the Bible as instructed but the dang thing made less sense than a computer software manual translated from Japanese!

That got me to wondering what kind of “God,” if the intention was to COMMUNICATE with His/Her/It’s “creations,” would not only “authorize” but “inspire” such an incomprehensible and ill-edited anthology?

It took many years for the light to come on, but when it did, I understood that the entire purpose of the Bible project was to play games with people’s heads… to generate FEAR and then take CONTROL. What a neat pschological mindf**k! First we’ll convince you that you’re a sick sinner, and then, for a fee, we’ll give you just enough imaginary “medicine” to keep you functioning until next Sunday when another “donation” will be required. Holy Crap what a business!

Even better, how about we create another similar but different “instruction manual” and call it the Koran or Qu’ran or whatever. And we’ll instruct those who get this one stuffed into their heads that those who believe in the “other” one called “The Bible” are INFIDELS and should all be killed.

And then sit back and watch the dust up.

Boy, has it worked!

I wish I had talent to draw a cartoon! I’d have a depiction of Christ in drag (not much of a stretch, I admit) inviting Mohammed, with his dark flashing eyes and swashbuckling ways, to “come up and see me sometime” on the Mount!

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By robert davies, February 3, 2006 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
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Ok, Earl:I did read all the comments before I wrote my note, certainly in hopes of learning something.I will, however, write no more comments on this essay.
I did learn a few things, but I also re-learned that there is no point in arguing with someone who isn’t thinking (not you)... I can’t agree more with you re the US not owning the internet or world; some of us depend on the rest of the world to somehow save us in the US from our dawning fascist state.Yes, maybe that’s the problem. Only in the last few years have I understood the helplessness felt by many anti-Nazi Germans… I did also learn what the conventions of comments on the internet are.

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By Shade51, February 3, 2006 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment
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“Kevin” states:
“The Bible clearly states that Sodom and Gommorah were sexually perverse and that was their downfall.  The God of the Jews and Christians is not a homosexual.”

Know what? If god has something to teach me, something to say to me, then here I am. Let him tell me directly rather than leaving things so that I need “professionals” and people like you to interpret ancient “scripture” for me. Your bible is meaningless to me - and yes, I have read more of it over many years than most “typical” christians probably. God is all powerful but apparently was unable to state his “holy word” clearly, explicitly, and with no need of interpretation? Let god avoid all the middlemen and their pontificating and let him set the record straight directly to his people. Let him appear on all the TV channels some evening in prime time like a State of the Union address. Let him say to everyone, in every language, clearly, with no room for doubt - I am the lord your god, and I love fags, but hate faggotry. Debate over. There should be NO need for debates about stuff like this if these holy books made sense to begin with.

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By R. A. Earl, February 2, 2006 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
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To robert davies #77

A few things…

Forums are group conversations. Are you suggesting that each has only ONE or two opportunities to participate? Why? Are you in a rush to get somewhere? You don’t have to stick around and read what we write, you know.

Such idiocy. I agree… sometimes what’s posted is really “out there” perhaps even some of my own.

And about “gradeschool spats and spits”... what do you expect? It is obvious that poorly educated people FAR OUTNUMBER well educated ones not only in the USA but likely in most other countries as well. But even amongst all this “chaff” there are kernels of wheat. If you weren’t in such a rush you might find them and even appreciate and learn from them.

One last thing that I think needs mentioning from time to time (although it has nothing to do with this response to robert davies)...

DEAR USA FRIENDS… The internet is not a private “club” by & for Americans. Please keep in mind that you do not OWN or CONTROL or HAVE EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO… THE INTERNET. The WORLD is watching every word you write. Around the world people have views and opinions that are every bit as wise or stupid as yours. The WORLD has every bit as much right to participate fully in all public forums as you do.

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By robert davies, February 1, 2006 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
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I think multiple comments should be out of order: it nearly makes this reader go out of his mind. Such idiocy over and over. Maybe one additional comment in reply to another’s comment would be okay. But as is, the whole thing seems like grade schoolspats/spits.

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By R. A. Earl, January 30, 2006 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment
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Re ywhgwb’s #74 parting shot…

“And anyhow, the god of the Jews and Christians was a homosexual.”

Are you trying to start a WAR? Today’s Christians wouldn’t accept that premise if we had video of Him and the 12 Disciples engaged in an orgy in a Roman bathouse!

But it does seem a little odd that with one or two exceptions, all his time was reportedly spent with his male friends. Of course, we apparently know nothing of Jesus’ dalliances, sexual or otherwise, from age of puberty until 30 when He hit the big time lecture circuit. That’s a long time to spend in any closet.

True believers I’m sure just don’t want to deal with this aspect of their Saviour’s behavior… there’s no “evidence” so each is free to ASSUME whatever turns him/her on.

But it sure would be fun to watch Christianity go berzerk if irrefutable evidence ever does surface to determine this issue conclusively. But then, any such evidence, if it even hinted that Jesus was homosexual, would be so deeply buried by “the Church” it would be at risk of being ejaculated from the molten core of the earth in one of Vesuvius’ eruptions!

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By Kevin, January 30, 2006 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
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Reply to #74:  That site is a joke.  I read one article “The abominable sodomosexual” and it made no sense at all.  Reading the verses it cites totally contradicts what it is trying to say.  The Bible clearly states that Sodom and Gommorah were sexually perverse and that was their downfall.  The God of the Jews and Christians is not a homosexual.  He cannot be what He detests.  He would have been punished for this instead of being King of the Jews.  There is no possible way He could have been homosexual.
  ———- So what if gays and lesbians don’t want to be plumbers.——-  Then they choose to sin.  That’s your simple answer to such a simple question. 
  If you are going to read articles from sites like http://www.godisajoke.com, then you need to read the Bible references for yourself and see if what the article says matches what the Bible says.  I can tell you right now by looking at just one article, that the rest probably are false as well.

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By ywhgwb, January 29, 2006 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment
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Larry Gross writes about the Church and homosexuality, a tired subject for how relentless the Reich is in defaming decent human beings who are not meant to be plumbers. Plumbers fit the male thread to the female thread. So what if gays and lesbians don’t want to be plumbers. Not all people have to be plumbers. Some can be carpenters cutting different paths. Jesus was a carpenter.

And anyhow, the god of the Jews and Christians was a homosexual.

See more at http://www.godisajoke.com

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By Kevin, January 26, 2006 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
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Reply to #72:——-My apologies. I mistook you for a correspondent who wanted to learn something.——-

  You were mistaken.  You want to teach me mr. Earl?  When you make sense, maybe I’ll listen.  When you actually make some logical arguments instead of crazy, hurtful attacks of opinions, maybe I’ll listen.  I don’t think it was an absolute waste of time.  Apparently the conversation is over.  I hope you learned something.  I think I’ve been the one to point out the “fundamental ignorance” in you.  Key, basic concepts have eluded people’s minds, and these things need to be corrected.  All of you followers need to start thinking for yourselves.  How bigoted of you to call me bigoted.  wink  Apology accepted.

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By R. A. Earl, January 25, 2006 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment
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To Kevin in #70:

My apologies. I mistook you for a correspondent who wanted to learn something.

We all realize now that all you really wanted was an opportunity to broadcast your blind Christian prejudices and profound bigotry.

Well, you’ve done it. And those two obvious character flaws are only outclassed by your unbelievable fundamental ignorance about almost everything.

As Shakespeare wrote in “The Winter’s Tale” (2.1.173-4)... “Either thou are most ignorant by age, or thou wert born a fool.”

I also apologize to all others for wasting time and space in this “dig” by engaging Kevin on this topic. I should have known better.

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By R. A. Earl, January 25, 2006 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment
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Re #66 - Adamchik

Let me see if I understand you. G-d created the world and everything in and on it and then, in writing, set up “very complicated rules for understanding what is to be understood literally in the bible, and what is not.”

Further, He added to the obfuscation the requirement that “The amount of critical thinking and reasoning involved in understanding Talmudic discussions goes far beyond nearly any modern science or Ivy League education (this you can believe). The Masechta of Eruvin is more difficult material than FASB statements, the US Code, or Stephen Hawkin.”

So, loosely interpreted, unless you have the IQ of an Einstein, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever understand what G-d wants.

And this MAKES SENSE TO YOU?

With all due respect, sir, I don’t care how far back into history the Jews or any other race or group can reach for “instructions” from G-d. Just because something is OLD is proof to me that it is nothing more than it’s OLD. Why do you accept that a “scripture” scratched on a 2,000 or 3,000 year old scroll is any more “truth from G-d” than what is published by today’s scribes? Do you really believe that all these ancient scribes were super intelligent messengers from G-d and that, as part of the game, G-d buried His message in the sands to be stumbled over by modern day Indiana Joneses? (By the way… when was the last time “we” received an authenticated “message from G-d” in written form?

If you actually believe this stuff, or anything close to it, you and I couldn’t peacefully coexist in the same conversation for more than a few minutes. I think it’s nothing more than ancient storytelling that some today, with only the fewest fragments in hand, forge ahead to construct “the whole truth.” I have a very low tolerance for glib opinion and unsupported assumptions when they’re being pawned off as Godspeak! Opinion and assumption doesn’t gain authenticity and value with TIME.

I consider it NONSENSICAL to accept that a G-d exists who is hoping for the adoration and worship of the billions of uneducated, low IQ people with which He’s obviously populated this planet. Who or what in It’s right mind would have created those expectations ESPECIALLY when He/She/It determined that there be an “unbroken tradition ... not for the gullible, unthinking or stupid.  It is spectacularly subtle…”?

Sorry… my philosophy of life is based on the KISS principle. But then, heh, heh, I’m not G-d.

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By Kevin, January 25, 2006 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment
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Reply to Earl #67:
    The homosexuals most certainly have a movement.  God DID NOT make homosexuals.  Another ignorant statement.  Homosexuality is a result of environment, family life, and other issues.  It’s a choice and part of growth.  They may feel like it is overwhelming, but it can be overcome.  Look at the homes that homosexuals come from.  Usually single parent homes.  If I’m not opposed to something, then I must be SUPPORTING it.  Live in ignorance?  You are telling me that homosexuality is healthy and natural?  Come back to reality.
    Many people are misinterpreting the Bible because they don’t study it.  It speaks on judging others, but not against it.  If someone is doing something wrong, you are to tell them unless you have a “beam in your own eye.”  Basically, I can’t be hypocrytically.  I’m not perfect, but I try. 
  1st Corinthians 6:3 “Do you not know that we will judge angels?  How much more matters of this life?”
  Luke 12:57 ” And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?”
  Jesus speaks of marriage between a man and a woman.  He also quotes from the Old Testament which contains information against homosexuality. 
  The homosexual movement insults the American family and many people’s beliefs on marriage and relationships.  There are a small number of homosexuals, and yet they are known around the nation.  This is most definitely a dangerous movement.  They will ruin families and social structure.  They are speaking out and creating notions that Christians are against them.  We are against what they practice, not them as people.

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By Kevin, January 25, 2006 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
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Reply to #68:
 
    Hey bud, where do whales live?  Oh yeah, the WATER!  I bet Jonah would have to take them on his boat.  They can’t breathe under water or anything.  Oh my goodness.  Can we please get intelligent responses instead of crazy attacks, please?

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By Aberrant Templar, January 25, 2006 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment
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#63. Comment by Kevin on 1/20 at 6:01 pm

“Do I believe Jonah could have built a boat to survive the flood with all the animals?  Well, it took him and his sons about 60 years or something, and they were bigger, had more oxygen, and they had the time.  They took all baby animals most likely, and God helped with that.”


I actually laughed out loud while reading this paragraph. It’s funny on so many levels.
I can’t help but wonder, how did Jonah fit two whales on his Ark?

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By R. A. Earl, January 25, 2006 at 9:37 am Link to this comment
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Re Kevin’s rant in #65…

ALL NONSENSE.

I’d be hard pressed to find such a monumental collection of codswallop in any other posting on the internet.

It’s fascinating to watch the fundamentalist mentality move as fast as the speed of light to disaster-mongering (sex with 8 year olds, sex with animals) when it runs into the brick wall that is reality but which doesn’t agree with their poured-in-concrete, black-and-white prejudices.

I especially delight in this diatribe that Kevin posted above…

“If you want me to support an unnatural, unhealthy (in many ways) sexual partnership, you’re wrong.  The homosexual movement interferes in with my beliefs.”

Kevin, as usual, misses the point entirely. The main one being… HOMOSEXUALS, OR ANY OTHER LIVING SPECIES ON THE PLANET DON’T NEED YOUR PERMISSION OR SUPPORT TO LIVE LIFE IN FREEDOM FROM YOUR “BELIEFS.”

There is NO “homosexual movement” any more than there is a “black movement.” How dare you point your arrogant, hypocritical nose in the air and characterize, in such a degrogatory tone, the complaints of documented discrimination and abuse by an individual or group as a “movement” as if those you are discriminating against don’t have the right to complain!

It’s YOUR “beliefs” that are the problem… they’re STOMPING ALL OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO LIVE IN FREEDOM ...FROM… YOUR BELIEFS. If you want to believe that a loving, homosexual relationship is one that is “unnatural” and “unhealthy” then fine… believe it and live in ignorance. Acutally, it’s not even that your wacko “beliefs” that are the problem… it’s that you can’t just believe what you want to believe without trying to IMPOSE them on others.

Since your “God” made everything, He made homosexuals. Who the hell are you to play judge and jury as to why? I understand you believers are INSTRUCTED IN THE BIBLE… “Do not judge lest ye be judged” or something like that. Can’t you even follow your own rule book?

And please quote me from your Bible, where JESUS said even ONE WORD against homosexual relationships?

I can hardly wait to hear your explanation of how the “homosexual movement,” that exists only in your mind, actually “interferes with your beliefs.” When was the last time any homosexual mouthed off with such garbage as you do to try to “interfere with your beliefs?”

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By Adamchik, January 25, 2006 at 2:16 am Link to this comment
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Many of the responses to my post remind me of why Jews do not usually engage in conversations of this nature, since the Jewish bible in English, without the Talmud and other background material, is simply unrecognizable to the original, with its accompanying commentaries and lengthy discussions.

In brief, yes, G-d did in fact make many things known about his plan for the the world through the Torah, Talmud, Midrash, etc.  Yes, G-d also created creatures with desires, not all of which we are supposed to act upon.  Mankind is unique in its endowment of free will - the basic purpose of creation is to choose a relationship with G-d, as our limited minds are able to understand it.

This relationship between G-d and mankind is different for Jew and non-Jew, but some issues (such as the prohibition against homosexuality) are clearly universal.  One of the non-Jews’ roles is to perfect the physical world (partly why they may not observe the Sabbath the same way that Jews should), so their role is clearly critical in the grand scheme of things.

There are very complicated rules for understanding what is to be understood literally in the bible, and what is not.  Generally, none of the ideas about six days of the creation of the world or early Genesis stories are meant to be taken literally (Maimonides’ Moreh N’Vuchim [Guide to the Perplexed] is probably the most important on this issue).  This is a very complicated discussion, one that is almost universally misunderstood by Christians, due to the number of sources and commentaries required to understand the issues.  Many other stories did actually occur, in whole or in part.

The amount of critical thinking and reasoning involved in understanding Talmudic discussions goes far beyond nearly any modern science or Ivy League education (this you can believe).  The Masechta of Eruvin is more difficult material than FASB statements, the US Code, or Stephen Hawking.

Suggestions that our activities are our wallowing in ignorance are simply the product of their own sort of ignorance.  One cannot have spent time wrestling with this material the way it was meant to be wrestled with and conclude that we do it because we are idiots - it just must be from lack of exposure.

Our unbroken tradition is not for the gullible, unthinking or stupid.  It is spectacularly subtle, shows empathy for human frailty and the difficulties of understanding free will, and respect for our own limited capacity for reason. 

One should prepared for the fact that some of their desires, wants, or behaviors are not in fact what they are supposed to be doing.  This sort of humility is an important start.

Maintaining the tradition that came to us from Sinai (for which there is a lot more foundation than you might imagine) and critical thinking are not mutually exclusive.

Robert Aumann’s 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics founded on Talmudic logic and game theory is but a single, recent example of the absolute cutting edge of science, inquiry, and traditional Judaism prospering together.


“G-d does not play dice with the universe” - Albert Einstein

“The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right” - Judge Learned Hand

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By Kevin, January 24, 2006 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
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I think I gave plenty of reasons why I don’t think some lifestyles should be practiced.  Homosexuals should not be surprised if a church has a problem with their lifestyle.  You cannot go to a real church and practice homosexuality without expecting any help or being unable to become a member. 
    Why do you think we have these inalienable rights?  Where did they come from?  Who said you have them?  The government?  Because we are made in the image of God, that’s why we have these inalienable rights.  You don’t want to interfere with others’ lives?  Then why do we set an age for drinking, smoking, and sexual intercourse?  We can’t interfere in other’s lives.  They have the choice, right?  Why can’t an 8 year old have sex with an adult?  Why can’t people have sex with animals?  If you want me to support an unnatural, unhealthy (in many ways) sexual partnership, you’re wrong.  The homosexual movement interferes in with my beliefs.  I’m not attacking homosexuals.  I’m attacking their movement. 
  “My rules” are what this country is built upon.  They are good rules and we will see the consequences of not obeying them.

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By R. A. Earl, January 24, 2006 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
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I hope it’s not inappropriate of me to suggest that it’s my view that each of us born on this planet as an inalienable RIGHT to love who we wish, live how we wish, work at what we wish, think and feel and philosophize as we wish, write the music and sing the songs we wish and believe as we wish WITHOUT INTERFERENCE from anyone, any organization, institution, religion or government, just so long, of course, as our journey through life doesn’t interfere with other people’s right to do the same.

IT’S NO ONE’S BUSINESS WHAT I DO WITH MY LIFE. Is that so outrageous to expect or difficult to understand?

If you don’t agree that each of us should have this freedom to exist as we wish may I request you list for us YOUR REASONS WHY NOT?

(I don’t want to hear the reasons you’ve cribbed from any other source… bible, religions, other “authorities”... that just suck-up, mindless parroting of what you’ve been told to do and/or conditioned to believe. I want YOUR ORIGINAL REASONS WHY ALL OTHERS SHOULDN’T BE FREE TO LIVE THEIR LIVES AS THEY WISH WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM YOU and YOUR RULES.)

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By Kevin, January 20, 2006 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
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Reply #62…“Well written and researched?”  Righhhht.  Sounds like opinions to me.  Also seems to focus a lot on the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church has had so many problems and hs been so corrupt.  That’s why Martin Luther did what he did and the United Stated got away from that kind of overzealous, money-hungry, ritualistic religion.  I have not dismissed any verifiable science.  The verifiable science just supports the Biblical (historical) information given to us over 1500 years.  Many people distort the facts to help support their own agenda or their ideas of who God should be.
    We go by rules that have been handed down over the centuries and accepted by millions.  Our Forefathers used the Bible to form the Constitution.  The separation of church and state was imposed to keep the state out of the churches affairs(since they were controlled by the king), and to keep crazy theological radicals out of the state.  If it is in the Bible, then it is clearly not radical.  God gave us rules to follow so that we would have better, safer lives.  Since we as a country have not followed them we have more diseases than ever, high numbers of single parents, ruined relationships, drunk driving….  God’s not out to hurt us or lessen our free choice.  Just like your parents give you rules that may not make sense, God gives some too.  Just because you disagree or don’t understand, doesn’t mean that it is not good for mankind. People are imperfect.  You’re going to find a lot of bad examples on both sides of the issue…

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By AMMB, January 19, 2006 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
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Misc Bits:

Well written & researched “dig”. 

Typical that verifiable science is once again dismissed when it conflicts with one’s world-view.

“When the pulpit addresses our politicians, the IRS should be right there: Representation without taxation.—Comment by Lohitaksha on 12/15 at 7:12 pm”
Best comment I’ve seen on the whole Church/State topic in ages.

How very sad to see the comments devolve into attacks.
“Can’t we all just get along?”
-Rodney King
No, Mr. King we cannot; humanity refuses to grow up.

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By Kevin, January 19, 2006 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
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Reply to #60:
    If you want to talk about FACTS, you need to get some first.  You can’t just make facts up.  Facts in regard to the creation of the earth and it’s inhabitants are only based on ideas that make as much sense as possible from the remains we have because we cannot test it in a lab.  You say the Bible is “mixed up and crazy,”, and yet thousands of scholars all over the world are studying it every day and learning from it.  Millions use it daily.  I think you are in the minority on that one, bud.  Do I believe that the God who is omnicient, omnipotent, and who created the world could take a rib from Adam and make someone else?  Well, yes I do.  The events in the Bible actually occurred.  There are many intricate details that could not have been made up.  Do I believe a flood covered the earth?  Well, it says it happened in the Bible, and the earth definitely shows signs of a mass flood even now.  So yeah, I guess I do.  Do I believe Jonah could have built a boat to survive the flood with all the animals?  Well, it took him and his sons about 60 years or something, and they were bigger, had more oxygen, and they had the time.  They took all baby animals most likely, and God helped with that.  You say “christian values were CLEARLY plagarized.”  Okay, I’m glad you have all-knowing insight on that subject.  Some may seem plagarized because it was a universal truth that was being presented again.  If you BELIEVE in evolution, you have NO facts to support what you believe.  I have written historical documents from many, many years ago (some originals) to back me up.  Along with common sense and observation, my claims make absolutely plenty of sense.  You make absolutely no sense in your last paragraph.  YOU ALSO CONTRADICTED YOURSELF IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH.  YOU SAY, “EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE DESIGNED TO HAVE A LIFESPAN, AND THEN DISAPPEAR”  You’re right.  Everything is DESIGNED to do that.  It didn’t just get that way on it’s own.  That wasn’t the original design, until man messed things up in the Garden.  Please reevaluate your beliefs and FACTS.

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By R. A. Earl, January 18, 2006 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
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Re Kevin’s #59 posting…

All the shoulda, coulda, woulda bafflegab you can dream up won’t create an iota of FACT.

Kevin also wrote: “The ideas presented in the Bible are all timeless.  They have been around much longer than this crazy notion of Macroevolution.”

I believe it is FACT that MOST of the “ideas presented in the Bible” existed long before anyone dreamed up the crazy mixed-up concoction you call The Bible.

The Old Testament stories are just that… STORIES… like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Sure, they may have a point, but only someone with very limited mental faculties would accept them as FACT. You don’t really believe G-D decided to actually take a rib from “Adam” to make “Eve?” But I guess you do, since you seem to actually believe that a flood covered the planet and you likely also accept that an actual Noah collected two of everything and floated them on a boat (I assumed that included two Ebola viruses?) Those who actually believe this stuff deserve our pity.

And the New Testament’s “Christian values” are clearly plagiarized from “religions” and philosophies that existed for centuries before your Christ allegedly walked on water. It’s an outrage for Christians to lay claim to “family values” etc., when an incredible diversity of family values existed and served the populations well for a long time before anyone dreamed up “Christianity.”

Funny you should ask, Kevin “Now why would all living traces dissappear?” For the same reason that all living traces of YOU and I will disappear. EVERYTHING seems to be designed to have a lifespan and then disappear. Even the rock itself is returned to molecules and atoms from whence it came (love the language). Don’t you learn ANYTHING from observation and common sense. At least the information I get “fed” and believe has a few FACTS to support it. What’s your excuse?

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By Kevin, January 18, 2006 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
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Re: #57…Your 8 years of higher education have not taught you to ask questions and find answers for yourself.  You just get fed information and take it as truth?  Ideas can be timeless.  They don’t have to go extinct.  Hopefully the ideas of evolution become extinct.  The ideas presented in the Bible are all timeless.  They have been around much longer than this crazy notion of Macroevolution.  I’m not surprised that you are flabbergasted.  You’ve been fed incorrect information for 8 years.  It’s like you have to come out of the Matrix.  Now why would all living traces dissappear?  That’s the assumption you make, but it makes no sense.  There should not be a problem finding just one mixed fossil.  There should have been millions preserved.  Sometimes scientists have thought that an animal is extinct when in fact they go and find it alive today (coelacanth).  The so-called “dino-fish”.  A cataclysmic event occurred a few thousand years ago preserving living things within minutes.  Flood.  This explains the trees going straight through millions of year old rock.  All living traces dissappear?  Wow.  I’m glad I’ve enlightened someone.

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By M Henri Day, January 18, 2006 at 4:45 am Link to this comment
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The claim on the part of certain people who call themselves «Christian» to know with certainty the will of a transcendent deity on the basis of certain passages from the Old Testament is intriguing, not to say presumptuous. Have they forgotten Paulus’ statement in 1 Corinthios 13:12 :

videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate tunc autem facie ad faciem nunc cognosco ex parte tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum

Perhaps they should wait for the life to come to express themselves with such assurance ?...

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By R. A. Earl, January 17, 2006 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
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Re Kevin’s #56 posting…

I had to read this post several times to make sure it wasn’t just a joke. But nope… I think Kevin really means what he posted.

I think flabbergasted is a delightful word and it so describes my reaction. I thought once a species, for example, Homo neanderthalensis, dies out, all living traces disappear.

Kevin clearly demonstrates that views and opinions and attitudes and beliefs that I understood were extinct are indeed alive and well in 2006!

So much for my 8 years of expensive higher education! Almost everything accepted as either proven fact, or that all evidence points to a high likelihood of being correct, and being taught in anthropology, sociology and psychology classes around the world is apparently hogwash.

Thanks for the enlightenment, Kevin!

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By Kevin, January 16, 2006 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
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1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  1st Timothy 1:10.  The Bible speaks of Homosexuality.  It is a sin, but the Christian church should not be judgemental or adament about throwing people out or anything.  The church is there to help.  The church will not leave a practicing homosexual alone.  They are there for support to overcome it.  If you do not wish for their help, and you wish to continue in the sin, of course the church will have a problem with that.  God destroyed the city of Sodom becuase of homosexuality and other unnatural sex practices.  It means something to God, so it’s going to mean something to His people. 
    The hostility stems from the fact that homosexuals are looking for liberty in their practices and the Christians look at it as liberty to sin freely.  There is no proof that homosexuality is genetic.  It is caused by unnatural household environments ie(single parents, abusive parents, two of the same parent, sexual content on t.v, etc.).  It happens becuase of other sin.  It is not something you are stuck with.  It’s something you may just have to struggle with.  God set up an order, and that’s how He wants it done.  If you don’t believe in God and you believe in evolution (humanist), you are also at a loss for the homosexual standpoint.  Apparently the natural way is for men and women to be together.  You are going against the natural order of things either way.  And if you are a humanist, there is no help for you in regard to homosexuality (or anything for that matter.)

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By Omarius, January 15, 2006 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment
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Right on, R.A.!
And people who are deep into religion and “God’s word” can’t you see what this sort of rhetoric does to humanity? When you use your religion to try to control other people’s behavior, you exclude them from it. In other words you are teaching people to not believe in God. Do any of your religions support turning people away from God? Oh yeah, satanism.

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By R. A. Earl, January 15, 2006 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
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“How About Judaism” in #53 makes some rather grandiose assumptions in my view.

“Life is NOT about doing what you want, as most Western societies would posit.  Life is about doing what G-d has requested of YOU.”

This statement sounds quite straightforward… like it was actually a fundamental TRUTH or something. C’mon. It’s an OPINION and nothing more. If anyone wants to make it a PERSONAL TRUTH they’re certainly free to do so, but please don’t offer up such unsupportable assumptions as TRUTH… we’re not that gullible!

“Regarding this discussion, homosexuality is clearly not part of G-d’s plan for the world.”

Oh really? First, please let us all know how you came to KNOW what G-d’s plans are. Did “He” phone you… or perhaps post something on the internet?

If there is a G-d, which is a ridiculous notion to begin with, but if there is, then by definition, “He” is the creator/overseer of EVERYTHING. This means, of course, that “He” created HOMOSEXUALS every bit as deliberately as he created non-homosexuals. Or perhaps you think G-d just made a mistake when he created the lesbian down the street or at the office? It’s an outrageous assumption to post this silage just because YOU can’t accept or understand the diversity in this world.

I’m so sick and tired of ignoramuses such as this author spewing garbage that is pure, prejudiced opinion and wanting us to accept it as TRUTH.

I hate censorship in almost all it’s forms… except, I would surely support a system of heavy FINES for anyone publishing for public consumption as FACT or TRUTH this kind of crap that is clearly UNSUPPORTABLE ASSUMPTION and GLIB OPINION. There are millions of ill-educated and easily impressionable people whose critial thinking skills may be limited who are apt to BELIEVE such nonsense.

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By How about Judaism?, January 12, 2006 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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Judaism explains that people have a deep responsibility to G-d, not only to their fellow. 

Life is NOT about doing what you want, as most Western societies would posit.  Life is about doing what G-d has requested of YOU.  There are almost no rights in the (Jewish) bible - it is all about responsibilities.

Regarding this discussion, homosexuality is clearly not part of G-d’s plan for the world.  There are different responsibilities for Jews (such as the requirements to eat kosher food, etc.) and other nations.  However, homosexuality is clearly a universal prohibition concerning everyone.

The righteous of all of the nations have a place in the world to come, so it is not that Jews believe that they are better than anyone else, by any stretch of the imagination.

It is worth adding that, as life stands now, we are prohibited from discriminating against sinners, and simply must hope that they change their ways.  Hatred based on homophobia is clearly prohibited.

Judaism also explains the central role of free choice, as being one of the main purposes of creation (i.e. the world was created so that we would choose a relationship with G-d).

Whatever struggles one has with G-d’s commandments, whether it is with honesty in business, homosexuality, or disrespect to parents, are struggles that we sincerely hope everyone will overcome.

The issue of whether a government should make laws regarding disrespecting parents, homosexuality, and honesty in business, is a completely different discussion, and very, very complicated.  The short answer is that probably some of them should be legislated, but not all of them.

You might be interested to go to Google and search for “Public Law 102-14” to see some small bit of this very large discussion of what sorts of things a government should do.  These are the seven universal laws given to Noah, for all of the nations.

The source for the seven Noahide laws is the Talmud, 73 volumes (in translation) of background, “oral law,” discussion, and commentary, without which it is simply impossible to understand the bible.

As a final aside, we recently observed the fast of the 10th day of the month of Tevet, which commemorates, among other tragedies, the translation of the Jewish bible into Greek (the “Septuagint”).  Do not underestimate the extent of problems that poor, biased, and uneducated translations have hurt people of all faiths.

If you discuss these issues with someone sensitive to the “original,” you will find more nuance, concern, and enlightened discussion than you might expect.

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By R. A. Earl, January 8, 2006 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
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I believe many who harbor anti-gay hostility and resentment do so because, in part, DEEP DOWN, they’re JEALOUS.

They might think along these lines: “If I have to be saddled with a nagging spouse, screaming kids, a killer mortgage, a job I hate, and an endless treadmill of a life, then EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER RIGHT ALONG WITH ME. How dare these faggots shuck the bonds of servility - no responsibilities or obligations - just living the good life, prancing around the world, sleeping with all who appeal and laughing at the rest of us stooges.”

Also, I think MANY heteros have “tasted” of the homo fruit and KNOW that intimate relationships between people of the SAME sex can be every bit as loving, emotionally rich and satisfying as straight bonding… WITHOUT the participants being saddled with all the baggage that society expects hetero couples to carry.

The whole scenario reminds me of the banning of bear baiting (the “sport” of tying a toothless and clawless bear to a stake in an arena before cheering crowds and letting ferocious dogs tear the helpless animals apart). It was not until 1835 that baitings were prohibited by the British Parliament.

In 1849, Catharine Macaulay wrote,“The Puritans hated bearbaiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

Baiting is now banned worldwide but can still be found in parts of the Middle East and Pakistan. (Interesting that the oldest “civilizations” are in some ways, the LEAST CIVILIZED on the planet.)

So the hostility towards gays and lesbians, I think stems, in part, because it looks to some ignorant straights (the “Puritans”) that homos are just having TOO MUCH FUN in life.

Amusing.

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By R. A. Earl, January 8, 2006 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment
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In #18 Daniel Casselberry wrote, in part

“It’s almost embarrassing to describe oneself as a Christian these days, because I don’t want to be associated with the hate and bigotry of those two(Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell) who often get described as “Christian leaders or spokespersons”.”

Oh, but you ARE associated with them, Daniel, and you SHOULD BE embarrassed blood red. These two con men (and many others like them) have hijacked your religion and are filling their OWN coffers with the ransom. Until you and all your Christian fellows figure a way to “excommunicate” these charlatans and thieves who operate under your “Christian” banner they will continue to represent YOU to the mainstream.

How long do you think Microsoft or Wal-Mart would allow me to operate using their trade names without authorization?

Christianity is BIG BUSINESS too… and cunning fools like the aforementioned loudmouths are skimming the cream from your “milk of human kindness.” You (the mainstream churches) will be lucky to end up with your shirts still on. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE STENCH BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

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By brother grimm, January 7, 2006 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment
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Jason, I appreciate your firm stand against persecution. But you should examine this certainty you have that a marriage necessarily needs a man and a woman to be “real.” You’re entitled to that opinion, I guess, but that doesn’t mean it should be the law of the land.

Let’s start with this. You say that “it does not take a church for God to recognize your love for one another.” Good. Please note that, in most places you’d want to live, it also doesn’t take a God to recognize a marriage.

Marriage is not an invention of the Christian church, or of Judaism, either—it is far older than either, and as you appreciate, a universal human institution.

My first marriage was performed in the living room of a justice of the peace. I took an oath to love, honor and cherish, and also to conduct myself according to the laws of my State.

There are churches that do not recognize that marriage and that none-the-less especially dislike the fact that it ended in divorce. (This seems inconsistant to me, but never mind.) After a struggle, they have sulkily agreed, for now,in this country, to settle for differentiating between “real” marriages, i.e. the ones they perform, and all other kinds. But that’s just their opinion, it isn’t the law of the land. Like your opinion about marriage requiring a man and a woman, except for the law of the land part.

Our government does not allow plural marriage despite the fact that some religions practically require it. The law of the land does not care about that religious conviction.

I understand that you think that gay marriage is obviously unnatural. It seems self-evident to you. This is because of the culture you grew up in. If you think there have been no cultures that recognize homosexual marriages, you are mistaken.

Personally, I have been married twice. The J-P one lasted til the kids were grown. The second, current one is entirely unofficial, and we have no kids, and will have no kids, but we are absolutely married, and it’s been going on for almost twenty years, and if anybody tries to tell us that it’s not a marriage, or shouldn’t be a marriage, you can appreciate what our answer will be: who the hell asked you?

Suppose my sexual and life partner was of my gender, and we were together this long, and felt this married, and our friends—hell, anybody who knew us—recognized the marriage in the same way. Suppose some guy came to us and said, “that’s not a marriage, you can’t call that a marriage, and it’s all wrong,” our only sane answer would have to be, once again, who asked you?

If a couple of 18 year-olds can hook up in Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator, and they’re undeniably legally married, with all that entails, then why do you think this other thing is anybody’s business but the people involved?

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By Jason Newcomb, January 7, 2006 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
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You may never change religious text. But as Gays and Lesbians, you are most definately loved and respected. You are no lesser than any other person on this planet and you should be treated with respect. You may not persue marriage but you may persue civil union. Afterall, it does not take a church for GOD to recognize your love for one another. But It does require a man and a woman to marry. That is and always will be the naturally designed state of the human landscape.

You cannot take two verses out of the Bible and use it to persecute Gays and Lesbians. It was not what they did that was wrong or unnatural, it was how they ACTED that got GOD angry.

But that was then, not now.

There is nothing like being persecuted under law, religion and personal prejudice. This persecution must end immediately.

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By MikeC, January 3, 2006 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
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The scientific study of human sexuality tells us what is normal and a further understanding of the genome can tell us if homosexuality is natural. There is something to be gained from a scientific approach to this problem that does not trivialize it.

Religious people will be intolerant and will resist that knowledge but for how long.

I think using Jewish ancestry and the problem of anti-semiticism is an inappropriate metaphor. Race, culture, religion - all those things it means to be Jewish are much more complex than a behavior.

On another note, comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and adultery barely deserves a comment but nonetheless - I was outraged to see these compared. Pride is also a sin. Eating the fruit from a particular tree in the Garden was a sin. Barely anything that any person does is not without some taint of sin. I am so sick of religions and the ignorance of the righteous.

If you believe in ‘God’ then be happy in how ‘God’ made you and focus on yourself - no attacking others. Once you are perfect and have everything figured out then go ahead and have a go at making others perfect - NOT!

Religions are the biggest clubs there are and just remember if you aren’t in my club, my god said I can kill you - Give me a break. It is time for another enlightenment. In America it seems we are headed back to the Dark Ages. Maybe the rest of the world wants to come with us - I hope not though.

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By scully, December 29, 2005 at 3:43 am Link to this comment
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Oddly, it seems, something is being avoided in these discussions when one makes reference to the anti-homosexual nature of the Church, Synagogue, or Mosque, or other official organizations - sports clubs, congress, parliaments, etc.  For are not these offical men’s groups not themselves constantly on the verge of being homosexual institutions ... in spite of themselves?  I am not saying this to be flippant, on the contrary, since the author mentions Freud, one should, to be fair, bring out the fact that for Freud homosexuality was not a perversion, but manifested itself as the other side of the coin of paranoia.  That is to say, the manifestation of paranoia recognizable in official men’s groups is the other of a homosexuality that is not counter our democratic institutions, but since the Greek philosophers, part of its paranoiac structure.  This much said, it would be a regression to trivialize this problem of difference in the name of DNA, when there is progress to be made in getting clear on similar prejudices in other fields - most notably racism and anti-semiticism.  For example, knowing a Jew is Jewish by trying to trace this down to their genes, does little to resolve the problem of anti-semiticism.  On the contrary, it makes it worse as it was precisely this form of genetic explication for behaviour that the Nazi’s were trying to implement to begin with.

In any case, just some thoughts,

scully

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By Dave, December 27, 2005 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
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In addressing the first comment re: how gays feel threatened by those on the “right” side of this argument, don’t you think the right feels threatened also? Gays want to be a part of the church; they want positions of authority within the church; in essence, they want to be included and accepted without accepting that homosexuality is a sin. In other words, you want the religious right..those who believe and accept Gods word..the Old Testament and the New…to change and accept homosexuality! Why should they accept it? Homesexuality is a sin just as pedophilia and adultery and even witchcraft, are a sin! And if your sin is found out, it should be dealt with accordingly! And if the church, whether that church be Catholic, Lutheren, Methodists, etc, is right with God and His word, then that church will deal with it! At least, I would hope so. I sometimes wonder with the Catholic Church. (sorry, my little jab at them! lol)

The crux of the matter for me is that I feel just as threatened as the gay person feels threatened by the traditional religious right. I feel the gay person wants to impose acceptance of their lifestyle on me and where I go to church. Why should I accept it? Why should I accept your sin? Especially since you don’t see it as a sin? Your sin is no worse than my sin of stealing or adultery or whatever. It’s all sin according to God! The difference is, I accept my sin and I make a choice to accept that I have sinned and that I must change. A gay person does not accept that. A gay person wants to ignore the ref’s within the Old and New testament. A gay person wants everyone else to change their attitudes. I say, no…if you cannot accept the views of the church, Catholic, Methodist, whatever…then go start your own! Its a free country. Just quit trying to make me and others accept your lifestyle. Just as the church should not be accepting adultery, or stealing or any other sin as spelled out in Gods word, I should not have to accept homosexuality as a lifestyle within my place of worship. If that place of worship does accept it, then I will find another.

Also, I thought that was interesting that the author pointed out how a rule applied just to Jews and not Gentiles. Did the author miss the bigger point, that once you decide to follow God, that you become part of Gods family? His own? Was the author trying to imply by extension that maybe those old rules were only rules specifically for one group of people and for only that time, thereby implying that, now that Jesus came to accept everyone who would believe in Him, Jew or Gentile, as described in the New Testament, that old perversions were no longer viewed as such? Hmmm….I doubt it. Nice try though.

Finally, yes, we should all love one another. If i am part of a church, my church should accept the gay person, the stealer, the pedophile, the sinner! with love and open arms. We all sin! But dont ask a church, a people who are trying to live by Gods teachings, to change what it believes in. Instead, agree to disagree and go find the church that agrees with your view.

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By MikeC, December 23, 2005 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Within this century I expect the clarification of the power of genes, the genome and the diversity within the species will show indisputedly that homosexuality is ‘natural’ as many scientists suspect - I say that based upon observations in nature and experiment. Despite the possibility that science and religion could coexist peacefully today are we nearing a time when the conflict will leave even less room for reconcilition and for religions to maneuver. I will not be surprised when religions and religious people some day use what science learns from studies of the genome in order to re-introduce eugenics programs or destroy fetuses with ‘gay’ or other ‘religiously intolerable’ genes.

Such FOCUS (and the harmful effects of the focus) by any religion on a particular type of victimless ‘sin’ is abhorrent anyway considering the current state of the world (fill-in-the-blank, take your pick of this world’s injustices) and should be condemned every time we have opportunity to do so. There is no room for intolerance in religion, the planet is too small and people’s lives are too short to be condemned for what some would say GOD built into the genepool and I expect we are near to finding out just that. 

I think Jesus’ message about not casting stones needs to be heeded by Christians and the commandment of love needs to take its place as THE commandment. The fact that Christ’s words have not been heeded by the Christian church has led to the largest crisis in faith for some, myself included. I now count myself an agnostic and have some small fear in regards to how my former fellow Christians hate my attitudes (or me) as well. Forget the hate the sin not the sinner distinction - that is so fine a point that it makes no difference in practice how people are treated.

Homosexuality does not deserve to be a top 100 list of this world’s current ‘evils’ but when I guess it is something they can all get behind that means something.

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By busboy, December 23, 2005 at 1:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are no protections of ANY kind or form, regarding human sexuality, nor are there any restrictions, within any of the text of the U.S. Constitution or the Bill Of Rights. Only states can manufacture said entities, covering the legal
residents of their sovereign selves. Every time, as far as I can recall, that these laws have been
challenged, at the SCOTUS level, they have been
over-turned, as UN-CONSTITUTIONAL. In states where ballot initiatives are allowed, the track record is not the same, and the results have been chaotic and confusing at best, for both protection or restriction in this area.
  State legislatures are voted in at the local
level. The resources required to accomplish this are forthcoming from that same local power base. Whoever has the money can set the agenda, for those who seek election/continued incumbency.
‘Communities’ are mostly made up of people who
belong to and adhere to a faith of some kind.(check your polls from any election)
  The ‘faith-based’ agenda is to deny legitimacy
to any minority following that would seek to
disrupt the status quo- ie; financially, socially, culturally, educationally,et al and take away the primacy of their ‘currently’ ruling
power base. This is not a new phenomenon.
It is, by its’ nature a naturally ocurring human reaction, to the idea of the long-demonized
concept of change.
Religion, brandished as the cudgel against the ‘heretic’ du jour,  accomplishes both the primary agenda of ‘institutionalized’ isolation of said heretical minority and the secondary feeling of ‘being on the right? side’ in a struggle(in essence BELONGING)that gives us and our lives a greater meaning.
  The true fallacy is that ‘BELIEVING’ in something only closes our minds to those who do not beleive what we believe.
There is no right or wrong. There is only
life. Everything else is just shadows and dust.
 
dislodge the

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By Kiefer S., December 19, 2005 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article!

You must understand that fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible—ALL of it—is the inspired word of God.

And, the Bible condemns ALL sin, not just homosexuality.  The Apostle Paul lists homosexuality in a long list of sins (including drunkeness, infidelity, coveting, etc) that will exculde those who practice them from the Kingdom of Heaven.  He then calls on everyone to repent of their sins—ALL of their sins—and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I don’t know why some groups single out homosexuality when it is one in a large number of sins that will condemn the practitioner to hell for all eternity.

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By Lohitaksha, December 15, 2005 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the pulpit addresses our politicians, the IRS should be right there: Representation without taxation.

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By Susan Block, December 14, 2005 at 4:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The photo tells it like it is:  That all these male religious leaders in their funny hats and long dresses would put aside their otherwise lethal differences to condemn and oppress other males who only want to celebrate their love for one another…

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By rudysdad, December 11, 2005 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Sullivan quote is priceless. What a sorry wanker.

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By Rod, December 10, 2005 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK gang, Most of you have figured out Thor and Zeus don’t have any relevance to your sex lives. Take that reasoning one logical step further and live your lives in rationality without the weight of a two thousand year old book on your brains. Every one of you knows how to live a moral life and treat others with dignity.

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By Donna, December 10, 2005 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Dannybill’s closing comment- 12/3:

AMEN!!!!

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By Donna, December 10, 2005 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to James 12/3:

In your final comment, “The next time a Christian suggests that Christians enforce their beliefs on sex to the society at large…”, I have to ask, than who is enforcing their beliefs on every one of us?  You probably are saying, ‘the government’; but since ‘we are the government’in America anyway, who is the enforcer.  Who has petitioned our legislatures to create all kinds of laws banning us from specific and personal behavior, that we may indulge in alone or with another consenting adult?  IT IS THE CHRISTIAN/CATHOLIC CHURCH and their ‘fundamentlist’ members.  Just because you as a ‘christian’ don’t think homosexuality is right, it isn’t….........FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU! If I’m not causing injury or hurting anyone with my ‘sexuality mindset’, than what my sexuality is, ‘gay or straight’ is REALLY NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Pax

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By Donna, December 10, 2005 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Rheamode 12/1:

Unfortunately, the converse of J. Krishnamurti’s quote is the life philosophy of our current president!  To him, ‘you’re evil if you don’t follow’!

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By Donna, December 10, 2005 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Graziano 12/6 post:

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY 150% CORRECT, ABOUT THAT!

and we need to stop behaving like ‘sheepeople’ and learn this valuable lesson about life before it’s too late!
Pax!

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By Donna, December 10, 2005 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to Michael’s comment 12/1:
I think I agree with your mindset; but my concern is simply, if sex and intimate relationships are consentual acts, than ‘why’ is there any need to ‘draw lines’.  I personally believe and I’ll bet ‘everybody’ else does as well in their own minds and spirit, that ‘what you do in the privacy of your own home/bedroom is your business and your business alone; as long as you are not causing any harm or injury to anyone.  In other words, acts that have NO VICTIMS!  Prostitution is NOT a crime because by it’s general definition, it’s sex between 2 consenting adults for a price.  Barring any ‘weirdness’ or other behavior that causes harm or hurts either of the parties, there are NO VICTIMS.  People should not be arrested from any behavior that does not hurt or harm another ‘animal’;we’re ‘human animals’.  However, inherent in this, any behavior that does cause injury or harms another needs to be dealt with and arrested. NOW,HERE THERE IS/ARE VICTIMS; and these sick people need to be ‘banished from existence’! (just kidding there). Even our Constitution, which guarantees our basic human rights (thank you, Thomas J.)says it is our right to “...life, liberty and the pursuit of happeness”;  our pursuit of happeness, as individual ‘animals’, not the pursuit we are ‘ordered’ to follow by anyone else (except our parents in the early stages of our lives), or the government or the church!
These are my feelings and beliefs, which is ‘why’ I asked my earlier question about ‘drawing lines’.
Pax!

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By Graziano, December 6, 2005 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. I never really thought that He was condemning them from what I have read in the bible.  I honestly just think that the Left and the Right have successfully divided themselves, which is not what true Christianity is.

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By Big Chris, December 6, 2005 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is marriage a right?  What is the foundation and history of marriage?  I think both questions are important contextualize the discussion.

Big Chris

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By TimJ, December 6, 2005 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In America today, government attempts to forbid gay marriage privilege by law the religious ideas of one sect over those of another. All such moves are made illegal in the first phrase of the first sentence in the first amendment of the US constitution.

Wacko ministers like to say “God didn’t create Adam and Steve.” I like to say, the founders of America didn’t create a Bill of Wrongs.

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By Rick aka Reign of Reason, December 6, 2005 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
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I’ve blogged on this topic many times. Many of your comments and observations resonate with mine.

Besides, what possible business is it if two men get married? Many that want marriage already live together… this would change nothing for the fundamentalists that foam at the mouth over the issue.

As I’ve posted previously, I feel the best course of determining right and wrong (i.e. - what is ‘moral’) is the use of the human intellect. Many argue that our sense of right and wrong comes from god, or the gods. I certainly hope not: more atrocities have been committed in god’s name than for practically any other reason. And once the debate starts down that path: i.e. - “here’s what I believe my god says”; truly critical thought is out the window.

I put my trust in our own gray matter… as the “Intellectual Insurgent” says on her blog:

  Is it possible to be so confident that you have the one sole only Right answer without crossing the line between good and evil? No.

Question your conclusions. Seek out and analyze the facts. Adherence to dogma shuts down the thinking process. Without critical though you are on the path to blind obedience—and you are on the path to disaster.

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By Carl N Graves, December 5, 2005 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when is the Roman Catholic Church a state/country?  I was under the impression that Italy was the country, and Rome was simply the Capitol.  Further, I protest the United States giving such a universal form of Diplomatic Immunity to everyone.  Don’t we have enough problems with crime already?  The Diplomatic Immunity should only apply to Misdemeanors, as it does with most other countries.

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By bren, December 4, 2005 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are a couple of things that are important to remember about the historic church and about some contemporary churches. I think it’s important to recognize that, historically,  the Catholic church has regarded ALL sex to be sinful—although sex for procreation’s sake might be some-what less sinful, because useful.  This attitude towards sex continues in the Catholic church and in those contemporary fundamentalist churches that are bound up in the judgments of the Hebrew Bible.  Are the folks in these churches uncomfortable in their own skins?  You bet.  Does this make them angry at those who remind them of their discomfort with things physical?  Absolutely.

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By Shiloh Seven, December 4, 2005 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How scarry is it to be able to build nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction when we have only begun to think? And how ironic that the insane amongst us should be leading the pack?
When considering the lack of intelligence or logic in the homophobic reactions of religious leaders around the world - whose entire perspective is emotionally driven as opposed to cerebral - then know with certainty that you have not escaped the Neanderthal stage in the development of mankind.

Shiloh Seven

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By surfed_on_in, December 3, 2005 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And make no mistake two people of the same gender can most definitely love one another with the very same love a hetersexual couple does. The emotion is one and the same.”

Nice words. I’m a straight male with at least one gay closeted family member, and I have believed that “love is love” for a number of years now.

IMO, I can’t see anything wrong with gay couples raising kids, really.  Parenting is supposd to be about providing for kids’ needs in a loving environment.  What do anti-gay, straight couples offer kids? Gendered stereotypes. No wonder latent gay kids are confused!  When you’re gravely ill, you want the love of your life to be there—why does that require your spouse/partner to be of the opposite gender? 

I think if straight people learned a thing or two, they would not fear gays so proactively.

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By Anthony Keller, December 3, 2005 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was chatting with a clergy friend one day when he asked when I thought this issue would stop being a distraction to the real causes of pain and suffering in the world. I answered, just as with Moses, a generation will once again be sent into the wilderness to die. As with all this bickering based upon, at least from my point of view, a dominant holding on of power, much is at stake. For those who belive the spirit is leading us in a more open framework totally in line with the spiritual, we must work hard and long at education, not only with those inside churches, but people who are not involved in a faith community. Evnetually truth will win out over those who use fear as their power. Fear is evil, and we are seeing much of it these days.

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By Eben Lindsey, December 3, 2005 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is gratifying to read a historical analysis of this depth on the Religious sources and evolution of Homophobia in the western world. While those of us, gay and strait, who support gay rights can surely look to the bible to find support for tolerance (Christ’s compassion, love your neighbor, etc.) those on the religious right will always be able to supply a counter argument from their own theology. It seems that, in the course of debating the merits of freedom of marriage, for example, we need to find concrete answers for their social arguments against it. With the development of Freedom of Marriage in Massachusetts, Canada, parts of Europe, and now South Africa, does anyone know of any research into Gay Marriage’s affect on Strait Marriage? If it can be shown that marriage between homosexuals has no affect on divorce rates or other social ills, a powerful bullet would be removed from the conservative’s rhetorical gun.

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By Robert M. Castle, December 3, 2005 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

During a long and eventful lifetime during which I have been exposed to most of the diversities of our culture neither my freedom nor my family life has been threatened by homosexuality.  I am not gay and no one has ever tried to change my sexual preference.  I can’t say the same about the Catholic Church.  I am not a Catholic but by words and deeds, the Catholic Church has constantly intruded in my privacy and attempted to change my value system and life style. One need not go beyond the history of the Church to know that it cannot speak for Christ.

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By A Faithful Catholic, December 3, 2005 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately, many of the comments to this article, and indeed the article itself, distort Church teaching regarding the status of persons who experience same-sex attractions. I quote relevant paragraphs from the Catechism:

<excerpt>
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. [They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.] This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
</excerpt>

The vocation of married life is not for everyone, and while it may be the norm today to disregard the need for self-control and restraint in the pursuit of selfish pleasures, some people still heed God’s call. David Morrison’s book Beyond Gay recounts the terrible suffering he experienced and how accepting God’s grace transformed his life. Would that we could all be so blessed.

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By moonbatlulu, December 3, 2005 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am Christian and I believe that Jesus loves and accepts homosexuals who are in truly loving relationships.  If that sounds limiting, let state that I think Jesus disapproves of heterosexual relationships that are not loving.
In other words, it must be love that makes the relationship, love that gives the partners the ability to be caring, supportive members of a community ..that helps them grow the fruits of the Spirit (tolerance, charity, peace, and such other good things) ...
  Unfortunately, Christianity seem to abandon love and the fruits of the Spirit and decided to go for assimulation and power ...
  I know this and I tell people when they start in on how homosexuals are ‘sinful’ (that is the politest word they use).... Well, at several times in my life, I have been in real need of someone showing me the love of Jesus Christ, and each time, it has been a homosexual person who has done that.

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By Dannybill, December 3, 2005 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Church or government leadership’s misuse of a majority to discriminate against a minority is a lever of power.  In the most recent politically manipulated exercise to waste church energy a “Minnesota Pastors Summit - Minnesota for Marriage” was recently held. My post on a tiny blog dealing with this follows:

http://mrclm.blogspot.com/2005/10/minnesota-pastors-summit-minnestoa-for.html

With all the good that a church can do why continually try to keep focus on continuing to prevent equal civil rights based on sexual orientation?

In days gone by a church’s Sunday message may have included appeals to prevent women’s suffrage. And years before that one might have heard appeals to help fight abolition. It is hard to imagine now, but there had to have been a time when both religion and law had rationalized these injustices to be acceptable. I think people will look back someday and feel the same about this issue.

Like many or most people, I believe a marriage between a man and woman is preferable and in many ways incomparable to a commitment between two men or two women. However, that is my personal opinion due to things beyond my control such as my physiology, possibly reinforced by my upbringing. I have come to accept that some people have a different orientation that, like mine, is natural to them and not a matter of question.

I believe discrimination based on sexual orientation is a product of societal norms and customs of the majority and is not supported by philosophical reasoning or by Christian theology. For these and other reasons it is my opinion that legal recognition of same-sex relationships be afforded no fewer rights and responsibilities than those provided in a traditional husband/wife relationship.

There are many dimensions to marriage: From a legal standpoint, it is estimated that married couples enjoy well over 1000 specific legal rights and benefits unmarried couples do not. As for the social and personal benefits experienced by reason of a traditional marriage, how can anyone honestly claim they are any more or less than those gained by same-sex partners?

In the U.S., religious organizations are exempt from many laws prohibiting discrimination. For that reason, a Church is within its rights to, among other things, not recognize same-sex marriages. In addition, a Christian church cannot be compelled by law to worship Buddha, and Jews cannot be forced to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Corollary to this I think it is just as inappropriate for a church to support passing laws codifying its view of marriage as it is for a church to try to legally codify its theology.

The 1st amendment to the U.S. constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It is widely accepted that it follows that rules based solely on the principals of a given religion should not be made law. From a secular legalistic standpoint, to impose as law a Biblical definition of marriage is in conflict with rights provided in the Constitution. For this reason, groups intent on forcing their views on others are promoting constitutional amendments. I believe history shows these injustices ultimately do not stand, and equality will someday be provided to all, regardless of sexual orientation.

As for the religious aspects of marriage, I am not in a position to judge how much is derived more from ritual and practice than from scripture. However, I do know the word “marriage” is mentioned relatively few times in the New Testament. The most frequent reference is repeated in the Gospels - Jesus teaches that at the resurrection there is no marriage (Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25, Luke 20:34). 1
Corinthians exhorts that marriage is a distraction that the unmarried are best off staying that way. However, it also states it is better to marry than burn with passion.

In closing, I can’t comprehend a God that does not love all regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. Remember the concept of Grace and imagine the infinite love of God.

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By James, December 3, 2005 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The church’s actions against those it considers sexually immoral outside the church are in direct opposition to the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul counsels that Christians maintain purity within their own community, but not enforce their beliefs outside the church. Verses 9-13: “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (NIV)

The next time a Christian suggests that Christians enforce their beliefs on sex to the society at large, read him or her those verses.

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By Daniel Casselberry, December 3, 2005 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a clergyman, I’m sad to say that “the Church” is usually the last place where progressive social change takes place.  As long as legalisms trump love, organized Christianity will continue to miss the boat.  Consider how long it took the Church to move beyond its support of slavery and segregation.  The main stream media rarely interviews pastors of traditional Protestant churches; they invariably turn to the extremists like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.  It’s almost embarrassing to describe oneself as a Christian these days, because I don’t want to be associated with the hate and bigotry of those two who often get described as “Christian leaders or spokespersons”.

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By Philip Reger, December 3, 2005 at 12:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The “line” we should be talking about is that which seperates Christ-like behavior and Biblical-bahvior. Jesus was not the representative of a massive power structure embodied by millions of dollars and followers. IMHO, Jesus’ teachings in and of themselves don’t lend themselves to centralized notions of power and control. But the Bible does. It gives these Biblicists (they are Christians only by nomenclature) a framework in which they can nurture their fears of the unknown. Inherent in Biblical teaching is the concept of “us” vs “them”. Without a “them” to condemn, there is no “us” to save. All this being said, we should be careful and not expect even an undistilled version of Jesus to convince the Bilblicists that homosexuality is OK. For all we know, he was a raging homophobe, too. He was, after all, a product of his time.

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By Stephen K. Mack, December 2, 2005 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When do we realize as gay men and women that
the three abrahamic traditions are hostile to our very existance!!!This is war, and they mean to destroy us!It’s too late for hand ringing and
being spritually torn. These are luxuries that we cannot afford to indulge,our sorrow for our many losses on all fronts is simply to be borne!One answer is a vigorous stategy of using litigation groups to push freedoms’ agenda!
We must be as unrelenting as the Right has been since 1964.They took over the Republican party.
We have many friends,many who will help us. We’re not the only ones who have suffered and are suffering.No more self-pity!!!!

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Dig Director's Blog

Jan. 17, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI has intervened in the upcoming Italian elections, specifically on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage—no extra credit for guessing what side he’s on.  The topic of same-sex marriage is especially touchy, as Spain, another predominantly Catholic country, recently legalized same-sex marriage despite the Church’s explicit opposition, something the pope seems to have taken as a personal affront.  If the same thing were to happen in Italy it would be truly insulting to the newly installed Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ….

- - -
Dec. 14, 2005

Scapegoats talk back, and the boys in black squabble over the meaning of the Vatican “instruction.”

- - -
Dec. 13, 2005

The fight between several conservative Southern California episcopal parishes and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles escalated…

- - -
Dec. 1, 2005

Speaking of religion, the current controversies over same-sex marriage are mostly derived from the hostility of religious institutions to the inclusion of lesbian and gay people in the “sacred institution” of marriage.

- - -
 
 
 

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