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Lutheran Pastor Samuelson: Believing the Bible Bans Gay Sex Is Not Bigotry

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Following August’s vote by the ELCA to permit noncelibate Lutherans to become clergy, Queerty has brought you perspectives from Lutherans Concerned/North America’s Ross Murray, straight pastor Erik Samuelson, and queer pastor Lura Green. Today, Erik publicly responds to Lura’s message to him — and has an apology for everyone else. But, there’s a but

_wsb_174x234_pastorerik1

lura

Pastor Lura, thanks for your response to my article. I haven’t commented on my original Queerty post because I haven’t really known how to respond to the challenges the commenters have offered. I’m realizing how little I really understand what many LGBT people have gone through, and I’m saddened by the abusive experiences it’s clear so many have had in the Christian church. But your email really helped me see their responses (and my own comments) more clearly, and to wrap my head around what I might say next.

First, I appreciate your efforts to preach a bit of “law” to me, I needed it. I see that much more clearly now. You said it in a way that I could hear it, and I thank you for that. Where the gospel is in this, I’m still not sure.

A little explanation of terms for non Lutheran readers (feel free to skip): When Lutherans talk about law and gospel it means something a bit different than it does in other contexts, even religious ones. We usually think of law and punishment or law and reward—and when many Christians use the word law they mean rules, and gospel they mean cash and prizes for following the rules. Lutherans will talk about law in two ways 1) “the first use of the law” means those things (like stop signs and “do not murder”) that are generally good ideas and basically keep us from harming one another and 2) “the second use of the law” (or theological use) means those conversations, laws, experiences, flashes of insight or whatever that point out to us (in a way that wakes us up) how crappy we are being, or how crappy we are treating other people. By bringing the truth to light (even when it hurts), the law wakes us up to how we should be living. My f-bomb my previous post about my down syndrome neighbor is the second use of the law. (Feel crappy about using that word when you heard about my neighbor? Good. That was my point. I didn’t see the word “mongoloid” once in the comments on my post. Seems to have worked.) The purpose of the second use of the law is not just just a list of dos and don’ts or to just make everybody feel crappy, but to hold up a mirror that helps us see how things really are, and through that to bring about real change in attitude and action. For Lutheran Christians it reminds us that we are all ALL screw-ups no matter how hard we try to fix ourselves (or how hard we try to follow the law or make other people follow it) we really do need the forgiveness we experience in Jesus and in reconciliation with one another. The ELCA heard the law when we realized last week that the way we’ve enforced the “laws” of Leviticus, etc. on our LGBT brothers and sisters has been crappy—those very laws showed us the “law” of how far we were from actually doing what God intends—and so we changed, a small change but a real one.

So, Pastor Lura, here’s my confession. I’ve never been called a heterosexist before (though I probably should have been) and in this case I really deserve it.

The way I co-opted the word “queer” was not just offensive, it was dismissive of real people, real experiences, real pain. I didn’t mean it the way it came across (probably should have said “a tiny taste of what it is to be queer”) but even that, I now realize, is awful. You’re absolutely right: I have no idea at all what it really is to be queer, no matter how many stories I hear about it. I probably will never know. So to you, and all the people I hurt with this line of comment, I’m sorry. I won’t use “queer” in that way anymore. I didn’t realize how this comes across (much like the really stupid “But some of my best friends are gay!”) and I’m going to knock it off.

I also confess that I did a poor job of communicating to Queerty readers what the ELCA vote might have to do with them. In my defense, I’ve never read (let alone written for) a gay news website. But I didn’t take the time to frame things in a way my audience could understand (and my lame attempts with the word queer only made it worse). This was confirmed to me by the fact that my straight, Lutheran friends really enjoyed my article, while most of the Queerty folks and my LGBT friends thought it was a load of crap. (In fact, some of them have taken to calling me “The Betrayer,” Queerty readers are in good company.) I was writing from where I was at, from my point of view (maybe even to myself), and most people (especially those on this website) actually didn’t give a damn about what I had to say. Aand I don’t blame them. For this too, I am sorry.

So I’ll try again.

 
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_wsb_174x234_pastorerik1 Erik Samuelson is an ELCA Lutheran pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Spokane, Wash., who thinks the best theological conversations happen in pubs. His theological influences include: the Bible, the Book of Concord, The Big Lebowski, and Avenue Q. His mother is very proud of him but hates it when he uses the word fuck, especially in public (sorry mom). Visit his blog here
 

On:           Sep 16, 2009
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  • 280 Comments
    • Miss Understood
      Miss Understood

      I could not even get halfway through all that claptrap. I’m so glad I was not brought up with religion in my life!

      Sep 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ajax
      ajax

      Believing that the bible bans gay sex is not bigotry. However, treating someone differently because he or she is gay *IS* bigotry.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • will clemens
      will clemens

      personally , I do not care any thing about religion, religion is for the mentally and/or the emotionally ill.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • will clemens
      will clemens

      I also believe religious people should be shunned from society.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      Believing that the Bible bans gay sex is in itself not Bigotry: believing the Bible and acting on it’s mythology is.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      The thing is, the excuse for where your belief comes from does not change the reality of your belief.

      If somebody says that the Koran says that their wives must be submissive to their every whim, can be beaten and are in all ways submissive, they are still a sexist even though they are coming to that belief through religeon. If people use that “Mark of Cain” section of the Bible to try to say that one race is superior to another, that is still racist even though they are coming to that belief through religeon.

      It doesn’t matter if you came to your beliefs from your parents, from your friends, from religeon etc… It is the belief itself that has to be judged on whether or not it is bigoted, not the source of where that belief of yours origionated. So yes paster, you are a bigot. You can try to excuse your bigotry in whatever way you want, but you are still the same as a husband who beats his wife explaining he isn’t sexist, or a Klansman explaining why he isn’t racist. We were BORN the way we are…your religeon is a choice, and you chose bigotry.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HiredGoons
      HiredGoons

      I don’t care what religious people believe, or what signs they wave – bigotry does not bother me AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT BECOME LAW.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      Now we know all we need to know about Erik Samuelson and other seemingly nice Christians. “God”, “the Bible” and “family” are more important to them than lives and well-being of gay people. That’s exactly why he doesn’t have a problem with Bible-based bigotry:

      “But simply believing homosexual sex is not allowed in the Bible (and that all of us are better off if people refrain from it) is not bigotry, it’s not hate speech, and it’s not in and of itself sinful.”

      Thanks for nothing, Erik…

      Sep 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RomanHans
      RomanHans

      I’ve got an old book that says homophobes are simpering, brain-dead assholes.

      Hey, don’t blame the messenger.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ggreen
      ggreen

      If the bible is the word of god:
      Why did god wait thousands of years after creating man to publish it?
      Why did god task people whose only common trait was they could write legibly to write it?
      Why did god wait several thousand more years to enable a pontiff in a tacky dress to enforce it

      Sep 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      Hey, Pastor Samuelson: Can’t you just shut the fuck up? I don’t care if your belief system, which is based on belief in magical garbage, accepts gays or not. You are a full-grown man who believes in what amounts to a Star Trek universe with its own set of “rules” about what Jesus thinks about gays, which is like worrying about what Borgs think about health care reform. You are a pathetic, brainwashed, self-hypnotized man. Shut up and go away. Your acceptance means nothing.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      Thanks for writing this; I wish there were such a church around here.

      (And I’m remembering to uncheck the “subscribe” box this time so as not to have to wade through 150 emails from those who believe in being as abrasive as possible, so as to get a disagreement quickly, so that they no longer have to listen to anything anyone says because if you disagree in any way you’re now “the enemy.”)

      Sep 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CTC
      CTC

      Come on guys, be respectful here. You don’t have to sit here and call the man names or insult him to make your point. Can’t you prove you’re better than that if you really believe you are?

      Sep 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Pastor Erik,

      Thank-you for taking the time to share with us again. I believe that your words and intentions are sincere, but not enough to save lives. I willing to bet that you do want to save lives.

      You said: “I’m glad to claim, with Pastor Lura and many other Lutherans, that “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant.” But I need to say to folks like the commenter named Brian who insists on straight people claiming this loudly and publicly before they will seriously engage in conversation with them, please realize that as a straight Christian this strikes me exactly the same way as fundamentalists who refuse to talk to me until I have made clear that “I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.”

      I am not insisting on “straight people claiming this loudly” and never have been. It’s okay if you’re “straight,” it’s not okay if you’re “gay.” That’s the problem. For 2,000 years religion has made us “wrong.” I appreciate your making the claim “homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant,” but I cannot understand your reluctance to make that the “official” belief of Lutherans. Surely by now you realize the biblical lies about homosexuals are 1) not true and 2) the primary cause of all LGBTQ pain and discrimination.

      The actions at the ELCA Conference were primarily about LGBTQ Clergy and NOT an attempt to ‘right the wrong’ done to homosexuals. It really doesn’t help gay people because they have been approved for employment at Lutheran Inc. Bulletin: We work everywhere nowadays. That’s not the problem. Sure, Bishop Vicki Gene got a big promotion and more money over at the Episcopalian, Inc., but that didn’t help LGBTQ people. It’s nice, that’s all. Nice for him.

      Religion has changed over 2,000 years from Catholicism to an incredible 34,000 different Christian denominations. With each new “branch” there was a dispute over “beliefs” and denominations divided. It seems Lutherans have this sorta Republican “big tent” marketing plan – everyone is welcome here, including bigots and homophobes. Perhaps calling them “laws” helps. But, in that context nothing that could be considered un-wronging homosexuals has happened yet.

      Soon, religion (as an institution), and every denomination will be split into two groups: those who believe homosexuality is wrong and those that do not. You speak of it as Conservatives Vs. Progressives within religion (SEE Study Link at end of Comment). While many Progressives, including Pastor Lura seem to believe that homosexuals are “not wrong,” but that is NOT the official belief of her Denomination or Congregation. Because we have suffered for 2,000 years – yeah, we think that needs to happen soon. Simply putting your toe in the waters of “equality” isn’t enough – try full baptism in equality, fairness and goodness.

      Let me ask you to also consider this: each year hundreds of gay teens commit suicide primarily because they believe they are wrong. That belief ONLY comes from religion – whether shouted or whispered by parents or classmates. It is not the “volume” of those beliefs, but the beliefs themselves. In 2009 it is absurd and a very painful reality that not a single Christian denomination or Church has made it absolutely clear that homosexuality is not wrong.

      So, instead of thinking about “Internet Brian,” or even the millions of LGBTQ persons that have been harmed, hurt and even killed by that belief – could you please think about those young, confused gay teenagers? They are entirely innocent and yet the pain is so bad they actually take their own lives. This is an avoidable loss of life if only some Christians would reject the lies about homosexuals and also tell members we do not accept “bigots or homophobes” in our membership. Why doesn’t your faith – Lutheranism have that “standard, law or belief?” That would save lives, not just LGBTQ jobs.

      I would visit your Church or Pastor Lura’s, but I want some assurance that I’m not sitting next to a homophobe or bigot. Who in your faith has the courage to make a real difference? Who is willing to end the wrong done to homosexuals?

      Study Link: http://www.publicreligion.org/research/
      SEE Conservative Vs. Progressive Clergy

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      As long as the pastor would be as comfortable as he is with this if every reference to gay was changed to black or african american, then I’m fine with his post. But, somehow, I don’t believe he would be willing to make the same statements if he were talking about whether or not some “beleivers” are really racist or not as he is when discussing homophobic bigotry.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      Pastor Erik:

      We are still waiting for Lutherans to take a stand. When will Lutherans officially state that “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant?”

      You and Pastor Lura have been generous with your words – now, we need action. The religious branding of homosexuals must end.

      LGBTQ people are trying to inspire, persuade and, if necessary, force religion to ‘right the wrong’ done to us. It is no longer acceptable. 2,000 years is enough. Please change, now.

      Like Pastor Lura, please post your personal Declaration that Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant in your Church. That would be a positive step towards LGBTQ equality.

      We will monitor your website for progress.

      Thank-you.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      You said:

      “If they act out in actual hate speech or action, then you are right, we need to challenge that. But simply believing homosexual sex is not allowed in the Bible (and that all of us are better off if people refrain from it) is not bigotry, it’s not hate speech, and it’s not in and of itself sinful. No matter how wrong, backward, and contrary to the core of Christian teaching we might find it, this is an opinion that people are entitled to.”

      No, you have to challenge them! Less important to me is the label – unenlightened, ignorant, homophobic, bigoted, sinful, etc. Here’s where the rubber meets the road: A conservative parent comes to you whose child has just told them that they’re gay. Parent says to you “Well, the Bible says gay sex is wrong and that’s what I told my child.” What do you do? Shrug and say, “Yes, that’s a valid way to read the Bible?” If so, you are an accomplice in teaching that child that there’s something wrong with their sexuality. Or, pastors in your denomination say that it’s perfectly valid to read the Bible as banning gay sex and gay people should “refrain from it,” as you put it. You don’t challenge them. They spread that message to the parents in their church who repeat it to their children. Result: more gay people taught to hate themselves. It’s shocking, really.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dizzyspins
      dizzyspins

      I think the unspoken bottom line that Pastor Erik refuses to admit is that the reason the Lutheran Church leadership doesn’t say “homosexuality is not sinful” is because theyre afraid there will be a schism. They’re afraid of dwindling numbers and contributions. So doing what’s right comes second to keeping the company in the black.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • YellowRanger
      YellowRanger

      So if the bible is the word of God, and the word of God is that gay sex is wrong, and God was responsible for intelligently designing humanity, why did he decide to put the prostate where it is?

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      Thanks for writing this, Erik. It’s nice that you are so actively engaging us on this important issue.

      Unfortunately, everything you say doesn’t end up amounting to much, and certainly not anything helpful.

      You said, “the commenter named Brian who insists on straight people claiming this [the oft-mentioned declaration] loudly and publicly before they will seriously engage in conversation with them”

      I don’t think that Brian ever actually said that, but even if he did, what about the rest of us? I want a declaration, and I know that I’ve never said I wouldn’t talk to you until you do. (I’m almost sad that Brian is the only gadfly who gets a shoutout.) What we’re saying, though, is that you have not committed to an action with real teeth, one that actually works to improve the lives of hurt LGBT people – everywhere, not just inside the ELCA. And we’re saying that until you do, we aren’t going to let you display this mantle of smug moral leadership and integrity.

      You’re dismissing this simple statement – as you said, 7 words – as if it were meaningless. But it’s not. Maybe one day it will be, but so far, I’ve never heard a member of the clergy say it outside of the relative security of a gay blog. And even there, the count is currently 2. Wait, Pastor Lura backed away from that. So you’re the only one. It IS significant.

      You see, you said, “if folks haven’t ever encountered a church that believes that ‘homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant’…”
      But the problem is, I don’t know if I have. Because none have been brave enough to say it.

      Ah, but then you’ve anticipated me saying that… You came prepared: “No, they haven’t signed the ‘Universal Brian Declaration’ but they are living it out in ways more powerful than any seven words can communicate.”

      If the declaration – whether signed and mounted on a plaque or simply said to a congregation instead of a bunch of angry Queerty readers – is so damned simple, and is so much less than the steps the ELCA has already taken, then where is the difficulty in saying it? Why is there such an aversion to doing the good things, AND saying it?

      Look, Erik, we hear from a lot of clergy. We hear them loudly, boldly, proudly proclaiming that homosexuals are wrong, sinful, and deviant. What we’re saying is that a true moral authority would want to – would be COMPELLED to – contradict that. Every bit as loudly, boldly, and proudly. Call it compassion for the suffering, a Christian duty, or just plain “the right thing to do.” It doesn’t make a difference to me. But no, what you have done so far is not enough, not if you want to be thanked by us for your generous activism, or congratulated for doing something so good. Because I can’t call your toothless actions either of those things, not with a straight (or queer) face.

      Because you may really, really think that allowing gay clergy and blessing same-sex unions are the same thing as saying it’s not a sin. But it’s not. The conservative Jews showed us that by voting to allow those things while simultaneously voting to uphold the belief that homosexuality is a sin.

      I understand, it’s a difficult line to tread, upholding scripture while standing for equality. There’s only so far you can go before more conservative Christians start saying that you aren’t real Christians, that you’re preaching a false gospel, that this is the fulfillment of Thessalonian prophecy. I get it. That’s a hard position to put yourself in.

      Maybe you, Lutherans, and the church in general aren’t going to be the civil rights hero here. Maybe it’s too much to ask of the institution that has been responsible for so much of our suffering. But if that’s the case, please don’t pretend otherwise. Just admit that you’re taking a back seat to real progress.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      Thanks for your words Pastor Samuelson. I’m a young guy, a young homosexual guy. I almost took my own life when I was 16 because I was told I was wrong and ‘defective’ by my religious family and many young people my age. My uncle saved me by telling me I was okay just the way I was – and he’s not even gay. So, don’t suggest all this difficulty because you’re straight. Nobody, especially religion, made straight “wrong,” but religion made me wrong. I want you to know that I AM NOT WRONG and I am ALIVE.

      You gave us 4 pages of nice talk, but it wouldn’t have saved me because you still insist on “tolerating” bigotry and homphobia within your religion. How can you do that? How can you welcome people that don’t value my life? Or consider me their equal?

      I don’t understand why lutherans or any other christians won’t simply fix that. Just stop it. Make it clear to the whole world that my life has value and the life of my gay brothers and sisters by ending the “homos are wrong” crap.

      My Grandmother used to say “Church is for the good people.” Please don’t make my Grandmother a liar – fix this injustice. All we want is to be equal. I don’t know why that is asking so much. Please make it official – make it a belief of lutherans. Set an example for other religions and let’s make a real difference.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @cgd: @dizzyspins: I agree, and I think you for saying so succinctly what it took all of my rambling to get across.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob
      Rob

      Pastor Erik, I admire your desire to engage with people on both sides of this issue. I also admire your patience. Reading the comments on your first Queerty article can’t have been easy!

      People who express religious objections to homosexuality do terrific harm. They harm gay children by teaching them to hate themselves. They harm straight children by teaching them to break off friendships with gay classmates and to look at gay people with disgust. They harm gay people of all ages by encouraging coreligionists to vote against equal rights for gays and lesbians.

      People who preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, in the press, or at the dinner table are doing something morally wrong. They need to hear this. It’s especially important for them to hear it from you and from other religious leaders who share their faith.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      what a douche!! where is the rent boy who will out him???…

      Sep 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnVisser
      JohnVisser

      Pastor Erik:

      I do appreciate what you are trying to do here with your posts on Queerty. Your commentary is valuable in the long road to ending bigotry and discrimination. It is refreshing to hear you say that you will never fully understand or be able to appreciate what it is really like to be gay in this society.

      I am not religious at all. I am an atheist. I do believe that it is the right of others to believe what they choose. I do not believe it is the right of anyone to force their beliefs on others. We live in a country, currently, where not a single protection exists for the rights of LGBT citizens. Discrimination, in fact, is the law and is actively promoted and defended. My problem with religion is that while I am fine with leaving believers alone, they overwhelming have attacked me, marginalized me, insulted me and denied me basic freedoms and protections under the law.

      In this post today you said, “If they act out in actual hate speech or action, then you are right, we need to challenge that. But simply believing homosexual sex is not allowed in the Bible (and that all of us are better off if people refrain from it) is not bigotry, it’s not hate speech, and it’s not in and of itself sinful. No matter how wrong, backward, and contrary to the core of Christian teaching we might find it, this is an opinion that people are entitled to.”

      Let me take part of that and alter it slightly on an effort to help further your understanding. So, lets says this passage is written for a Jewish audience. “If they act out in actual hate speech or action, then you are right, we need to challenge that. But simply believing being Jewish is not allowed in the Bible (and that all of us are better off if people refrain from it) is not bigotry, it’s not hate speech, and it’s not in and of itself sinful. No matter how wrong, backward, and contrary to the core of Christian teaching we might find it, this is an opinion that people are entitled to.” And here’s another one, “While I am a member of the KKK and believe Negroes are an inferior race, I am not a bigot because I never lynched anyone or burned any crosses.”

      No matter how you wrap your head around it, the people who would believe anything like this (whether its in the Bible or not) are bigots. People can choose to believe whatever they want – but their choices do come with consequences.

      When you support people who believe LGBTs should be oppressed because the Bible says so, then you are enabling the oppression. You’re giving them a pass. It like the reverse of, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner,” when it is applied to gay people.

      I agree, you will never truly understand. But I do appreciate your effort.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joelle
      Joelle

      I just want to disagree with your definition of the purpose of the second use of the Law – in preaching anyway. You sort of got there but I think your definition puts way too much emphasis on the use of Law to encourage us to try to be better (which I think is more the third use and many many Lutherans would reject a so-called third use) A lot of Lutherans make that mistake and so proclamation turns into exhortations to try to be better. Really the only purpose of the Law in proclamation is to turn our hearts towards God’s love and mercy as we realize there is no hope anywhere else.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ricardo
      Ricardo

      I sincerely hope Pastor Samuelson listens to the more enlightened voices on this comment thread; there are some excellent points he will surely take to heart that will hopefully deepen his understanding of why parts of his argument don’t fly.

      For my fellow queers who insist on tearing him down so viciously with hate speech, take a lesson from him and from your fellows who take the time to engage him: think before you spew off random words of hate, violence and bigotry, otherwise you are no better than those you condemn. It might feel good to express your rage in an anonymous forum, but it is far less interesting or brave than what both these pastors are trying to do.

      This man is not your enemy. Choose your battles wisely, and as he says, and I would think Pastor Lura would agree, at some point it can no longer be about “us” versus “them.” We are in this together and it may not be easy at all times, but if we really want to save lives we will not do it by returning hate with hate.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Timothy
      Timothy

      Pastor Erik,

      Thanks for your sincerity and your efforts. Please know that not all gay folk engage in anti-religion bigotry or feel the need to tell you over and over that they are atheists and that anyone who disagrees is foolish (yes, I find evangelical fundamentalist atheists to be as annoying as evangelical fundamentalist Christians).

      For the rest of us (actually, studies say the majority of us), we appreciate that the ECLA has moved in significant and powerful ways this year to step closer to inclusion and full welcome into the family of the church.

      I know that there are some who will not be satisfied until all Lutherans are welcoming – and I value their position in that it moves the body forward – but having followed religion for a long time, I am astonished by the distance that so many in the mainline church have taken in just a few short years.

      And I am deeply humbled by the cheerful sacrifice that many have made. I know that there are those who voted for inclusion even though they have no gay members, knowing full well that they could upset some of their parishioners and face angry words or loss of congregants. They could have chosen the safe route and not to rock the boat, but they felt called to side with justice. And I’m very thankful.

      I would like to have the luxury of standing and demanding 100% agreement with ME on all things, but in the meanwhile I’ll live in an imperfect world and delight in those who slowly but steadily come to see that God’s word and will on this issue is towards love and away from rejection.

      Thank you for another insightful installment in this conversation.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Rob: “People who preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, in the press, or at the dinner table are doing something morally wrong. They need to hear this. It’s especially important for them to hear it from you and from other religious leaders who share their faith.”

      It’s important to change the BELIEF.

      It’s a Christian belief that must be extinguished. A few voices of acceptance won’t save any lives or end the pain and discrimination of LGBTQ people. We need the denominations to change the hateful and hurtful belief that homosexuals are wrong. Until then, we can never be EQUAL.

      How about changing that belief Lutherans?

      Let’s make it official. Sign the Declaration:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Erik

      You stated “If they act out in actual hate speech or action, then you are right, we need to challenge that. But simply believing homosexual sex is not allowed in the Bible (and that all of us are better off if people refrain from it) is not bigotry, it’s not hate speech, and it’s not in and of itself sinful.”

      That is not a sound application of Lutheran theology.

      Luther stated that to even think of something that is sin is the same as acting on the thought, elaborating on Christ’s remarks regarding looking at a woman with lust being adultery.

      The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ intrinsically denigrates and defames homosexuals, by calling their innate capacity for love and intimacy worthy of death and eternal separation from God. The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ intrinsically violates Christ’s teachings regarding how we are to treat our neighbors, because no heterosexual wants to be told that his innate capacity for love and intimacy is so vile and disgusting, he deserves to die and be tortured for all eternity. When homophobes claim ‘homosexuality is sin’, or ‘homosexual sexual activity is sin’, they are doing to us what they would never, ever tolerate having done to themselves.

      So the idea ‘homosexuality is sin’ is itself sin.

      Keep in mind the test Jesus gave for false, and thus sinful, teaching: good trees bear good fruit, evil trees bear evil fruit. All of the fruit of ‘homosexuality is sin’ are evil. It is a belief that only causes harm, and as such, it is actually a rejection of God, in all three persons. Rejecting Christ’s command for equality, for that is what ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is after all, is sin, and those who teach ‘homosexuality is sin’ are actually rejecting Jesus Christ.

      The distinction you argue, that as long as people don’t act on it, they are not bigots, is not only false in terms of the actual definition of bigotry, it violates a core Lutheran teaching that even sins committed only in one’s thoughts still matter, are still sin.

      Also, Luther, despite his own antisemitism, argued in his greater catechism, regarding “Thou shalt not kill”, that it was not enough to simply not kill, or simply not harm others. Luther states one must actively protect others to fully obey ‘thou shalt not kill’. He argues that if by one’s inaction, or thoughts, you put another person in jeopardy, or allow them to come to harm, you have violated ‘thou shalt not kill’.

      So, Erik, not only is the idea ‘homosexuality is sin’ itself sinful, violating ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ by defining the most intimate, vulnerable and beautiful part of their lives as worthy of death and damnation, something no heterosexual would stand for, the failure of the ELCA, and mainstream Christian denominations in general, to actively and overtly end the oppression and defamation of GLBTQ people is a violation of ‘thou shalt kill’, according to Martin Luther. Mainstream churches that do not act to end prejudice are, by their inaction, allowing people to be harmed, they are in violation of ‘thou shalt not kill’.

      I’d go so far as to say that they are in violation of commandments 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9, as well. The ugly claims about GLBTQ people, are cases of ‘bearing false witness’, the contempt for human beings, in Lutheran and Christian theology, violates the required respect for God, and using His name to justify their prejudice absolutely counts as taking His name in vain.

      Erik, you wrote: “No matter how wrong, backward, and contrary to the core of Christian teaching we might find it, this is an opinion that people are entitled to.”

      Whether people are entitled to an opinion, or not, has no bearing on whether that opinion is intrinsically prejudice, or sin. People are entitled to an opinion on race, but people who are not racists tend to agree that even thinking that people of color are intrinsically inferior is racism, whether it is acted on or not.

      Additionally, to contrast two conflicting statements you made:
      “calling them homophobes and sinners is not going to build relationship, its not going to bring understanding,” “Speaking the truth in love as you have done with me. That’s what changes hearts.”

      The word homophobe, when applied to people who malign, denigrate, defame and condemn homosexuals, is the truth, the word bigot, when applied to people who malign, denigrate, defame and condemn homsoexuals, is the truth. Just as bigot applies to people who revile people of color, or people of faith, and religionphobe applies to people who revile, denigrate, defame and condemn people of faith. There are plenty of people doing that here, and whether you’ll admit it in public or not, I have no doubt that you saw such remarks as articulating overt, malignant prejudice.

      Target is irrelevant to the definition of prejudice and bigotry, and actions are irrelevant as well. What matters it the underlying contempt for other people based entirely on some trait they have, and all the excuse making in the world, whether from people who hate Christians, or people who hate gays and lesbians, will not change that.

      Your attempt to take accurate terms like homophobe out of use won’t build relationship, it silences GLBTQ people from making the completely accurate, completely righteous, and wholly necessary call for accountability. All you are doing is creating a one-side, authoritarian paradigm – conservative, heterosexual people who claim to follow Christ can denigrate homosexuals, but homosexuals cannot tell their oppressors ‘you are harming me’.

      The really interesting twist is that Jesus really only gives us permission to take our brothers and sisters, other people, to account when they sin against us personally, otherwise, it is not our business. GLBTQ people, even if homosexuality were sin, and it is not, are not sinning against heterosexuals, so no heterosexual has any right to chastize us or call us to repent. But, every person who teaches ‘homosexuality is sin’ is sinning against every GLBTQ person and their families. So we have a Christ-given right to tell homophobes ‘you are sinning against me’ – which the word ‘homophobe’ articulates, while they have no basis for criticizing our intimate relationships and sexuality, at all.

      Your written remarks seem to indicate that you are more concerned with maintaining a congenial relationship with the homophobes in your congregation and denomination, and that focus is misplaced. Would you ignore ‘thou shalt not steal’ to maintain a warm relationship with some employer who has plundered your retirement account?

      In my opinion, you are still focused on the wrong people and the wrong issue.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Erik

      A few more thoughts on why simply believing ‘homosexuality is sin’ is itself sin.

      The belief itself is unjust, it punishes people for an innate trait they possess, and when implemented, denies them, for life, access to an honest, intimate, fulfilling relationship against their will. This is not just, merciful, righteous, or any of the other qualities attributed to God.

      So to even embrace the idea is to accept the premise that God is intrinsically unjust, irrational, unfair, abusive, degrading – in short, those believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ are also intrinsically accepting ‘God is evil’.

      That is sin, missing the mark, and ironic as all get out.

      Then there’s the problem of the consequences of ‘homosexuality is sin’. I touched on how these teaching bears only evil fruit, indicating that, per Christ, “homosexuality is sin” is a false teaching that cannot come from God. Some of those specific consequences are themselves explicitly condemned as sin.

      People who believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ routinely commit the sin of bearing false witness in the process of articulating, explaining and defending their belief. To be really blunt, they pretty much universally and always are unable to defend their belief without bearing false witness. A belief that requires sin to be expressed, cannot be anything but sin as well.

      And people who believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ too often rely on physical violence, including murder, to express and manifest their belief. Again, the fact that the belief leads to sin to express it, indicates that the belief is sin as well.

      At the core, the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is intrinsically oppressive and coercive, which of course indicates one thing – sin. Luther wrote of sin itself as being spiritually oppressive and coercive, a belief that shares those qualities is sin.

      That is why I wrote, during your last visit, that you were not focused on the real sin in this issue. Homosexuality – the orientation, is not sin, and love-making between two people of the same-gender is not intrinsically sin either.

      Prejudice is, bigotry is, discrimination and abuse, persecution and harassment is sin. Those are the qualities that should be the focus in these discussions, those are the qualities that harm other people, drive other people out of relatinship with God, that cause people to put other things before God.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @Erik

      You are looking for the truth and are willing to make mistakes to get there. That’s a kind of courage I don’t see very often. Almost never, actually. Thank you so much for posting. Please post again.

      @David

      I am extremely impressed with what you wrote. I would like to know who you are!

      Of course, you are right. Sin, homophobia and bigotry are words we should not give up in order to be “nice”. They are the truth. That said, usually they are completely the wrong instrument.

      Also, there are many real tares in the church who happily worship an evil God, but there are many more muddled people who don’t have the intellectual or emotional energy to get to the right side of this or any other issue. God loves the second group of people despite their sin. Keeping a church together despite its disagreements and errors is largely about protecting the muddled people from the tares. It’s not just about staying in the black, as someone suggested.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Andrew wrote, “Pastor Erik: We are still waiting for Lutherans to take a stand. When will Lutherans officially state that ‘homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant?’ You and Pastor Lura have been generous with your words – now, we need action. The religious branding of homosexuals must end.”

      I’ll leave it to the pastors to talk about theology, but to give a flippant answer to your question, it will take a very long time just as it takes a very long time for California to pass a budget.
      It takes a 2/3 vote in both cases, and you don’t get a 2/3 vote
      easily. Demanding instant action when those are the rules is childish – you are demanding something that is for all intents and purposes impossible. On the other hand, if you get rid of a more or less democratic process, you end up with what the Catholics have, with the Pope having absolute authority, and you can see how well that works. It took them nearly 400 years after the truth was obvious to everyone else to reopen Galileo’s case.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jarvisbearcub
      jarvisbearcub

      @Brian:

      Have to take issue with the assertion that suicidal tendencies are all rooted in religion. There are NUMEROUS homophobic assholes whose homophobia does not come from religion. Like the atheist who shot up the Unitarian church in Tennessee, for example. And I have met a few myself.

      That being said though, I wholeheartedly agree about the disagreement over the fundamentalist metaphor. The divide between the gay community and the religious one is not one of “beliefs.” Insisting that others hold a stance that being gay is not sinful or wrong in order to talk to them is not the same as talking to a fundamentalist. True fundamentalists speak their own language and go way beyond having to have someone “accept Christ” before they will be spoken to in a conversation, or show anyone else respect. Still, being gay is not a belief, it is an acceptance of one’s orientation. It is not reinforced through practice, as religion is (which Christians generally blame on Genesis 3 – that our nature is to sin).

      Beyond that however, it’s not a simple matter of saying that the Bible says it’s a sin. Because the Bible doesn’t just say it’s a sin. The Bible says it’s an abomination, and is “unnatural.” Abomination is a term of idolatry and “unnatural” makes connections to pagan worship in Romans 1, as much indulgent behaviour in Scripture is depicted such as orgiastic ritual. So the worldview builds that only when people are so self-centred and rich that they can sit around while the poor suffer and starve, can they have the time to say “hmmm… let me try shagging this person of the same gender.” (see Amos 6 and the ruin of Joseph). The problem with all of these assertions, of course, is not that they counter my belief, but they are NOT TRUE. Homosexuality and gender difference have been in humanity since the beginning and is in culture throughout the world going back for centuries. It is not a product of pagan worship or of the indulgence of a leisure class. As such, to say that something is natural is a sin causes tremendous cognitive dissonance, which almost always devolves into mental illness. In other words, you believe it’s wrong to be gay, but it’s natural and you can’t change it, but your ecclesiastical authority and tradition tell you it’s unnatural, so you feel powerless between these two poles. Depression, drinking, and other forms of acting out begin.

      Now the consequence of this would be that people need to view Scripture very differently from how they currently do. They need to change a LOT about their own views. And that may up-end everything they’ve known since they were kids, particularly if they have used homophobia as a crutch to comfort their own insecurities. However, this CANNOT be the problem of LGBT people! The flip side is that we are asked to do the same, to question and deny everything we internally feel and know to be true about ourselves, to feel shame because we have “missed the mark.” Except our feelings of same-sex attraction are natural and they don’t go away with rehearsal of rituals, the way that some selfishness or some other undesirable trait might with repeated acts of religious ritual. Of course, Christians have the right to their “opinions,” but this is not an opinion it is a belief. Homosexuality is an orientation, not a worldview or an assertion. Yes, gay people are marketed to, based on the kinds of lifestyle patterns that emerged from living in the closet for decades. So maybe that feels like a separate “culture” that competes with the Church. But it is not, as the assertions which form that culture are not religious in nature. Homosexuality is not intrinsic to systematic theology, Christology or soteriology (not for Protestants, anyways). I think there are ways for the Bible to be understood, fully, as wise, without rejecting us LGBT people. But that’s on the religious community to come to terms with. LGBT people cannot risk the mental health of its youth and its older adults, for that matter, for the sake of some people feeling affirmed in their status as religious people. It’s apples and oranges.

      That all being said, I know that historically, LGBT rights are a newer concept for us and we’re all struggling to come to terms with things, so good on you for being in dialogue. If you want to talk to some gay Christians about their experiences, I suggest going to your local bear night. Or go to a leather night, where you’re bound to bump into a priest or 6.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dom
      Dom

      ARGH! This makes me want to scream!

      This whole religion/homosexuality thing is a lie in which the Church only has found the best way to protect the ass of priests molesting kids, by force feeding their cult members that homosexuality is an instrument of the devil — superimposing it on pedophilia.

      Then, people think homosexuality = pedophilia and you get a major social problem, while priest still keep on doing altar boys BUT can be redeemed in the eyes of God at church: of course, the devil made them do it, see? WTF!

      And while I cannot marry my boyfriend because the fucking church is lobbying the State(s) — so much for the separation of Church and State : better wipe our asses with the Constitution —, atheists can still MARRY and have the same rights as bigot jerks, when atheism, in the bloody book of fairy tales (aka the Bible), is also a major sin.

      Has the Church ever made a fuss about atheists having a right to marry and procreate even MORE potential atheists? WTF #2!

      So I guess being gay AND atheist, there’s no way I find a way.

      Meanwhile, man, how much the religious talk and talk and talk, justifying everything with the utmost insane and irrational rhetoric.

      Well, semantic and rhetoric are to the faithful what porn is to the common mortal: a way to release pressure and spunk the sheet.

      With all due respect, sir, pastor or whatever: go fuck yourself with a fork.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Disgusted American
      Disgusted American

      I can’t say for sure he’s a bigot…I’d say he’s more Brainwashed by a mythical 2000yr old Man-made book about some God figure and some “rules

      Sep 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Not a bigot, just an idiot. And probably an enjoyer of the cock, himself.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 8:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnVisser
      JohnVisser

      And another thing. . .

      You also have to realize that all of us are accustomed to being ‘accepted’ by our family and friends. But when we ask them to help fight the injustice few actually do. Most straight ‘allies’ are tired of hearing about our problems and they frequently give us objections to advancing our civil rights. A recent example: “There are more important things for Congress to deal with right now.” All the while, those of us LGBTs who are uninsured (talking healthcare here) and are denied coverage through our spouses’ or partners’ employer are realizing that we will be penalized for not having insurance while our straight unemployed married counterparts enjoy health insurance through their spouses. It sucks – yet another way that we will be further oppressed while actually forced to subsidize straight relationships.

      We are also very accustomed to most of our straight allies also being allies of those who oppress us. You all are like Switzerland – very neutral. And neutral doesn’t help end the hate.

      Sep 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • paulied
      paulied

      Pastor Erik,
      First, thank you for your continuing your honest and heartfelt dialog with a sometimes pissy, intolerant community. As you can clearly see, the long-standing ill will flows both ways between the religious and LGBT community. However, if we are to be completely honest, the infliction of all of the real, long-term damage has been completely one-sided. Sure, some church services may have been interupted during the darkest days of the AIDS crisis and we may view the tax-exempt status of churches who act more like PACs as fair game, but c’mon! For thousands of years we have been persecuted by religion. How many of us have been killed or jailed? How many of our younger gays and lesbians have been kicked out of their homes to live on the streets. How many have killed themselves wracked with self-hatred? And who are the ones invariably marching on the front lines to deny us our rights? And what is always the justification for all of this? Because the bible says homosexuality is a sin. So, I hope you can understand why we will have to agree to disagree about whether espousing that particular position constitutes bigotry.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pastor Erik
      Pastor Erik

      I’m going to chime in this time because I think I’ve been missing out on some of the fun of this site.

      Quoting Ajax: “Believing that the bible bans gay sex is not bigotry. However, treating someone differently because he or she is gay *IS* bigotry.” I agree with this. Here’s a parallel example as I see it:

      I believe that the Declaration of Independence says “that all men are created equal.” I also believe that Jefferson really meant “men” and did not mean to include women as fully equal. I also think that he meant “white men” and very probably “protestant white men” were created equal. I (as most people today) interpret the word “men” this passage to mean “all people”. In the past 200+ years we as a culture have worked very hard to make sure that the “all” includes “all” including, people of color, women, and in the past several decades LGBTQ people. And we are far from this actually being true.

      I think it is quite foolish to interpret this document the way it was originally interpreted, because as we now realize that excluding certain types of people from the “all” actually undermines the whole thing Jefferson and the other founding fathers were getting at. To use this passage to exclude women (or anyone else) is in 2009 bigotry. But am I a bigot for believing that the Declaration of Independence preferences (white) men? Or only if I use that belief, as Ajax has suggested, to treat people differently?

      I would venture to say that there are people (including LGBT people) reading this right now who believe the Bible bans gay sex, and maybe even is fundamentally against gay people, and that is exactly why they are not interested in the Bible or people who are interested in the Bible. Are they bigots? And if those same people treat Christians in the way some of you have (“go fuck yourself with a fork” comes to mind) what sort of label do you have for them? Is that bigotry?

      One of the reasons I’m personally not on a campaign to get the Lutheran Church or Christianity as a whole to fully embrace homosexuality is the simple fact that the Bible actually has very little to say on the subject, and Jesus himself had nothing to say about it. I’m glad that there are people (many, many of my friends) who do feel called to this work, but it’s just not what I’m all about. The Bible does have lots to say about how we treat one another, especially outsiders, those different than us, and those that society (or anybody) considers outcasts. And it has even more to say about how we treat the poor. I’m WAY more interested in how we treat people, including those whom we have profound disagreements with, though I’m sure many of you are not. Do we all have to be the same to get along? I really don’t think the issue is whether or not the Bible says gay sex is wrong (this is far from clear, by the way)–but how we treat one another. And like the Declaration of Independence, I can’t interpret the Bible to be against gay and lesbian people in committed relationships (and yes, having sex) without undermining the whole rest of the thing.

      To Brian (post 14), I’d love for you to come to my church, but I certainly can’t promise that you won’t be sitting next to a bigot or a homophobe. They are welcome there just as you are, because I believe that God loves homophobes bigots too, and that exclusion is no way to be in relationship. I know its crazy, it totally is, but for me this is at the heart of the Christian faith. It’s just really, really hard to put into practice. But this is the way that Jesus operated, and I’m actually surprised that more people don’t reject this way of being in the world. And I have no doubt that (in my congregation at least) even the bigots and homophobes would welcome you, ask your name, listen to your story, and invite you (and your partner) to share coffee and cookies afterwards. They’d probably even keep talking to you and invite you back (or invite you to help serve the meal to the homeless on Tuesday) after they refused to sign your petition. And if they didn’t, they’d get an earful from their pastor.

      To Josh (post 20): I humbly offer that I think your grandmother was wrong. Church is not for the good people. It’s for ordinary screw ups like you and me. I’m tired of church being “nice people’s club”. The Church is full of gays and straight people and bigots and and racists and and porn addicts and alcoholics and people who yell at their kids and homophobes and all manner of regular people loved by God who live and love and serve together despite the fact that from the point of view of anyone else they are totally nuts. If it’s not big enough for all of us crazy sinners and saints, there’s no room in it for me.

      You all have got me thinking more about the calling out of homophobia as sin, and the sin of not doing so. I’ve got some pondering to do before responding to that, and I look forward to further thoughts from you all on that.

      I’m now off to ponder the logistics of self-pleasuring with kitchen utensils.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marvin Vann
      Marvin Vann

      Pastor Samuelson,

      First, let me say how sad I am to read some cruel attacks against you in the comments above. A public forum like this always seems to leave room to some to mistreat others. I’m sorry you have undergone that.

      I think you get it wrong in a couple of important ways. I write as both a committed Christian and a gay man.

      First, you seem to assume that homophobia is about personal hatred. But, it often isn’t. Take the analogy with racism. People who supported Jim Crow laws were perpetrating racism, they were engaged in racism. That doesn’t mean they necessarily hated black folks. They may even, like Strom Thurmond and Thomas Jefferson, have in some respects loved individual black folks, have borne no particular ill will toward black folks, in general. Doesn’t change the fact that they were engaged in racism, that some of their words, actions and attitudes were racist. My grandfathers actions and attitudes were in many respects sexist. Doesn’t mean they hated women or certainly not that they hated my grandmothers. But, I wish someone in their lives had been in a position to lovingly, but firmly, point out to them the damage their sexism caused.

      Next, you seem to equate identifying homophobia with hating those who engage in it. But again, t’ain’t necessarily so. My grandparents and one of my uncles were racist. When I was eleven, I told my uncle I thought his comments were racist and wrong. I loved him and still do–loved him enough to let him know that I thought his actions and words were hurtful and beneath him.

      I think you are right that it is not usually helpful, is in fact arguably sinful, to call people racists, or homophobes, or other reifying, objectifying names that implicitly deny their possiblity to change, that reduce them to a state of mind. But there is an important difference between saying, “What you are doing or saying or supporting is racist” vs. “you are a racist.” Same holds with homophobia. I can say the former with love or with hatred, with the intention of calling on the better angels of their nature, or of belittling them and engaging in a game of one-up-manship.

      What I can’t do is claim to be an advocate or ally of GLBT folks while lecturing them on the need to avoid calling it bigotry when other folks support policies that deny the dignity of GLBT people by calling their capacity to love and their familial relations inherently sinful.

      This is an area in which there is no neutral ground: either being gay is inherently sinful and we need to change, or it’s not and those who denigrate us in that matter are wrong and need to change.

      Arbp. Tutu likes to tell an African parable: ‘If you come into a clearing and see an elephant stepping on the tail of a mouse, and you declare yourself neutral, you can expect the appreciation of the elephant, but don’t expect any thanks from the mouse.’ Someone who witnesses oppression cannot be neutral: You either actively oppose the injustice, or you don’t. If the latter, your culpability may be less than that of those actively carrying out the oppression. But, either r way, you play into the hands of the oppressor.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      @Pastor Erik:

      “I’m now off to ponder the logistics of self-pleasuring with kitchen utensils.”

      Could you please instead ponder Julia Sweeney’s one woman show “Letting Go of God,” available on DVD, by sitting down and watching it instead? I think it would help you understand how your life now and your life as a freethinker would not be very different.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Terence Weldon
      Terence Weldon

      Pastor Samuelson clearly is not a bigot: he has reflected upon his earlier sincerely held beliefs, and found many of them wanting. We as queer people object to the real bigotry we face from the religious and non-religious right, and to the way our opponents stereotype us. We must not make the mistake of falling into the same trap of bigotry and stereotyping all Christians because many of them use the mask of Scripture to camouflage their prejudice.

      The ELCA assembly was a groundbreaking event because it showed that reasonable Christians, like Pastor Samuelson, can be led by careful study and rational debate, to see that there is nothing in Scripture, or in the history of the early church, that is inherently against homoerotic relationships, and much that is supportive.

      Instead of reactively dismissing all Christians as bigots, we should be engaging with the middle ground on their own terms. The ECLA has shown that these people can be won over, and can become staunch allies against the real bigots- an important part of the Gospel message is the struggle for justice.

      (See Queering the Church for some of the religious arguments debunking the opposition)

      Sep 17, 2009 at 1:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marvin Vann
      Marvin Vann

      I realize I neglected one of your main points. You argue that not everyone who reads the Bible as condemning homosexuality is driven by personal animosity toward homosexuals, and is thus not necessarily “homophobic.” I think it’s more complicated than that.

      As I explained above, one can be engaged in homophobia without being driven by personal animosity or hatred. The question has to be asked, “Why does such a person ascent to prioritizing those particular passages in the Bible, read in that particular way, over others?” Why does someone who eats shellfish, wears mixed fabrics, ignores injunctions against shaving, or women teaching in church and not covering their hair, prioritize those particular passages that seem to justify looking down on homosexuality?

      Granted, it may be a kind of passive acceptance of–or simply an uninformed acquiescence to–their larger culture’s fear of the other, and not personal animosity. But, does that mean it should be accepted as “one valid Christian position?”

      Strategically, that may constitute an improvement for GLBT folks over past positions. But, if in fact being gay is not inherently sinful, then such a position still constitutes acquiescence to a hurtful, sinful, unchristian position, one which unjustifiably denigrates others.

      I can accept the wisdom of advice not to rush into demonizing those who hold such a position–on both moral and strategic grounds. But being an ally of GLBT folks cannot be reconciled simultaneously with advising us that such a position is “an acceptable Christian position.”

      Again, I don’t see how this can admit of much “middle ground.” If being predisposed to fall in love with someone of the same gender, or feeling oneself to be of a different gender than one’s genitalia indicate, is not inherently sinful, then treating it as sinful is unjustifiably hurtful and, thus, itself, falls outside a Christian ethic.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 1:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      So a Church steps forward and makes a move saying that they’ve done and propegated some fucked up shit in the past. Not the worst of the shit that’s happened, but still they’re ashamed of it and want to start a dialogue and look for healing. I’m not LGBTQ, however I’d hope those who are would respect the ELCA for having the character and the “spiritual balls” to explore and open a dialogue upon the LGBTQ experience.
      Also, I feel that a lot of this energy & passion could be shared in the fight against the crimes LGBTQ suffer within ISLAM, which are endorsed by Sharia Law.
      It’s easy to harass or sue a Christian for refusing services to a LGBTQ couple, but are the same tactics pulled on MUSLIMS or JEWS? Why?…because Christians are an easy mark, besides you might get decapitated for trying to do a same-sex marriage in a Mosque.
      At any rate share the fun, why bother underminding one religion when you can undermind them all?!?! Let’s get the Jews involved in this too, has anyone tried getting a same-sex blessing/marriage in a synagogue lately? Sorry, again no turn the cheek rule in Judaism. So can we give Erik and the rest of those old-fashioned mid-westerly Lutherans a break, and maybe a nod of gratitude for what really accounts to be a pretty courageous vote in the Religious World…@Jason: Borg and all!

      Sep 17, 2009 at 1:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Pastor Erik wrote, “I believe that the Declaration of Independence says ‘that all men are created equal.’ I also believe that Jefferson really meant ‘men’ and did not mean to include women as fully equal. I also think that he meant ‘white men’ and very probably “protestant white men” were created equal. I (as most people today) interpret the word ‘men’ this passage to mean ‘all people'”.

      Jefferson did not mean only ‘white men’. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/ruffdrft.html has a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, before it was edited by committee. In his original text, which was far more fiery than the toned-down edited document, Jefferson wrote (referring to the King of England):

      “he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

      Others, of course, did not share Jefferson’s views regarding slavery.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 2:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      ggreen: “If the bible is the word of god:
      Why did god wait thousands of years after creating man to publish it?
      Why did god task people whose only common trait was they could write legibly to write it?
      Why did god wait several thousand more years to enable a pontiff in a tacky dress to enforce it”

      …. there were a few galaxies a billion light years away whose centers were about to collapse to form supermassive black holes, and when that happens, the galactic-scale fireworks are a sight
      to behold. So “god” ran off to watch the show and could only make it back to earth a few times.

      Hey, it is as good a reason as any!

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Pastor Erik

      Your comparison and conclusion regarding the Declaration of Independence, was less than accurate, at best.

      “Believing that the bible bans gay sex ” and “to interpret this document (Declaration of Independence) the way it was originally interpreted”

      are not equivalent concepts.

      The first is a statement of someone’s personal interpretation of a text, the concept(s) they have accepted as correct. The second is a statement hypothesizing about someone else’s interpretation of a text.

      With that dischordant comparison in mind, turning to your question:
      “But am I a bigot for believing that the Declaration of Independence preferences (white) men?”

      Of course, because that belief would reflect your own interpretation of said document. Had you said “Am I a bigot for believing that the authors of the Declaration of Indepences preferences white men” the answer would be no, though you might get dinged by some historians for making unfounded assumptions about the various signatories to that document.

      As you said yourself,”excluding certain types of people from the “all” actually undermines the whole thing Jefferson and the other founding fathers were getting at.” While said signers may have personally held racial and gender biases, ‘the whole thing’ they were getting at was ideal of rejecting such prejudices, and the document they constructed expresses that ideal far more vociferously, far more consistently, than it sustains or advances racial or gender prejudice.

      This is the difference between reading into a text support for one’s own bias, and recognizing the ideals actually expressed as core, defining principles.

      Though non-Christians claim, from lack of education, that the Bible orders, supports or celebrates prejudices, they, like the Christians who have used it to support racism, slavery, misogyny and homophobia, are reading into the text support for their own bias, in direct contradiction to the core principles, ‘the whole thing the Bible gets at’ – which is a message of social justice as an expression of the perfect justice of God.

      In a way, it is much like the participant in a forum like this one who dismisses the entire content and argument of someone’s post, by insisting that a typo or error of grammar, is the sole defining point of the text.

      “And like the Declaration of Independence, I can’t interpret the Bible to be against gay and lesbian people in committed relationships (and yes, having sex) without undermining the whole rest of the thing.”

      And this is why believing ‘homosexuality is sin’ is bigotry, because it requires one to undermine the whole rest of the thing to support that one particular conclusion.

      That is a key element of prejudice – ignoring all evidence that contradicts the desired conclusion. Tell a racist that science indisputably proves that people of color are not genetically, physically, emotionally or intellectually inferior, and they ignore the evidence, and fabricate or fixate on isolated examples they interpret to support their prejudice. So too with antisemites, or misogynists, or the anti-religionists. And so to with homophobes, who consistently ignore or reject any and all evidence, regardless of the source, that contradicts their desired conclusion.

      It is my opinion that prejudice is a form of mental illness, a form of selective sociopathic behavior that is coupled to a susceptibility to delusion. Routinely and consistently, bigots of every flavor reject what is real to promote the negative and degrading fantasy that exists only within their own prejudice.

      In the case of ‘homosexuality is sin’, Christians who teach this are completely ignoring the entire over-arching theme of the Bible, and particularly of Christ’s ministry, to fixate on their guess about what a handful of verses might mean. They ignore everything Christ taught about social justice, about judgementalism, about the Law itself, focusing the bulk of their spiritual energy on a construct, a fantasy about what a few verses might mean.

      In a very real way, they are engaged in a form of idolatry, for they worship, venerate, adore on bended knee, not God, but a carefully edited tiny, tiny sliver of an idea of what people thought God might have meant.

      I have, on occasion, told Christians who argue ‘homosexuality is sin’ that Paul’s opening diatribe in Romans 1 actually describes their own approach to spirituality far more than it describes the average GLBTQ person. They worship not God, but the vision of God they have created around one of several interpretations of a just a handful of verses.

      I do think that this: “Do we all have to be the same to get along?” was condescending and belittling on every level. GLBTQ people are not arguing that heterosexuals Christians must ‘be the same’ – become homosexuals, for everyone to get along. Quite the opposite in fact, homophobes have been actively working for somewhere between 700 and 1300 years to force all GLBTQ people to become heterosexuals, through coercion, persecution, torture, murder, systemic oppression, and doctrinal tyranny. Sadly, some GLBTQ people have taken that example to heart and learned to mirror it back, seeking and articulating even here, their desire for a world without religion, forced upon people whether they are willing or not.

      Personally, I think your excuse for not campaigning to change minds about “homosexuality is sin” is something of a cop out. As you said “The Bible does have lots to say about how we treat one another, especially outsiders, those different than us, and those that society (or anybody) considers outcasts.” To manifest what the Bible does say about how we treat others, requires articulating a revulsion and rejection of ‘homosexuality is sin’ as well as rejecting racism, neglect of the poor, ill, elderly, and so on.

      GLBTQ people are ‘your neighbor’ for every Christian, and one cannot live ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ while allowing prejudice against us to be promoted, taught, excused, justified, glorified, or instantiated in acts of violence. Jesus didn’t say ‘Love your poor neighbor as yourself’ or ‘love your neighbor of a different ethnicity as yourself’, Jesus didn’t declare that some people didn’t count as neighbor, and argued clearly against one of the existing ethnic prejudices of his culture in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

      I think that if Jesus were telling that tale to today’s religious mainstream, as He was then, it would be the parable of the good drag queen or the good bull dyke.

      The sad thing for conservatives Christians though, is that Jesus could tell that story using real life examples of both the heartlessness of real “mainstream” Christians, clergy and congregants, and real GLBTQ people, and tell it hundreds of times with different real examples, never repeating Himself.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      By the way, kitchen utensils are incapable of giving consent, so it would almost certainly be best to ignore the relevant recommendation.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Pastor Erik: “I think it is quite foolish to interpret this document the way it was originally interpreted, because as we now realize that excluding certain types of people from the “all” actually undermines the whole thing Jefferson and the other founding fathers were getting at. To use this passage to exclude women (or anyone else) is in 2009 bigotry. But am I a bigot for believing that the Declaration of Independence preferences (white) men? Or only if I use that belief, as Ajax has suggested, to treat people differently?”

      That’s a very good question! There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the historical fact that the original interpretation is bigoted. But you surely would be a bigot if you believed that the bigoted interpretation is relevant, valid or morally right.

      Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with saying that the Bible condemns gay people - as long as you disagree with this (in one way or another). But when people actually believe that “all of us are better off if people refrain from” gay relationships, it’s bigotry. And this bigotry is very pervasive, very harmful and very hard to combat (e.g. “I don’t hate gay people. God does.”).

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob
      Rob

      @deadhorsebeater: Lots of rabbis bless same-sex unions. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the organization for American Reform rabbis, passed a resolution supporting civil marriage for same-sex couples in 1996. In 2000, they passed a resolution allowing rabbis to preside at gay commitment ceremonies. The smaller Reconstructionist movement has officially supported civil and religious marriage for gay couples since 2004. They also officially encourage members to donate to gay rights organizations.

      The Conservative movement, like many Christian denominations, is in conflict about homosexuality. Orthodox rabbis aren’t going to be blessing same-sex unions anytime soon now. Interestingly, Orthodox and Conservative rabbis interpret the Biblical prohibitions on gay sex as applying specifically to sex between men. The traditional interpretation of Jewish law has little or nothing to say about lesbian sex.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Those who question the validity of the genetic gifts of LGBT folks are bigots. Those who treat us as second class citizens are bigots.

      Their bigotry is based on superstition and backwardness. The christer cults are a foul wind howling down the corridors or time from the Dark Ages when ignorance stalked the world.

      The only way superstitious cults can make amends is by selling their assets to compensate victims of homohating, racism and misogyny.

      Clarence Darrow Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas.

      Sigmund Freud Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.

      Bertrand Russell Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence; it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.

      Voltaire Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Rob wrote, “The Conservative movement, like many Christian denominations, is in conflict about homosexuality. Orthodox rabbis aren’t going to be blessing same-sex unions anytime soon now. Interestingly, Orthodox and Conservative rabbis interpret the Biblical prohibitions on gay sex as applying specifically to sex between men.”

      Try looking at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0278102/ which has a link to http://www.imdb.com/rg/videos-title/summary/video/hulu/vi1586430489/ for the film “Trembling before G-d” about gay orthodox jews (you can watch the full film, unfortunately with some “commercial interruptions”). About 40 minutes into the film, one guy describes his conversation with some highly respected orthodox rabbi. It seems the prohibition is specific to anal sex – everything else is OK. Curiously, this learned rabbi had never heard of oral sex and (until told otherwise) thought that anal sex was the only sex act that gays performed. So, when he initially said there was a prohibition against sex between men, he was making the statement based on a misconception of what sex between men included.

      Otherwise, the film gives you some idea of what gay orthodox jews are going through and shows their religious leaders trying to be supportive without violating a set of ancient rules. It’s an unfortunate situation, but calling them names won’t help resolve it.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      Erik, you said:

      “I really don’t think the issue is whether or not the Bible says gay sex is wrong (this is far from clear, by the way)–but how we treat one another.”

      Surely if you think that believing the Bible bans gay sex is “contrary to the core of Christian teaching” then it is NOT “an opinion that people are entitled to.”

      Your thinking seems muddled. I am still curious about what you say – the content, tone, and emphasis – to conservative parents/relatives who come to you saying they told their gay kids that “the Bible says gay sex is wrong.”

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lutheran Pastor's Kid
      Lutheran Pastor's Kid

      Hey, give the Lutherans a break. They just got over the Luther vs Jews thing a few years ago.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      @Rob: Thank you for enlightening me to that fact. I had no idea, I suppose I was merely coming from an strict Orthodox perspective as that was the extent of my exposure on the subject.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • deadhorsebeater
      deadhorsebeater

      Many good points are made on how Jewish and Christian sects aim to work toward acceptance of LGBTQ, however no words of encouragement from the Muslim front yet. Anyone know of any? There is something awful going on in Iraq right now regarding LGBTQ. Read on:
      How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays. Iraqi militias infiltrate internet gay chatrooms to hunt their quarry – and hundreds are feared to be victims.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/13/iraq-gays-murdered-militias

      Sep 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      First, to all those crying “anti-religion” in these comments – I am not anti-religious and I question the use of that term. I simply want religion to stop making homosexuals wrong because the simple fact is that negative branding by religion is what creates ALL LGBTQ pain, suffering and discrimination. It must end.

      Each morning I have coffee and conversation with some friends. A few don’t consume any coffee, but they still participate in the discussion. I never call them anti-coffee, that would be foolish. They just don’t have or enjoy coffee. That’s all.

      So, when people comment on here about the NEED to extinguish the religious belief that “homosexuals are wrong,” it doesn’t mean they want to end religion. They want to end that harmful belief.

      Ending that belief will save lives and Religion must do its part. They did it before with slavery, racism and to a lesser extent, women’s worth. Now, it’s our turn.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Until you sign a statement asserting that lying is wrong, Brian, you have nothing to contribute. You’ve said as much about Christians, so live up to your own demands.

      Declare publicly, here, that making false claims is wrong, Brian.

      You wrote; “I am not anti-religious”

      If I had a dime for every time someone who advocated purging the world of homosexuals said ‘I am not anti-gay’ – I could buy a very large, fully furnished apartment in Paris.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      TO Pastor Erik: There are many very thoughtful comments directed your way from people who possess a great deal of knowledge about religion. I hope those are helpful. I do not claim to understand religion – except for that one damning belief that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. All polling demonstrates that +70% of our fellow citizens believe “homosexuals are morally wrong.” Please, take some responsibility for those results – Lutherans still believe we’re wrong. You work for Lutherans. Enough said.

      In your response you said something that struck me:

      “Do we all have to be the same to get along?

      The answer is “no,” but we all have to be EQUAL.

      See, that’s what Christianity did to us – we’re not the same as everyone else, we’re wrong, sinful and deviant and therefore we can never be equal. In fact, we’re the only group of people called out in this manner. Do you think that belief would have lasted 2,000 years if it was directed at left-handed people or blind people?

      It is unfortunate that you are still not willing to advocate un-wronging homosexuals at your religious institution. I bet you would if it was the blind, or left-handed persons that had been so maligned for centuries. Why not us? You said we weren’t wrong.

      Finally, how is the sharing of your personal Declaration that homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant coming? I don’t see it on your website. Have you placed it in the lobby of your church? That would take some courage, don’t you agree?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @B: You don’t care about your LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

      Andrew wrote: “Pastor Erik: We are still waiting for Lutherans to take a stand. When will Lutherans officially state that ‘homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant?’ You and Pastor Lura have been generous with your words – now, we need action. The religious branding of homosexuals must end.”

      B replied: I’ll leave it to the pastors to talk about theology, but to give a flippant answer to your question, it will take a very long time just as it takes a very long time for California to pass a budget. It takes a 2/3 vote in both cases, and you don’t get a 2/3 vote easily. Demanding instant action when those are the rules is childish – you are demanding something that is for all intents and purposes impossible.

      The harmful “belief” that needs to change causes all of the LGBTQ pain, suffering and discrimination, and you want to WAIT? Really? Gay teens are taking their won lives, and you want to WAIT? Same-Sex Marriage will be overturned in Washington and Maine, and you want to WAIT? Matthew Shepard is dead, and you want to wait? Religion is spending million to deny us our equality, and you want to WAIT?

      YOU, should be ASHAMED.

      I’m not waiting, it’s too important. We must either inspire, persuade or force Religion to end that negative belief about homosexuals. The Christian “schism” is coming, willingly or not. But, no – we don’t have time to wait. It is completing lacking of any compassion for all your LGBTQ brothers and sisters, who suffer every day, to even consider “waiting.” Waiting is for pussies.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “All polling demonstrates that +70% of our fellow citizens believe “homosexuals are morally wrong.” ”

      False.

      http://www.washblade.com/2007/7-6/news/national/10866.cfm
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_poll2.htm
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/5341/acceptance-homosexuality-youth-movement.aspx
      “A Gallup poll last May* found 52% of Americans saying they believe homosexuality should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle, up from just 34% in 1982. The poll also showed that a stronger majority — 62% — of young adults (age 18 to 29) consider homosexuality acceptable.”

      http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Homosexuality+religion+acceptance/1851879/story.html
      “The Pew Forum found seven out of 10 U.S. Episcopalians/Anglicans believe society should accept homosexuality as a way of life.

      That compares to only 50 per cent support among the general U.S. population.

      The level of Anglican/Episcopalian support for homosexuality is almost three times higher than that offered by U.S. white evangelicals, only one out of four of whom are ready to accept it.”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/18/AR2008071802561.html

      http://articles.latimes.com/2004/mar/30/local/me-change30
      ” The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., has compiled 30 years’ worth of major public opinion poll results on Americans’ attitudes toward homosexuals. While the surveys consistently show that about two- thirds of Americans oppose gay marriage, an issue that has now reached the California Supreme Court, they also demonstrate remarkable shifts on numerous other fronts. For example:

      * Public acceptance of gays in the military grew from 51% in a 1977 Gallup Poll to 80% in 2003.

      * Approval of gays as elementary school teachers grew from 27% in 1977 to 61% over the same period.

      * A 1999 Gallup survey showed that 59% would vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who was homosexual, up from 26% in 1978.

      “There’s been an enormous increase in tolerance — that’s the bottom line,” said Karlyn Bowman, who compiled the poll results for the institute.”

      This is why it is a good thing to have an ethical system, like religion, that condemns dishonesty.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      David wrote,
      —-
      “The Pew Forum found seven out of 10 U.S. Episcopalians/Anglicans believe society should accept homosexuality as a way of life.

      That compares to only 50 per cent support among the general U.S. population.

      The level of Anglican/Episcopalian support for homosexuality is almost three times higher than that offered by U.S. white evangelicals, only one out of four of whom are ready to accept it.”
      —–

      That, of course, pretty much demolishes Brian’s “argument” blaming religion for homophobia. If Brian were right, the Episcopals would not be so far past the U.S. average for acceptance. You can’t blame religion in general for homophobia given those numbers. You can blame specific sects for encouraging it. You can also note that the Episcopals don’t go around proselytizing and otherwise making a lot of noise in public, unlike Evangelicals (at least, some Evangelicals), so if base your views on religious groups on what you hear from them, you are using a very biased sample because it is the real nuts who are making the most noise.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @deadhorsebeater: Muslim clerics are among our worst enemies and our brothers and sisters in countries dominated by them face the highest levels of violence.

      The situation in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries depends one two things. First is the immediate, total and permanent withdrawal of US military forces, spy agencies and mercenaries from the region. That’s a political question that will have to be enforced by unions, women, youth and GLBT folks in those countries fighting in tandem with the civilian and GI antiwar movements in the US and England.

      The huge levels of violence and murder our brothers and sisters face in that region will end when the current US backed and islamist right wing regimes are replaced by a secular government of workers, women, youth and GLBT groups.

      There are some small changes taking place among muslim clerics and to hear about them and the other issues affecting our folks in South Asia you might want to subscribe to Gays Without Borders at http://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com

      The fact that some christers and some religious judaicists are making conciliatory statements doesn’t prevent violence, including murders, and other forms of active discrimination by them. It’s merely a reflection of our success of branding them as bigots.

      We don’t need a dialog. We need bigger branding irons.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      B wrote: “You can’t blame religion in general for homophobia given those numbers. You can blame specific sects for encouraging it.”

      Exactly. And other sects are responsible for repudiating it and advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people.

      All one has to do is look at the numbers – atheists account for 3% to 10% of the U.S. population, and many are openly homophobic. They cannot account for the %50 ish of Americans who currently, to varying degrees, accept and support civil equality for GLBTQ people. Most of the people who support gay rights, are people of faith, and most are heterosexual as well.

      When folk like Brian and Andrew blame “religion” and religious people, en masse, superficially in an attempt to blame Phelps, Sheldon, Robertson, etc. – they are also blaming the very people who have made it possible to achieve the equality we have so far.

      In fact, in blaming religion and religious people, atheists are blaming the very people who guaranteed their right not to be religious, and people who have fought and died for idea of civil equality, generation after generation.

      It does no good to blame all people of faith for the crimes committed by some. In fact, what Brian and Andrew’s argues do accomplish is a reinforcment of the fundamentalist claim that ‘real Christians hate gays’ – effectively making it more difficult to challenge, refute and change anti-gay theology.

      Robertson, Phelps and their peers have, for at least decades, been asserting that religion itself is defined by its condemnation of homosexuals, and when Brian and Andrew parrot those assertions, they are acting against their own best interests and the best interests of other GLBTQ people.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “”A Gallup poll last May* found 52% of Americans saying they believe homosexuality should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle, up from just 34% in 1982. The poll also showed that a stronger majority — 62% — of young adults (age 18 to 29) consider homosexuality acceptable.

      The question of “acceptance” does not address the issue of homosexuality being “morally wrong.” Some surveys indicate that about 50% of Americans “accept” homosexuality as a lifestyle – that doesn’t even suggest that they believe it isn’t morally “wrong.” You find that indication in one of your other references:

      “” The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., has compiled 30 years’ worth of major public opinion poll results on Americans’ attitudes toward homosexuals. While the surveys consistently show that about two- thirds of Americans oppose gay marriage, an issue that has now reached the California Supreme Court, they also demonstrate remarkable shifts on numerous other fronts.”

      The opposition to “gay marriage” touches the morality issue and that has been consistently about 70% or using your reference 67%. Asking whether or not we should be “accepted” (or in religious terms “tolerated”) doesn’t show how many people believe we are morally wrong.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @B: “That, of course, pretty much demolishes Brian’s “argument” blaming religion for homophobia.”

      Actually, it doesn’t. In order to “demolish” it, you’d have to compare religious people (including Episcopalians) to atheists, not the US average. But, judging by Prop 8 votes, atheists and non-religious people are much more tolerant than religious people.

      “You can’t blame religion in general for homophobia given those numbers.”

      Yes, you can. The numbers simply demonstrate that Episcopalians are less homophobic than other religious groups. Also, we don’t really know what kind of “acceptance” religious people are talking about. Some of them could “accept but disapprove”.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark C.
      Mark C.

      @David: B wrote: “You can’t blame religion in general for homophobia given those numbers. You can blame specific sects for encouraging it.”

      David wrote: “Exactly. And other sects are responsible for repudiating it and advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people.”

      Really? Which ones?

      David and B continue to deny that religion made homosexuality wrong. I find that rather amazing. Please tell us, what other institution, or group, or sect, or club, or anything that has made homosexuality wrong? I only find religion.

      You seem to have so much fear of atheists or the non-religious that you deny the truth. The truth is religion made homosexuality wrong.

      I have to admit that I agree with the logic that we cannot be equal as long as we’re wrong. I don’t know how to end religion’s continued efforts to make us wrong, but at least identify the source, honestly, seems to be a step in the right direction.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      @Mark C.: Co-sign. I think a rather simple and accurate observation has been made on this site repeatedly – religion made homosexuality wrong. Of course that’s true. Everyone knows that. The only people who object to that conclusion seem to be the Gay Christians who, for some unknown reason, keep defending religion instead of getting to work on ending the lies about homosexuals.

      I guess the Gay Christians must agree with the Christian belief that they’re “wrong.” I don’t and that’s why I’m no longer a Christian. My “Catholics” still believe it and preach it. Maybe i’ll find another Church someday, but the Catholic religion still believes I am wrong. I’m not wrong. In fact, I’ve never felt more “right.”

      Sep 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      The error in your arguments, Josh and Mark C., is in your irrational insistence that religion is some sort of monolithic, universal set of beliefs that absolutely every person of faith shares.

      It is precisely the same mistake that homophobes make when they point out something some gay man is doing, like drag or leathersex, and insist that it defines the lives, values, beliefs of every GLBTQ person ever.

      There are currently hundreds of religions in the world, many divided into tens, even hundreds of sects and denominations over differences of opinion they consider crucial. There are religions that condemn all sexual expression, religions that condemn none.

      Within the largest faiths, there are denominations and sects that oppose homosexuality, that are neutral, and that support and celebrate homosexuality as equal in dignity to heterosexuality. Even within the most homophobic denominions, there are individual congregations who reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and many have paid for that. Even within the most homophobic congregations, there are congregants who reject ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      There is enormous diversity within religion on the subject of homosexuality, as there is about many other things. It is ironic, and rancid, that fundamentalists atheists who routinely insist that religion is all wrong because religions don’t agree on other issues, lie by insisting against all evidence that religion universally condemns homosexuality.

      The fact is that GLBTQ civil rights would have gotten nowhere without the contributions of people of faith – like Harvey Milk, who was a Jew, or the dozens of heterosexual Christian clergy who gathered in the U.S., several years before Stonewall, to advocate for civil equality for homosexuals, and were arrested and publicly humiliated for their efforts.

      The fact is that most of the voters who have supported equal rights measures for GLBTQ people, were people of faith, Christians like Catholic Ted Kennedy.

      I realize that it may be hard for atheists to accept that they are largely irrelevant to this aspect of the effort to achieve civil equality, but engaging in reverse prejudice by badmouthing all people of faith, and promoting the same false image of religion that homophobes promote, is the wrong way to become relevant.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      @David: I’m sorry, I missed it in your lengthy anti-atheist remarks …..

      WHAT made homosexuality “wrong?” Did you confirm it was “religion?”

      Come on David – it’s a very simple question.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      One other thought regarding atheism and homosexuality.

      Karl Marx, oft-quoted for his rejection of religion, also condemn homosexuality as a disease. Homosexuality was persecuted in the USSR, as it is in another predominantly atheist society, communist China.

      There is a relatively recent book out which notes that Iran was fairly tolerant of homosexuality until the mid 19th century, when it began importing both ideologies and prejudices from Russia:

      http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2009/02/i-wrote-the-folliwng-article-for-gay-city-news–when-iranian-president-mahmoud-ahmadinejad-made-his-infamous-claim-at-a-sept.html

      “In a lengthy section of her book entitled “Toward a Westernized Modernity,” Afary demonstrates how the trend toward modernization which emerged during the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and which gave the Persian monarchy its first parliament was heavily influenced by concepts harvested from the West.

      One of her most stunning revelations is how an Azeri-language newspaper edited and published in the Russian Caucuses, Molla Nasreddin (or MN, which appeared from 1906 to 1931) influenced this Iranian Revolution with a “significant new discourse on gender and sexuality,” sharing Marx’s well-documented contempt for homosexuals. With an editorial board that embraced Russian social democratic concepts, including women’s rights, MN was also “the first paper in the Shi’i Muslim world to endorse normative heterosexuality,” echoing Marx’s well-documented contempt for homosexuality. Afary writes that “this illustrated satirical paper, which circulated among Iranian intellectuals and ordinary people alike, was enormously popular in the region because of its graphic cartoons.”

      MN conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and attacked clerical teachers and leaders for “molesting young boys,” played upon feelings of “contempt” for passive homosexuals, suggested that elite men who kept amrad concubines “had a vested interested in maintaining the (male) homosocial public spaces where semi-covert pederasty was tolerated,” and “mocked the rites of exchanging brotherhood vows before a mollah and compared it to a wedding ceremony.” It was in this way that a discourse of political homophobia developed in Europe, which insisted that only heterosexuality could be the norm, was introduced into Iran.”

      Atheism is not automatically or intrinsically supportive of homosexuals either.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Josh

      Like so many homophobes do regarding homosexuality, you are demanding a simplistic answer to a question that has many answers, that has between 700 and 1300 years of history (in the “old world” at least).

      If you want a simplistic answer, go ask Paul Cameron. If you want the truth, you will have to make some effort and examine all of the data, and accept that the answer is neither simple, nor universal.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Some observant Jew, Harvey, whose ‘in case of assassination’ tape includes this direction for his funeral: “I want nothing even smacking, smelling, or hinting of religion.”

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @David: Okay, David. That’s enough.

      What a few of us have been posting is very simple: Religion made homosexuality wrong. That is an undeniable fact. You can continue to post these uninteresting, rambling defenses of religion, but it doesn’t change that fact.

      I have not, and others you have attacked,

      HAVE NOT CALLED FOR AN END TO RELIGION.

      Is that clear enough?

      We have, and will continue to call for an end to the religious lie that homosexuals are wrong. You can keep the rest of religion intact and even continue to promote its virtues, but we will no longer allow religion to brand us as wrong. They can agree to change THAT SINGLE BELIEF or they can suffer the consequences. It is already happening. Pastor Erik is unwilling to get Lutherans to change that belief. Fine, we know where he stands.

      If you actually want to help the LGBTQ movement for equality – write your loquacious comments to the religious denominations and churches that you love defending and ask them to end the Christian belief that we are wrong. THAT would be helpful.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “The error in your arguments, Josh and Mark C., is in your irrational insistence that religion is some sort of monolithic, universal set of beliefs that absolutely every person of faith shares.”

      What are you talking about? Josh and Mark never said that religion is monolithic. Do you really feel like you have to resort to using strawmen?

      “I realize that it may be hard for atheists to accept that they are largely irrelevant to this aspect of the effort to achieve civil equality…”

      Wow. Do you really blame atheists for being a small minority of Americans? That’s pathetic, David. Simply pathetic. The simple fact is that atheists are much less homophobic than Christians. Just because they are outnumbered by Christians, it doesn’t mean that Christians are more tolerant.

      “Homosexuality was persecuted in the USSR, as it is in another predominantly atheist society, communist China.”

      Don’t forget that anti-gay animosity in the USSR can be attributed to a few centuries of Christianity. Just because the Soviet Union rejected Christianity itself, it doesn’t mean that its effect on morality instantly vanished. The authoritarian society simply conserved the anti-gay animosity.

      “Atheism is not automatically or intrinsically supportive of homosexuals either.”

      No one says it is. But at least it takes a major irrational factor out of the equation.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Chance

      Nice case of ‘no true scotsman’ there. Harvey doesn’t fit your definition of how he should express his faith, so that means he was not a religious person.

      Sadly, that is a tactic that homophobes use all the time – “So and So wasn’t really gay” or “so and so wasn’t really a Christian” or “so and so wasn’t really straight”.

      You and your peers have been vilifying the very people who have done the most to accomplish the civil rights gains GLBTQ people have made, as well as the civil rights gains that people of color have made, women have made, and people in general have made.

      Three of the most repressive regimes in recent history were extremely antagonistic toward religion, and to women, people of color, and homosexuals. The most ardent supporters of ‘the Bible condemns homosexuality’ are not fundamentalist Christians, but fundamentalist atheists.

      Religion does not equal homophobia or injustice, just as atheism does not equal social justice and freedom.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eugene

      “What are you talking about? Josh and Mark never said that religion is monolithic. Do you really feel like you have to resort to using strawmen?”

      Maybe you are unclear about the way language functions. Mark, Brian, and company have repeatedly stated “religion made homosexuality wrong”.

      By using only the word religion, without any modifying statement, they are communicating the broadest, and therefore all-inclusive understanding of the word. And to that all-encompassing term, they are imposing a single definition, effectively arguing that religion universally holds one, monolithic belief regarding homosexuality.

      Your comments regarding what I may or may not feel, is a strawman argument.

      ‘Wow. Do you really blame atheists for being a small minority of Americans? That’s pathetic, David. Simply pathetic. ”

      My statement casts no blame on anyone, so Eugene, you’ve got yet another fallacy in play. But, I understand that it is easier for you screech in mock outrage about something I did not state, rather than refute what I actually did write.

      As for pre-revolution Russia attitudes on homosexuality, and religion, you are engaging in gross oversimplification and distortion. The Russian Orthodox Church’s history and theology on human sexuality is more convoluted than Catholic/Protestant history and theology on the subject, and far less well-known.

      As for religion being irrational – considering that atheists conclude that everyone else in the world who has ever experienced the Divine is automatically wrong because the atheist has not had such an experience, irrational is not a subject any atheist should bring up.

      Over the course of history, billions of people have testified to experiencing something, but, golly gee, atheists just know, because they haven’t experience it too, everyone else is wrong.

      That is not rational.

      When a het claims “I never felt attracted to someone of my own gender” it doesn’t mean that GLBTQ do not sincerely feel sexually, emotionally and spiritually attracted to people of their own gender, though that is precisely how homophobes use that claim. And when an atheist says ‘I never experienced God’ it does not mean that God doesn’t exist, or that every person of faith, who does testify to experiencing the Divine, is wrong.

      So stop reviling people of faith.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 5:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jarvisbearcub
      jarvisbearcub

      @Jason:

      There is no free thought. There are always fragments of tradition and narrative that exist, even if they don’t come from religion.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jarvisbearcub
      jarvisbearcub

      @Brian: “That’s an undeniable fact.” Not for the Chinese and Russians it’s not.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      @David: For Christ’s sake –

      WHAT MADE HOMOSEXUALITY WRONG DAVID?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Homosexuality is not wrong, Mark, and by the way, that is a very self-hating way of phrasing the issue.

      Some people think that homosexuality, or lovemaking between people of the same gender is wrong. Some of the people who think that way belong to a religion, others do not. Some explicitly reject all religion.

      Some people think that religion is wrong.
      Religion is not wrong.

      But, like sexuality, or anything else humans have access to, including science, anything physical, the arts, language – some people take religion and use it to harm others.

      Some people use sexuality to harm others, by cheating on their spouses, objectifying their partners, with-holding or forcing sexual activity.

      Some people use religion to harm others, by cherry-picking texts, or committing fraud, to make it appear that this or that religion condones or even requires hurting other people.

      Some people use their lack of religion to harm others, by cherry-picking texts, or committing fraud, to make it appear that this or that religion condones or even requires hurting other people.

      Some people use science to harm others, some use literature, others use music, some have used dance, money; in fact, just about every implement, tool, or physical object that could be wielded as a weapon, has been used to harm others.

      By the way, screaming in bold all caps really doesn’t come across well.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “By using only the word religion, without any modifying statement, they are communicating the broadest, and therefore all-inclusive understanding of the word. And to that all-encompassing term, they are imposing a single definition, effectively arguing that religion universally holds one, monolithic belief regarding homosexuality.”

      In other words, you don’t really care what they actually wanted to say. You are arguing against a tortured, pseudo-linguistic interpretation that is nothing but a strawman.

      “My statement casts no blame on anyone, so Eugene, you’ve got yet another fallacy in play.”

      Actually, you cast blame when you say, “You and your peers have been vilifying the very people who have done the most to accomplish the civil rights gains GLBTQ people have made…”. But the simple fact is that Christianity is the main reason why GLBT people needed those “civil rights gains”. And even “nice” Christians legitimize Christianity in general, making life easier for anti-gay bigots. Erik Samuelson is a good example – he seems to be a nice guy, but he doesn’t have a problem with Bible-based bigotry. He says that “this is an opinion that people are entitled to”.

      “The Russian Orthodox Church’s history and theology on human sexuality is more convoluted than Catholic/Protestant history and theology on the subject, and far less well-known.”

      That’s a good example of faux ambiguity. You say many words, but they don’t mean a thing. Are you implying that the Russian Orthodox Church was pro-gay? No, it wasn’t. To this day, it propagates anti-gay bigotry.

      “As for religion being irrational – considering that atheists conclude that everyone else in the world who has ever experienced the Divine is automatically wrong because the atheist has not had such an experience, irrational is not a subject any atheist should bring up.”

      It’s amazing how you blame Josh and Mark C. for implying that “religion” is monolithic, but shamelessly do the same to “atheists”. I don’t know a single atheist who actually believes what you think all atheists believe.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      Brian- If David is who I think he is, he has indeed spent a lifetime doing exactly what you have asked. With truth, love, and wisdom in abudance, as have been demonstrated here.

      Your claim: that religion made homosexuality wrong, needs some explanation. You’re making a claim which not all of us accept, so the burden of proof is on you.

      (I have no doubt that religion provided a justification for the homophobia that already exists among some people, a seperate claim. For which, of course, I hope to see the church apologize. In my lifetime.)

      Response to Pastor Erik coming later.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Lura: “I have no doubt that religion provided a justification for the homophobia that already exists among some people, a seperate claim.

      If you believe that it’s a separate claim, you should answer a simple question:

      What is the cause of homophobia “that already exists among some people”?

      Isn’t it true that homophobic religions are shaping the world we live in? Isn’t it true that children are growing up in a homophobic (and heterosexist) environment? It’s easy to pretend that their homophobia is a “pre-existing condition”. But it isn’t. From “sodomy” laws to gay marriage bans, religion has been making people (including atheists) more homophobic. Yes, it is “the chicken or the egg” scenario. But every new generation is homophobic because of religion.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eugene

      I would appreciate it if you stop accusing me of the fallacies you are employing. I would also appreciate it if you refrain from making derogatory and false claims about my character.

      My statement regarding the way religion is being treated as a monolithic entity, with all religious people sharing the same belief, is accurate, no matter how many insulting and degrading things you say about me.

      It was very dishonest of you to accuse me with one quote, and then, when called on it, turn to another one. Many people believe, right or wrong, that atheists are incapable of moral or ethical behavior. Certainly, your posts seem to indicate that some people are not capable of developing a moral code on their own, since the demonstrated in your post embraces and celebrates dishonesty and deception.

      No, my statement regarding the Orthodox church was not ‘faux ambiguity’ – but your reply was an unsubstantiated, derogatory empty dismissal. The fact is that the history of anti-gay theology is very convoluted, both in the Catholic/Protestant traditions, and in the Orthodox traditions.

      “It’s amazing how you blame Josh and Mark C. for implying that “religion” is monolithic, but shamelessly do the same to “atheists”. I don’t know a single atheist who actually believes what you think all atheists believe.”

      Thanks for the false accusation there. Either it is coming from malice, or ignorance. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and hypothesize the latter.

      Atheism declares that there is no god. Atheism has only one universal belief – that there is no god. That is the trait that defines atheism.

      But billions of people, over the course of recorded human history, have testified to experiencing what we label ‘the Divine’. Atheists do indeed routinely state ‘I have never experienced it, so therefore, it does not exist’, and in doing so, they are rejecting the testimony and experiences of most of humanity.

      Of course, I think you knew I was exactly on target, and that is why you relied on hyperbole and vitriol in place of any honest attempt at rebuttal.

      But since you and your peers keep raising the subject of atheism, by vilifying all people of faith and religion itself, there is another element that bears considering.

      Atheism, because it requires summarily dismissing the testimony of everyone who has experienced the Divine, is intrinsically immoral.

      One of the foundations of morality, of human interaction, in human conversation, is the expectation of trust. If Joe tells Sue, “I had pizza for dinner last night” he expects her to believe him, and she is expected by society to believe him, unless she saw him eating something else.

      The universal expectation that all human interaction is based on, is the assumption that people are telling the truth about their experiences, unless evidence exists to prove them wrong. Human society, human interaction requires this fundamental level of trust.

      Atheism intrinsically violates that trust, that expectation that one’s testimony will be believed unless concrete evidence refuting it exists. Atheism declares “people of faith are just wrong, no evidence available or required”.

      That violates the deepest and most fundamental foundation of human interaction.

      And of course, in the threads here on the subject of religion, over and over again, certain persons have simply refused to believe anything and anyone that refuted their false claims about religion, people of faith, Christianity, Christian theology or history, etc. Not because they have evidence, for evidence has been in short supply from these folk, but simple because.

      GLBTQ and straight people of faith have testified here about our experiences of religion, of the Divine, the results of our study of this subject, and been told ‘you are wrong because I say so’.

      So on that level, atheists have no justification for pointing a finger of blame at anyone, for they already are violating a key element of human society, by refusing to believe other people’s testimony about their experiences of the Divine.

      One more bead to read for you and your peers, Eugene.

      The point has been made, and not just by me, that the true problem here is not whether some passages in a text can be interpreted in this or that manner. The true problem in homophobia, and every other prejudice, is bigotry itself, the idea that entire groups of people are worthy of abuse simply for sharing some commonality.

      And it is no surprise then that a handful of people who have been articulating bigotry against people of faith, have diligently derailed any hope of meaningful dialogue about bigotry, with irrational, unfounded and unsubstantiated rants and fantasies. It does not serve them to have a discussion about the innate wrong-ness of bigotry, that would bring them under criticism as well.

      However, long years of experience has shown that the key to changing people’s constructed acceptance of mainstream theology is to first get them to see the inherent destructiveness, the sin, the wrong-ness, of bigotry.

      We cannot achieve the change in theology that some atheists claim they want (and would achieve by force if necessary as Andrew said on another thread) while employing and celebrating bigotry.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “What is the cause of homophobia “that already exists among some people”?”

      What is the cause of violence that already exists among some people? What is the cause of deceit and dishonesty that already exists among some people? What is the cause of greed?

      The causes for any of the ills in human existence are as varied and nuanced as people are.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “I would appreciate it if you stop accusing me of the fallacies you are employing. I would also appreciate it if you refrain from making derogatory and false claims about my character.”

      I could say precisely the same to you. You’re turning a minor misunderstanding into a ridiculous accusation that my posts “seem to indicate that some people are not capable of developing a moral code on their own, since the demonstrated in your post embraces and celebrates dishonesty and deception”. That’s pathetic, David. Simply pathetic. All your weasel words can’t conceal this fact.

      “My statement regarding the way religion is being treated as a monolithic entity, with all religious people sharing the same belief, is accurate, no matter how many insulting and degrading things you say about me.”

      No one in this thread said or implied that all religious people share the same beliefs. It’s all in your head. End of story.

      “It was very dishonest of you to accuse me with one quote, and then, when called on it, turn to another one.”

      There was nothing dishonest about that. The second quote provides context for the first quote. My “accusation” was based on a large part of your post, not a single quote. The second quote was just an attempt to provide more context because you couldn’t understand what I “accused” you of.

      “The fact is that the history of anti-gay theology is very convoluted, both in the Catholic/Protestant traditions, and in the Orthodox traditions.”

      How exactly is it “convoluted”? Why does it matter in the context of this discussion? Are you implying that the Russian Orthodox Church wasn’t anti-gay?

      “Atheism declares that there is no god.”

      Actually, it isn’t necessarily so. Many atheists simply reject theism. Essentially, it makes them agnostic atheists. That’s why you diatribe about atheists and billions of people is quite silly.

      “Atheists do indeed routinely state ‘I have never experienced it, so therefore, it does not exist’…”

      [citation needed]

      “The universal expectation that all human interaction is based on, is the assumption that people are telling the truth about their experiences, unless evidence exists to prove them wrong.”

      There are limits to this expectation. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      “So on that level, atheists have no justification for pointing a finger of blame at anyone, for they already are violating a key element of human society, by refusing to believe other people’s testimony about their experiences of the Divine.”

      Actually, atheists don’t necessarily refuse to believe “other people’s testimony”. They simply refuse to agree with your interpretation of this “testimony”. Yes, you experience “the Divine”. It doesn’t mean that it actually exists.

      “And it is no surprise then that a handful of people who have been articulating bigotry against people of faith…”

      We don’t have a problem with “people of faith”. We have a problem with people who support and/or condone anti-gay bigotry (and other kinds of bigotry). More importantly, we condemn bigotry itself – even when it’s religious. Just because some Christians are less bigoted than the others, it doesn’t mean that religion isn’t a major cause of anti-gay bigotry.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 8:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      @David You said:

      “The point has been made, and not just by me, that the true problem here is not whether some passages in a text can be interpreted in this or that manner. The true problem in homophobia, and every other prejudice, is bigotry itself, the idea that entire groups of people are worthy of abuse simply for sharing some commonality.”

      A text or its interpretation can certainly be homophobic. I thought it was a concern of LBGTQ and allied Christians that Christians and non-Christians understand that the Christian Bible is not homophobic, the same being true for other LGBTQ and allied believers and their religious texts/teachings.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      CGD

      I think you’ve missed my point.

      Because texts, particularly those from essentially extinct cultures using nearly dead languages, are subject to interpretation, it usually is not enough to just go wonky on people and say ‘this word doesn’t mean that’. Any analysis of the text, any improvement in interpretation, has to fit within the larger context of the situation, the “whole thing” Erik mentioned in his reply yesterday.

      The whole thing – the gestalt of Christianity, is, despite the false claims of atheists, a call for social justice lived by humans as a reflection of the perfect justice of God. The simplest expression of this is half of Christ’s summation of the law: Love your neighbor as yourself, love God with your entire self.

      If we ignore the innate wrong-ness of prejudice itself, then it is absorbed as an acceptable part of that ‘whole thing’. It is not. So the first thing to do is consistently repudiate prejudice itself. One can interpret and translate till the end of time, but as long as people continue to believe that prejudice is a viable part of ‘the whole thing’, i.e., Christianity, you’re not going to accomplish much.

      So we cannot say ‘prejudice is an acceptable lifestyle choice for Christians’ and hope to accomplish anything. It has to be clear, we are commanded to instantiate equality for everyone, to treat everyone as we want to be treated. We are commanded to reject injustice and oppression.

      With that in place, arguments about the translational errors, the frauds, the irrationalities of the mainstream interpretation, become much more meaningful. People’s goal when looking at the text changes from ‘well, God allows prejudice so verse x could mean y’ to ‘God rebukes prejudice, so verse x could not mean y, what could it mean instead?’.

      Is that clearer?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Hi honey, great to see you again.

      Quick question. You say that Harvey just wasn’t expressing his religion in an expected way, when he said that he wanted religion completely out of the equation?

      Tell me, because I’m fascinated. Does that really make sense in your head? Do you read that and say, “Obviously!”?

      I would love to study you.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “There are limits to this expectation. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. ”

      No. See that is the fundamental distrust of everyone else that so many atheists articulate at work.

      It is a cop out argument, since ‘extraordinary’ is an entirely subjective term. What is an extraordinary claim to you, may be quite reasonable to someone else.

      It is also ironic, since the claim ‘there is no god’ is an extraordinary claim, for which there is no evidence, only some people’s lack of evidence.

      The foundation of human morality is trust, and the burden of proof lies on the person who disbelieves. You know, the radical idea ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Well, when it comes to religion, atheists use a different standard on people of faith – ‘lying until proven accurate’ but since no evidence but their own experience will ever suffice, it is really ‘lying, period’.

      “Actually, atheists don’t necessarily refuse to believe “other people’s testimony”.”

      Sure they do. People experience something, and atheism states that something simply does not exist.

      “They simply refuse to agree with your interpretation of this “testimony”.”

      No, that would be mean acknowledging God’s existence, but disagreeing what how someone understands God. Atheism denies the existence of the very thing we experience.

      “Yes, you experience “the Divine”. It doesn’t mean that it actually exists.”

      That’s the other depraved argument, the immoral and abusive twist that some atheists use – asserting that all people of faith are simply mentally ill in some way.

      “There was nothing dishonest about that. ”

      Sure there was, to those who respect accuracy and honesty. Those who do not, may have different, less ethical standards.

      “We don’t have a problem with “people of faith”. We have a problem with people who support and/or condone anti-gay bigotry (and other kinds of bigotry). ”

      Please stop trying to pull my leg, Eugene. If your statement above were true, you and your peers would be carefully directing your criticism as only those people who believe and teach ‘homosexuality is sin’. But, consistently, you and your peers have used all inclusive terms and phrasing, like ‘religion makes homosexuality wrong’. You actually dismissed by criticism of the use of that all inclusive term, dishonestly and abusively stateing “You are arguing against a tortured, pseudo-linguistic interpretation that is nothing but a strawman.”

      Not only have you and your peers used all-encompassing generalities to reference people of faith, y’all have insisted against all the evidence that we all share the same belief about homosexuality, dismissing with insults and slander any testimony that contradicts your false generalities. Brian repeatedly refused to believe the written statements by people of faith declaring that homosexuality is not condemned, solely because it was not phrased to his demanded criteria.

      Now maybe, just maybe, you and your peers have meant your denunciations and verbal abuse to only apply to “people who support and/or condone anti-gay bigotry (and other kinds of bigotry)” but that it not how you have been expressing it.

      So which is it, incompetence/carelessness or malice and prejudice, Eugene?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @David: You still didn’t answer the question.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Chance

      The way you dehumanize other people in your posts speaks volumes about you as a person. Nothing particularly flattering though.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Mark

      I did. First I said that your question is based on a false assumption – homosexuality is not wrong, nothing made it wrong.

      Then I gave you a simple-ish, accurate answer, that apparently, you do not like.

      Really, you asked the wrong question. The real question is ‘Why do some people think homosexuality is wrong?’. But even then, there are many reasons. As I mentioned earlier:

      “The causes for any of the ills in human existence are as varied and nuanced as people are.”

      Excuses are a different story, people pick the excuse they think will work, and because we are social organisms, there is a lot of overlap in the excuses department.

      But causation and justification are two very different things.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: You have to be kidding. Everyone knows who funds all the battles against us – religion. It isn’t exactly something that needs to be proven.

      Religion is the only institution that TEACHES that homosexuality is wrong. They begin at a very young age, and then it’s reinforced and held as a belief. The belief is wrong, and it’s very clear where it came from and comes from.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Great defense. Well played. But really – Harvey wants religion to stay completely out of it – and that’s just his way of expressing his religion. Can you explain that one for me?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Trying to discussion with a religious person is like trying to discuss sobriety with a drunk!

      Sep 17, 2009 at 10:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Correction: The first half of that sentence should read “Trying to discuss religion with a religious person is…”

      Sep 17, 2009 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      David,

      I re-read your post #30 (Sep 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm) and I can hear in my head objections a more fundamentalist Christian might make, but at least I think I follow your argument. I’m curious to see if it persuades Pastor Erik, who doesn’t seem to be yet totally on board even though he hardly seems fundamentalist.

      Sep 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @ Brian-
      “Religion is the only institution that TEACHES that homosexuality is wrong. They begin at a very young age, and then it’s reinforced and held as a belief. ”

      Who is “they”?

      If you make an assertion that you think is common sense, and then discover that not everyone agrees with it, yes, the burden of proof is on you. But I will nonetheless take a stab at where I think homophobia comes from.

      People of all cultures, all religions, and no religions at all think lots about who other people are having sex with. (And death, and strangers, and a collection of other things.) These seem to be built into us as humans, and some of us have stronger “yuck” factors around them than others. Around all of these things, human societies tend to build rules and rituals. Often religion is one of the ways it is done, but not always.

      I see same gender sexuality (primarily in males, for whatever reason there seems to be less “yuck” for yuck-prown people in what women do) as one of those things that yuck-prown people have a bodily response to. They use, and have used, religion as a way to draw lines, just like all the other methods of control that David brought up.

      Although many religions and churches have allowed themselves to be used in this way, there have always been those who disagreed with this use. (I read Jesus’ critique of purity laws in this vein.) I see it as the duty of responsibly religious people to state clearly that this is an improper use of religion. Many, but not enough, religiuos people are doing so.

      In this way of describing it, homophobia is the “yuck” response some straight males have, and heterosexism is the construction of laws (religious and otherwise) to back up the homophobia. Therefore people, I think the religious people Pastor Erik is talking about who aren’t hate motivated, can be heterosexist by ascribing to these laws, even if they don’t have the “yuck” feeling themselves. And religious people who disagree, but agree to disagree respectfully with the heterosexists, are allowing their religion to be hijacked.

      Maybe you don’t agree with this, that’s fine. But it is one example of other possible descriptions of the origins of homophobia.

      If you want to see someone else’ far more developed thoughts along the same line, go here:

      http://www.peezer.net/publications/

      Sep 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnVisser
      JohnVisser

      Maybe the question needs to be: What, in today’s society, right now, perpetuates and reinforces homophobia?

      Yes, the history and beginnings of homophobia are not completely clear. The causes are probably multi-faceted, numerous, nuanced and over-lapping. But does it really matter how it got started or who enhanced it throughout history? Probably not.

      What matters is who and what perpetuates and reinforces homophobia today. It’s not the atheists. I simply cannot think of a single instance in my lifetime where an atheist has oppressed me or the LGBT community. There are most likely some examples of this, but it most certainly is not the norm by any stretch. Conversely, I can see hundreds of example in my mind’s eye of religious figures denouncing, slurring and maligning LGBTs. Furthermore, I think we can all agree that we have heard (tens of thousands of times) the following simple little phrases: “because it says so in the bible” and “god hates fags”.

      Here’s a quick quiz: Name 10 organizations who currently advocate against gay civil rights. Okay. Now how many of those are religious institutions or are religiously affiliated? How mnay are secular organizations?

      So the question should really be “What, in today’s society, right now, perpetuates and reinforces homophobia?”

      Sep 18, 2009 at 12:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnVisser
      JohnVisser

      A small clarification.

      I am not saying that all religions and religious organizations are perpetuating homophobia. I am saying that all organizations that perpetuate homophobia are religious.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 12:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      John

      “So the question should really be “What, in today’s society, right now, perpetuates and reinforces homophobia?””

      Who, in today’s society, perpetuates and reinforces homophobia. That is the question.

      Some people in today’s society perpetuate and reinforce homophobia.

      “It’s not the atheists. I simply cannot think of a single instance in my lifetime where an atheist has oppressed me or the LGBT community.”

      I have personally encountered many atheists who are overtly and abusively homophobic, who declare they voted for Prop 8 (or comparable legislation) even though they are not Christians, “which just proves that homosexuality is universally offensive to any rational human being” as one atheist put it in a public forum.

      In my decades of experience, the most committed defenders of anti-gay theology – the people who most loudly, insistently and abusively shout ‘The bible condemns homosexuality’ are fundamentalist atheists; fundamentalist Christians come in second. It is rare indeed to find an atheist who does not proclaim, loudly and stridently, ‘the bible condemns homosexuality’. It is often one of their key excuses for their antipathy for and abuse of people of faith.

      I’ve wracked my memory, and cannot recall even one atheist who claimed ‘The Bible does not condemn homosexuality’. The closest I can come is a man who started out asserting ‘The Bible condemns homosexuality’, but changed his mind about that after intense study and analysis. Oddly enough, that study and analysis also brought him closer to believing in God, according to his own testimony, than he had ever been before (though not quite).

      In communist countries, where atheism is the norm, homosexuality is overtly and systematically repressed by the state.

      As for “Name 10 organizations who currently advocate against gay civil rights. ” I’d have to reply with all of the organizations that currently advocate for civil rights for GLBTQ people that are religious institutions, or are primarily staffed and supported by people of faith. Even the presumably “secular” GLBTQ rights orgs, like HRC, are staffed more by people of faith, supported more by people of faith, more were started by people of faith, than by atheists.

      Are there any organizations in the U.S., comprised primarily of atheists or self-defined as an overtly atheist organization, that are purposefully working to advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people? Not organizations with no explicit connection to any religion, but organizations that are explicitly, definitively atheist, and which are actively working to secure civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      Google didn’t find any.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 12:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “I am saying that all organizations that perpetuate homophobia are religious.”

      Hmmm.

      How about this example:

      “We respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny. XXXXXX is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality. As an organization, we disseminate educational information, conduct and collect scientific research, promote effective therapeutic treatment, and provide referrals to those who seek our assistance.

      XXXXXX upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care and the right of professionals to offer that care. We welcome the participation of all individuals who will join us in the pursuit of these goals.”

      Can you guess which organization that comes from? Their approach is a “clinical” one, according to their website.

      5 letter acronym, the first character is N.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Another organization that perpetuates homophobia, and is not religious:

      http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Homosexuality_in_China_-_Modern_China/id/1480272

      “Homosexuality went underground after the formation of the People’s Republic of China. Confucian morality and Communist Puritanism both frowned on homosexuality. The Communist regime persecuted homosexuals
      , especially during the Cultural Revolution, when many homosexuals were punished with long prison terms and sometimes execution. Social tolerance of homosexuality declined.

      Since the policy of Reform and Opening Up in 1979, the communist party has been loosening its control over this kind of behavior. But the practice of homosexuality is still labeled as a “moldering life style of capitalism”.”

      The question really isn’t an honest one, particularly when restricted to the U.S., where the majority of people are religious. For any category, whether about sex, food, music, literature, art, business, and any side of any issue, most organizations will have some sort of association with religion, if only because most of the members will consider themselves to be religious.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “That’s the other depraved argument, the immoral and abusive twist that some atheists use – asserting that all people of faith are simply mentally ill in some way.”

      It doesn’t have to be a mental illness. It can simply be the way we perceive the world around us. Just because we see that the Sun revolves around the Earth, it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

      “If your statement above were true, you and your peers would be carefully directing your criticism as only those people who believe and teach ‘homosexuality is sin’.”

      I don’t think so. Even Christians who don’t believe that ‘homosexuality is sin’ actually support Christians who do – by legitimizing the concept of ‘sin’ and Christianity in general. Without the moral framework of Christianity, there would be no concept of ‘sin’, and the Bible-based viewpoints would be irrelevant. That’s why only militantly pro-gay Christians do more good than harm to gay people.

      “y’all have insisted against all the evidence that we all share the same belief about homosexuality”

      It’s a blatant lie, David. At this point, I wonder whether this discussion makes sense. Your behavior is anything but civil, and religious dogmas seem more important to you than lives and well-being of gay people.

      “In my decades of experience, the most committed defenders of anti-gay theology – the people who most loudly, insistently and abusively shout ‘The bible condemns homosexuality’ are fundamentalist atheists…”

      Atheists, being atheists, simply cannot be “defenders of anti-gay theology” because they disbelieve all theology. But of course, you prefer to phrase this fact in a way that makes atheists seem homophobic. You aren’t fooling anyone, David. We all know that atheists are much less homophobic than Christians. (A few exceptions don’t disprove this fact because even atheists are indirectly affected by religious homophobia. For example, all people – including atheists – will be more homophobic when gay people cannot be openly gay because of religion-driven bigotry.)

      “In communist countries, where atheism is the norm, homosexuality is overtly and systematically repressed by the state.”

      It has everything to do with communism and nothing to do with atheism. In fact, communism is similar to Christianity in its implications. In communist states, the morality of your sexuality is other people’s business, not a private matter – because it’s subject to communist ideas and goals. In Christian communities, the morality of your sexuality is other people’s business because of Biblical morality (that’s supposed to be the same for everyone) and the concept of ‘sin’.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Eugene wrote. “@B: ‘That, of course, pretty much demolishes Brian’s “argument” blaming religion for homophobia.’ Actually, it doesn’t. In order to ‘demolish’ it, you’d have to compare religious people (including Episcopalians) to atheists, not the US average. But, judging by Prop 8 votes, atheists and non-religious people are much more tolerant than religious people. ”

      Unfortunately mindless, factually challenged rhetoric from Eugene – David’s statement was that 70% of Anglican/Episcopals saw nothing wrong with homosexuality. According to
      http://www.letcaliforniaring.org/site/c.ltJTJ6MQIuE/b.4863891/k.35FC/Driving_Factors_of_Prop_8_Vote.htm 70% or more of “voters who were Democrat, identified themselves as liberal, or who rarely attended religious services opposed the measure.”
      That is a pretty close match to what the Anglican/Episcopal religious group’s numbers. So, you shouldn’t blame religion in general, just specific types of religion.

      What the Proposition Eight vote showed is that religious fundamentalists all voted in very large proportions in favor of Prop 8. It is those reactionary elements that are the problem. It is simply not all religious people.

      It is singularly stupid to blame religious people who aren’t causing the problem – if you do that you will simply piss them off and you risk losing supporters you need to fix the problems.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @B: “Unfortunately mindless, factually challenged rhetoric from Eugene…”

      It isn’t factually challenged, and it isn’t mindless. In fact, it’s much less “mindless” than your attempt to compare Episcopalians to the US average.

      “David’s statement was that 70% of Anglican/Episcopals saw nothing wrong with homosexuality.”

      Not really. His statement is that 70% of of Anglican/Episcopalians believe that “the society should accept homosexuality as a way of life”. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they see nothing wrong with homosexuality.

      “70% or more of “voters who were Democrat, identified themselves as liberal, or who rarely attended religious services opposed the measure.”
      That is a pretty close match to what the Anglican/Episcopal religious group’s numbers. So, you shouldn’t blame religion in general, just specific types of religion.”

      People “who rarely attended religious services” are still religious, and you still have to compare them to non-religious people.

      90% of non-religious people voted “no” on Prop 8. 84% of weekly churchgoers voted “yes”. The numbers suggest that we actually should blame religion.

      “It is those reactionary elements that are the problem. It is simply not all religious people.”

      No one says that all religious people are the problem.
      We say that religion is the problem. It legitimizes “those reactionary elements”.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      The source of Prop 8 data:

      http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=3e5fbea1b9d690639b42f4d0550a9df6

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Lura: All right this is just crazy.

      Religion created homophobia, and I don’t understand this concept that “people just gots to hate someone.” Is this forum’s expectation of human nature really that low? That we have this burning hatred inside of us, and we’re just reaching out for the first tool with which we can strike out? To borrow a phrase: Jesus Christ!

      Here we go – picture it – Ancient Greece. Gay love aplenty. Not just pederasty, so don’t give me that. Read Plato’s symposium – yes, the source material for the brilliant “Origin of Love” in Hedwig. In the Symposium, the character of Aristophanes is being satirical, comical, what have you – but he’s clear on one thing – that gay men are included in the concept of soul mates. Besides that, two gay lovers were celebrated as the traditional heroes of Athens. So gay ain’t bad in Ancient Greece.

      “But!” you argue, “Greece had religion!”
      We aren’t saying that every single religion throughout history made gays wrong, we’re saying that religion is the only thing that makes gay wrong. Do you see the difference? There is nothing in psychology, biology, or geology that makes us wrong. It just comes from religion. Ancient Greek paganism didn’t make gay wrong. Unfortunately, they were one of the last.

      So picture this – a con man named Pythagoras (better known today for his triangles, just not the queer kind, as we’ll come to find out) heads down to Egypt. He sees the priests there using hollow statues with movable mouths to convince the common folk that the Gods are actually talking. He sees the immense power that the priests gain from this magic trick. He sees that the priests can tell the common Egyptians what to do and what not to do.

      So he goes back north. He takes the bag of tricks he learned on the Nile and starts a religion called Orphic-Pythagoreanism. Generally, he uses the same pantheon of gods, he just pays special attention to the myth of Orpheus. But the biggest difference is that suddenly, the religion has a tremendous element of right and wrong. Commandments, as it were (including the fairly ridiculous “Do not eat beans”). He raises an army – An Army! – of believers and starts to conquer cities.

      I’d like to take a moment to talk about many gay men’s favorite subject. Sperm.

      What do armies need? Men. Where do men come from? Sperm and eggs. What does a tyrant raising a fanatical army need to NOT happen so that he can have his soldiers? He needs sperm to go to an egg. Not into a rectum, a mouth, on the ground etc.

      Can you guess what Pythagoras, through the mouthpiece of a god, told his followers about the gay sexxx?

      I’ll give you a hint: it starts with, “Don’t you fucking dare…”

      The story continues – Pythagoras and his religious followers are defeated and scattered – sent into exile and hiding. Most are slaughtered. But the religion, the Oprhic-Pythagorean culture, lives on in hiding.

      What do societies and belief systems need to survive? People. Where do people come from? … You get the idea.

      Strangely enough, as time goes by, the Oprhic-Pythagoreans get increasingly and vehemently anti-gay. Some of these viciously homophobic, secretly Pythagorean followers became famous philosophers in their own right – shaping the public discourse and even tutoring kings. And sure enough, over time, the Greek world did a 180 and homosexuals in the western world are still yet to recover.

      These are not people who were just dying to hate somebody and the homos were the easiest target. These were people who were poisoned by a faith that created a hatred within them.

      Religion did that.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Josh:

      I guess the Gay Christians must agree with the Christian belief that they’re “wrong.” I don’t and that’s why I’m no longer a Christian. My “Catholics” still believe it and preach it. Maybe i’ll find another Church someday, but the Catholic religion still believes I am wrong.

      It has been said that a government bureaucracy, once created, continues to exist for it’s own celebration long after the need for it has passed.

      And so it is with religion!

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Eugene wrote, “@B: ‘Unfortunately mindless, factually challenged rhetoric from Eugene…’ It isn’t factually challenged, and it isn’t mindless. In fact, it’s much less ‘mindless’ than your attempt to compare Episcopalians to the US average.” Actually what you posted was both mindless and factually challenged because you are completely clueless about how to even start thinking about how to analyze the data.

      Your claim is that you should compare Episcopalians to atheists instead of to the U.S. average, while ignoring the point that a very high percentage of Episcopalians (70%) had positive, or at least accepting, attitudes towards gays. That is as high as the other groups with favorable attitudes, even liberals who rarely (if ever) attend a church.

      The problem with comparing to atheists is that atheists make up only a few percent of the population (about 15 percent have no religious affiliation but a much smaller fraction claims to be atheistic or agnostic). With the large percentage of the U.S. population that is religious, atheists consist of people who are willing to reject widely accepted beliefs of the society in which they live. Since they think for themselves, it is relatively easy for them to reject homophobic opinions as well. If 80 percent were nonreligious, the fraction that would reject widely held homophobic beliefs could be much smaller.

      Also, your model can’t explain the former Soviet Union, officially atheistic with a reputation for persecuting Christians. It’s official position was homophobic since Stalin. If religion is the problem, why didn’t the Soviet Union become the first country in the world to allow same-sex marriages? You can read some of the history at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia (it seems they legalized homosexuality by default when old Tsarist laws were abolished but then under Stalin (who hated religion), anti-gay laws were reintroduced.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: Besides your friend David, the Protector of Religion, no thinking person disagrees with the factual assertion that “Religion made homosexuality wrong.” It hardly deserves even the slightest debate. Aside from a history lesson that someone else will likely provide for you, here is what “religion” is still doing today:

      1. Maine is facing a likely repeal of same-sex-marriage – Catholics are leading that effort. Catholics are Christians. Christian is a religion.

      2. Washington has the same problem and that, too is being lead by Christians.

      3. Prop 8 was financed by Mormons (Christian) and several other religious groups.

      4. Anti-gay National Organization for Marriage is funded by Christians.

      5. Many Christian religions send their followers to “ex-gay” camps.

      6. Last month a Christian Preacher in Connecticut held an exorcism to “expel the homosexual demons” from a young man.

      7. 70% of Americans believe homosexuality is “morally wrong.” Remarkably, 70% of Americans are “religious.” Go figure.

      8. A few months ago President Obama told Catholics he was wrestling with his religious beliefs by saying “As a Christian I am constantly wrestling with my Faith and my solicitude and regard and concern for Gays and Lesbians.” He knows where the “homosexuals are wrong” belief comes from.

      9. Father Georgy Gulyaev of the Donetsk Diocese of the Orthodox Church recently said (re:Elton John): “The Church is strictly against same-sex marriages and the damage they cause. It’s written in Holy Scriptures that homosexual marriage and relations is a sin. It is a sin, it is against nature, and it represents the dead end of human development. People pretend to have good intentions, create semi-marriages and so-called families, and moreover they dare to adopt children. Unlike people who are blessed by God to create natural families, these are people who succumb to their passions. This is definitely a sin, there is no other word for it, and the church will never agree that people who have created same-sex ‘marriage’ could also dare to adopt children. This applies to all, including Elton John. He is a sinner.” he very clearly states that it is a Christian belief that “homosexuality is wrong.”

      10. Finally, both you and david have not presented another source for the belief that “homosexuality is wrong,” but instead ramble on about a “number of factors.” That’s simply disingenuous or ignorant. There is no group of scientists, or doctors or engineers, or even butchers, bakers or candlestick makers that have promoted the belief that homosexuals are wrong. Only religion did that.

      It is as unfortunate as it is amazing that you would seek to deny where the wronging of homosexuals began and continues to flourish. For 2,000 religion has taught, promoted and fought political battles about the Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong. Nobody argues that fact – well except for a “progressive” Lutheran Pastor. No kidding?

      But, this single statement you made even tops that:

      Pastor Lura: “I have no doubt that religion provided a justification for the homophobia that already exists among some people, a seperate claim. For which, of course, I hope to see the church apologize.”

      Let me see if I have this correct. You want “religion” to apologize for “providing a justification for the homophobia that already exists among some people” BECAUSE RELIGION PUT IT THERE.

      But, you don’t want religion to apologize for putting it there. You actually said religion should apologize for justifying something religion did, but NOT for doing it.

      In the absence of any other institution or group or club or even a small band of idiots that you, or anyone else, can claim “made homosexuality wrong,” it remains perfectly clear what did: RELIGION.

      It’s not a question Pastor Lura. We all know what made us wrong and we are going to end that. For you to deny the truth about the source of our pain and suffering, while working for a religion that both you and Pastor Erik joyfully exclaim “has no standards,” simply delays the equality and respect that every LGBTQ person has waited too long to achieve.

      You have (or had) the power or position to make a real difference for LGBTQ. Why did you put your institution – religion, before our equality? How could you do that?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @B: @B: Stalin attacked the church because it was competition, not because he wanted to eradicate all of their beliefs.

      Simply put, there ain’t enough room in Russia for both Jesus and Stalin. One supreme leader at a time, please.

      He wasn’t eradicating the beliefs, he was eradicating the institution.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Chance: You should totally check out my last comment / history lesson! It totally explains why a dictator trying to take over the world might find a hatred of the gays totally convenient! I’ll buy you coffee and we’ll chat.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      Chance, what B fails to realize, is that Communism is religion.

      http://secweb.infidels.org/?kiosk=articles&id=238

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      In No. 113, Brian, still blaming religion in general, gives a long list of abuses. He is still ignoring the religious groups that don’t contribute to those problems and he will (I imagine) ignore the example I provided in No. 112 of the atheistic former Soviet Union, in which anti-gay laws were introduced under the religion-hating Joseph Stalin.

      Also read http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml for a psychological analysis of conservatives, particularly the list of traits:
      * Fear and aggression
      * Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
      * Uncertainty avoidance
      * Need for cognitive closure
      * Terror management
      Is it any surprise that people with those traits might be homophobic and might gravitate towards authoritarian religions with an “us versus them” mentality? It is plausible that homophobic religious sects are not the cause but a symptom of an underlying trait common in individuals who are members of those sects.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Non-religious homos aren’t interested in HRC because HRC fails to address the actual institution that’s doing the oppressing. Instead of challenging religion when it persecutes LGBTQ people, they reach out to supposedly progressive clergy who really haven’t gone very far out of their way to help us. They’re in bed together, and non-religious people don’t want to be a part of that menage a trois. Not anymore.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      Brian, I love what you are trying to get across to Pastor Lura. I am, however, reminded of a story.

      The Old Jew and the Wailing Wall

      A reporter goes to Israel to cover the fighting. She is looking for something emotional and positive and of human interest. Something like that guy in Sarajevo who risked his life to play the cello everyday in the town square.

      In Jerusalem, she heard about an old Jew who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out. She goes to the Wailing Wall and there he is! She watches him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turns to leave, she approaches him for an interview.

      “Rebecca Smith, CNN News. Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wailing Wall and praying?”

      “For about 50 years.”

      “What do you pray for?”

      “For peace between the Jews and the Arabs. For all the hatred to stop. For all of our children to grow up in safety and friendship.”

      “How do you feel after doing this for 50 years?”

      “Like I’m talking to a fucking wall.”

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bearable
      Bearable

      @B: “So, you shouldn’t blame religion in general, just specific types of religion.”

      Ahhhh B? Help me out here, is Christianity a “type” of religion?

      Which “specific types” should we blame? Please provide specifics.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      schlukitz wrote, “Chance, what B fails to realize, is that Communism is religion.” Pure BS on your part. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

      You people are so desperate to blame religion for all the world’s woes that you are losing any sense of reality.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @B:

      Let me see if I have this correctly?

      You are apologizing for and excusing religion and placing all the blame for the woes of the LGBT community squarely at the feet of the Atheists?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @B:

      Pure BS on your part.

      Umm…I didn’t write the article, in case you hadn’t noticed.

      And, if you’ll do a Google or a Bing, you will find many more such articles that support the claim that Communism is simply just another religion. Do avail yourself of them.

      I don’t think that you will find much support that religion isn’t the only cause of homophobia except from Christians themselves. Self preservation, you know?

      As Chance said, “a nation can only have one Supreme Being at a time, please.”

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bearable
      Bearable

      @B: “It is plausible that homophobic religious sects are not the cause but a symptom of an underlying trait common in individuals who are members of those sects.”

      No, it’s not plausible – it’s stupid. Religion is administered at a very young age, before young minds even develop sufficient to “reason.” In every instance, first comes baby, then comes religion and then comes behavior.

      It’s odd you have blinded yourself to this simple reality: Religion plants the “seeds” of homophobia by making it wrong. That belief comes before any actions.

      I can’t understand your profound and now idiotic defense of religion – unless you’re on the payroll. I can’t find anything you’ve said here that actually makes sense. Wake up – homophobia is taught by religion. I was there, I should know. From my earliest memories I remember the preacher railing against homosexuals. I may have learned that even before I attended school.

      So, knock off the “leave religion alone” bull shit. We all know the origin of homophobia is religion, mine was Methodist.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian, Chance, Eugene and company have demonstrated a core point about bigotry: There is always an excuse why their contempt for others is ok, there is always a lie they can tell, there is no evidence they will not dismiss it it counters their prejudice.

      I posted that the above group continued to define all people of faith, all religion, as having one thing in common, and Eugene falsely declared “It’s a blatant lie, David.”

      Yet before and after that post, his peers posted additional examples:
      Post 95 “Everyone knows who funds all the battles against us – religion.”
      Post 108 “We say that religion is the problem. ”
      Post 110 “Religion created homophobia, ”
      Post 113 “Religion made homosexuality wrong.”

      And Eugene falsely accuses all Christians in post 106 “Even Christians who don’t believe that ‘homosexuality is sin’ actually support Christians who do”

      Of course, the above is a convenient rhetorical trap, because anyone who doesn’t reject other ideas Eugene doesn’t like, is guilty by association. The above, in entirety, is just an excuse to justify vilifying all people of faith, even those who are “militantly” fighting ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      The heart of Eugene’s, and Brian’s, and Cam’s, and Andrew’s arguments is that religion, no matter what, all religious people, no matter what they do, are worthy of contempt and hate.

      And that is prejudice. No wonder we see in their posts the same kinds of deception, the same dismissals, the same oblivious to diversity, that homophobes display all the time.

      The truth of the matter is that this group of people is indeed, falsely, abusively, lying about all people of faith, by declaring that all of religion – and religion is the people involved as well as the beliefs systems, universally, monolithically, condemn homosexuality.

      It is a lie told only to justify the malice and prejudice that drives some atheists. It is no different from any of the lies homophobes tell.

      “Without the moral framework of Christianity, there would be no concept of ‘sin’,”

      This is false. It indicates that Eugene has done little, if any research into human culture. The concept of wrong-doing, sin, is universal in human beings, appearing independently in religions, in legal systems, in ethical and moral codes, across cultures and time.

      It does tell us something about Eugene – that he wants a world where nothing is considered wrong, nothing is forbidden, no act or deed is considered ‘missing the mark’, which is the concept of origin for the word sin.

      The concept of sin exists, Eugene, independent of Christianity, independent of religion. In fact, there’s a book out making a good case that animals have moral codes, which include the concept of wrongdoing, transgression, sin. We do not know what symbol – words are just symbols Eugene – animals may use, if they use symbols, but researchers have found that they remember misdeeds or harmful deeds that others have done to them, they remember ‘sin’ committed against them.

      Yet Eugene claims the recognition of causing harm, sin, only exists because of Christians. No wonder his posts to me are so abusive and malicious.

      “Atheists, being atheists, simply cannot be “defenders of anti-gay theology” because they disbelieve all theology. ”

      This is neither rational, nor accurate. It falsely assumes that one must believe a particular position in order to defend it. Yet go to any court, and you will find attorney’s defending clients they believe, even know, to be guilty. Discussion boards like this are frequently abused by people defending a position they do not actually believe.

      And the fact is that Eugene, Cam, Brian, and other atheists on these threads, have all repeatedly asserted “The Bible condemns homosexuality” in one wording or another. Brian’s repeated lie ‘Religion made homosexuality wrong’ is an expression of that very thing – a defense and affirmation of anti-gay theology.

      “We all know that atheists are much less homophobic than Christians. ” This is a lovely rhetorical device that homophobes use a lot. Take a fantasy, an “extraordinary claim”, and present it as common knowledge to give it a false veneer or truth, by prefacing it with “we all know”.

      But the fact is, it is a false claim. There is no shortage of atheists who are very vocal in their condemnation of homosexuals. But Eugene’s device is offered up to summarily dismiss my testimony about my experiences over the course of decades of militantly fighting anti-gay theology. It is simply another manifestation of that immoral unwillingness to trust anyone else, that I mentioned earlier, that is at the heart of atheism. In other words, I’m not an atheist, so anything I say, any testimony I give, it automatically false to Eugene.

      Where have we seen that before? Oh yeah, homophobes, who routinely dismiss anything any out GLBTQ person testifies to, simply because he/she is not a heterosexual.

      It is pure prejudice is both cases.

      And then there’s his facile excuses for the overt anti-gay oppression in communist countries. When an atheist communist oppresses GLBTQ, it is because he’s a communist, it could possibly be because of atheism. But rejection of religion was a significantly defining aspect of communism, and communism did bring to the world the first significant attempt to create the world that many atheists have longed for – one without religion. And communism inflicted all of the same evils any other power structure has, including oppressing GLBTQ people.

      Clearly, religion is not the cause of any of these evils, it is simply one of many convenient excuses people who seek to do evil use, to deflect blame from themselves.

      Frankly, aside from the intrinsic immorality of atheism (from its intrinsic distrust of all other people), it is clear that for some people, being an atheist is also just an justification for harming others, a shield to deflect blame from themselves.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      You are really irritating B. Religion made homosexuals wrong.

      Your homework: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_homosexuality

      We all know you love to cut-n-paste from Wikipedia.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      The domestic partners of Arizona state workers and their children are among several groups to lose their health insurance coverage under a new law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. The domestic-partnership benefits, which were made available a year ago via an administrative rule change, represented about $3 million versus the state’s $625 million outlay for benefits for other workers and their dependents, according to this article. Arizona Daily Star 09/17/09 (Tucson)

      Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is a Lutheran.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Call us bigots all you want (and if history is any example, you want to lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots) but that doesn’t change or halt the attacks on LGBTQ based entirely on religious beliefs. Calling us bigots actually doesn’t accomplish anything, unless your goal is to make a bunch of people on Queerty roll their eyes.

      You’re the one saying religion is monolithic. Not us. We’ve gone out of our way to say that not all religions have said that homosexuality is wrong, but that religion (of one stripe or another – unfortunately the vast majority of stripes) is the only cause of anti-gay hatred.

      If you want to make it so clear that your particular brand of religion doesn’t make homosexuality wrong, then for Christ’s sake, get off your ass and do something more productive than calling us bigots and defending religion as a monolithic whole.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @schlukitz: A fabulous parable. Thank you for sharing that with us.

      Just like a fucking wall.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian’s post, number 113, is simply a stunning example of cherry-picking. GLBTQ call foul when Paul Cameron does that do us, so it is just as foul when Brian does it.

      “Maine is facing a likely repeal of same-sex-marriage – Catholics are leading that effort. Catholics are Christians. Christian is a religion.”

      First off, the above explicitly attempts to prove that all religion is responsible for homophobia, proving again that Eugene was abusive when he accused me of lying about their all-inclusive prejudice.

      Brian is employing “Guilty by association”. However, other Christians are fighting that effort. But that doesn’t matter, Eugene has already decided that even someone who is militantly fighting ‘homosexuality is sin’, if they don’t also reject the idea that some things are just wrong and bad, is really blah blah blah. Brian and Eugene are saying – no matter what people of faith are doing, they are condemned anyways.

      Just like homophobes do.

      “5. Many Christian religions send their followers to “ex-gay” camps.”

      Many Christians congregations (there is one Christian religion, Brian, many denominations and sects, and even more congregations) and denominations explicitly condemn the entire “ex-gay” concept. Most of the people who are actively opposing such camps, are people of faith.

      “6. Last month a Christian Preacher in Connecticut held an exorcism to “expel the homosexual demons” from a young man.”

      An atheist shot up a church full of progressive Christians who openly support civil equality for GLBTQ people, doing so in the middle of a children’s program. MCC’s across the country have provided financial assistance, meeting space, material goods, time and labor, to support GLBTQ political activism, GLBTQ self-help groups like gay aa meetings, GLBTQ social groups, and so on. Welcoming predominantly heterosexual Christian and Jewish congregations have done the same, to varying scales.

      But to Eugene and Brian and company, all of the work done by people of faith to end prejudice against GLBTQ people doesn’t count, we are guilty because we share one trait with other people.

      That is prejudice, that is bigotry.

      “There is no group of scientists, or doctors or engineers, or even butchers, bakers or candlestick makers that have promoted the belief that homosexuals are wrong. Only religion did that.”

      The sad, terrible thing about this lie is that it follows shortly after two posts about non-religious organizations that promote the belief that homosexuals are wrong. We have in the quote above, a case of someone simply rejecting evidence that refutes his prejudice.

      NARTH, the source of the quote in post 104, is a group of doctors and scientists, and any interested homophobic party, who promote the idea that homosexuality is wrong.

      Here’s the really interesting thing about all the screaming from Brian and Eugene today. They are busy trying to discredit all people of faith, while claiming they are not, often nitpicking over turns of phrase (after complaining when they are held accountable for their own phrasing). Yet a simple request of mine stands unanswered:

      “Are there any organizations in the U.S., comprised primarily of atheists or self-defined as an overtly atheist organization, that are purposefully working to advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people? Not organizations with no explicit connection to any religion, but organizations that are explicitly, definitively atheist, and which are actively working to secure civil equality for GLBTQ people.”

      Instead of providing even one example of an explicitly atheist organization that is working for civil equality for GLBTQ people, we’ve been treated to reams of ‘some Christians are doing bad things, so all religion is evil’.

      It is prejudice. And it is as vile when prejudice is directed at people of faith, as when it is directed at GLBTQ people, or people of color, or handicapped people, or women, or any other subset of people.

      But over and over and over again, Brian and company are blaming billions of human beings for the beliefs and deeds of some.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @schlukitz:

      …except that Communism does not include a belief in the supernatural or a divine being. Treating Stalin, the Kim Dynasty (or Hitler, in the case of Nazism) as a god-like ruler is not the same thing as religion.

      And the Nazis persecuted gays because they felt we couldn’t help perpetuate the German Race, not because any god said so.

      To use that line of reasoning you could claim that any dogmatic or fervent belief system (even political beliefs, or a belief in the scientific method) is a religion.

      There are other non-religious systems that condemn us, and plenty of people whose hatred was not inspired by any dogma.

      As well, there are religions which do not condemn homosexuality in any way.

      We have been down this road plenty of times.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Chance

      Your flaming posts, comprised primarily of personal attacks and lies, are not going to inspire the breakdown you are seeking.

      They simply indicate that you are so unable to defend your position with accurate information and reason, you are trying to invoke fury instead.

      Your posts simply indicate a basic contempt for other people.

      “do something more productive ”

      Ironically, I am doing something very productive, both when I point out the overt bigotry in the posts by you, Brian, Eugence and company, and in and around dealing with your overt expressions of hatred for people of faith.

      When y’all are not turning every thread into “I hate Christians” week, very useful discussions about the need to reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ and prejudice in general, take place.

      The reality is that y’all are obstructing other people’s efforts to bring about the change you claim to want, a change y’all have consistently tried to prevent.

      I am coming to the conclusion that none of you actually want mainstream Christian theology to change on the subject of homosexuality. If it did, you’d have one less thing to through hate-fits about.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: All right. Stop it with the atheist shit. We can only tell you so many times that there is a profound difference between atheist, anti-religious, and non-religious. Most of the people you’re attacking are simply non-religious.

      You say that just because some Christians don’t send kids to ex-gay camps, that we can’t blame religion for ex-gay camps? The only people sending kids to ex-gay camps are religious people.

      And you’re not guilty just because you share a trait. Christians who don’t explicitly renounce the theological concept of homosexuality as sin are guilty. Because one assumes that a Christian believes all the standard beliefs until declared otherwise. So until that ‘declares otherwise,’ even if that Christian never ever lifts a finger against LGBTQ people, yes – he or she is guilty. Either guilty because he or she actually harbors that belief, or guilty because he or she lacks the courage to boldly stand against that injustice.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @B: “Your claim is that you should compare Episcopalians to atheists instead of to the U.S. average, while ignoring the point that a very high percentage of Episcopalians (70%) had positive, or at least accepting, attitudes towards gays.”

      You see, it’s perfectly possible that they have an equally positive attitude towards anti-gay bigots. Pastor Erik’s article is a good example of this attitude. Also, this percentage isn’t “very high”. Just imagine the same levels of intolerance (30%) towards Jews or blacks.

      “With the large percentage of the U.S. population that is religious, atheists consist of people who are willing to reject widely accepted beliefs of the society in which they live.”

      Don’t you think that being a Christian (especially being indoctrinated into Christianity) has a strong effect on people’s willingness to reject widely accepted belief? I know that, for many people, faith is a major emotional investment. It isn’t easy to reject it. It isn’t easy to abandon your church when it propagates anti-gay beliefs.

      “Also, your model can’t explain the former Soviet Union, officially atheistic with a reputation for persecuting Christians. It’s official position was homophobic since Stalin.”

      Actually, I have already explained it. Russia had been a Christian country for a few hundred years. It’s ridiculous to assume that Christianity’s effect on sexual morality and visibility of gay people could vanish during the short gap between Tsarist Russia and Stalinist Soviet Union. Heck, according to the link you posted, it could even be Stalin’s attempt to “build a better relationship with the socially conservative Eastern Orthodox Church”!

      But the exact reason doesn’t really matter. The point is the society’s morality and tradition can’t change overnight. Similarly, the devastating “sodomy laws” still indirectly affect US gays because they affected gay people’s well-being and visibility in the past.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Oh, poor me, I don’t have you in tears yet. You know, that was my intention all along.

      I’m unable to defend my position? I gave you a fucking history lesson about the origins of homophobia in the western world, and you didn’t even have a word in response. And that was Orphic-Pythagoreanism, which, last time I checked, is not a Christian denomination. So your assertion that I’m just trying to turn this into a hate Christian thread is absolutely bunk. I am merely challenging any religious belief that makes us wrong, and if that happens to be Christian, then so be it. Many times it is.

      And your hilarious assertion that if it weren’t for us, you would be having a terrific conversation about how to end the belief that homosexuality is sin… when you aren’t even willing to say that religion is responsible for the belief that homosexuality is sin…

      I think my brain may explode.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark C.
      Mark C. [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @B: “You people are so desperate to blame religion for all the world’s woes that you are losing any sense of reality.”

      It isn’t even “blame,” it’s the other word you used “reality.” The reality is religion made homosexuality wrong, the other “woes” aren’t nearly as important to us LGBTQ people. 70% of the people believe homosexuals are “morally wrong.” We all know where that came from – well, except for you and David.

      We’ll never be equal, as long as we’re wrong. What are you and your religious pal David doing about that? Just blaming innocent atheists (who don’t have churches, a holy book or even any pastors/priests) and a few gays and lesbians that want their equality, NOW. Making me and other contributors “wrong,” doesn’t end the wrong of being homosexual (remember, the 70% that believe we’re wrong).

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “Stop it with the atheist shit.”

      Stop it with the anti-religion hate speech.

      The diversionary blame Christians/blame religion tactic is obstructing this opportunity to address, with clergy that seem to sincerely want to support GLBTQ people, ways of going about that.

      Eradicating religion to appease atheists is not an option, so stop it with that anti-religion hate speech.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @David: Gee David, I know you want to parse religion and imply that there are a whole bunch of Christians that don’t make homosexuality wrong, but that just isn’t the case.

      Recently, HRC reported that 3,400 churches in the US were “gay friendly,” out of a total of 350,000 churches. Let’s call it 1%. Wow. The truth is “gay friendly” doesn’t mean they’ve changed their Christian Doctrine, either. It just means LGBTQ are “welcome” to worship in their church. That’s not progress, because if we need to be “accepted” or even “tolerated” it must mean we’re still “wrong,” or defective or something other than the other worshipers.

      I prefer “honest” over friendly. Any Christian denomination that cares about LGBTQ must officially declare “homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant.” We can’t even get those progressive Lutherans to do that. Not even MCC or UCC is willing to do that. Strange, huh?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David:

      “The heart of Eugene’s, and Brian’s, and Cam’s, and Andrew’s arguments is that religion, no matter what, all religious people, no matter what they do, are worthy of contempt and hate.”

      You keep lying, David. I explicitly acknowledged that “militantly pro-gay Christians do more good than harm to gay people”. Obviously, it matters to me what religious people do, and there is no blanket animosity towards Christians in my comments.

      “The truth of the matter is that this group of people is indeed, falsely, abusively, lying about all people of faith, by declaring that all of religion – and religion is the people involved as well as the beliefs systems, universally, monolithically, condemn homosexuality.”

      You keep lying, David. No one here said or implied that “all of religion” condemns homosexuality. It’s just a silly little strawman in your head. People are simply arguing that anti-gay bigotry has been predominantly religious.

      “The concept of wrong-doing, sin, is universal in human beings, appearing independently in religions, in legal systems, in ethical and moral codes, across cultures and time.”

      The difference is that ‘sin’, unlike other concepts of wrong-doing, involves divine authority. As a result, a consensual relationship between two men is no longer a private matter. It can be a ‘sin’ because “God” is “harmed” by the relationship (or simply doesn’t like it).

      Christianity is partially based on a very solid moral principle – “love thy neighbor as thyself”. The problem is that the principle is poisoned by the idea that you must love “God” more than you love your neighbor. That’s exactly why obviously harmless gay relationships are condemned by conservative Christians. They consider it a wrong-doing only because of “God”.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Sigh. Again. I’m not anti-religion. I’m anti-religion that makes us wrong. And I’m anti-religion claiming that they’re doing incredible things to save LGBTQ people from the world, when in fact they’re doing very little. Anti-religion, I am not.

      And I, along with so many others in this thread, have given supposedly supportive clergy a fabulous, simple, and powerful way to help us: To say to their congregants and the world that WE ARE NOT WRONG.

      But apparently that’s just too much for some people. That’s “anti-religion.”

      And eradicating religion to appease atheists? Now you’re just making shit up. Have fun.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      FOX News last night:

      RE: California Anti-Bullying Class

      MEGYN KELLY (FOX): But the controversy arose because parents aren’t allowed to opt their children out of it. And so some who have a religion — a religious objection to gay and lesbian — I don’t want to say lifestyles. That’s considered offensive.

      BILL O’REILLY (FOX): Well, gay and lesbian exposition, in the sense that, if you are a religious person, you don’t want someone telling your child that it’s OK to be gay. It’s as simple as that.

      Of course not because us “religious people” were taught that gay is wrong, by religion. O’Reilly is just being a well-taught Catholic, which is a Christian religion. We know what he was taught, don’t we?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “Gee David, I know you want to parse religion”

      Gee, Andrew, you don’t know, so stop trying to define my existence for me. That is rude when homophobes do it, it is rude when you do it.

      “imply that there are a whole bunch of Christians that don’t make homosexuality wrong, but that just isn’t the case.”

      I’m not implying anything, I’m providing an accurate view of reality. There are a ‘whole bunch of Christians’ who are overtly working to change anti-gay theology and create civil equality.

      The fact is that there simply are not enough atheists, much less atheists who are doing anything on this issue, to have accomplished any of the change that has taken place.

      “Recently, HRC reported that 3,400 churches in the US were “gay friendly,” out of a total of 350,000 churches.”

      3,400 is a lot. Particularly since no one has provided even a single explicitly atheist organization that is working to advance civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      Further, you have provided no source for this claim, so there is no way of knowing how HRC subjectively determine “gay friendly”.

      And we cannot tell if HRC is counting congregations that are split on the issue. And then there is the issue of people who personally reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, attend a congregation that teaches it is sin, and are working to change that congregation.

      “The truth is “gay friendly” doesn’t mean they’ve changed their Christian Doctrine, either. ”

      The truth is that because you have withheld the link to your source, we don’t know how HRC defined “gay friendly” or even if they designated any specific definition at all. From your claim, we know nothing about what “gay friendly” means to any congregation on the list, or the definition was so narrow, or too poorly phrased, that many other congregations should be on the list. Your citation is worthless.

      In all of the gay friendly congregations I’ve attended, it absolutely means that they have rejected the concept ‘homosexuality is sin’. In some that I have heard about, it means the congregation is split between those who reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and those who embrace it. In many, it means that most of the congregation rejects ‘homosexuality is sin’, including the clergy, but that there are a few die-hard supporters of it.

      I suppose you’ll demand that such churches expel anyone who doesn’t reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and if they don’t, it means they are all insincere, blah blah blah.

      It is not helpful, or decent, for you to project your derogatory fantasies onto the lives and spirituality of millions of people you know nothing about. It is brutally degrading and dehumanizing for you to dismiss the testimony and experiences of everyone who doesn’t embrace your desire to eradicate religion.

      “I prefer “honest” over friendly. ” That was hilarious. You have a wicked sense of humor.

      Unfortunately, your subsequent false claims, about things that have been repeatedly demonstrated, indicate that you do not care about honesty or accuracy. Christian denominations are, have openly declared that homosexuality is not sin. You and your peers simply refuse to believe it.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      It should be obvious to anyone with a lick of sense, that those who scream bigotry the loudest (B and David come to mind) are the very ones who started making bigoted comments in the first place (Christianity comes to mind).

      Seems that they can dish it out, but when the shoe is on the other foot, they can’t take it.

      Tough Titty, as my brothers baby-sitter used to say.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon Philly
      Jon Philly

      Until Pastor Lura, Pastor Erik,
      and anyone else in the universe
      who call themselves either religious,
      or more specifically Christian,
      has the courage to part ways
      with the Christian belief and
      the Christian denominations that
      continue to promote the belief that
      homosexuals are wrong

      it’s all still the same. Religion made us wrong.

      There has been NO Lutheran progress.

      I agree with almost every Post on here, but i must confess I think David is just delusional and makes no sense at all.

      Thank-you to those on here that are trying to find equality for LGBT by ending the wrong of being homosexual. When I was growing up religion was ‘taboo,” we couldn’t talk about it. I know understand why – religion made it taboo. It doesn’t survive healthy discourse. but, it is clear to me that we must demand that religion stop making us wrong. Even if we must protest in front of their Churches. Count me in.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eugene

      Dismissing my arguments by simply falsely accusing me of lying, is cheap and immoral.

      I provided lenghty supportive details to substantiate the statements you call lies, you have provided nothing but dehumanizing accusations.

      “You keep lying, David. No one here said or implied that “all of religion” condemns homosexuality. ”

      I have repeatedly cited multiple examples of just that thing. Of course, you simply dismissed it out of hand. You even made excuses to justify not being explicit and fair, and indicated that even religious people who are working to create civil equality, are guilty by assocation.

      “The difference is that ‘sin’, unlike other concepts of wrong-doing, involves divine authority.”

      Actually, it does not. That is a fallacy that fundamentalists declare, but it is not accurate. This is one of the ways that you and your peers are actively nurturing fundamentalist, dominationist theology, and in doing so, enabling homophobia and obstructing the work of civil justice.

      Something isn’t sin because of Divine Authority in Christianity. Jesus gave an explicit statement which He declared was the whole of the law (i.e, the definition of what is and is not sin). That statement has two parts. Love God with your entire self, which does not define sin, but defines our relationship to God, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.

      Sin is defined by an intrinsically personal, intimate test, not an external authority, but an internal one, explicitly expressed in the ‘as yourself’. The law Christ gave tells to use our own aversion to being harmed to guide us in not harming others.

      “The problem is that the principle is poisoned by the idea that you must love “God” more than you love your neighbor. ”

      That principle, however, is a fabrication, and is not actually contained in Christ’s teachings. In fact, Jesus repeatedly put the welfare of others over obediance to rules that were, in His time, perceived as God’s will.

      You are demonstrating the core failure so many atheists manifest when trying to vilify Christianity: you are poorly, if at all, educated on the subject, what little you know reflects a margin understanding of portion of Christians, and as it happens, a portion that is not known for being particularly well-educated about Christian theology.

      What you and your peers are doing is the equivalent of judging all GLBTQ people by “gay men into leather and s&m” – or any other subset someone has objected to.

      It is immoral when y’all do it to Christians just as it is immoral when anyone does it to GLBTQ people.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon Philly
      Jon Philly

      @David: “Christian denominations are, have openly declared that homosexuality is not sin. You and your peers simply refuse to believe it.”

      See, this is what I meant. Just delusional. Please provide the documentation.

      I used to belong to MCC (after coming out) and they would only say “gay is okay.” I pressed them on whether homosexuality was a sin and they wouldn’t say that it wasn’t. That was 10 years ago. I haven’t been back and I still haven’t seen any proof that they “believe” homosexuality is not a sin. A quick look at their website and it just has a rambling article written in the 1980s that “questions” whether Christians misinterpreted the Bible. That’s not the official “belief” of MCC, so by default MCC still believe the traditional Christian dogma “homosexuality is sin.”

      So, David – find some proof that any christian organization has renounced the christian belief that homosexuality is wrong or a sin. Otherwise you are just trying to stall this conversation in an effort to save religion’s ass.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “See, this is what I meant. Just delusional. Please provide the documentation. ”

      Funny, you didn’t provide documentation for you claim earlier, and provide for your subsequent claims.

      I attended MCC in San Francisco for 20 years, the weekly bulletin consistently had a statement rejecting ‘homosexuality is sin’. The clergy often preached on why and how ‘homosexuality is sin’ is false.

      You’ve already pre-dismissed the proof, even though it explicitly makes the assertion you demand. So it is clear you are not interested in the truth. So we’re to go through another round of this nonsense, where people post evidence that various Christian denominations and congregations reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and you simply dimiss it out of hand.

      If you made the effort to actually read the material you dismiss out of hand, it does indeed refute the traditional belief ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      From UFMCC’s website, under “Our Beliefs” is a link to a series of detailed documents, one of which is explicitly titled:
      “Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness”

      In explict terms then, MCC declares Our Beliefs are Homosexuality is not a sin, not a sickness.

      http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=About_Us
      http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Sexuality_Spirituality

      And a quote from the text itself: “A growing number of biblical and theological scholars now recognize that Scripture does not condemn loving, responsible homosexual relationships. Therefore, gay men and lesbians should be accepted – just as they are-in Christian churches, and homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed!”

      You are making false claims, Jon. Frankly, since you are wrong about the existence of congregations that reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, I have little reason to believe your account of experiences at an MCC.

      However, you do expect people to believe your account of your experience at 1 MCC, and if you hadn’t posted explicitly false statements, you’d be entitled to being believed.

      My experience, in many MCC’s, over the course of 2 decades in SF and another decades elsewhere, completely contradicts your claim. My experience refutes yours, and covers a much larger time frame and scale.

      If you have integrity, you’ll acknowledge that your experience only reflects the few people you encountered, and may be colored by your own biases, or simply reflect those particular individuals abilities to express themselves. And you’ll admit that the documentation on the UFMCC website fully and carefully repudiates and rejects ‘homosexuality is sin’ – not with a mere simple statement easily ignored, but with detailed and thoughtful analysis.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      “religion is responsible for the belief that homosexuality is sin”

      An anti-gay atheist would say, not that homosexuality is a sin, but that it is wrong, but he or she would be no less homophobic for saying so.

      What you people are debating is not who is responsible for calling homosexuality sin, but who is responsible for homophobia.

      Here is a lesson in logic.

      The question is whether religion is responsible for homophobia, and that breaks down into three logically and consequentially distinct questions:

      1. Is all religion responsible for homophobia?
      2. Is some religion responsible for homophobia?
      3. Is only religion responsible for homophobia?

      Clear counterexamples disprove 1 and 3, and clear examples prove 2.

      And so we are left with the true proposition that some religion is responsible for homophobia.

      And what are the consequences of this conclusion?

      1. Not all religion is responsible for homophobia.
      2. Some things outside of religion are responsible for homophobia.

      Do we have enough information to blame “religion”, i.e. religion in general? No, we do not. What you have to prove is that there is some essential and distinctive trait in religion that means it must produce homophobia, and there is a real alternative to religion that does not have this essential trait. You also have to show how it is possible that some religious people seem to escape this supposed essential trait of religion by working against homophobia. Furthermore, you have to show how non-religious people can still be homophobic despite lacking the distinctively religious trait that you have identified as responsible for homophobia.

      You might think commonsense allows you to cut through the formalities of actually showing that religion is guilty, but in any ethical system worth its salt, the burden of proof really is on the accuser, as David has said.

      To prove that there is an essential trait of religion that means it must produce homophobia, you have to prove, first of all, that there are essential traits of religion, i.e. that religion is “one thing” and not just a collection of very different things.

      Good luck proving this.

      When Americans think of religion, they often think of Evangelical or Catholic Christians, two groups which do indeed have some significant things in common like a belief in Christian doctrine and a respect for arguments from authority. Both of these traits could conceivably be sources of homophobia, but neither is an essential characteristic of “religion” i.e. religion in general. There are plenty of counterexamples of anti-doctrinal and anti-authoritarian religion, and there are even more examples of people who believe in authority and doctrine and yet still reject homophobia.

      You really do have to deal with all these counterexamples in a rigorous way in order to prove that “religion” is responsible for homophobia. Otherwise all you are proving is that homophobic religion is responsible for some homophobia, which is actually true, but not what you are claiming. If that is what you are claiming, be explicit about it and stop with the dishonest use of the word “religion” (which does rhetorically imply “all and only” religion no matter how many times you deny it).

      _Homophobic_ religion actually is the enemy, not “religion” as has been claimed over and over again.

      People like me and David (not that I want to put words in his mouth) are claiming that there is no essential trait of religion, no essential trait of Christianity even, and no essential trait even in orthodox Christianity that requires it to be a source of homophobia. Do you see how this is a more charitable position to take, since it allows people to drop their homophobia without dropping their religion, and it accuses no one of being committed to an essentially evil belief system? In other words, it is a position of based on forgiveness and reconciliation. And yet this is not a naive position. You can recognize that vast numbers of people are committed to something deeply evil without insisting that they must reject everything they believe in order to stop committing the evil they are committing. You can also recognize that there are real sociopaths in prominent leadership positions in religion without condemning everyone they deceive.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @onefish: What outside of religion? What? What ‘clear counterexamples’ have we all just been overlooking? It’s just religion. You had it with point #3.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “I provided lenghty supportive details to substantiate the statements you call lies, you have provided nothing but dehumanizing accusations.”

      You keep lying, David. I provided the quote that demonstrates that I acknowledge the contributions of pro-gay Christians who do “more good than harm”. Of course, it’s easy for you to pretend that I hate all Christians, but it isn’t true.

      “You even made excuses to justify not being explicit and fair, and indicated that even religious people who are working to create civil equality, are guilty by assocation.

      It’s more that “guilt by association”. Christians actually contribute to anti-gay bigotry by legitimizing “God”/the Bible as the source of moral authority. If I actually believed in guilt by association, I’d condemn all Christians. But I don’t, so I acknowledge that some of them do more good than harm.

      “That statement has two parts. Love God with your entire self, which does not define sin, but defines our relationship to God, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.”

      Does it mean that, say, blasphemy isn’t a sin?

      “That principle, however, is a fabrication, and is not actually contained in Christ’s teachings. In fact, Jesus repeatedly put the welfare of others over obediance to rules that were, in His time, perceived as God’s will.”

      You seem to have a problem with logic and reason. The fact that some rules were perceived as God’s will certainly doesn’t mean that they were God’s will. That’s why your statement about “obediance to rules” doesn’t support the point you are making.

      Besides, are you really arguing that Christians are supposed to ignore God’s will when it’s good for people’s well-being? That’s a very unconventional point of view.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      You lost me David. Completely lost me. I actually do try to respond to questions, instead of just call people atheists. You’re on your own now.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Jon Philly:

      It has been said that there really is no honor among thieves.

      And the same can be said for the churches that take our hard-earned money and then use it to not only defend their anti-gay bigotry and hatred, but to take away our heard won rights at the polls as well.

      B & David blithely ignore the shameful actions perpetrated by Portland’s Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone as we speak. He is collecting donations from the pulpit to be used directly in the repeal of the same-sex marriage law.

      Is that not a form of thievery in and of itself? And like the hypocritical thieves that they are, they will fight to the death, to defend the very system that made us all wrong, continues to make us wrong at the pools and made life as miserable as they possibly can for the majority of LGBT people.

      And this is supposed to make us feel sympathetic to the church and act lovingly toward them? B & David would call us wrong in decrying these actions by the church and trying to defend ourselves from their heinous crimes in the name of God? Give us a fucking break, you hypocrites and spare us of the “immorality of LGBT people” bullshit!

      It’s always ok when they do it, but wrong, wrong, wrong, when we fight back. Then they cry “foul” and act mortally wounded when we tell them the truth about themselves?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @onefish: “What you have to prove is that there is some essential and distinctive trait in religion that means it must produce homophobia, and there is a real alternative to religion that does not have this essential trait. You also have to show how it is possible that some religious people seem to escape this supposed essential trait of religion by working against homophobia. Furthermore, you have to show how non-religious people can still be homophobic despite lacking the distinctively religious trait that you have identified as responsible for homophobia.”

      The traits you’re talking about are (ir)rationality and (in)humanity. Irrationality and/or inhumanity produce homophobia in some religions. Rationality and humanity tell us that homosexuality isn’t harmful or inferior to heterosexuality. Religious people escape these traits because their thoughts and deeds are becoming selectively more rational and humane (similarly, it’s possible to become less racist even if you were raised in a racist environment). Finally, non-religious people can still be homophobic because religion isn’t the only kind of irrationality and/or inhumanity.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @onefish:

      Let’s cut through all the rhetoric, dissertations and “lessons in logic”.

      The Mormons and the RC Church collaborated and raised millions of dollars to see to it that Yes on Prop 8 passed. And it did!

      Now,Portland’s Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone is collecting donations from the pulpit to go forward fighting the holy fight, which is the repeal of the same-sex marriage law in Maine.

      Can you still tell us, in light of the above actions the church is taking against LGBT people, and with a straight face, that homosexuality is not wrong or sinful and that the church does, in fact, support the rights of LGBT people?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      David you have 17 posts and you have not provided any source other than religion for the hatred of homosexuals. Religion = Homophobia.

      I’m finished even attempting conversation with you. You have made only one claim here: “Atheists are trying to end religion.” Because of your behavior I wish they would focus on you (and others like you) instead. You don’t bring anything to the conversation, especially something that would benefit LGBTQ people. you simply seek to turn this sincere conversation about Lutherans (Pastor Erik and Pastor Lura) into a “stop the atheists” charade. Enough, already.

      Good-bye.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @onefish: “1. Not all religion is responsible for homophobia.
      2. Some things outside of religion are responsible for homophobia.”

      #1 Fine, which religions DO NOT have the traditional Christian belief that homosexuals are wrong? You know, the stuff from the Bible, abominations, etc.? No long winded Davidesque bull shit, name names. Which denominations have renounced the Biblical Christian Doctrine and have actually made it their official Christian belief that homosexuals are not wrong or sinful? Which ones?

      Names, please and some documentation.

      #2 Fine, which “things outside of religion are responsible for homophobia?” Not as Pastor Lura says “using religion to justify homophobia” (like an excuse) but who or what has taught homosexuals are wrong for 2,000 years? Who or what reserves Sunday mornings to “instill” this idea into very young minds? Who or what finances every vote against homosexuals (like Mormons-Prop 8)? Who or what is trying to undo progress in Maine and Washington? Who or what institution or group or organization or club or gang actually has that belief and promotes it?

      Names, please and some documentation.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      Dismissing my arguments by simply falsely accusing me of lying, is cheap and immoral.

      How fucking dare you ride into a gay site on your moral high-road and accuse anyone on these threads of being “cheap and immoral”. You are echoing the precise same thing the church has been accusing we gays of for the past two-thousand years.

      Go back to your stinking church phew (double entendre intended) where you came from if all you can do is hurl insults and invectives at those of us whose site this belongs to.
      You are just an interloper who is enjoying agitating this discussion.

      I provided lenghty supportive details to substantiate the statements you call lies, you have provided nothing but dehumanizing accusations.

      And the church has made no “dehumanizing accusations” against gays? Take the rubber stoppers out of your ears and the blindfolds off your eyes.

      “You keep lying, David. No one here said or implied that “all of religion” condemns homosexuality.”

      Moot argument. The fact is that most religions do condemn homosexuality, with very few exceptions.

      I have repeatedly cited multiple examples of just that thing. Of course, you simply dismissed it out of hand. You even made excuses to justify not being explicit and fair, and indicated that even religious people who are working to create civil equality, are guilty by assocation.

      Strawman argument. That doesn’t let the guilty parties off the hook or give them a free pass. Would you also have us believe that there were Nazis working within the party to promote civil equality and fair treatment for Jews as well?

      “The difference is that ‘sin’, unlike other concepts of wrong-doing, involves divine authority.”

      The “God card” was just played and we all know that it’s a trump card.

      Actually, it does not. That is a fallacy that fundamentalists declare, but it is not accurate. This is one of the ways that you and your peers are actively nurturing fundamentalist, dominationist theology, and in doing so, enabling homophobia and obstructing the work of civil justice.

      Red Herring. Blaming the victim of the rape for wearing a skirt that was not long enough to cover her “exposed” ankles is disingenuous.

      Something isn’t sin because of Divine Authority in Christianity. Jesus gave an explicit statement which He declared was the whole of the law (i.e, the definition of what is and is not sin). That statement has two parts. Love God with your entire self, which does not define sin, but defines our relationship to God, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.

      Just another religious lecture from the pulpit to us “sinners”. Who cares what Jesus said (or didn’t say) for the matter? Save it for your Sunday church service.

      Sin is defined by an intrinsically personal, intimate test, not an external authority, but an internal one, explicitly expressed in the ‘as yourself’. The law Christ gave tells to use our own aversion to being harmed to guide us in not harming others.

      Do you do that with your left hand or your right hand?

      You are demonstrating the core failure so many atheists manifest when trying to vilify Christianity: you are poorly, if at all, educated on the subject, what little you know reflects a margin understanding of portion of Christians, and as it happens, a portion that is not known for being particularly well-educated about Christian theology.

      When you can’t win the argument logically and fairly, tell your opponent what a dumb fuck he is and that he doesn’t know his as from a hole in the ground. Sure makes you look learned and intelligent by contrast, doesn’t it?

      What you and your peers are doing is the equivalent of judging all GLBTQ people by “gay men into leather and s&m” – or any other subset someone has objected to.

      Strawman. This thread is about the churchs’judgement of homosexuality, not leather or s&m. Stay on topic.

      It is immoral when y’all do it to Christians just as it is immoral when anyone does it to GLBTQ people.

      When the church stops “doing it”, we will no longer have to “do it” back to them. Why should we lay our weapons down, when you and the church are rolling out the big cannons to attack the LGBT community with?

      You must think that we are as dumb as you are?

      Sep 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eugene

      I have not lied even once in any post here. Not once.

      “I provided the quote that demonstrates that I acknowledge the contributions of pro-gay Christians who do “more good than harm”.”

      And you and your peers have repeatedly declared ‘religion makes homosexuality wrong’. And repeatedly falsely accused me.

      “It’s more that “guilt by association”. Christians actually contribute to anti-gay bigotry by legitimizing “God”/the Bible as the source of moral authority.”

      No. Anyone, including atheists, who insist against all evidence, that Bible, religion, Christianity condemns homosexuality, contributes to anti-gay bigotry.

      You don’t have to have a source of moral authority, and your posts give the impression that you do not, but ‘moral authority’ in and of itself is not the problem.

      However, your argument above is a denunciation, a rejection of God/the Bible, and that explicitly counters your subsequent claim:

      “If I actually believed in guilt by association, I’d condemn all Christians. But I don’t, so I acknowledge that some of them do more good than harm.’

      Your prior sentence explicitly condemns all Christians, on the grounds that they accept a particular source of moral guidance.

      I am tired of your empty dismissals, Eugene. I wish you would begin making an honest effort.

      “You seem to have a problem with logic and reason.”

      Sorry, the fact that you did not understand what I posted indicates nothing about me, except, possibly, the skillfulness of my written expression. Personally, I think I was perfectly clear, and that you understood exactly what I communicated, and that you could disprove or challenge it accurately, so turned to a lame and over-used ad hominem instead.

      Jesus did not teach ‘Love God more than your neighbor’. Like ‘Homosexuality is sin’, that statement does not appear in the Bible. Insulting me won’t magically make it appear either. It remains true as well that Jesus repeatedly put the welfare of others first, and was roundly criticizing for such crimes (against religious law) as healing the sick on the Sabbath.

      “Besides, are you really arguing that Christians are supposed to ignore God’s will when it’s good for people’s well-being?”

      Not at all. Again, you really don’t understand the subject you have been so critical of. People’s well-being is God will for us. What ever guess a Christian might have about a bible verse or commandment, what it means or how to apply it, it superceded by one very explicit requirement for justice and equality.

      That is the whole point Jesus makes when He articulates the Law of Love, and criticizes the mainstream religious leaders of His time for their obsessive fixation with every jot and tittle of levitical law – they follow the letter, He criticizes, while ignoring the spirit.

      If Joe Christian reads passage x, and for whatever reason, interprets it to require harming other people, he creates for himself an intrinsic contradiction with Christ’s command ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. That command trumps, supercedes, over-rules any guess about what ‘arsenokoite’ or ‘toevah’ or ‘yada’ (or anything else) might mean.

      That’s the message in the ‘good trees = good fruit, evil trees = evil fruit’ test for false teaching that Christ gave. That test proved that ‘homosexuality is sin’ is wrong.

      I’m being critical of the false claims from you, and Brian, and your peers, because you are asserting the exact same false vision of Christianity that fundamentalist, homophobic (and racist, antisemitic, mysogynist) Christians teach.

      You and your peers are affirming the exact same false paradigm that jeopardizes the lives of GLBTQ people, among others. And in my opinion, you are only doing so in order to make your own overt and extreme prejudice less repulsive.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      First off, since you said:”I’m finished even attempting conversation with you. . . .Good-bye.” it would be decent if you refrain from posting to this thread, or any thread on Queerty about religion.

      If you won’t talk to people of faith, have the decency to stop talking about us.

      “David you have 17 posts and you have not provided any source other than religion for the hatred of homosexuals. Religion = Homophobia.”

      David, you have posted at length, without providing any evidence to support your claim that religion is the source of hatred for homosexuals. When provided with evidence to refute your claim, you’ve either relied on insults, or you have summarily dismissed the evidence just because.

      Your claim “religion = homophobia” is categorically false. Maybe accuracy and honesty do not matter to you. But by making that claim, yet again, you’ve refuted Eugene’s repeated assertion, and your own, that y’all are only whining about a specific belief.

      “I’m finished even attempting conversation with you.”

      To be honest, you have not even started to attempt a conversation, Brian. You’ve simply repeated the same falsehoods and made the same selfish, arrogant demands over and over again.

      “You have made only one claim here: “Atheists are trying to end religion.” ”

      Please don’t lie to me about my own posts. I have covered a wealth of material, from Luther’s theology regarding ‘thou shalt not kill’ and how his catechism tells Lutherans that even failing to act injustice, violates that commandment, to need to condemn prejudice itself, and a great deal in between.

      “Because of your behavior I wish they would focus on you (and others like you) instead.”

      Is that some sort of threat? If, as I suspect, you are wishing that homophobes would focus their violence on Christian GLBTQ people, you should keep in mind that without us, non-Christian GLBTQ people would not have the civil rights they do have.

      “You don’t bring anything to the conversation, especially something that would benefit LGBTQ people.”

      That’s an empty dismissal. It indicates that you cannot refute what I have presented here with facts, logic, reason, or even histrionics.

      However, what I have brought here is accuracy, sound and reasonable arguments for re-examining and discarding ‘homosexuality is sin’, and consistent repugnance for all forms of prejudice. You are in essence saying that for you, accurate information, sound reasons to reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and a rejection of prejudice, is worthless.

      That is probably the only accurate thing you’ve indicated here.

      “you simply seek to turn this sincere conversation about Lutherans (Pastor Erik and Pastor Lura) into a “stop the atheists” charade.”

      Your mis-representation of my remarks is reprehensible. It is ironic, even hypocritical in lights of some of the chatter from schlukitz about not taking what they dish out.

      You have been quite vocal in reviling and denouncing people of faith, and their faith itself, in total. But you cannot tolerate any criticism of your own religious belief.

      “Enough, already.

      Good-bye.”

      I hope you have the integrity to actually live up to this, though I doubt it. So many people on the internet make these grandstanding Diva ploys “I’m leaving blah blah blah”, and then renege.

      When they do go back on their word, of course, they accomplish two things. They prove that their diva moment was just another act of malice and degradation and vanity on their part, and, that they have no honor.

      So please, break the mold, live up to your ‘good-bye’ and go mind your own group. Go pester all those atheists organizations that are not actively working for civil equality for GLBTQ people. Go convince them to raise millions to find anti-gay campaigns. See if you can get even one of them to sign your statement “Homosexuality is not wrong”.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @schlukitz

      I can tell you with a straight face that homosexuality is not wrong or sinful. It is actually right and if we accept the homosexuality that God gave us, we are in obedient compliance with God’s law. God made gayness when he made humanity, and saw that it was good. Homophobia is wrong and sinful. It has always been and always will be. Anyone at all who says otherwise is wrong.

      Christian theology distinguishes between the visible church and the true church. The visible church is and has always been deeply corrupt and full of evil (see Protestantism, which explicitly acknowledges this fact even if it doesn’t escape it). The abuses you describe are fully in congruity with Christian doctrine. The true church is the body of true Christians. True Christians may be muddled, they may be sinners, but they do not worship an evil God. The less true Christians are muddled and sinning, the more they support the rights of LGBT people.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Schulkitz

      “How fucking dare you ride into a gay site on your moral high-road and accuse anyone”

      That is a wonder example of a domineering attitude.

      How dare you, or your peers, malign the millions of people of faith who have spent years working for the civil equality for everyone?

      How dare you dismiss all of our hard work simply because we won’t renounce our religion to make you happy?

      This particular thread is about a particular religious belief, and it does impact the lives of people of faith more than it impacts the lives of atheists, and people of faith have more to contribute to this conversation than atheists do.

      You may, or may not have something to contribute, hopefully something accurate, but, people of faith have a great deal more to contribute.

      Contributing false information, as Brian, and you, and Eugene, and company have done, is not beneficial to anyone except homophobes.

      “When you can’t win the argument logically and fairly, tell your opponent what a dumb f*ck he is”

      Well, that explains your posts. Thanks.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      it would be decent if you refrain from posting to this thread, or any thread on Queerty about religion.

      And you no doubt also feel that it would also be “decent” to respect your right to post on this thread or any thread on Queerty about religion as often as you wish to…and for as long as you wish! A nice, polite, Christian way of saying STFD and STFU?

      If you won’t talk to people of faith, have the decency to stop talking about us.

      And if the Pope and his minions won’t talk to gay people, have the decency to stop talking about us as well.

      without us, non-Christian GLBTQ people would not have the civil rights they do have.

      Oh really now? Could we have some proof of that outrageous assertion? Specifically, what civil-rights did Christians procure for members of the GLBT community?

      You have been quite vocal in reviling and denouncing people of faith, and their faith itself, in total.

      Meanwhile, the Pope and all the Pope’s men (including you) have been paragons of virtue, decorum and decency who never tire of showing their abounding love of homosexuals and their lifestyle, in total.

      Anyone, including atheists, who insist against all evidence, that Bible, religion, Christianity condemns homosexuality, contributes to anti-gay bigotry.

      Man, what the fuck are you smoking? And what might that “all evidence” you speak of be? The church keeps throwing it’s tired, worn out “Leviticus” argument at us every chance it gets. I cannot get married or legally adopt a kid in my state of Florida. The dirt-bag Mormons and RC Church took away gay civil-rights in CA and are now seeking to do the same in Maine and you have the balls to tell us gays that we are contributing to anti-gay bigotry when we call you on that lie? DOMA, DADT and the lack of an ENDA bill doesn’t smack of a condemnation of homosexuality to you? What the fuck planet are you on, dude?

      That is a wonder example of a domineering attitude.

      It doesn’t even come close to the “domineering” attitude the Pope, his bishops and henchmen like you display. Pot. Kettle. Black.

      How dare you, or your peers, malign the millions of people of faith who have spent years working for the civil equality for everyone?

      Name a few? Got any references to back that up? Since their numbers are so copious, it should be hard to find at least a few…

      How dare you dismiss all of our hard work simply because we won’t renounce our religion to make you happy?

      And what hard work might that be? Just claims on your behalf. Facts, documentation, please. Talk is cheap. We of the LGBT should not be obliged to take such sweeping declarations on faith alone, as you are accustomed to instructing your flocks to do.

      This particular thread is about a particular religious belief, and it does impact the lives of people of faith more than it impacts the lives of atheists.

      Oh really now? The atheists are not in the least affected by the stigma and homophobia of Christianity? Those of us who are atheist as well as members of the LGBT community are the ones who are forbidden to marry or reunite with their foreign national partners by your “particular religious belief”, and as if your particular religious belief that were the only thing worthy of discussion on this thread, you pompous ass!!!

      people of faith have more to contribute to this conversation than atheists do.

      Now that, Sir, is the piéce de resistance. The chutzpah? The arrogance? How fucking cavalier of you. And you speak of dismissive attitude of other posters on this thread?

      Your true colors, Sir, are showing. With every word you utter, you make yourself more offensive to all manner of humanity, straight, gay, Christian, agnostic, atheist or otherwise.

      So please, break the mold, live up to your ‘good-bye’ and go mind your own group.

      It is you, Sir, who should leave this group and take your freaking bible with you. Take your own advice and go pester a group who would more receptive to your “particular religious beliefs”.

      I am tired of your empty dismissals.

      And we, Sir, are tired of you and your religious rhetoric.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @David: I shall join the others in ignoring you. You even told a lie after Brian ended any conversation with you. You are incapable of telling the truth in your sickening “defense” of religion. Your comments are the emptiest thoughts I’ve seen in a long time. They are simply intended to create circular conversations with no benefit. You never actually answered a single question from anyone.

      You said this about Brian: “I hope you have the integrity to actually live up to this, though I doubt it. So many people on the internet make these grandstanding Diva ploys “I’m leaving blah blah blah”, and then renege.”

      Brian simply ended conversation with you with no reference to “leaving.”

      I’m saying the same thing. Others have, too.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      I’m done, too. Not with Queerty, David honey, don’t get excited. Just with you. I’ll learn more from these threads by just glossing over any gargantuan post with your name attached.

      Very well said, Schlukitz.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jordan
      Jordan

      Will those who use the bible to hate please read the comments below. I was raised Roman Catholic and was taught to believe that a person who interferes with the love of God and tries to drive people away from the love of God. We are all Gods people… it is not for us to judge and hate. Now, we have several people on here who were driven away from God because of hatred toward who they are and how God mad them. Even if you believe it is a sin… which I am not on here to debate.. you should heed the words of Jesus who loved “sinners” and showed them how much he cared for them… Maybe you should try this…

      Sep 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      schlukitz “‘@B: Pure BS on your part.’ Umm…I didn’t write the article, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

      Stop dissembling. You quoted/cited it and presented it as fact.

      “And, if you’ll do a Google or a Bing, you will find many more such articles that support the claim that Communism is simply just another religion. Do avail yourself of them.”

      Any moron can post whatever rant he/she wants and Google will pick it up. Communism is simply not a religion – it is an economic system. Stalinism is a variation of it with a lot of authoritarianism that reflected Stalin’s personality, and Stalin disliked religion.

      I gave you an impartial URL (a cite to a wikipedia article) and Communism was not classified as a religion for a very good reason. It isn’t one. Claiming otherwise just makes you look stupid.

      Sep 18, 2009 at 11:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      schlukitz wrote, “@B: Let me see if I have this correctly? You are apologizing for and excusing religion and placing all the blame for the woes of the LGBT community squarely at the feet of the Atheists?”

      As is typically the case, you don’t “have it correctly”. I was saying you can’t blame religion in general for the homophobic behavior of some religions. You should blame those specific religions (sects, etc) and not the others. I never said anything negative about atheists in general – you made that up, presumably because you are dishonest (there is no plausible excuse). What I did point out was that the officially atheist Soviet Union passed repressive laws against homosexuality. Had you read the URL I gave you, you would have noted that there were several hypotheses as to why. One was that Stalin wanted a pretext to arrest and discredit dissidents and embarrassing them about sex would make a threat even more effective. He was an atheist, but the reason was not atheism but his control-freak tendencies.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “Specifically, what civil-rights did Christians procure for members of the GLBT community?”

      All of them, in the U.S.

      Sorry to break the bad news, but atheists do not have, and never have had, the numbers to accomplish, on their own, much of anything in this democracy. Additionally, the examples of societies wher atheism has been the dominant idealogy, have been just as bloody, domineering and oppressive, if not more so, as any other society.

      Take Prop 8. Someone was blaming it on religion. But that is as false as previous reports blaming its passage on people of color.

      Atheist websites claim that atheists make up 2% to 10% of the U.S. population, and though other sources consistently claim 2%, let’s give the benefit of the doubt, and go with that 10% number.

      Atheists websites claim, without evidence, that atheists vote at a rate of 90%. So the atheist vote in California can fairly be projected at 90% of 10% of eligible voters. Some atheists have announced that they supported Prop 8. It is possible that atheists leaned more in opposition than support, but certainly not 100%.

      At best, the atheist vote may have account for 7% of the no votes on Prop 8. The breakdown on Prop 8 – 52% to 48%. That means that the bulk, the majority, the lion’s share of opposition to Prop 8, came from people of faith. While the 7% that atheists may have brought to the party was helpful – they could not have won the issue even if every atheist had voted, and voted no. And had only atheists opposed Prop 8, the result would have been a record setting 91%/9% split.

      By bad-mouthing all Christians, you folks are bad-mouthing not only the people who do perpetuate homophobia, but also the overwhelming majority of those who are fighting it.

      Meanwhile, of course, several have stomped off in a flurry of insults and diva-esque histrionics, leaving unanswered a particular question of mine:

      “Are there any organizations in the U.S., comprised primarily of atheists or self-defined as an overtly atheist organization, that are purposefully working to advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people? Not organizations with no explicit connection to any religion, but organizations that are explicitly, definitively atheist, and which are actively working to secure civil equality for GLBTQ people.”

      When demands were made for an example of a denomination that explicitly and publicly announces ‘homosexuality is not sin’, I promptly provided one, (and not for the first time, since the question has been asked, and answered, in other threads).

      Yet there is still no example of even one explicitly atheist organization that has actively worked to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      The people who demand so much, have provided so very little, other than insults.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      Thank you for your kind words, Chance.

      I just get so fucking angry when these holier-than-thou types, straight or gay, who come onto our site, as a guest mind you, and start spouting the bible at us, calling us sinners and telling us what we can and cannot say on our own site that is dedicated to members of the LGBT community and then get testy with us when we disagree with their criticism of us and their put-downs of gays in general.

      They arrive here with their superior, condescending attitudes, start preaching at us, telling us that we are the ones who have a bad attitude, pick arguments with posters who have been on this site far longer than they have, and then have the unmitigated gall to suggest that we are the ones who should leave if we don’t like what they, the interlopers, have to say!

      Could you possibly imagine anyone of us, walking into a Sunday Morning Church service of any denomination, interrupting the Mass or taking issue with the Pastor, Preacher, Priest, whatever, while he/she is delivering their sermon in the pulpit and behaving in the rude, disruptive manner that David did here on this site?

      I mean, if they can’t even take criticism on a liberal gay site, how in the world would they ever be able to cope with it within the walls of their church?

      Within minutes, I am certain, we would have hands placed on our shoulders by the ushers, be escorted to the door and asked, in no uncertain terms, never to darken their doorstep again.

      I mean, look how the Mormons treated two gay men just for kissing, in a public square, no less, in front of their tabernacle? One would have thought that they took a piss or a dump on their Book of Mormon they way they manhandled those two unfortunate guys.

      They keep telling us we should stop calling them bigots, verbally abusing them and attacking them?

      Who started the stinkin’ fight in the first place, I ask? It certainly wasn’t us, that’s for sure. We don’t start with anybody. We mind our own business and just want be left alone to do our thing.

      I guess that’s just a bit too much to expect or ask of these people, it seems

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Bearable wrote, “@B: ‘It is plausible that homophobic religious sects are not the cause but a symptom of an underlying trait common in individuals who are members of those sects.’ No, it’s not plausible – it’s stupid. Religion is administered at a very young age, before young minds even develop sufficient to ‘reason.’ In every instance, first comes baby, then comes religion and then comes behavior.”

      Shear nonsense – I’ve met people who decided that religion was a pile of bunk at a tender age, and know people who are (a) currently not religious, (b) were taken to church regularly as children, and (c) heard not one word about homosexuality in that church. It was probably never mentioned because the kids’ parents would have gotten upset if anything at all was said about it – they didn’t want their children to know. And this was a time period during which homophobia was particularly severe in the U.S. – pre Stonewall. The homophobia was coming from somewhere, but the kids weren’t picking it up in churches.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      schlukitz wrote, “Who started the stinkin’ fight in the first place, I ask? It certainly wasn’t us, that’s for sure.”

      ROTFLMAO – of course you guys started it, by posting lies about individuals you disagreed with, including ones (like me) who merely suggested that you target particular religious groups for criticism and not the ones that aren’t causing the problems.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      David says Take Prop 8. Someone was blaming it on religion. But that is as false as previous reports blaming its passage on people of color.

      Then B says f course you guys started it, by posting lies about individuals you disagreed with

      Silly me. We all know that it was the gays and the atheists and not the Mormon Church and the RC Church who made-up all the lies about religious people, put Prop. 8 up for a vote and then voted yes on it. I mean, we all knew in our hearts what bad motherfuckers we are. Oh, and that was a pretty good job of fund-raising by the gays and atheists as well. Nice piece of change we managed to collect for Yes on Prop. 8

      And to think that we (the gays and atheists) even had the unmitigated gall to file numerous Form 13909s against the Mormon Church with the IRS for crossing the boundaries of separation of Church and State, specifically, engaging in a political campaign. That was a pretty mean, low-down and rotten thing for them to do. Our disrespect for the Church knows no boundaries, obviously, and we will stoop to anything to make the Church look bad.

      Funny how I get my history and facts all mixed-up like that.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 1:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “the Church” is as real as “the gay lifestyle”.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 1:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      schlukitz dissembled by posting, “Then B says ‘of course you guys started it, by posting lies about individuals you disagreed with’ Silly me. We all know that it was the gays and the atheists and not the Mormon Church and the RC Church who made-up all the lies about religious people, put Prop. 8 up for a vote and then voted yes on it. I mean, we all knew in our hearts what bad motherfuckers we are.”

      When you make a series of personal comments (I was called ‘religious’ by some morons merely for suggesting that religious beliefs are by no means monolithic, a statement an atheist could reasonably make), you are are starting an argument. You are continuing by lying – I was in fact encouraging you to complain about the Mormon’s and Catholic’s position, but to realize that some other religious sects or other religions are not causing a problem. You know, like Zen Buddhists, who accept all sexual orientations. Your recent reply pretends otherwise and it is quite frankly dishonest of you.

      The whole lot of you are as bad as the fundamentalists – both you and they will go to any lengths to push an agenda with no regard for the truth.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 2:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @B: I was in fact encouraging you to complain about the Mormon’s and Catholic’s position, but to realize that some other religious sects or other religions are not causing a problem.

      Actually, they are causing a problem. They make religious bigotry in general and Christian bigotry in particular more socially acceptable. Erik Samuelson doesn’t have a problem with gay people, but he also doesn’t believe that Bible-based bigotry is bigotry – simply because his “sect” has a lot in common with anti-gay “sects”. Similarly, many pro-gay laws face religious obstacles. If religion could be disregarded as a baseless superstition, we wouldn’t have to “respect” or even “tolerate” anti-gay religions.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 4:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @B: Yes, because Wikipedia is the last word in thought and truth.

      To borrow a phrase: Any moron can write whatever he/she wants and there it is on wikipedia.

      If you aren’t willing to recognize the similarities between communism and religion – through a dogmatic belief system, codes of write and wrong, absolute authority, a promise of utopia if you only follow your savior and his system – well that’s your own business, but it doesn’t make you right or somehow smarter just because you can be contrary.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @B: Why would they be embarrassed about gay sex?

      Why?

      Why?

      Just because Stalin said so?

      No!

      It was already a part of their pre-Soviet (CHRISTIAN!!!!) culture and belief system! Just because Stalin didn’t STOP homophobia doesn’t mean that atheism creates homophobia, just like it doesn’t show that anything other than religion is the cause of homophobia.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @B: Yes, because the church has no reach outside the walls of its own institution.

      Tell me, are those glasses rose colored? Or is it more of a salmon color?

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @B: The point of this thread has been, primarily and all along, to NOT just celebrate religions who are “not causing a problem.” Whoopee. There haven’t been four major Lutheran posts in the last couple of weeks just so that we can all gather round and fellate – sorry, “celebrate” – the Lutherans for letting us into their club.

      The idea is to hold people who consider themselves moral leaders to a higher standard, and actually do something POSITIVE and PROACTIVE to stop or reverse the religious discrimination against us. Whether they are a Christian denomination, Zen Buddhists, or High Priests of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Sitting on the sidelines and quietly thinking, “That’s not very nice. Thank God we don’t do that to the homos,” JUST AIN’T ENOUGH. I’m not going to celebrate any preacher for that, and I think I speak for many here.

      My impression is that you are unwilling to hold them to that standard, or even discuss it, because we may offend some of our allies. Well what kind of allies are they, really, if they’re so easily turned off from doing the right thing? What kind of allies are they if they haven’t managed to find their feet and their voices in our defense yet?

      And if you are unwilling – to identify the problem and look for a solution, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to start glossing over your posts as well. I imagine I’m not the only one. Especially when you start falling into arguments so ridiculous as Wikipedia trumps all truth.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @Eugene

      ‘If religion could be disregarded as a baseless superstition, we wouldn’t have to “respect” or even “tolerate” anti-gay religions.’

      “Religion” is not baseless superstition. Look into the brain scans done on Buddhist monks. If what monks practiced was baseless superstition, they would not have such an objective, exceptional, and amazing capacity for compassion and happiness.

      Do you understand that Martin Luther King Jr. was motivated by his Christian faith in the work he did, the work not just of securing rights for black people but also in trying to reconcile with racists.

      Some religious practices are as far away from baseless superstition as Olympic training is. An athlete trains for the Olympics not because of baseless superstition, but because she knows that is what is needed in order to accomplish what she wants to accomplish. This is the same with religion, not in general, but in some cases, and I only need to provide a single case in order to falsify your universal claim.

      To say religion is baseless superstition is a really really really bad thing to do. Please, I am begging you, stop. Because making this claim means you have rejected counterexample as rational way of thinking, and thus you have rejected reason. If you reject reason, you are forever imprisoned in your current way of looking at things, and all the suffering that entails. Indignation is not a sufficient grounds for any kind of knowledge.

      That said, Erik is wrong in his respect and tolerance for anti-gay religion. You don’t need to “disregard” all religion in order to see some religion as profoundly evil and fight against it.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @onefish: “Religion” is not baseless superstition. Look into the brain scans done on Buddhist monks.”

      Have you ever heard of placebos? Just because there is a visible effect, it doesn’t mean that the effect can be attributed to an external factor. The brain scans simply demonstrate their ability to concentrate and change their mental state, so the effect isn’t necessarily based on spirituality.

      “Do you understand that Martin Luther King Jr. was motivated by his Christian faith in the work he did, the work not just of securing rights for black people but also in trying to reconcile with racists.”

      I understand it. Yes, among other things, he was motivated by his Christian faith. It obviously doesn’t mean the contents of his faith had a basis in reality. To put it bluntly, just because people do something in the name of God, doesn’t mean that God exists.

      “Some religious practices are as far away from baseless superstition as Olympic training is… This is the same with religion, not in general, but in some cases, and I only need to provide a single case in order to falsify your universal claim.”

      I was talking about religion, not religious practices. But, please, feel free to provide your examples of religious practices that are fully based on logic and reason.

      “To say religion is baseless superstition is a really really really bad thing to do. Please, I am begging you, stop. Because making this claim means you have rejected counterexample as rational way of thinking, and thus you have rejected reason. If you reject reason, you are forever imprisoned in your current way of looking at things, and all the suffering that entails.”

      Just like David, you feel the need to turn a disagreement into an elaborate and patronizing personal attack. If you think that it can make me change my mind, you’re horribly wrong.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 10:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh Philly
      Josh Philly

      David says: “Take Prop 8. Someone was blaming it on religion. But that is as false as previous reports blaming its passage on people of color.”

      I have concluded that David is denying the truth in an effort to preserve Religion. He is the worst, most dishonest and most irrational commenter I have ever seen on Queerty.

      Add me to the long list of those ignoring David.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      Hi Eugene,

      I’m not interested in us hating each other.

      The fact that we are debating means that we both passionately believe something we would like the other to believe. I can’t believe what I believe without thinking your belief is wrong, any more than you can believe what you believe without thinking my belief is wrong.

      That’s not patronizing, it’s just debate.

      Perhaps what you find patronizing is that I’m trying to find the truth in what you are saying, and trying to show you (and myself) how it is already consistent with my way of thinking. That is actually how people get over their differences. It is called charity. Debate is meaningless conflict without it.

      When you say that religion is baseless, you are making a broad claim that there is no reason to participate in religious practice and there is no reason to believe anything taught by religion. You are not just saying that there is no evidence for the existence of God. And so to refute you, I don’t have to prove that God exists (and I never tried). Nor do I have to prove to you that there is some magical “spirituality” that causes monks brains to go wonky, only that the religious practice of meditation leads to real happiness and compassion. I repeat, I am not making ANY supernatural claims about religion. Many Buddhists explicitly reject all supernatural claims. What you are attacking is religion, not the belief in the supernatural, and so you have to show how anti-supernatural religions are baseless superstition as well as the pro-supernatural religions. Religion is not the same as irrationality or magic or supernaturalism or prejudice or argument from authority. It just isn’t.

      Because you are making such broad claims, you will always be wrong. The world is too big and too complicated for statements like “religion is baseless superstition” to be true. If you want to say something that is true, you have to be more precise in what you say. It’s not that truth is impossible to get to, but that broad denunciations of things are almost always false.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @onefish:

      Because you are making such broad claims, you will always be wrong.

      Thank you for putting that in writing!

      That is precisely what “religion” has been telling gays for thousands of years now, that we are “wrong”. And that, is your,/i> truth!

      Obviously, you really do not have much truth with which to make your case for religion, other than your bible, which you demand that we accept as the in errant word of God! Fail.

      Making us “wrong” seem to be about all you really have.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @onefish: “I’m not interested in us hating each other.”

      Me neither. :-]

      “The fact that we are debating means that we both passionately believe something we would like the other to believe. I can’t believe what I believe without thinking your belief is wrong, any more than you can believe what you believe without thinking my belief is wrong.”

      I just think that we both should turn down the “passion” because it distracts us from the arguments we’re making. I actually agreed with your point about counterexamples, but your “passion” manifested itself in an unnecessary personal attack (“…you have rejected reason…”, etc.). We should avoid this.

      “When you say that religion is baseless, you are making a broad claim that there is no reason to participate in religious practice and there is no reason to believe anything taught by religion. You are not just saying that there is no evidence for the existence of God.”

      I disagree. When I said that religion is baseless, I actually meant that it has no basis in reality (i.e. “there is no evidence for the existence of God”). It’s a very important point because it directly affects the issue we’re discussing. As far as I can tell, your point is that religion can be beneficial, and I certainly can agree with this. But it’s still baseless. It’s important because it means that we should judge religious beliefs and practices on their own merits – instead of “respecting” them because many people believe that they’re true.

      Some Christians directly told me, “I don’t like what the Bible says about gays, but it’s God’s will“. They don’t like the beliefs, but accept them because they think that they’re true. And our society respects their beliefs instead of denouncing them as bigotry and prejudice.

      That’s exactly why, say, the Catholic church isn’t considered a hate group. And it’s a major problem.

      “What you are attacking is religion, not the belief in the supernatural, and so you have to show how anti-supernatural religions are baseless superstition as well as the pro-supernatural religions.”

      To be honest, I don’t know much about anti-supernatural religions, but any unsubstantiated claim is baseless. And a “religion” that is based on substantiated claims is more similar to philosophy/cognition, not religion – unless you believe that even communism is a religion.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      It was already a part of their pre-Soviet (CHRISTIAN!!!!) culture and belief system! Just because Stalin didn’t STOP homophobia doesn’t mean that atheism creates homophobia, just like it doesn’t show that anything other than religion is the cause of homophobia.

      Chance, that is an excellent point that, up until now at least, no one has offered as a rebuttal to the oft repeated charge that atheists and Communism in particular, are anti-homosexual.

      It’s a little like blaming Mr. Obama for all of the ills that he inherited from his predecessor who occupied the Ofal Office for 8 years. The blame should be laid where it properly belongs.

      Thanks for clarifying an often repeated and baseless postulation that was badly in need of illumination.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      The Debate started here by Pastor Erik and Pastor Lura is about “what” made homosexuals wrong. Clearly, that is the biggest problem for LGBTQ persons because the very painful and obvious truth is that as long as we are “wrong,” we’ll never be “equal.”

      So, anyone being completely honest and objective would trace that “belief” to religion and religion alone. That belief is the enemy, not religion itself. Most LGBTQ people – religious or not, simple want their equality. Therefore, in order to achieve full equality we cannot be “wrong.” That particular religious belief about us needs to end and we absolutely do not care about ALL the multitude of “other” religious beliefs, because they do not harm us.

      THAT is our challenge AND the challenge for religion – will religion end that belief? If you doubt whether or not people are affected by the traditional Christian belief that we are wrong – look at the polls: Gallup reports that +70% of our fellow citizens believe we are “morally wrong.” It is abundantly clear where that came from and continues to manifest itself – it is a religious teaching/belief.

      Our very simple request is that religion change by extinguishing that anti-homosexual belief. This is not without precedent – similar changes have occurred regarding slavery, racism and women’s rights. As was the case with those “beliefs,” religion has the opportunity to do so again. Any good person would want to see that happen. Any good person would “without hesitation” put equality before religion.

      LGBTQ activists have now joined this effort with the intention to inspire, persuade or, if necessary, demand that religion end that belief. Sure, there will be consequences, but “ending religion” is not one of them. In fact, if you apply some “math” to the process you see the huge “schism” or division already happening within religion. It is called in religious circles “the conservatives vs the progressives.” While there are many more issues involved in that separation, LGBTQ are really ONLY concerned about the belief that “homosexuals are wrong.” It is heartening to know that +90% of “progressive” clergy believe that homosexuals are “not wrong,” BUT their religious denominations still do. The split is coming and, if necessary, will be lead by both LGBTQ activists (religious or not) and the progressive clergy that believe in equality for all people.

      LGBTQ persons of Faith will join (if they don’t already belong) the progressive denominations/churches and the “conservative” denominations that cling to the hyper-literal interpretations of the Bible (and the belief that homosexuals are wrong) will be marginalized. All of the data and research that we have reviewed indicates that the conservative (fundamentalist) crowd will end up being less than one-third of the population. LGBTQ equality will then be possible.

      So, there is real hope for LGBTQ Equality, if we all have the courage to stand up to religious homophobic teachings (beliefs) by rejecting the idea that we are wrong and helping religion redefine itself.

      I hope that Pastor Lura and Pastor Erik are seeing the very clear “handwriting on the wall,” and in these comments. I know what team I’d want to be on. Their Lutherans are poised for a split – while I think I know what side Pastor Lura would be on, I just can’t tell what side Pastor Erik would choose. But, for LGBTQ people his choice is far less significant than our own – we must choose to stand up for ourselves and reject all religious organizations that continue to make us wrong.

      We are Not Wrong.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: You said this: “Jesus did not teach ‘Love God more than your neighbor’.”

      Jesus “said” this: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

      That’s Luke 14:26, in case you were wondering. Were you lying, or simply mistaken?

      Sep 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Chance: I apologize. I guess I see your point(s). religion is a problem, especially for gays and lesbians.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Another ‘B’ wrote, “@Chance: I apologize. I guess I see your point(s). religion is a problem, especially for gays and lesbians.”

      Either someone else is posting using the same single letter name that I am or one of these anti-religious nuts is playing games.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance wrote, “@B: Yes, because Wikipedia is the last word in thought and truth. To borrow a phrase: Any moron can write whatever he/she wants and there it is on wikipedia.”

      Very weak and dishonest “argument” (basically an ad hominem argument), given the study in Nature that showed that on technical topics the Wikipedia is comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy. The Wikipedia in the past has had problems in areas where people had an ax to grind, and that was hardly the case with what I quoted. Given those past problems, they’ve tightened the control processes for those areas.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance, grasping at straws, wrote, “@B: Why would they be embarrassed about gay sex? Why? Why? Just because Stalin said so?
      No! It was already a part of their pre-Soviet (CHRISTIAN!!!!) culture and belief system! Just because Stalin didn’t STOP homophobia doesn’t mean that atheism creates homophobia, just like it doesn’t show that anything other than religion is the cause of homophobia.”

      As to your “why”, did it not occur to you that Stalinists were not above using trumped up charges? You take a married dissident, charge him with homosexual conduct and he is in a very embarrassing situation – accused not only cheating on his wife but also lying to her about his sexual orientation, which would do wonders for his credibility. Plus you have a repressive law to provide a very long jail sentence to get the guy out of the way.

      Second, when the communists took over, they initially eliminated all the repressive Tsarist laws regarding sex and made divorce relatively easy – some of them had fairly liberal attitudes on the subject. It was only after 1922 that repressive laws regarding homosexuality were instituted – by Stalin who hated religion. You can’t explain that one away – it is a clear example of someone who was definitely not religious encouraging homophobia for whatever reason. And homophobia persisted in the Soviet Union over nearly a century of rule by a regime that tried to suppress religion, which Karl Marx had called “the opium of the masses” (actually “das Opium des Volkes”, “the opium of the people”).

      So I don’t think you should blame religion so much as authoritarianism. If you look at Christian sects, the more authoritarian they are the more homophobic they are. The same is true of Jewish sects. It also fits the Stalinists and the Nazis, both of whom introduced homophobic policies and both being authoritarian.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      Hi Eugene,

      “Me neither. :-]”

      Excellent. That’s the best thing I’ve read in this whole thread.

      Homophobia in religion has to go. It has to be denounced, it has to be rejected. The Christians you describe worship an evil god, and in my humble opinion, that belief is the source of all evil in religion. Other Christians worship a good God, and though they might make errors and sin in a way that cause problems for other people, they don’t commit the kinds of acts of evil and hatred that we see in homophobic religious expression. Believing in a good God doesn’t mean that you are good, but it does limit the amount of damage you can do in the name of God. That said, people who believe in an evil god need to be rescued from their beliefs if at all possible, not hated.

      “any unsubstantiated claim is baseless”

      I’m not sure what you mean here. People have beliefs that other people consider unsubstantiated. There is a whole branch of philosophy called epistemology that considers what and how it is possible to know. It’s a very complicated question, and the simple answers to the questions of epistemology that invoke science and reason alone aren’t sufficient. Christianity provides a rather simple epistemological principle: “by their fruit, you shall know them”. In other words, what is evil produces evil fruit, what is good produces good fruit, and what is real produces real fruit.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @B: “As to your “why”, did it not occur to you that Stalinists were not above using trumped up charges? You take a married dissident, charge him with homosexual conduct and he is in a very embarrassing situation – accused not only cheating on his wife but also lying to her about his sexual orientation, which would do wonders for his credibility.”

      Don’t you think that, in a less homophobic country, gay people wouldn’t have to lie about their sexual orientation? The whole point is that the country already was homophobic, and homophobia simply couldn’t vanish in less than 20 years.

      “It was only after 1922 that repressive laws regarding homosexuality were instituted – by Stalin who hated religion. You can’t explain that one away – it is a clear example of someone who was definitely not religious encouraging homophobia for whatever reason.”

      According to the Wikipedia article, he probably was doing it to “build a better relationship with the socially conservative Eastern Orthodox Church”. Anyway, Stalin was encouraging homophobia that already existed in the society. It simply wouldn’t happen in a country that wasn’t homophobic.

      “So I don’t think you should blame religion so much as authoritarianism.”

      I don’t think so. Without religion that turned gays into outcasts, authoritarianism would simply oppress gays and straights equally. The belief that gays are “wrong” and inferior to heterosexuals is the foundation of anti-gay bigotry – regardless of how subtle it may seem.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @onefish: “Homophobia in religion has to go. It has to be denounced, it has to be rejected. The Christians you describe worship an evil god, and in my humble opinion, that belief is the source of all evil in religion. Other Christians worship a good God, and though they might make errors and sin in a way that cause problems for other people, they don’t commit the kinds of acts of evil and hatred that we see in homophobic religious expression. “

      Which religions have ended the traditional Christian belief that “homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant?” Which ones? Lutherans and Episcopalians are splitting up just because of “accepting” homosexuals. Catholics are very clear. Baptists are very clear. Which denominations have ended that harmful teaching/belief?

      I don’t care what “God” they’ve chosen, although I would like him/her to be a “good” one, but ending the belief is the important thing here. That Christian belief must end.

      Give us some good news.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @onefish: “The Christians you describe worship an evil god, and in my humble opinion, that belief is the source of all evil in religion. Other Christians worship a good God…”

      Aren’t they supposed to worship the same God? :-]

      That’s exactly why there are so many Christian sects: God is either “evil” or “good”, he either hates homosexuality or loves it, etc. Even aside from the fact that the Biblical God is evil, we have to face the fact that we’re dealing with a make-believe religion. And it seems to be the most honest way to “rescue” people from their evil beliefs.

      I’m not sure what you mean here. People have beliefs that other people consider unsubstantiated. There is a whole branch of philosophy called epistemology that considers what and how it is possible to know. It’s a very complicated question, and the simple answers to the questions of epistemology that invoke science and reason alone aren’t sufficient.

      The point is that there should be no “special treatment” when we’re dealing with religious beliefs. Religious claims should face the same scrutiny as other philosophical/epistemological claims, and blind faith should be equally unacceptable when beliefs affect other people.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @onefish: Okay, now i’m confused. You said: “The Christians you describe worship an evil god, and …. other Christians worship a good God.”

      I thought all Christians worshiped the Father of Jesus, you know, the one that sent him here. Do Christians have different Gods now, too? This just gets crazier and crazier.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Josh:

      This just gets crazier and crazier.

      Ah. But God is not through with us.

      The best is yet to come! ;>)

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      Hi Brian.

      Which religions have ended the traditional Christian belief that “homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant?” Which ones? Lutherans and Episcopalians are splitting up just because of “accepting” homosexuals. Catholics are very clear. Baptists are very clear. Which denominations have ended that harmful teaching/belief?

      Well I’ve given you my humble opinion, and I will repeat and expand here for clarity. There is a division that crosses all denominational boundaries, all boundaries between religious groups and even boundaries between the religious and the non-religious. Some are on one side, some are on the other. Some believe in a good God (even if they don’t conceive of it in those terms), some believe in an evil god. It’s not that some people are good and some are bad–everyone is a sinner–but that some are not just sinners but fundamentally committed to evil through the evil god they worship. I believe those people need to be rescued. It’s not for me to judge who is in which group, but I believe homophobia is one good indication of belief in an evil god. I don’t believe such people should go to hell, and I don’t believe in an evil god who would send them to hell.

      Let me try to express this in terms that an atheist would accept. I think a good fraction of the world is just selfish and unconcerned about whatever suffering other people experience as long as they can manage to block it out of their own consciousness. I’m not talking about psychopaths, but people who are capable of compassion but just choose to avoid using it.

      There are atheists on either side of this divide, just as there are religious people of every kind on either side. It’s an equal opportunity division.

      There are clearly a lot of evil beliefs out there that need to be refuted and brought to an end, but there are also a lot of very good beliefs that, in the wrong hands, nevertheless provide a justification for this basic selfishness/belief in an evil god. The devil quotes scripture. Quite frequently, actually.

      You say “Give us some good news.” The good news is that the gate is open and you can cross the fence, regardless of religion or lack thereof. The good news is that there is a force of real goodness in the world, whatever you want to call it, that will take care of what is beyond our own power.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @josh

      I thought all Christians worshiped the Father of Jesus, you know, the one that sent him here. Do Christians have different Gods now, too? This just gets crazier and crazier.

      See the parable of the tares. Christianity does not say that all people who call themselves Christians actually are. This is not me inventing something.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @onefish: “The devil quotes scripture. Quite frequently, actually.”

      Wow. You’re a lot higher than me right now.

      I need to add: “if your going to play in Texas, you better have a fiddle in the band.”

      There. We’re even.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @onefish:

      The devil quotes scripture. Quite frequently, actually.

      And we, of course, are expected to know which is the real McCoy. Inadvertently choose the wrong quoter of scripture and, BUZZZZZZZ, off to hell you go, in a hand basket.

      Which brings up the question? If God is all powerful, why does he allow the devil to exist.

      Oh. Silly me. I forgot.

      Life on earth is a TV quizz-show for the amusement of the creator. Wonder if God is a fat, couch potatoe?

      The good news is that there is a force of real goodness in the world, whatever you want to call it, that will take care of what is beyond our own power.

      Which bring up yet another question?

      Where was this force for real goodness when Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Tamerlane, Mussolini, Stalin and Tojo were busy conquering the world and slaughtering millions of innocent people and why did he choose NOT to take care of what was beyond our own power in all those instances?

      Inquiring minds need to know.

      Again. Silly me. He was probably watching the above mentioned quizz show on TV like the rest of us selfish and unconcerned people and blocking it out of his consciousness.

      After all, we created in his image. Like father…like son!

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      That’s exactly why there are so many Christian sects: God is either “evil” or “good”, he either hates homosexuality or loves it, etc. Even aside from the fact that the Biblical God is evil, we have to face the fact that we’re dealing with a make-believe religion. And it seems to be the most honest way to “rescue” people from their evil beliefs.

      I don’t believe the Biblical God is evil, and I hope you did not interpret me as saying that. But some people read the Bible and construct an evil god out of what they read. One of David’s points was that atheists assume the evil god is the true God of the Bible, and in that way they lend support to our opponents. I agree with David.

      The point is that there should be no “special treatment” when we’re dealing with religious beliefs. Religious claims should face the same scrutiny as other philosophical/epistemological claims, and blind faith should be equally unacceptable when beliefs affect other people.

      I actually have no problem with this. I think the rational basis for Christianity (even for Buddhism, I don’t know enough about other religions) is strong enough to withstand the kind of scrutiny you are describing.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @onefish:

      I think the rational basis for Christianity is strong enough to withstand the kind of scrutiny you are describing.

      Damn! That sure is some powerful weed you are smoking, Dude?

      Where can I find me some?

      Sep 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @onefish: “I don’t believe the Biblical God is evil…”

      Have you ever read the Old Testament? It doesn’t exactly portray this “God” character in the best light. He comes off as more the “spoiled brat/sociopath” archetype.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @schlukitz: Did onefish actually say Christianity and rational in the SAME SENTENCE?

      Wow. Not sure if it’s weed. Maybe there’s a new drug out there. All the drugs I know can’t explain any of this errrrr-rationality.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Josh:

      Yeah. I caught that too, Josh. LOL

      Rationality has NEVER been one of the traits of the religiously damaged. ;>)

      Sep 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      And we, of course, are expected to know which is the real McCoy. Inadvertently choose the wrong quoter of scripture and, BUZZZZZZZ, off to hell you go, in a hand basket.

      That’s absolutely true. If you accept what I am calling the good God, and it turns out that in fact the evil god is the omnipotent ruler of the universe, then you’re off to hell. If you make the opposite mistake, you are much safer, since I do not believe in cruel God (a God of justice, yes, but not of cruelty). That’s Pascal’s wager for you. In other words, the evil god people have threats of torture on their side, and all I have is a weak appeal to truth and compassion. That’s why I’m not going to make many converts.

      Which brings up the question? If God is all powerful, why does he allow the devil to exist.

      Really this is the same question as the one about suffering. I don’t know why there is evil in the world, but I can imagine that there is an answer that some day I will know and accept as being in accord with God’s goodness. It probably has something to do with the fact that God does not want to be all powerful, that is, he wants his creatures to have real power and freedom.

      History is mostly a nightmare for the vast majority of people. There is so much evil and suffering in the world. But my experience is that suffering that has passed is really annihilated, and a real grievance that I have forgiven is also annihilated, and something that I have done and regretted is also annihilated when I am forgiven for it. But the good things that happened in the past have lasting reality–not that I remember them clearly, but they remain with me, and I can imagine that from the perspective of eternity, once we have forgiven all the wrongs against us and are no longer in the power of evil forces, and we ourselves have been forgiven, that our lives will not seem as bad as they do now. History is a nightmare. That is just a fact. Christianity teaches that we eventually wake up from the nightmare.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phil S. Furr
      Phil S. Furr

      “Homosexuality, is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love – all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce.”

      – Plato

      Sep 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @onefish: Last chance. You’re sounding a lot like David (“hopeless”). I’m on a “which-hunt.”

      Which religions have ended the traditional Christian belief that “homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant?” Which ones? Lutherans and Episcopalians are splitting up just because of “accepting” homosexuals. Catholics are very clear. Baptists are very clear. Which denominations have ended that harmful teaching/belief?

      Please answer this question with specifics, name the denomination of even the single church that has ended that Christian belief that harms homosexuals.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      @vernonvanderbilt:

      You said this: “Jesus did not teach ‘Love God more than your neighbor’.”

      Jesus “said” this: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

      That’s Luke 14:26, in case you were wondering. Were you lying, or simply mistaken?

      Neither lying, nor mistaken, vernonvanderbilt. I am as aware of Luke 14, in its entirety, and the way it has been distorted by people to advance their prejudices, as I am of the gotcha verses.

      You are engaged in several of the common frauds that homophobes use to construct ‘homosexuality is sin’ out of thin air; first, you are taking a passage out of context.

      Luke 14:26 follows a discussion that uses several parables to explain how people who hear Christ should respond to his message. Those parallels invoke, in a society of materially oppressed people, the image of a banquet or a feast, as a metaphor for the message Christ brought. The last of three focuses on people who are invited to the banquet, but turn out the invitation because of materialistic priorities. The parable concludes with the host sending his servants to invite the least likely guests instead.

      This was told to Jews, people who were raised in a particular religious tradition, to whom Jesus offered both the fulfillment of the old tradition, and an upgraded, new tradition. People whose families could be expected to say ‘Don’t listen to that Nazarene, what does he know from God’. Jesus gave these parables and vs 26, in the context of a tradition bound culture, where in some religious leaders placed the old understanding before the physical and emotional and spiritual well-being of others.

      Second, you are treating all passages of the Bible as if they have the same purpose. You are engaged in the same literalism and legalism that fundies employ. Some portions of the Bible are metaphor, some are Law, some are history, some are opinion, some are poetry, and each kind of text acts to communicate on a different level of understanding.

      The statement ‘Love neighbor as yourself’ is law, Luke 14:26 is hyperbole about the price of discipleship. Matthew 22:37-40
      “37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” is a pair of commands.

      The reality of practicing the above commands is that whatever love, respect, patience that you withhold from your neighbor, you simultaneously withhold from God. Whatever love, respect, patience you withhold from yourself, you simultaneously withhold from God. And whatever love, respect, patience, you withhold from God, you withhold from yourself and your neighbor.

      Just look at the abusiveness of Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren – what they withhold from one side of the equation, they end up withholding from the other as well. It is no wonder that people who preach ‘homosexuality is sin’, like people who taught/teach racism and sexism and antisemitism, etc, are so consistently caught harming their spouses, their employers, their peers, their followers.

      The idea you are defending is like the child who asks his mother ‘who do you love more, me or my brother?’ or who asks his brother ‘who do you love more, mom or dad?’ and so on, as if love were some zero sum game, in which love prioritizes people.

      It is probably not entirely your own fault, in fact, your subsequent post makes it clear that you are really simply parroting arguments you heard or read others make, and certainly, that you are responding not to any in-depth study of the Bible and Christianity, but only to the small segment of it that is the most loud and abrasive.

      Fundamentalist Christianity is really neither. It doesn’t uphold the fundamentals of Christ’s teachings, and it doesn’t really follow Christ. It is a very poor resource for learning about Christianity. The danger though is that they insist that, despite all the ways their beliefs contradict Christ, they have the only true faith, and when you and others here parrot them, you assist them in oppressing GLBTQ people.

      As for how the OT portrays God, judging from your comment, I’d say you have never read the whole thing. I think you are parroting what you’ve been told, an opinion based on a cherry-picked collection, much the way Paul Cameron cherry-picks from studies.

      The God described in the OT frees an oppressed people, uses motherhood, fatherhood and husband-hood as metaphors for His relationship with people. God as described in the OT is far more complex and nuanced than mainstream Christians, or those who malign Christianity, acknowledge.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @Brian

      Honestly, I don’t even know what you are talking about any more. I gave a very sincere and detailed answer, and you did not find a single thing in it to respond to. There is a difference between being assertive and being a spambot. There is a difference between standing up for gay rights and attacking someone who helped bring same-sex marriage to Canada and who stood up to his whole progressive church to accuse them of not being progress enough. Thankfully, I do not have to answer to you.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @onefish: So, there are NO religious institutions that have ended the traditional Christian “belief” that homosexuals are wrong. Thanks. I knew that would be your conclusion.

      Until some denomination has the courage to declare “homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant,” they still believe and teach that we are. That’s Christianity. That’s religion. Still making us wrong.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      There have been more than 40 posts since I repeated a particular request:
      “Are there any organizations in the U.S., comprised primarily of atheists or self-defined as an overtly atheist organization, that are purposefully working to advancing civil rights for GLBTQ people? Not organizations with no explicit connection to any religion, but organizations that are explicitly, definitively atheist, and which are actively working to secure civil equality for GLBTQ people.”

      When demands were made for an example of a denomination that explicitly and publicly announces ‘homosexuality is not sin’, I promptly provided one, (and not for the first time, since the question has been asked, and answered, in other threads).

      Yet there is still no example of even one explicitly atheist organization that has actively worked to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      The people who demand so much, have provided so very little, other than insults.”

      And still, no sign of even one explicitly atheist organization that has made any public effort to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      Brian is still asking for information that has already, here and in other threads, been provided for him, but hasn’t answered the parallel question.

      Schulkitz is still posting hate speech, Eugene and Brian are still lumping all people of faith together, while Chance is still falsely saying that they are not. Brian is still making false claims, Eugene is still falsely accusing people, others are still mocking and reviling people of faith. All are still making excuses.

      All that overt bigotry, and not a single citation for a single organization composed primarily of people who are not religious who are actively working to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      When I point out that the majority of the votes against Prop 8 came from people of faith, I’m subject to personal attacks.

      All the hoopla, all the falsehoods and deception, all the malice and contempt, all instantiating bigotry, from people who apparently are trying desperately to avoid any discussion of it.

      B complained at me yesterday, but this is a matter of personal integrity for me. I cannot, in good conscience, object to anti-gay rhetoric and then be silent in the face of anti-Christian, or anti-religion rhetoric or any kind of bigotry. I cannot condemn one flavor of bigotry, and through silence, condone any other.

      Because all bigotry is the same failing, the same error, the same flaw, only the target changes. The antisemite and the homophobe are engaged in exactly the same process, so too the racist and those who malign people of faith, the mysogynist and the lookist. That is why there is so much overlap, why so many racists are also homophobes, why so many antisemites are also racists, and so on.

      When we approve, even through silence, one flavor of bigotry, we are implicitly approving all of them, even those that target us. I point this out to conservative Christians who promote homophobia, that their endorsement of homophobia also endorses “christianaphobia” as well. And it is true here as well, the anti-religion hate speech people are articulating, or simply accepting here, intrinsically justifies and supports homophobia.

      Homophobia, racism, antisemitism, anti-religionism, all prejudices are branches of the same poisonous tree. You cannot fertilize one branch and expect to kill another.

      We need to root out the entire tree, and that won’t happen while people are feeding it with “Rationality has NEVER been one of the traits of the religiously damaged.” (Schulkitz) or “Militant homosexuality is fundamentally opposed to religion, family, and anything that presupposes a natural moral order, a transcendent God, or something else higher than ourselves” (Family Research council) or racist hate speech, or antisemitic hate speech, or any other flavor of prejudice.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Brian, repeating himself and ignoring answers, wrote, “Which religions have ended the traditional Christian belief that “homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant?”

      As was explained to these characters, Zen Buddhism is a good example – it is (a) a religion, and (b) does not consider homosexuality to be “wrong, sinful, or deviant”. If history is any guide, Brian will ignore this fact and rant some more.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_budd.htm – “Zen Buddhism: ‘The Zen tradition deals with sexuality within the broader category of sensual indulgence…Both hedonism and ascetic masochism are violations of the Middle Path.’ Sexual practices which harm, manipulate, or exploit others is forbidden (e.g. sex with children, with persons who are engaged or married to other persons, with persons unable to give informed consent, etc.). Zen Buddhism does not ‘make a distinction between heterosexual and homosexual’ sex. It encourages sexual relationships that are ‘mutually loving and supportive.’

      “Robert Aitken, co-founder and teacher of the Honolulu Diamond Shangha testified before the Hawaiian Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law on 1995-OCT-11. He commented that Zen Buddhist monks, nuns and devout lay persons accept 16 precepts, one of which is ‘I take up the way of not misusing sex.’ He interpreted this guideline as forbidding sex that is self-centered, exploitive, non-consensual, unwholesome or destructive, in either a heterosexual or homosexual context. “Loving relationships between unmarried men are treated very positively in Buddhist scriptures.” However, these are not ‘of an overtly sexual nature.'”

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: Actually, I have read the OT, thank you very much. Do you know what I found in it?

      I crunched some numbers and found that this “God” guy, by the end of the OT, was directly or indirectly responsible for over 2 million murders, excluding the flood that wiped out everyone but Noah and that pack of degenerates he called his family.

      Or how about the “God” who makes that famous wager with Satan and then torments poor Job simply because he’s sure he can get away with it?

      What about Sodom and Gomorrah, where the hero of the story is the guy who was willing to give up his virgin daughters to be gang raped just to look good in this “God’s” eyes?

      What about that time he asked Abraham to murder his only son to gain his approval, stopping him only moments before the deed was done?

      How about the story in 2 Kings where “God” sends the she-bears to kill 42 children for the heinous crime of taunting a prophet?

      Hell, how about going back to the beginning and looking at the garden of Eden? Punishing Adam and Eve for having the audacity to sin before they even knew what sin was? Sounds like a set-up to me.

      And in Exodus 32:14, this “God” fella actually feels momentarily guilty for the awful shit he’s done…and we’re only into the second book there. Let me ask you this: if the OT “God” was so good, why would he have to repent of anything?

      Satisfactory answers, rational reasons for this behavior (and oh, so much more in the OT alone) are nearly impossible to find and are a huge part of why I left christianity for a belief system that isn’t contradictory, controlling, and wicked.

      Do not presume that I haven’t done my own studying just because I haven’t reached the same conclusions you have. If anyone on this thread is parroting, it’s you, because you are so desperate to pretend that there is nothing controversial or distasteful about your chosen belief system and its holy book. All you’ve done is spout the arguments of a thousand apologetics before you, and they’re as unconvincing now as they were centuries ago.

      I don’t give a shit what anyone chooses to believe (provided it doesn’t have a negative impact on my own existence) but if you’re going to claim that your religion is among the better ones, then you also need to be willing to admit that it isn’t all pretty and it doesn’t all make sense. Just because this jesus guy popped up late in the second act and gave “God” some heavy PR work doesn’t mean that the OT “God” wasn’t a total dick. Hell, even Jesus was a dick once in a while, talking shit to his mother, organizing a horse theft ring, and ransacking a temple because he didn’t like the way it was run.

      Go ahead and spout some more justifications. I already know you’re going to. I’m almost interested in hearing whatever’s coming next.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      Let’s break this down to simplicity…a movement is known by the actions of its majority. The (vast) majority of Christians are homophobic bigots who have intimidated, harassed, discriminated, and bullied us around on every front: school, society and the law, the workplace.

      When it comes to their religion: prove it!!!

      They are a religion of promises, but no results. They find themselves slipping in the pr category, but now find that people don’t like them.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 9:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @Chance:

      Your story about Pythagoreas seems to me to prove my point. Where does the objection to gay sex orginate? In the military need for reproduction. Then the power of religious belief is used to achieve military needs.

      Religious belief is powerful, no doubt about it. It gets used for all sorts of agendas- both those I support and those I abhor. And I absolutely agree with you that far too long, and far too often, religious belief has been harnessed to justify bigotry, including homophobia. Those Christians, and religious followers in general, who have allowed it, have to answer for that fact.

      But religious belief has also been harnessed to work all kinds of delightful changes in the world- civil rights being just one example, and the thousands upon thousands of religous people working in our country alone, for LGBT rights included. You do us, and yourselves, a great disservice when you confuse paint us all with the same brush.

      If you think the answer to civil rights for LGBT folks is in convincing Americans to abandon religion, good luck with that. Isn’t going to happen. But we’re going to keep on using the power of religious belief to change hearts and minds. We’ll succeed, and you’ll benefit.

      (I am speaking from a very practical perspective here. Doesn’t change the fact that I actually believe this stuff. But I do expect those who don’t share my faith to judge the work I’m doing for its implications in the world. And I believe that those who allow the name of their god to justify homophobia are violating the first commandment.)

      Sep 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @Brian

      You are now putting words into my mouth.

      The United Church of Canada believes in the equality of same-sex and opposite-sex couples and has argued this in front of the Supreme Court as well as in Parliamentary hearings.

      It is the largest Protestant denomination in Canada.

      http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/releases/040423

      The Anglican Church is only a little behind.

      Oddly enough, I can also vouch for Robert Aitken and the Diamond Sangha because I lived in Hawaii and practiced with a Zen group there. He was a member of PFLAG.

      Clayton

      Sep 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      So, VernonVanderbilt, you cherry-pick texts like Paul Cameron.

      You found in it what you wanted to find, and, frankly, play fast and loose with the material.

      “Do not presume that I haven’t done my own studying just because I haven’t reached the same conclusions you have.”

      Do not presume how I reached my conclusions about your conclusions. You posted nothing more than the standard atheist complaint, and if you post like you a parroting other sources, you cannot blame anyone for coming to that conclusion. Now I find you parroting other people’s tactics, cherry-picking and distorting, rather than engaging in honest analysis.

      There is no hero in the story of Sodom, your summation on Noah is as dehumanizing as you think God is, as if your distortion of the account of Job. The fact is that your entire portrayal of the how the OT describes God reflects a bias completely divorced from the reality of the text.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “Let’s break this down to simplicity…a movement is known by the actions of its majority. ”

      And when homophobes do this to gays and lesbians, we complain, and rightfully so.

      Simplistic answers for complex and nuanced situations are the tool of bigots.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Eugene, showing a lack of reading comprehension, wrote, “Don’t you think that, in a less homophobic country, gay people wouldn’t have to lie about their sexual orientation? The whole point is that the country already was homophobic, and homophobia simply couldn’t vanish in less than 20 years.”

      What I was answering was Chance’s “why” question. by pointing out that the anti-gay law could be used to persecute straight married people with trumped up charges that they had engaged in homosexual acts. Not only do they get jailed, but discredited, not for being gay (they aren’t), but by claiming that they had cheated on their wives and lied to them about their sexual orientation, neither being actually true. Stalin and his minions would hardly have batted an eyelash at using such tactics.

      Then chance states, “According to the Wikipedia article, he probably was doing it to ‘build a better relationship with the socially conservative Eastern Orthodox Church'” which isn’t exactly what the article stated – that was merely one hypothesis among others that historians had suggested given the lack of written documentation. We do know that Stalin hated religion: according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Religion “Stalin’s role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917), many churches had been leveled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during the purges of 1937–1938.[68] During World War II, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic organization, after the NKVD had recruited the new metropolitan, the first after the revolution, as a secret agent. Thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression in Khrushchev’s time. The Russian Orthodox Church Synod’s recognition of the Soviet government and of Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.”

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      In No. 215 David, possibly confusing two people posting as B, wrote, “B complained at me yesterday, but this is a matter of personal integrity for me. I cannot, in good conscience, object to anti-gay rhetoric and then be silent in the face of anti-Christian, or anti-religion rhetoric or any kind of bigotry. I cannot condemn one flavor of bigotry, and through silence, condone any other.”

      While two people could by chance be using the same name (a single letter in this case), given the dishonesty of the people who think religion is the work of the devil (thus showing that they are in a sense not much different from the fundamentalists), it could be an attempt at dirty tricks.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Finally, a religious traffic sign.

      https://mail.google.com/mail/?zx=1g59v4cu9mdb8&shva=1#inbox/123d39a24701103f

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “it could be an attempt at dirty tricks.”

      Understood.

      There has been a lot of behavior from people who malign people of faith that is remarkably similar to the standard behavior of homophobes.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @B:

      Actually that kind of hacking, impersonation or whatever it is has happened on this forum before.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Well B, I think you’ve done a very good job defending against these Atheists. It’s not about LGBT people, it’s about religion. We’ve done very well.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      It was all you David. You’re a great teacher.

      Sep 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Hmm, another David, all of a sudden.

      Of course, used a different acronym that I do to indicate people who are not heterosexuals, and asserted a position I have repudiated.

      I used to post on a faith based webportal, and it was not uncommon for homophobes to create ids that were 1 letter off from the longish id I used, or to use a version of a moderator’s id, to create a false impression.

      “It” is about prejudice and bigotry, about judging an entire group of people, and condemning them, based on some shared or partially shared trait.

      If there is a silver lining to all of this, perhaps some people who malign non-heterosexuals will see a little of themselves in the anti-religion folk here. And at least the people of faith will have a basis then for beginning to reject prejudice, even if some people, apparently lack the fundamental moral basis of human interaction, do not.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 12:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: It’s called taking the source at face value, David. If you have a problem with these stories being “distorted” or “dehumanizing” or whatever, take it up with the deity who supposedly “inspired” them. I didn’t write these horrendous stories (though I wish I had, because I’d probably be rather wealthy, or in prison) but rather related them in a concise, straightforward fashion, using plain English. If I’m cherrypicking by pointing out the negatives, then you and others are cherrypicking when you choose to only discuss the positives, pretending that biblical (“God” sanctioned/perpetrated) atrocities aren’t atrocities at all. If “God” didn’t want these stories to be “misunderstood” then maybe he’d have had them written a little differently.

      I’m not an atheist by any stretch of the imagination, but I am certainly not a christian either, at least not anymore. However, I own a bible, and I have read it, and I have read the study guides and critiques and interpretative essays and all that good stuff. I have yet to hear anyone satisfactorily justify the “divinely inspired” evil that is liberally sprinkled throughout the OT. It seems that all people are able to do is rationalize it, gloss over it, or ignore it completely. You have been doing all of these from the moment you first showed up on this site.

      I understand that you need to believe your chosen religion is a perfect one. It’s hard to admit that there are flaws in something you have chosen to base your life around. But that doesn’t change the fact that the flaws are there. You would do yourself and your cause a great service by learning to be honest with yourself and others.

      Just admit that the OT and NT “Gods” are very different creatures. The OT “God” was a spoiled child, throwing tantrums and killing people all willy-nilly for the smallest of slights, while the NT “God” is a largely absent, abstract father figure who is theoretically all about “love.” Of course, he has to kill his child/himself to prove that love, but once you have a taste for violence it can be hard to shake, no?

      Your refusal to admit that people who disagree with you are able to pose valid questions, that any statements which do not jibe with your own interpretations are inherently valueless, that a literal reading of any biblical passage is automatically wrong…you’re not much better than the fundies you deride. You simply try to cloak your closed-mindedness in kinder, gentler language, flaunting your Good Guy badge for all the world to see and treating anyone who questions you dismissively at best, with hostility at worst. I have met plenty of christians in my day, befriended many of them, debated pretty much all of them at one time or another…and the only one who I respected less and was irritated by more was a street preacher with a giant picture of a dismembered baby who was preaching that women, gays, and muslims are destroying the world. You’re no christian, David. You’re just a self-centered fool masquerading as a reasonable person.

      I feel sorry for you, as I do anyone who is so invested in a single perspective that they are unable to consider any other angles. Thank goodness not all christians are like you. Some of them actually listen to others when they speak, and then actually engage them in discussion rather than dismissing them outright for having a different viewpoint. You’re no better than Brian and the others in that regard, so invested in your own reflection that you can’t see anything outside of that mirror.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 12:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Vernonvanderbilt

      “It’s called taking the source at face value, David.”

      Literalism. Not the best, or most accurate approach to a convoluted, multi-layered text composed in a nearly dead language by a culture 2000+ years removed from our own.

      But, you did not take the source at face value, you inserted your own judgements about motivation and reason, in contradiction to what the text literally states.

      The subsequent litany of projections about me, are strongly reminiscent of those used by homophobes, and because you offer them in place of an honest rebuttal to what I have actually written, they make your own statements ironic at least.

      Homophobes routinely argue by defining GLBTQ people’s lives for us, in disparaging and degrading terms, as you have done to me. And like you, homophobes use that tactic when their own false claims have been reasonably challenged, when, for whatever reason, they find themselves unable to refute what was actually presented.

      Feeling sorry for your own fantasy is rather onanistic, don’t you think? Not criticizing self-pleasure or anything, I’m just saying, keep in mind as you enjoy it so much, that the material you project at me, comes from within you, is a part of you.

      Would you please put a condom over your next post? I would rather not have your projectulate all over everything.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 1:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Another point regarding literalism.

      vernonvanderbilt inaccurately reported his false claims about the OT’s portrayal of God as ‘taking the source at face value’, though the claims he made actually completely contradict the ‘face value’ of those texts. Nevertheless, he was presenting his false information as if it represented a literal reading of the Bible.

      Even if he had been accurate, and he was not, literalism is a very lazy and superficial means of deducing the meaning of any text. And it is technique that homophobes use, routinely and consistently, to malign GLBTQ people.

      As a community, we get angry when some homophobe takes the language of leathersex, like ‘daddies and boys’ and proclaims from a literalist point of view, it proves that gay men are pedophiles.

      Since we are offended when homophobes do these things to us, there is no excuse, it is just as offensive when GLBTQ people do it to people of faith.

      So too with vernonvanderbilt derogatory ‘you are this and that’ litany, not of it actually supported by any statement, literally read or otherwise, in my posts. Setting aside that vernonvanderbilt completely failed to take my posts at face value, the technique of creating a negative fantasy of me, and the pronouncing it to be my reality, is something homophobes do all the time to GLBTQ people.

      Since we, as a community, get offended when homophobes define our lives for us in derogatory ways that have no basis in reality, it is reprehensible when vernonvanderbilt, or his peers, do it to me, or any other person of faith.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 1:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Lura:

      Lura, thank you for the response. I’m glad you’re still engaged in the conversation.

      First of all – I’m not saying we win by making everybody abandon religion. That’s asinine, and I’m not sure where you got that impression, unless it just seemed like a convenient simplification of my argument. Or you just skimmed. Because I’ve been pretty clear – in that post and others.

      My actual argument is this:

      We have to pressure religions and religious people to have a spine. To see the injustice laid upon the shoulders of LGBTQ people, and to do something about it. Not just to clean their own houses and end the injustice within their own sanctuary walls (though that is important, sure, and something that has been long overdue), but to speak out against injustice everywhere. To confront other clergy, other people of faith, other congregations, people of authority within your own and other denominations. To hear the bile of a preacher shouting “Homosexuals are wrong! Sinful! Deviant!” and to have the courage to do more than whisper, “You can come to our church and be welcome, and if you think about the changes we’ve already implemented – namely, allowing openly gay clergy to be ordained, and providing a blessing for same sex unions – then it really becomes quite clear that we’re already so advanced that we really don’t have to say more on the subject…”

      No! Shout back! Scream as loud as you can, “No! Homosexuality is not wrong! It is not sinful! It is not deviant!”

      I guess that’s difficult. But eventually, someone and some congregation will have that courage. It’s inevitable. You’ve already seen the fissures created in the Anglican church just because of Gene Robinson’s role in the denomination. Can you imagine what the schism will be like when the difference of opinion is about scripture and not just policy? I can, and it fills me with so much hope. Because we’ll actually see something change.

      I reiterate my belief – see, even I have some faith: People are not naturally hateful. That is a learned behavior. So far, unfortunately, most of the faithful in this country have never heard a serious challenge to the religious lie they’ve been taught about homosexuality. Our allies have been so quiet and their support has been so conflicted. Hardly an effective response. And sure, there are scientific studies. If one has the initiative to seek them out, and really, why would most people? There are cultural representations that do some work of humanizing LGBTQ people, but do Queer as Folk and Will and Grace really do the job of telling the world that we are not wrong? Or are they humorous and oftentimes scandalous (QaF particularly) pieces of entertainment? How often do they even rise above the level of minstrel shows?

      The blood isn’t on religious hands alone, in this regard. Our gay rights leaders and organizations haven’t done anything more than churches to loudly and proactively declare that we are not wrong and thereby end the lie about us. The burden of responsibility is different, however, seeing as HRC isn’t part of the institution that taught that lie in the first place.

      Now imagine when that divide, that religious schism does come. When religious people are not afraid to do the right thing, even if it means putting the size of their congregations or even their own jobs at risk. Imagine the vile, hateful, spittle-filled response you’ll get from the most conservative religious groups. Not just the Pat Robertsons and the John Hagees, but the small town Southern Baptist preachers. They’ll all start to look like Fred Phelps. And like Phelps, they will all be marginalized.

      My impression is that most people are looking for peace and joy from their religion. They don’t want to hate, and they don’t want to inflict harm. And if they see the one church, filled with hate every Sunday, and the other, filled with TRUE affirmation… If they’re given the choice, you really think they’ll choose to hate?

      We should all want this to happen as quickly as possible, and it’s the standard to which we should hold our religious friends. Those who play it safe – who maybe offer some perks, without ending the lie – the ones who stay quiet – those who are unwilling to courageously address one of the most significant moral issues of our age – will be marginalized as well. Because frankly, they will be irrelevant.

      As for the origins of homophobia – you completely missed the point of my history lesson. Pythagoras was one man, one con man douche nozzle, who figured out that telling people homosexuality was religiously wrong was an effective way of controlling them. The only reason his commandment had any validity for his faithful followers was because he didn’t say it. God did. Homophobia wouldn’t have caught on, much less taken over the Hellenistic world, much less controlled the morality of the resulting 2500 years of civilization, if it didn’t have the force of the divine behind it. It would have died with Pythagoras saying “what if.”

      Because when Pythagoras was the only party involved, it was a strategy. A tactic. It had nothing to do with morality, or right and wrong. But for every subsequent believer, it was a religious matter. A question of morality. Of divinity. They didn’t realize that they were breeding-pawns in a military game. They were hearing instructions directly from the mouth of a god, and that god was telling them that homosexuality was wrong. Without religion, there would not be a homophobic Orphic-Pythagorean. Just like today, there would not be the belief that homosexuality is wrong without religion teaching it as the “truth.” Religion made homosexuality wrong, and now, millennia later, we can expect a religious schism to make it not wrong.

      Get your things in order.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 11:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: “If you think the answer to civil rights for LGBT folks is in convincing Americans to abandon religion, good luck with that. Isn’t going to happen.”

      Ahhhh, it is already happening. Look at some polls. Young people have abandoned religion. In fact, if the Prop 8 vote was limited to just those “under the age of 50″ it would have been defeated by a 60-40% margin.

      I, and nobody else in this conversation has said anything approaching “convincing Americans to abandon religion,” that’s the kind of lie David keeps promoting. Clearly he’s insecure about the future of religion and probably should be. But, for you to suggest that any of us have said that is very intentionally misleading.

      The issue here is one you are very well aware of – the conservative faiths vs. the liberal or progressive faiths. It is the big divide for Episcopalians and Lutherans and we have witnessed much of it on this site: I could sum it up as “Pastor Ryan vs. Pastor Lura” with Pastor Erik trying to hang out in the “middle.” Fred Phelps would be comfortable in Ryan’s congregation, but probably very uncomfortable in yours.

      Maybe the Jews got it right. We have three brands of Judaism: Orthodox (Literal), Conservative (moderate) and Reformed (liberal). That distinction is coming to Christianity – soon. I believe it will be two very different groups – Conservative Christians and Progressive Christians. It’s already happening and would happen quicker if “clergy” had some courage. Left out of this impending division have been the “believers,” they haven’t been able to choose. They will soon.

      It is important to do this on behalf of LGBTQ equality because the “belief” that homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant is at the heart of the divide. Conservative faiths will continue to vilify and condemn homosexuals. Progressives will declare homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant and (at least for their followers) that belief will be extinguished.

      I have spent a significant amount of resources examining data and I can assure you that the Conservative crowd will be marginalized – perhaps about 30% of the population. They will be mostly older, and unchangeable in their beliefs, and thankfully they will eventually die. Progressives, if they have the courage to take a stand against the traditional Christian belief that homosexuals are wrong, will reap the rewards of a young vibrant group of believers. If I were you, I would be anxious to begin that, instead of dismissing it, because the progressive church would be the church of “hope” and “possibility.” That could be your church.

      Directly related to the “benefits” to LGBTQ people is the fact that “progressives” will officially put equality before religion. That shouldn’t threaten you – it should inspire you. It should inspire you to take a stand for “equality,” and provide people of faith the “choice” of worshiping with good, honest and fair “fellow believers.”

      The sooner we get on with the coming “divide,” the better we’ll all be – especially LGBTQ persons, faithful or not.

      I would suggest you read the study I linked in an earlier post regarding “Conservative and Progressive Clergy,” and some of the ARIS, Pew Trust and Gallup polling. A complete understanding of the data is more than enlightening, it is encouraging.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Chance, when you said…but to speak out against injustice everywhere, it reminded me of Pastor Martin Niemollers now famous poem.

      First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @schlukitz: Thanks for that. Always a great reminder, that poem, that we are all responsible for each other.

      It just drives me absolutely mad that people like Pastor Lura and Pastor Erik try to draw parallels to the work that religion did in other civil rights struggles. It’s entirely self-congratulatory, with no substance.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      You are more than welcome, Chance.

      I once heard the expression that a government bureaucracy, once created, continues to exist long after the need for it has passed.

      I suspect that this is true with the church folks as well. The need for the church is passing and the “practitioners” are desperate to find a reason for their “bureaucracy” to continue, hence all the self-congratulations and slapping themselves on the back, with no substance.

      When the “funding” dries up, so will they! And then they will just blow away with the wind. ;o)

      Sep 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      I find this entire conversation about religion and homosexuality absolutely and constantly fascinating. I’m in the UK where there’s a ‘state religion’ – the Church of England (Episcopalian in the US?)- and it’s part of the law that religion has to be taught in schools. Consequently, religion is far less important in public life.
      Until some forms of Islam suddenly became a matter of public safety the consensus seemed to be that religion was fine so long as it was kept to oneself.
      When Tony Blair was Prime Minister and wanted to deliver a speech about his religious faith, he was told in no uncertain terms by his chief spin doctor ‘We don’t do God.’
      Interestingly, as soon as he stopped being Prime Minister, Blair very publicly converted to Roman Catholicism. He went to Rome to meet the Pope, genuflected and did almost all the things a good Catholic is supposed to do. And then he went off and did an interview in a gay magazine in which he said quite clearly and on-the-record that he thought the Catholic Church had it wrong on homosexuality and needed to change.
      The only reason I bring this up is because it reinforces the idea that people can be devoutly Christian and decide to ignore whole areas of their church’s preaching. Ultimately, no matter what their church says is doctrine, individual people make their own peace with God.
      I suppose, from an anthropological perspective, the most fascinating thing looking at this debate about religion and LGBTQ equality in America is that it’s all about power.
      In most Western countries where there’s an established state religion and the teaching of religion is mandatory in schools, gay rights are a lot further advanced than they are in America. Hell, in a lot of second-world and third-world countries where religion is important, they’re still a hell of a lot further in gay rights than the US is.
      Putting the blame on religion for homophobia strikes me – as an outsider – as a futile argument. Your culture needs changing and your education system really needs to be so much better. So much of America seems to be a place where few people have actually read the Bible, but everyone has had it preached at them. Frankly, that’s a pre-Reformation situation.
      So many of the arguments here seem to be based not on what is actually there in the Bible, but the way it’s preached every Sunday.
      The argument here isn’t about religion – it’s about priests. It’s about people who have power. OK, make of that what you will…

      I suppose what I’ve gained through all this debate is a profound sense of gratitude to all those who’ve entered into it.

      Not one of you has convinced me that I should follow your teachings, but it’s been a revelation to me that I actually need a construct of spiritual beliefs.
      Having deserted the Catholic church some 20 years ago because it’s so homophobic in its teachings, I’ve spent the last couple of decades being generically ‘spiritual’. Having read all this debate here, I now understand I actually want and need some kind of structure.
      So thank you pastors Erik and Lura and thank you, too, David and Brian and Eugene and B and Josh and Schlukitz and Onefish and Andrew and everyone else who will only be remembered in my Academy Award-winning speech. You are fascinating and brilliant people. You’ve really made me think. Obviously, I disagree with all of you but thank you for making me confront something about myself. You’re really great people and I am profoundly grateful to all of you.

      Sep 20, 2009 at 8:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      Pastor Lura: Religion is declining. Don’t blame me – blame reason. Oh, and Schlukitz, he makes a lot of sense. Religion doesn’t.

      Read the story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-03-09-american-religion-ARIS_N.htm

      Sep 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lutheran Core
      Lutheran Core

      Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) will be gathering Lutherans from throughout the United States and Canada Sept. 25-26 in Indianapolis to begin the process of creating an alternative church fellowship for Lutherans who continue to uphold traditional marriage and who are unwilling to support the changes in church teaching and policy on marriage and homosexual behavior approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in August.

      A proposed constitution will be considered that will transform Lutheran CORE from a “coalition for reform” to a “coalition for renewal.”

      This action is a change in focus from efforts to reform the ELCA to an effort to enable traditional Lutherans to work together whether within or outside of the ELCA.

      More information is available at http://www.lutherancore. org

      Sep 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      It’s sad to see the contrast between in posts 238-240. One person looking for more truth and two people on different sides of the fence content with mechanically repeating their existing prejudices.

      You can only ever find more truth in the views of people who you don’t already agree with, and Darrien, at least, has realized this.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WordAlone
      WordAlone

      Lutheran Schism: Controversy generated by the adoption of the social statement, “Human Sexuality, Gift and Trust”, at the churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in August will be addressed at a regional Word Alone meeting Sunday, September 27 at 2 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Mount Carmel family camp, 800 Mount Carmel Drive NE, Alexandria.

      Bishops William E. Rindy of the Eastern North Dakota synod, Lawrence R. Wohlrabe of the Northwestern Minnesota synod and Pastor Jaynan Clark, Spokane, Washington, president of the Word Alone network will address the group and then assemble for a panel discussion. The topic is “A Denomination at Risk: Responses to the Churchwide Assembly”. The Word Alone gathering will wrestle with the implications of living with the radical departure from traditional norms of conduct brought by the adoption of the social statement.

      A broad range of business was considered at the biennial churchwide assembly, the highest legislative body of the ELCA. The issue that captured widespread interest was the adoption of the social statement. Resolutions adopted by the assembly will allow the rostering of clergy living in homosexual relationships.

      Pastor Jaynan Clark wrote of the vote, “The ELCA assembly has now voted against the authoritative Word of God. The assembly has swapped His Word for human words that are neither based on sound reason nor good order.”

      Sep 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Darrien: “Putting the blame on religion for homophobia strikes me – as an outsider – as a futile argument.”

      I guess we are going to find out. I don’t know if it’s “futile,” but I know it’s true.

      Religion is the only institution that teaches homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. It is a traditional Christian belief. I think it should end – whatever the odds are.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “Religion is the only institution that teaches homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. ”

      Wrong, there’s also NARTH, communist China and other communist countries, neo-nazis and skinheads, and secular tradition in Japan and other Asian cultures, to name a few other institutions that condemn homosexuality.

      Still no sign of even one explicitly atheist organization that has actively worked, is actively working, to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      It is beginning to look like there is no such organization.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Darrien:

      Thanks for entering the fray, Darrien. It’s good to have you here, and I appreciate your thoughts, even if you don’t include me on your list of fascinating and brilliant people. I’m not hurt.

      A few thoughts –

      You’re confusing or muddying the distinction between a couple of key points, namely, nations with state religions, and nations in which religion is important. (Typically in the west, these are polar opposites.) With the resulting confusion as to why nations with state religions grant more equality to LGBTQ people. While you did acknowledge that in the UK, because religion is taught in schools, religion is less important, you later lumped the state religion nations in with 2nd/3rd world countries where religion IS important, all resulting in the magic that is LGBTQ equality.

      So just for clarity, a run down of religious importance, via Gallup’s 2008 world poll.

      First, nations with state religions:
      Sweden – great for the gays. When asked, 83% of the adult Swedish population responded that religion is NOT important.
      Denmark – 80%
      Norway – 78%
      And your own UK – a strong 71% responded that religion is NOT important.

      For reference, the United States shows at 33%, which puts us just above Kyrgyzstan.

      I’m not sure which 2nd/3rd world countries you’re referring to, but perhaps Uruguay (57%). Otherwise, I still think we’re generally ahead of the developing world curve. Not by much, but after all, our religious statistics are remarkably similar to gay-icy Greece (30%).

      And I think the real difference is what you identified as a UK perk – whether or not there’s a taboo on religious discussion.

      You said that religion is kept to oneself across the pond, which is all well and good, but the more important key is that religion is discussed in schools. Young, open minds are being encouraged to consider religion objectively. Not here. Religion is too taboo, and we must not discuss it, in school or otherwise. Our young impressionable minds only hear one version of religion, and that’s from their family and church. They hear one religious “truth,” and that’s it. No need for objective thought or analysis, you just better believe it or else. Our system doesn’t much encourage Tony Blair syndrome – analyzing various beliefs and teachings and coming to a different conclusion.

      We struggle to have equality here because no one has made a big deal about the religious belief that makes us wrong. No one has actively said to the faithful, “You know that thing your church taught you about us? Well, here’s an alternative, and I think you’ll find it’s a much better, much more honest way to look at your LGBTQ brothers and sisters.” We would rather fight in the legislative trenches without bringing up the religious oppression at all. And if this thread is any evidence, we aren’t even supposed to hold our progressive clergy “allies” to the standard of vocally presenting that alternative. We’re just supposed to take their actions on faith.

      Sure, it’s the preachers’ fault for teaching that belief to the unquestioning masses. But they believe it too. They got that belief from somewhere – directly from their religious texts and the incredibly long line of teaching tradition based on those texts, which has made homosexuality wrong for the 2500 years since a Jewish scribe scribbled the word abomination.

      If we don’t talk about the belief, we can’t knock the venomous preachers off their altars.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      I’m so glad that no one would really accept a declaration like “NARTH is atheist” without doing a little research. The thing I like most about Queerty commenters are their integrity.

      NARTH is, of course, headquartered at the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic. Founded by Joseph Nicolosi, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. They do their detestable work hand in hand with religious groups, like OneByOne (Presbyterians “curing” homos). Of course, NARTH’s website says that they have some atheists on board. So that’s valid.

      And Harvey Milk was just expressing his religion in a unique way when he said that he wanted religion left entirely out of the equation.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      @Andrew: You could be right, but I honestly don’t think religion is the sole cause for homophobia. In the US it must seem like that because religion is so important.

      But if you look at history (even as recently as the second half of the 20th century), the Bible was also used to justify the oppression of women and black people. These days mainstream Christian religions would be horrified if anyone used the Bible to back up that oppression. However, that’s not stopped misogyny or racism.

      If you take away the Biblical rationale for something it doesn’t make the problem go away. Hell, even if you have the varied regiments of pastors, priests and vicars preaching against something every Sunday for a decade, it won’t stop some of their congregations being complete assholes.

      The one, unifying philosophy that seems to spread across the whole thread from people of all opinions is that people can and should be better and that somehow churches can be a way for that to happen. Personally, I think religions are part of the problems and part of the cure – but on the whole they’re not that capable one way or another.

      Just look at the crime, deceit, poverty, disease and lack of charity in the US (or elsewhere in the world) today to see exactly how successful churches have been for the last 2000 years.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance (replying to Lura) wrote, “As for the origins of homophobia – you completely missed the point of my history lesson. Pythagoras was one man, one con man douche nozzle, who figured out that telling people homosexuality was religiously wrong was an effective way of controlling them. The only reason his commandment had any validity for his faithful followers was because he didn’t say it. God did.”

      Odd. According to http://rictornorton.co.uk/famous.htm which has
      “Lists of Famous Homosexuals”, Pythagoras was gay. What’s next?
      Will you guys start claiming that the Pythagorian Theorem is homopohbic?

      Sep 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      Anyone interested in a valid source, please read Robert H. Allen’s insightful Classical Origins of Modern Homophobia.
      http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Origins-Modern-Homophobia-Robert/dp/0786423498

      If you prefer fluff, then a previous poster’s link will suffice. After all, it quotes a novel which lists Pythagoras as a homo right along with Shakespeare – a man whose very name and identity cannot be thoroughly confirmed by any scholars, much less his sex life.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Darrien: “If you take away the Biblical rationale for something it doesn’t make the problem go away.”

      It isn’t “Biblical rationale” for homophobia that is the problem. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it “rationale,” or Pastor Lura’s word “justification.” The people that use Biblical references are simply sourcing the “authority” for their beliefs – beliefs that are taught by religion.

      No other non-religious institution in America teaches that homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. In order to end that belief, we need to stop teaching it. Christians still teach it.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      @Chance: Please accept my apology for the omission of of your name in the list of the great and the good. I’d beat my chest and issue copious mea culpas if I weren’t over that bells and smells nonsense by now. But if ever I give an Oscar speech, your name will be the first one thanked.

      The other first world nations I was thinking of that have de facto state religions would would also include Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands. Also, I’m not sure, but I think there is greater legislative LGBT equality in Venezuela and Brazil (although I could be wrong) an for the third world, I’d hold up Nepal as a place that has greater legislative LGBT equality than the US. Although those second and third world countries don’t have established religions, they do have massive religious presences – obviously Catholicism in South America and a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and communism in the case of Nepal. Please accept that I’m not attacking the US here. I’m just adding more information. I definitely wasn’t deliberately trying to paint the US in a bad light.

      You’re absolutely right about schooling being an essential part of the problem. I must admit, I luaghed out lou when you described all these happy and youthful children having their minds expanded in a non-bigoted fashion during religious education lessons. From my recollection, it was more a case of a room full of kids bored out of their tiny minds and only there because they would have to pass an exam on religion at the end of the year. It was the unutterable tedium of at least three years of RE lessons that has done more than anything to educate the populace that religion has its ups and downs.

      Where that leaves the US, I’m not sure. There are pros and cons to the separation of Church and State. One of the cons is that religion can set itself up as an alternative authority to the state via the arguments of divine wisdom and eternal damnation instead of using secular power (although it’s remarkable how much churches of all stripes have sought secular power over the centuries).

      Finally, I agree with your frustration about having to take the words of gay ‘allies’ on faith without more concrete demonstrations of the alliance. But let’s face it, in this instance ‘faith’ is their stock-in-trade. It’s the language they speak and the food they eat and wine they drink is based almost entirely on faith one way or another. When they ask us to have faith in them, they’re treating us in exactly the same way as they would anyone else. While we gay folks tend to look at the nature of ‘faith’ with a jaundiced eye based on bitter experience, for our religious allies the use of the word ‘faith’ is something stronger by way of a promise than we probably comprehend.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      @Andrew: Fair point.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 6:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance lied saying, “If you prefer fluff, then a previous poster’s link will suffice. After all, it quotes a novel which lists Pythagoras as a homo right along with Shakespeare – a man whose very name and identity cannot be thoroughly confirmed by any scholars, much less his sex life.”

      The link in question http://rictornorton.co.uk/famous.htm is a link to an essay, not novel.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 9:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Funny stuff.

      “I’m so glad that no one would really accept a declaration like “NARTH is atheist” without doing a little research. The thing I like most about Queerty commenters are their integrity.”

      See, there was no declaration “NARTH is atheist” made. The actual text presented:
      No. 243 · David

      “Religion is the only institution that teaches homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. ”

      Wrong, there’s also NARTH, communist China and other communist countries, neo-nazis and skinheads, and secular tradition in Japan and other Asian cultures, to name a few other institutions that condemn homosexuality.”

      The phrase “NARTH is atheist” does not exist there, and claiming that it did, demonstrates a significant lack of a certain trait, oft called ‘integrity’.

      Of course, NARTH describes itself thusly:
      “NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality. As an organization, we disseminate educational information, conduct and collect scientific research, promote effective therapeutic treatment, and provide referrals to those who seek our assistance. ”

      Then there’s the integrity issue of changing parameters, from ‘religious institution’ to ‘institution that any religious person whatsoever participates in':

      “NARTH is, of course, headquartered at the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic. Founded by Joseph Nicolosi, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. ”

      When it comes from people who have categorically rejected all of the work by people of faith in support of civil equality for GLBTQ people, there’s a huge double standard involved in chance’s rebuttal, another lack of integrity.

      If NARTH is religious because of Nicolosi’s personal life, then all of the groups that are actively working for GLBTQ civil equality, if even one member belongs to a church, are religious groups, and apparently then, there are no truly atheist or non-religious organizations doing anything to advance civil equality for GLBTQ people.

      But, just as homophobes, including NARTH, so routinely try to impose their own definitions on to GLBTQ people, counter to our own words, chance imposed his on NARTH. Ironic, but since GLBTQ people rightfully complain when we are redefined by homophobes, chance’s usage of the same tactic is at least hypocritical. It certainly doesn’t show any integrity.

      It is amazing that chance could take time to look up Nicolosi’s personal life, but has yet to post even one example of an explicitly atheist organization that is working for civil rights for GLBTQ people. Heck, I’ll be far for liberal, and not require that it be a group that is entirely composed of and entirely supported by people who have never had any relationship with any religion. I’d be happy with ‘explicitly and predominantly’.

      And there’s still the issue of those Asian cultures that reject homosexuality, not for religious reasons, but out of intense focus on heterosexist reproduction strategies, and communist history, and neo-nazi’s and skinheads.

      Sep 21, 2009 at 10:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @Lutheran Core: Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) will be gathering Lutherans from throughout the United States and Canada Sept. 25-26 in Indianapolis to begin the process of creating an alternative church fellowship for Lutherans who continue to uphold traditional marriage and who are unwilling to support the changes in church teaching and policy on marriage and homosexual behavior approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in August.

      I really think that this is what you bigots should do. After all, a sect created solely on the hatred of gays…what a (non)novelty. You people should go off and do your own thing…Christianity was built on their hatred of us gays. Christianity is all about discrimination and hatred and you epitomize that. You are the poster child. Let me guess…you have a friend who is gay and you “love” him…yet you think he shouldn’t be allowed to pastor your church, get married, or have the civil rights you enjoy.

      You people are disgusting in your hatred. Good luck when you come back to us in 30 years with apologies for your discrimination and with apologies wanting us and our money/attendance in your kooky evangelical religion.

      Give me a break, and wake up…Christianity is bogus! These people want their cake and eat it, too. They are not, and never have been about love…they are about discrimination and bigotry!

      Sep 21, 2009 at 10:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      The Bible clearly “bans” same-sex relations. It also praises genocide, promotes incest, calls for disobedient children to be stoned, regards women as property of men, upholds slavery as God’s will, and endorses polygamy.

      That’s the problem with it — it was written by some goatherders in one part of the world and then revised by European monarchs to promote “divine rule.”

      If you view it as an artifact of the evolution of medieval and pre-medieval society, it’s mildly interesting. If you claim to “believe” in it or view it as a guide for life, you’ve got big problems.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 5:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Brian Miller wrote, “The Bible clearly ‘bans’ same-sex relations.”
      Not true – lesbians are ignored.

      After a list of other Biblical silliness, mostly if not totally from Levicitus, Brian goes on to say, “That’s the problem with it — it was written by some goatherders in one part of the world and then revised by European monarchs to promote ‘divine rule.'”

      That one’s not true at all. The “goatherders” were illiterate and didn’t write anything. Leviticus was written just after the Babylonian exile, when Cyrus, the king of Persia, allowed Jews to return and rebuild their temple. Having a cash influx from having just conquered Babylon, he gave the returning Jews some funding to help them along. In return, he wanted a report on what the newly reconstituted priesthood was going to do. Leviticus is basically that report. They decided to act like the Taliban, but carefully noted (very last sentence in Levicitus) that the rules applied to Jews and nobody else. Cyrus obviously wanted allies to help keep things under control and if the returning Jews used their new authority to harass their neighbors, that would not exactly make their neighbors happy and if the neighbors got pissed off, that would not make Cyrus happy and no group of priests in their right mind wanted Cyrus to be unhappy with them. The priests were not “goatherders” but rather more like politicians. They had a goal of not only rebuilding the temple, but making sure that they would be in charge and that the people they controlled would be separate from their neighbors in terms of customs and religion, and above all with the priests running the show.

      Their ban on anal sex was possibly motivated by their neighbors’ quirk of doing just that to worship a fertility god, and during the exile, those who remained in time had been assimilating by their neighbors. The priests didn’t like that – the assimilation reduced their influence.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 11:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      And B lied by saying I lied. Perhaps B didn’t read the article he linked. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. Because the only times that Pythagoras’s name ever came up in that essay was 1) in a quote from the 1933 NOVEL, Goldie. In which Pythagoras is described as a homo along with the likes of, laughably, William Shakespeare. and 2) a 16th Century satire where a passing reference is made to some tacky bed decoration of Pythagoras.

      Quite reliable.

      Try to have some integrity.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian Miller

      “The Bible clearly “bans” same-sex relations.”

      Nope. It does, though, condemn sexuality used as religious practice, as in Paul’s remarks in Romans 1, and it forbids a married to man to have sex with a priest – bisexual adultery, in two passages in Leviticus.

      The passages in Leviticus, oft used to condemn homosexuality, are neither about homosexuality, or even about anal sex. The ‘as with a woman’ phrase is a terrible translation of the Hebrew, which connotes ‘woman’s bed’ in the context of a husband and wife relationship.

      It is important for people to actually study this subject, rather than simply repeat the claims of homophobes, who after all, we catch lying about everything else even remotely related to the subject of sex, on a near-daily basis.

      Every assertion of the error-based traditional theology ‘homosexuality is sin’, including by people who reject religion, contributes overtly to homophobia. Brian Miller, in attempting to defend your malice against people of faith, you’ve nurtured homophobia.

      Something to consider; since GLBTQ people make up about 10% of humanity, homophobes essentially malign and vilify 1 in 10 people, and since atheists make up, using the most generous stats, 10% of the U.S. population, they malign and vilify 9 out of 10 people.

      Target is simply a matter of convenience and personal choice for bigots, some target people of color, some target people of faith, some target GLBTQ people, but all are targeting other people for malice and abuse.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      @David: Many of us prefer David’s interpretation of the Bible to what we were taught growing up. It makes more sense and it’s more fun. Do your abortion routine now, David. That one kills.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      “Target is simply a matter of convenience and personal choice for bigots, some target people of color, some target people of faith, some target GLBTQ people, but all are targeting other people for malice and abuse.”

      I can’t say this is exactly false, but the deeper truth here is that gay people have suffered because of something deceptive and malicious in religion. The fact that it is in religion does not mean that it is religion. It also in humanity, but we cannot say it is humanity.

      There is something that deserves to be hated, and that is homophobia. It deserves to be hated and it provokes hatred. But unfortunately people misplace hatred all the time, not just as a matter of convenience and personal choice, but also by a misunderstanding of facts, which is why this kind of discussion where facts are aired and scrutinized is so important. It’s also why people need to respect facts and not abuse them, to care for them even when they don’t support one’s current position, to look at them in a detached way.

      Unfortunately people often cannot conceive of being wrong, and this leads to gross abuses of fact and logic.

      There is also something bigger than homophobia that deserves to be hated, something that is the source of homophobia and of many other abuses. This thing is not restricted to religion, and not necessary to religion. I’ve suggested what I think it is, and unfortunately have not found much support. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      It is not possible to love an evil god. It’s quite easy to worship such a god, to appease such a god in a cowardly way, to preach such a god with great enthusiasm, but to love such a god is impossible. Anyone who worships an evil god has broken the first commandment of Christianity which is to love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul. Anyone who reads the Bible and finds a passage that they cannot sincerely reconcile with God’s goodness must pass it over silently as if it were not there, or else try to understand it more deeply. This interpretive strategy is called the rule of charity, and no one is a true Christian unless they read the Bible like this. No Christian could sustain a homophobic reading of the Bible if they practiced the rule of charity.

      The rule of charity applies in secular debate as much as it does in reading the Bible. The most basic motivation any person has is love, and no matter how warped, twisted, and unrecognizable the expression of that love, we have to respect the basic love as the good that it is. This is why we cannot hate people even though we hate what they do. People, even if they are full of lies, are trying to say the truth. People, even if they are full of malice, are trying to express love.

      Congratulating ourselves for our own love and truth is of no value, but if we search out the love and truth in another person, we are applying the rule of charity, and we are becoming more loving and truthful people.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      GLBTQ people have suffered from something deceptive and malicious in some human beings, who use religion to give their malice a veneer of respectability. Other human beings, containing within themselves the same prejudice, have used other elements of mainstream culture, or even fringe culture, to make their prejudice acceptable.

      There is no shortage of non-religious people who are bigots. For those bigots who are also religious people, their religion simply gives them a false air of righteousness to dress their bigotry with.

      A good parallel is racism. There certainly were people who used their religion to justify their racism, but there were also people who used science, and philosophy, instead.

      Or consider antisemitism. As religious support for it diminished, antisemites simply turned to science (pseudo-science to be more accurate) to find excuses for their bias. Exactly the way homophobes today, when religious excuses are refuted, turn to pseudo-science to excuse homophobia. And when those arguments fail, they turn to economic reasons to justify discrimination, and when those fail, they turn to something else.

      Ironically, when bigots turn to convoluted constructs of ‘science’ to defend their bigotry, and analysis shows that their excuses do not fit with established science fact or principles, it is generally accepted that said bigots are engaged in ‘pseudo-science’ or abusing science. Only when religion is the sphere of human knowledge being abused, does that abuse become the new definition.

      Some people here keep screaming ‘religion, religion, religion is the problem’, completing forgetting, or ignoring, how homophobes have more excuses that Imelda Marcus had shoes, and change them even faster.

      Take religious arguments off the table, by providing a fact-based counter interpretation of the ‘gotcha verses’, and homophobes cites AIDS. Take AIDS off the table, by citing that the majority of all people with HIV/AIDS are heterosexual, and homophobes scream ‘pedophiles’. Take that away, by pointing out that the majority of all pedophiles self-identify as heterosexual. Homophobes then complain “It’s unnatural”, and when you point out that homosexuality has been documented in hundreds of species, they pull out another excuse.

      And so on. If you argued with a homophobe long enough, they invariable return to the beginning and start the whole process all over.

      Someone may dismiss my account of above with some snarky remark, but the pattern has been acted out across the internet too often, too consistently to be ignored. It has been acted out in politics and the press too often to be ignored.

      So while it is important to take all of the excuses away from homophobes, including “the Bible says . . .”, it is not enough. We also have to reject bigotry itself, to declare and live ‘bigotry against anyone is wrong’.

      The flood of bigotry against people of faith, that some people have posted here, does not help GLBTQ people attain civil equality, it simply celebrates bigotry, and celebrating any flavor of bigotry enables and strengthens all bigotries, including homophobia.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      David, do you see any serious differences in our views? I’ve clearly argued that religion in general cannot be blamed, and that some things outside of religion must also be blamed for homophobia.

      The only thing I’m trying to add to what you are saying is a more positive perspective. You are saying what is wrong, and I am trying to suggest what the alternative is. You say “declare and live ‘bigotry against anyone is wrong'” , but how can you live a negative unless you turn it into a positive? I’m offering the rule of charity as a positive alternative to bigotry, and I am trying to show how it can work in both religious and secular contexts.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance lied again by writing, “And B lied by saying I lied. Perhaps B didn’t read the article he linked. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. Because the only times that Pythagoras’s name ever came up in that essay was 1) in a quote from the 1933 NOVEL, Goldie. In which Pythagoras is described as a homo along with the likes of, laughably, William Shakespeare.”

      In fact, Chance lied by claiming I had posted a link to a novel when I in fact posted a link to an essay and simply stated what the essay stated. Other articles make the same or similar claims: http://www.williamapercy.com/wiki/images/Sicily.pdf for example states “First of the homosexual exiles and emigres, Pythagoras founded at Croton ca. 530 the pederastic school of philosophy that flourished in Magna Grecia.”

      The list of homosexuals according to the essay I linked to included “‘Diocles, Achilles, Homer, Alexander the Great, Pythagoras, Demosthenes, Julius Caesar, Virgil, Benvenuto Cellini, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Leo X, Francis I, Henry IV, Louis XIV, Louis XV, the Marquis de Sade, scions of the House of Orleans, Oscar Wilde, William II, James I, and many others of the world’s great geniuses’ (quoted by Austen 1977).” The novel aside (it merely mentions that someone as told about a list), the attribution appears to really be to Austen. Nearly everyone should recognize most of the names on that list.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      In No. 261 another person claiming to be “B” dissed David.

      Did two people randomly choose the same name or is it the
      sort of “dirty tricks” common among fundamentalists (whether
      religious or anti-religious doesn’t particularly matter).

      Sep 22, 2009 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      Good Lord, I was giving B the benefit of the doubt that he was just lying. I’ve been proven wrong, he just can’t read.

      “Quoted by Austen” means that, since the book is no longer available for the essayist to reference himself, he had to rely on Austen who had QUOTED that section of the book.

      His second stab at integrity is no more substantiated than the first. For a full researched, cited, and believable source, see the book I posted above. It’s a terrific read.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      @onefish: Who actually “teaches” that homosexuality is wrong? that’s a facinating question. I can’t exactly blame my priest, but I could consider the denomination and their teachings.

      I’ve never found another group or organization that actually teaches homosexuality is wrong – just religion. They still do. Every year millions of new believers are produced. Shit, we don’t have a chance.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      @onefish: You said: “There is also something bigger than homophobia that deserves to be hated, something that is the source of homophobia and of many other abuses. This thing is not restricted to religion, and not necessary to religion. I’ve suggested what I think it is, and unfortunately have not found much support. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.”

      I think it is,too. That’s very thoughtful and I like the “not sure” part, too. I bet we could figure it out by seeing who teaches “it.” You know what I mean? People ask me all the time “hey, where did you learn that?” and i tell them in school or church or at the movies. It’s usually one of those 3, but wait i would like to add a fourth – the internets. I learn a lot here.

      So, let’s seek the answers to your question by finding out where it is taught.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #2 using similar name]

      “Lutheran Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she believes ‘God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor’ to help the state weather its troubles. In a wide-ranging speech on the role of religion in politics and in her life, Brewer detailed to a group of pastors of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church how she relies on her faith and in prayer to deal with many of the issues she faces as the state’s chief executive. Brewer also said there are times when, during a meeting with staffers, one will suggest praying about an issue. ..The governor said, though, she believes it is right — if not inevitable — that elected officials bring their faith to their offices.”

      No kidding.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      B, I think you’ll find homophobia in all four places, church, school, internet, and movies. I certainly have.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance, trying to spin his way out of false accusations, now says, “Good Lord, I was giving B the benefit of the doubt that he was just lying. I’ve been proven wrong, he just can’t read.” That’s his way of getting out of the fact that first claimed I had cited a novel, then claimed that the author I actually quoted had quoted a novel, and now implies that the essayist cited Austen because he couldn’t find the novel. Then, after getting it wrong several times in a row, he accuses others of not being able to read!

      It says a lot about Chance’s ethics when he pretends that an accusation of “lying” is nicer than an accusation that someone
      “can’t read” (which also refuses to acknowledge the possibility people are sometimes just busy or distracted, something the ideologically driven Chance couldn’t even think of).

      Meanwhile, he has no real proof for his conjecture that homophobia started with Pythagoras.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Onefish

      I was just riffing in parallel with your post, rather than challenging or rebutting it.

      I think society needs to embrace both the law of charity, and ‘bigotry itself is always wrong’ if we are to heal our culture, not only of homophobia, but of racism and sexism and all the rest.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 7:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      B loves to play this little game.

      I invite the literate members of this forum to read Allen’s book. It’s an incredible, exhaustively researched look at how the Greco-Roman world turned from truly affirming to the vile (religious) gay hatred that still haunts us here and now. Facts and an (accurate) understanding of history are important to have when trying to attack the problem and come up with a solution.

      Of course, if you’re the type who finds himself too “busy or distracted” to think about the things he says or writes, well then I doubt you’ll have the attention span to finish a book without any pictures. I won’t wait around.

      And while we’re reading and citing, check this one out:
      http://www.amazon.com/Cite-Right-Styles-MLA-Professions-Publishing/dp/0226484750

      It’s only $8.57! Score!

      You’ll learn what “Quoted by —” means! We’ll all learn together.

      Sep 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance lies again by writing, “B loves to play this little game.”
      Reality – he first claimed a URL pointed to a novel when it pointed to an essay. He then was confused about who the author of an essay actually quoted, and then tried some infantile personal attacks to cover it all up. Then (using the standard propaganda technique of accusing others of what you yourself are doing) he accuses me of “playing little games”.

      He then pontificates about history, throws in some more high-school level insults, and his only “evidence” to back up his claims is that he found some random book whose author wrote what Chance wants to hear.

      Hint – there are lots of authors out there that produce books with lots of footnotes and citations and where there is in fact a very weak case – they know that most people don’t have the time to check. Chance has to show that the book he cited is not one of those.

      There are independent claims that Pythagoras was gay. Same for Socrates (only the claims are more credible). Socrates was supposedly influenced by Pythagoras, but seems not to have picked up any homophobic opinions. Why is that? As usual, Chance’s “theories” are simply assertions.

      Sep 23, 2009 at 1:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh Philly
      Josh Philly

      @B: I have followed this conversation and exchange between you and Chance. I have to say, without any qualification, you are an idiot. You are full of it. From time to time sites like this have people just “trying to prove they’re smart.” That’s you.

      I wish you would just admit you made a mistake and accept responsibility. But, given your comments so far, I suspect that is impossible.

      Could you just, at the very least, be a bit embarrassed? Many of us have concluded you don’t know what you’re talking about. Cutting and pasting Wikipedia is all you have.

      Keep up the silly posts – hear me (and many others) laughing.

      Sep 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      Really? Socrates was influenced by Pythagoras? Will wonders never cease?

      Do you have a citation for that?

      Maybe you’re confused. Plato was influenced by Pythagoras, progressively, through the course of his philosophy. Which explains the pro-gay to anti-gay shift between his Symposium and his Laws (written just before his death). Plato often wrote in Socrates’s voice – as a character, if you will. Maybe that’s where your confusion originated.

      Isn’t learning great?

      By the way, I’m not treating you like a high schooler. I would expect a high schooler to do some homework. So maybe you’re a shiftless kind of middle schooler. I don’t teach that grade. Unless you’re willing to come to the big boys’ table, go away little boy.

      Sep 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance, making a fool of himself, wrote, “Really? Socrates was influenced by Pythagoras? Will wonders never cease?” (and then asks for a citation for that, which can be found in a few seconds by using the string “Socrates Pythagoras” in a Google search). Try http://people.hsc.edu/drjclassics/texts/socrates.shtm which states, “like many others of his time, Socrates was a Pythagorean, a follower of the pre-Socratic philosopher Pythagoras.”

      Sep 24, 2009 at 1:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Josh Philly chimed in with yet another list of mindless insults because he, like that character Chance and a few others, apparently have an agenda, and can’t let facts get in the way.

      He then whines that I quoted a few wikipedia articles or cited them. Apparently actually citing something instead of just ranting mindlessly offends him.

      In case he is yet another person who doesn’t know, a study described in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html) showed that the Wikipedia is comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy on technical topics. While you can have some problems with it for some hot-button topics (and politicians whose staff tries to edit articles about them to make them look better), that doesn’t happen for the vast majority of articles in it, and they’ve been tightening controls to prevent those problems.

      Sep 24, 2009 at 1:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Chance wrote, “Which explains the pro-gay to anti-gay shift between his Symposium and his Laws (written just before his death). Plato often wrote in Socrates’s voice – as a character, if you will. Maybe that’s where your confusion originated.”

      Shows how you jump to unwarranted conclusions. First, you did not consider the possibility that Plato’s opinions on homosexuality changed over time based on his life-long experience. That wouldn’t be surprising given how common pederastry was at that time and given that they had no concept of sexual orientation. Maybe after a lifetime of experience, he decided that sexual relations between men and adolescents could all too easily lead to abuses.

      Also, Pythagoras lived from 570- 495 BC whereas Plato lived from
      428 – 348 BC (with a one-year uncertainty), so you could hardly blame Pythagoras for a shift in his opinions.

      Also, you should read http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/ for some additional details. One statement in there raises some real doubts about your conjecture that religion is responsible for homophobia, specifically, “Ancient Rome had many parallels in its understanding of same-sex attraction, and sexual issues more generally, to ancient Greece. This is especially true under the Republic. Yet under the Empire, Roman society slowly became more negative in its views towards sexuality, probably due to social and economic turmoil, even before Christianity became influential.”

      Sep 24, 2009 at 2:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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