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This Straight Lutheran Pastor Is Reaching Out to His Anti-Gay Peers. Will You?

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_wsb_174x234_pastorerik1

[Ed: Erik Samuelson is a Lutheran pastor who previously shared his experiences with Queerty from the ELCA conference last week, where the church voted to accept clergy in same-gender relationships. Here, he gives us an insider's view of what the vote means to the millions of Lutherans across America — and, most interestingly, how the vote suddenly made anti-gay clergy the "queer" ones.]

Well, I must say this is a first for me—writing a guest editorial for a queer website—but I’m guessing that it is the first time an ordained Lutheran pastor has been invited to write for this website so we’re all in uncharted territory. And I’ve read a bit of how religion (especially Christianity) gets spoken of on this site, so I suppose I’m opening myself up for a shit-storm of comments and emails—and many of them I’m sure based on horrible personal experiences you all have had, which I get. And for what its worth, I’m sorry that we Christians have allowed this unchecked hate to go on for so long and have been such hypocrites. I don’t intend to defend my faith, the Bible, or my church, or to try to convince you that you should believe what I believe or do what I do. But these things are important to me, and so I’m glad to tell you about them. Do with it what you will.

bishop-mark-hanson

First, a little explanation of why I’m here: I just returned from the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) where I was one of 1045 voting members who passed a teaching document we call a “social statement” called “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” that (among many other things) makes room for the blessing of “publicly accountable, life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships” as well as policy changes to allow congregations that wish to do so to bless those relationships. Once this was approved it opened the door to a vote that would allow people in same-gender relationships to be ordained and serve as pastors (previously gay and lesbian pastors—like all unmarried pastors—were supposed to remain celibate). That one passed too. We also did some other stuff like commit to raise $10 million over 3 years for work on HIV and AIDS, create the Lutheran Malaria Initiative to end malaria in Africa, authorize development of a social statement on justice for women, recommit to advocacy work in Israel and Palestine, affirm our commitment to Lutheran Disaster Response, and issue calls for action and advocacy in the US government on health care and immigration reform. Dunno why that other stuff never seems to make the news.

(Pictured, above: Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson at an ELCA news conference last week.)

It’s easier to hate people when you don’t have to look across the table and say “pass the salt” to them. But the witness of the Gospel of Jesus (when we are getting it right) is that everyone means everyone, all are welcome at the table—and that means anti-gay folks as much as gay folks, as hard as that may be.

During the assembly I commented on one of the posts on Queerty which got turned into another post both of which told the story another voting member relayed to me. (Apparently a stereotypical “magical homo” tale, according to one commenter. The “homo” in question did pay for my beer the night before, so he was a bit magical to me, but the story is true.). The reason I added my comments is not to put forward some sort of “See, gay people can be nice too!” or “If gay people just became Christian everything would be OK” kind of message, but because by his action I was put in my place and challenged to see the world differently. I thought here, of all places, you would want to hear the story of someone reaching out to someone very different from them in an act of self-giving love. To see someone who has put up with a lifetime of discrimination and hardship reach out to someone who is the object of ridicule and a bit of hate speech (from you all) with love and empathy rather than more of the same was pretty impressive. Shocking actually. More than I did at the time.

waitingtospeak1

A bit about me. I’m a 31 year old Lutheran pastor, serving a small congregation in Eastern Washington. (That’s me in the picture, on the right, waiting to speak at the ELCA conference.)

I was ordained 3 years ago after a 9 year adventure in higher education that resulted in a B.A. in Religion and Classics, a Masters of Divinity, and an M.A. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology with an emphasis in Lutheran Confessional Theology. All of which is a long and expensive way to say I’m a big nerd. I grew up in the Lutheran church in the Pacific Northwest; my father and his father were Lutheran pastors (as was my great-great grandfather). I’m married to an amazing woman and we have two fantastic children (though right this moment they are being a bit obnoxious). I’ve recently started tweeting and blogging at pubpastor.com. I brew my own beer.

The reason I love being Lutheran is the emphasis we Lutheran Christians place on God’s grace. We are all broken, Lutheran theology asserts, and can’t fix ourselves. But God gives us grace—this outpouring of love and reconciliation that leads us into wholeness, and God gives us grace especially when we don’t deserve it. God loves us not because we are lovable, but precisely because we are not. God loves us into wholeness so that we can love other people into wholeness The truth, however, (as many of you have experienced) is that we are better at claiming this on paper than we are actually living it in real life. But I think what happened at the assembly this past week is a step in the right direction.

 
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By:          
 
_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:           Aug 28, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 322 Comments
    • dgz
      dgz

      Erik, thank you for writing this. you’re right to assume you’ll be castigated by a lot of posters here (that’s just the nature of the site).

      but i thought your essay was wonderful, and really wish i had grown up with a pastor like you, and not one who contributed to my years of fear and self-loathing. (and not just because you’re willing to write “shit, fuck,” or “homo.”)

      it’s great to have allies like you, people who aren’t just willing to speak out for us, but to speak to us and risk the shade that some here WILL throw your way.

      thanks.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Erik, Thank you. This is great. We get insight to the proceedings from someone who was involved which is invaluable.

      Also, I have met many a cool clergymen, but none that brew their own beer. You may have taken the lead on my “coolest pastor” scale. haha

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      I don’t trust a pastor who curses.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      “Lutheran pastors and congregations are still allowed to exist that teach and preach against homosexuality. And, justifiably, you might be pissed off that we Lutherans are celebrating something that really doesn’t change all that much. And you are right, it doesn’t change all that much—except instead of battling for “one teaching on sexuality for all times and places” the ELCA has chosen to admit that there are a wide range of opinions on this, that a case can be made in may directions from the Bible, and that in all likelihood we aren’t going to agree on them.”

      Erik: Why not have the courage to declare:

      “homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant?”

      Gays and Lesbians have suffered from 2,000 years of hatred and discrimination because of the “Christian” belief that homosexuals are wrong and defective. I’m certain that you agree that everything in the Bible about homosexuals was a LIE, right? Just like the lies about racism, slavery and the oppression of women, right?

      I’m curious. What would happen if you asked the Lutherans to sign that Declaration above? How many congregations would sign it? Would your congregation sign it?

      So far, not a single “Christian” denomination or Church has been willing to un-do the wrong done to homosexuals by that Christian belief. How about YOU get your congregation to sign it and then work on the rest of the Lutherans.

      When someone actually makes that public declaration we will have made some progress. You were correct, everything else is just “window dressing,” and marketing.

      Good people put Equality before Religion.

      I appreciate your Article. It is helpful and generous.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • unclemike
      unclemike

      @Mike: And I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      Wow, thanks Pastor Erik. Lutherans have “agreed to disagree” about Homosexuals. That isn’t progress. We’re still WRONG.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John P.
      John P.

      Martin Luther seldom mentions homosexual behavior. But when he does, his evaluation is always negative. For example, Luther identifies the sin of Sodom with homosexuality. Commenting on Genesis 19:4-5, he writes “I for my part do not enjoy dealing with this passage, because so far the ears of the Germans are innocent of and uncontaminated by this monstrous depravity; for even though disgrace, like other sins, has crept in through an ungodly soldier and a lewd merchant, still the rest of the people are unaware of what is being done in secret. The Carthusian monks deserve to be hated because they were the first to bring this terrible pollution into Germany from the monasteries of Italy”.

      In the same section of the Genesis lecturers, Luther refers to “the heinous conduct of the people of Sodom as extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which is implanted into nature by God, and desired what is altogether contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversity? Undoubtedly from Satan, who after people have once turned away from the fear of God, so powerfully suppresses nature that he blots out the natural desire and stirs up a desire that is contrary to nature.”

      Luther’s rejection of homosexual activity is not merely a matter of aesthetic preference but rather a theological judgment rooted in the reality of the way the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness that will not acknowledge God to be the Creator and Lord that He is. For Luther, homosexuality is a form of idolatry, of false worship as we see in his lectures on Romans.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      While I’ll admit I’m a bit put off by the cursing, this article was way too long for what he had to say. While Erik seems to be a great guy, this monumental foot dragging of trying to bring Christianity into the 19th century when we are actually already well into the 21st simply serves to make (institutional) Christianity more and more irrelevant.

      PS when one is confident about what one has to say, cursing is almost always unnecessary.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      It’s getting increasingly clear to me that even seemingly nice Christians like Erik Samuelson don’t give a damn about gay people. They only care about “fellowship”, “God’s grace”, “the Gospel of Jesus” and other “spiritual” things, so they’re more than willing to throw gay people under the bus:

      “But after this decision (and listen now), disagreeing on homosexuality is no longer a primary issue for us in the ELCA, and now that we’ve agreed to talk about it lovingly recognizing we’re not going to convince one another—we can move on to talk with passion about things that actually matter more …”

      Christians will continue to hate and despise gays and lesbians, but Erik conveniently calls it “disagreeing on homosexuality” – as if it’s no big deal. Perhaps, it’s no big deal _to him_, but he isn’t affected by anti-gay bigotry, so it isn’t surprising.

      And the whole “justice/vengeance thing” doesn’t make any sense in this situation. Gay people don’t want anti-gay bigots to suffer. They simply want anti-gay bigotry to end. When you want to be treated like a human being, you are demanding justice, not vengeance.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rick
      Rick

      And he’s cute, too!

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      I’m with Brian, nothing has really changed until some Christian group signs the Declaration:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      We’re not wrong. We’ve never been wrong. The biblical anti-gay crap is a lie. An apology to all LGBT persons would be nice, too.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dizzyspins
      dizzyspins

      I appreciate rev. Samuelson’s posting on a site like this, and I think his views are mostly commendable. But you cant simply say, lets agree to disagree on an issue like this. Would you say, well some people think slavery is good and some think its bad, but theres room for differing opinions! of course not. I guess i kind of understand what black people mean when they talk about white privilege. Only a straight person would see a gay person defending their right to exist and a bigot’s right to marginalize someone as equally valid.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      Hi, I’m an atheist. I’m glad you’re an ally in moving your church in the right direction. Congratulations on your church’s recent steps forward.
      This is by far your best sentence:
      “I’m sorry that we Christians have allowed this unchecked hate to go on for so long and have been such hypocrites.”
      Do not underestimate the power of that statement.
      Don’t bury it in an unneeded sermon on grace.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      Erik,

      Well said. Thanks for your article.

      @John P.:

      Our values and methods have changed a bit in the last 500 years.

      In Luther’s day people were killed as heretics, torture was an accepted part of the justice system, democracy did not exist in its present form, cauterizing irons were standard equipment for doctors, and enemas were used to cast out demons.

      Using Luther’s words against modern believers is about as relevant as using the bible literally against them. There is no church which literally applies every word in the bible. Even Jesus did not do that.

      Why not evaluate people based on what they actually believe, rather than what people said half a millenium ago? Eric is offering an opportunity here to do that.

      Interestingly, Luther translated many of the bible passages as anti-pedophile rather than anti-gay. Leviticus refers to not laying with boys (knaben), and 1 Corinthans 6:9 refers to weaklings (weichlinge) and child molesters (knabenschaender).

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Visser
      John Visser

      So what you are asking us to do is basically this:

      After an entire lifetime of being insulted, castigated, abused, oppressed and even murdered by people like Pastor Ryan Mills, we should feel sorry for him and comfort him because his anti-gay opinion of us is still respected by his church along with pro-gay opinions?

      Pastor Ryan Mills has NOT even begun to know what it feels like to be “Queer.” When his rights are taken away by popularity polls, he is fired from job, beaten up in the street and made to fear for very life, then and only then might he begin to understand.

      Your comparison, Eric, of Pastor Mills feelings to our feelings is like comparing an April shower to Hurricane Katrina. And it gets no sympathy from me – the same way Nazi apologists get no sympathy from the Jewish community.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      “But the witness of the Gospel of Jesus (when we are getting it right) is that everyone means everyone, all are welcome at the table — and that means anti-gay folks as much as gay folks, as hard as that may be.”

      Well, such things were also written about the issue of slavery, women’s rights, racial equality and many other issues: all under a similar guise of dialogue. But as we all know, such issues have been removed from contestation.

      “When we are getting it right.” What does that mean? Does it mean “when we interpret it the way we think we should”? However, all interpretations are *equally valid* UNLESS a particular interpretive preference is privileged. For Nietzsche, the only legitimate interpretation is that which affirms the instinct for freedom, an escape from suffering and the status quo.

      How about this:

      “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.”

      Of course, context is important. But it’s clear that “everyone means everyone” is a bit more selective than one might wish to believe. No, Pastor, everyone doesn’t quite mean everyone: the distinctions depend on the choices we make and the values we hold that influence those choices. If a dichotomy exists between the choices we make and the values we hold, it will perpetuate conflict rather than resolution.

      I congratulate the ELCA for its bold and prophetic witness. But something which is bold and prophetic from the perspective of one interpretive preference can be equally validly false from the perspective of a different interpretive preference. Choices will have to be made and people will have to live with the consequences of their choices. Choice always involves selection.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • samhain
      samhain

      I also appreciate Erik taking the time, I think he sounds cool, means well, is doing lots of good important work, etc. But I don’t follow where our experiences being gay are now happening to Ryan, as he says in the last paragraph of page 2?

      Ryan is being castigated for what he believes. We don’t “believe in” homosexuality, nor do we have the luxury of learning, growing, changing our mind to avoid being persecuted for who we are. Ryan is not now “queer”, he’s simply being confronted with an academic challenge to his teachings and beliefs.

      Ryan would be sharing our experiences if, after your conference, he learned that he was no longer a pastor, no longer married, and got beat up in the parking lot…and there was literally nothing he could do for that not to continue happening for the rest of his life. THEN we should offer him our love and empathy.

      I don’t doubt that Ryan doesn’t understand how his religious beliefs directly cause tangible harm to other human beings But at what point do we simply say, “we tolerate a wide range of beliefs, but not when other loving, victimless human beings are denied basic rights”? If Ryan beats up gays, then can we withhold our empathy?

      Does the ELCA not kinda cringe about not ordaining women prior to 1970 but rejoice that those days are long gone? Does the ELCA not now distance themselves from John Bachman — heralded for ministering to slaves, and arguing that blacks and whites are the same species — calling slavery a “benevolent” way that the Caucasians could educate and support the “degenerate” Negro race?

      I know organized religion is all about baby steps and, for all their charitable work, usually the last place that change and progress occurs, but it’s disingenuous to suggest that sweeping change can’t occur and this is the best we can hope for.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mario
      Mario

      @John Visser: This isn’t the Holocaust and Christians aren’t Nazis.

      A straw man fallacy if I ever saw one.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      This is one step in the direction of equality and societal inclusion (for gays). The journey still appears to be thousands of steps.
      What will be the next step?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DelphKC
      DelphKC

      Awesome, we need more priests and pastors like these! :-)

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DelphKC
      DelphKC

      However, I agree with everyone here that the acceptance must be more explicit, but this is better than nothing in these hate-filled times.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      @Mike: I think the word “shit” is more descriptive than obscene.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Okie
      Okie

      Maybe he should rename it an “Out Reach Around”.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ben
      Ben

      Folks, I’ve known Erik for over ten years and can categorically state that I have always seen him as a passionate and committed straight ally. Take the content of his article as you will, but please don’t assume that it somehow proves that he “doesn’t give a damn about gay people.” That’s not what the words he wrote say or imply, and the negative projection that a few of you have shared certainly isn’t reflected in the life of outspoken advocacy that he has lived.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Johnny Gall
      Johnny Gall

      Let me say that I am both a devout Christian and an openly gay man, and I can see where you’re coming from. I have worried about being denied work. I have been afraid to be honest with friends and family. I have feared for my life on more than one occasion. I know what it means to be discriminated against.

      I also know where most Christians are coming from. It’s not an easy thing to make faith your first priority when so many people use it to back up their own bigotry, and when certain parts of scripture seem to approve of it.
      And I wasn’t always so comfortable with being gay. There was a time when I would’ve said many of these hateful things, knowing I was speaking about myself. There was a time when I hated myself for being gay.
      And even after this, I spent years supporting gay rights, but still telling myself I could never take advantage of them.
      It took me over a decade to get to the point where I was ready to say that I’m gay and I don’t think there’s a problem with it.

      so I understand that it’s taking the church some time to get there.
      I won’t support the bigots and hypocrites that make discrimination the top priority of their religion, but I will recognize that a large part of the church, in my experience, have absolutely no problem with homosexuality, and probably an even larger part of the church really wants to be fine with it, but can’t find the way how.
      They are taught that God comes before anything else, and I support them in this belief, though I understand it may be difficult for some to comprehend.
      But I believe that many of the people we’re chastising here are trying very hard to reconcile a love of all people, despite gender or sexual orientation, and the fact that the most important thing in their lives takes, at best, a questionable position on the issue.

      I stand by the ELCA. I stand by Erik. And I stand by the millions of Christians that are still finding their way on this issue, because I know it wasn’t easy for me to figure out, and I don’t expect it to be easy for them.

      And as far as Ryan Mills and his ilk go, I will never miss an opportunity to tell them straight up their they are taking a religion about love and service, and turning it into something ugly and hateful, and that their antics are not what Christianity is about.
      But I will do this out of love, because I want them to know what it’s like to let go of those prejudices.
      And I refuse to demand an apology or tell anyone that the progress they’re making is not good enough. And I’m not going to spend my time bitching at them, because that justifies their hatred, and then everybody hates everybody.

      and, for the record, I take comfort in pastors who don’t worry about using naughty words every now and then.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Visser
      John Visser

      @Mario: I didn’t say this was the Holocaust and I didn’t say Christians were Nazis. I did make a comparison between Nazi apologists and anti-gay apologists.

      A straw man fallacy is attacking a weakened and inaccurate ‘version’ of a person’s position and attacking it rather than their actual position. I do believe you have attacked a simplified and distorted version of what I said, straw man.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      I just want to acknowledge Queerty for posting a thoughtful, intelligent, and well-written article on faith, tolerance and religious discrimination. Well done, more like this please.

      On Pastor Samuelson, I’m truly glad for the work he is doing, and the loving, inclusive stance he is holding. If there is a God, he/she should be well pleased with this compassionate service.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      Calling Pastor Ryan queer was unwelcome and trivializes the oppression gay people experience. You are part way there, but if you were all the way, you wouldn’t have made this mistake.

      Still, I like all the other things you say.

      But as you can see, not everyone here wants to love their enemies, and as you can see, not everyone here is satisfied with realistic incremental progress.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Eugene: Speak for yourself, homeslice. Until they stop being bigots, I do want them to suffer, daily and mightily. Their lives should constantly remind them that we would all be better off if they did not exist.

      “When you want to be treated like a human being, you are demanding justice, not vengeance.”

      I do like that line. Nice writing there. Still, I’ll take vengeance until justice is available. It’s a reasonable substitute.

      @Jaroslaw: I dig what you’re saying. This article was basically a lot of hullabaloo for a sliver of substance. Obviously, all churches, not just Lutheran ones, could use more clergy like Erik, especially if they want to remain relevant in the real world. Of course, given the church’s track record, I say give us another couple hundred years or so before “love and respect” are anywhere near the norm. The fact that some of these churches can’t even agree to disagree shows there’s a lot further to go than some of the Pollyannas might think.

      @Brian: @Mark: So worth a co-sign, I’m co-signing twice.

      @Erik: First, let me offer a little praise: you’ve got more balls than most members of the clergy for actually (sort of) participating in this dialogue without intending to merely piss people off. Some folks are going to be pissed off regardless, of course, and rightfully so.

      I’m a pantheist, so I’m not particularly interested in arguing theological differences, at least not in this forum. That’s usually nothing more than a waste of time for little more than intellectual masturbation. I do want to address a few points, however.

      “So, you might say, it’s just window dressing, a publicity stunt, and doesn’t actually change anything. Lutheran pastors and congregations are still allowed to exist that teach and preach against homosexuality. And, justifiably, you might be pissed off that we Lutherans are celebrating something that really doesn’t change all that much.”

      Yes, it is window dressing. Yes, it’s a publicity stunt. No, it doesn’t actually change anything. And yeah, I’m a little pissed that some Lutherans are engaging in a hearty round of backslapping one another for doing absolutely nothing of value or importance. At the same time, I get what this was all about. It was never about us; this whole display was for yourselves, a way to try to convince yourselves that you’re not hateful, horrible people. I understand that. No one wants to be in the position of thinking they just might be the bad guy.

      I don’t know if you’re familiar with the writings of Anton LaVey (I’d assume not, but you never really know, do you?) but, if you can get past some of his anti-christian rhetoric, you should look up his essay on the “Good Guy Badge.” Reading about this story keeps bringing that piece to the front of my mind. In essence, he says that many displays (like this ELCA business) are not intended to have any meaningful effect in the first place, but rather are meant to make the participants feel better about themselves as people. Paying lip service to the concept of “good” saves them from having to actually do anything good, because that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable. Sometimes, good does come from these displays, obviously. That’s an unintended, unforeseeable side effect.

      Just something to keep in mind when you wonder to yourself why the homos aren’t more grateful for the tinsel.

      “But after this decision (and listen now), disagreeing on homosexuality is no longer a primary issue for us in the ELCA, and now that we’ve agreed to talk about it lovingly recognizing we’re not going to convince one another—we can move on to talk with passion about things that actually matter more (like, for example, as Tour de Revs reminded the assembly, the 2500 passages in the Bible that talk about care for the poor). But still, what sort of Justice is that for oppressed people who have fought for so long just to be treated like human beings?”

      This portion of your commentary gave me two conflicting emotions. Well, technically, anyway. I’d say it was a 90/10 split between anger and understanding, with a little dash of pure rage for flavor, because that‘s how I roll. Obviously, the inference that true equality is now basically a non-issue for you people because you’ve hemmed and hawed and agreed to disagree without actually doing anything worthwhile is what spurs my anger. The understanding comes from the fact that I’ve been saying for years that the poor are truly the most oppressed class of people in the world, even in America.

      That last sentence, though…all rage, all the time.

      And as I read on, waiting for a statement that would clarify your point and quell that rage inside of me, I started to believe it wasn’t actually coming.

      “I think what the “magical homo” of my previous story realized when he saw the post about Ryan on Queerty is that when that vote was taken Ryan (and a whole bunch of Lutherans across the country) suddenly became queer.”

      I understand what you were trying to say here, but I find it incredibly offensive to even attempt to put bigots in the same category as LGBT people. Comparing the oppressors to the oppressed is not only completely unwarranted, but it is founded on illusory similarities that are in no way correlative in reality.

      <I?”Do you remember what it was like the first time you were teased in high school for being gay?”

      I do, actually, and it drove me right back into the closet for another five years or so, and nearly to suicide for that matter. Funny how, after the jocks (obviously) it was my religious classmates who were the worst offenders.

      “Do you remember sitting in a pew when the preacher told you (though he maybe didn’t even know he was speaking to you) that you were going to hell for who you are?”

      Absolutely. I remember feeling uncomfortable, feeling as if he were privy to secrets I had shared with no one at that point, and that he wrote that sermon specifically about me. Obviously, I knew that wasn’t the case, but emotions are rarely intellectual, at least if they’re truly emotions.

      “Do you remember feeling like everyone is welcome except you?”

      Yup, especially the part where I was advised not to come back to church unless I was willing to undergo “reparative” therapy. And this wasn’t even a crazy fundie church, believe it or not. It didn’t matter that I had been attending for almost four years, that I was always writing and performing sketches for the teaching and entertainment of the congregation, or that the younger children adored me and their parents encouraged them to look to me as a role model. It didn’t matter that I enthusiastically participated in every retreat and missions trip we planned, or that I could always be relied on to bring a friend to every social event, many of which I was active in planning to begin with. It didn’t even matter that I was being fast-tracked to become a youth pastor myself. All that mattered to what I thought was “my church” was who I looked at and found attractive. Yeah, I know all about unwelcome.

      “Do you remember fighting so hard against your sexuality and the curious freedom that came when you embraced it?”

      I remember praying to be changed. I remember allowing my friends to set me up on dates with girls, even though I knew I wasn’t at all interested. And yes, I remember feeling something that resembled freedom when I finally came out. One imprisonment was replaced with another soon enough, though. I was free to be myself, but I was still living in a world where I was less than human in the eyes of most. The oppression of the self was replaced by the oppression of others. The former is definitely worse, but the latter is its own force, and it’s quite strong even now.

      “And do you remember the day you showed up at family dinner to tell everyone you care about what is true about you, wondering if you will even have a family after that conversation?”

      I do, and that’s why (most of) my family consists of better people than any church I’ve ever attended.

      “Does it really bring you comfort to do that to other people or to relish in their suffering when it happens to them? Really?”

      Yup. They’re reaping what they’ve sown. I didn’t bring hatred and persecution on myself for being the person I am. They did, however, by being evil. Not being a christian, I am under no obligation to even pretend to love my enemies. That is liberating, let me tell you.

      “So Ryan, and many, many Lutheran pastors and church members, got to go back to their congregations in places where homosexuality does not have the cultural acceptance it does in places you and I have lived, and try to explain why the ELCA—their church!—had made a decision they honestly thought was contrary to scripture and God’s will.”

      I really doubt their “explanations” had much to with the truth of the situation. You know as well as I do that their interest lies in justifying their own bigotry, and telling the truth about this situation simply cannot do that for them. They will have to distort reality, or outright lie, in order to feel that they are in the right. That’s how bigots operate.

      “Some, I’m sure (maybe including Ryan and his congregation) will be leaving, disowning the ELCA and its queerness, like has happened in other denominations (and so many families). “

      The ELCA has no “queerness” until it takes an unequivocal stand that homosexuality is not wrong or sinful. Until that day comes, do not presume to co-opt our language to serve your own purposes, please.

      “It’s easier to hate people when you don’t have to look across the table and say “pass the salt” to them.”

      I wouldn’t share a table with someone who hated me anyway. As for doling out my own hatred, if the person deserves it then I have no difficulty with that, whether they’re right in front of me or 3,000 miles away. I refuse to coddle bigots in order to come off as “a nice guy.” If a bigot wants to be in my company, they should be prepared to be relentlessly challenged and ridiculed. That’s just how it is.

      “But the witness of the Gospel of Jesus (when we are getting it right) is that everyone means everyone, all are welcome at the table—and that means anti-gay folks as much as gay folks, as hard as that may be.”

      And that’s one of my biggest sticking points with this “gospel” stuff. If spreading “love” entails welcoming people whose existences are defined solely by their “hate” then that’s not the kind of “love” I think is worth spreading in the first place.

      “And what I saw again and again on that assembly floor was that gay and lesbian people and their allies (including me) were surprised by the feeling of pain and compassion they experienced when the thing they had longed for finally was reality. They realized that they knew, deeply, what those newly queered folks (their brothers and sisters) were now experiencing—and reached out to them not as opponents, but as fellow broken, hurting, queer people. “

      Now you’re reaching. I don’t doubt that you feel this way, but the analogy is getting pretty tortured.

      “And followers of Jesus—gay and straight, rich and poor, male and female, Democrat and Republican, fundamentalist and liberal—when we are doing this right, reach out of our brokenness (and I dare say our queerness?) to bring healing to our brothers and sisters.”

      Except that you’re not trying to bring healing to the bigots in your company. You said yourself that this resolution was little more than an agreement to disagree. That’s not healing anything. It’s propping up a patently wrong and evil belief in order to keep those who subscribe to it from feeling too bad about it. It’s pacification, nothing more, and it doesn’t help these people or the people they continue to harm with their dangerous, hateful beliefs and practices.

      And seriously, you don’t have the right to use the term queer when describing bigots. You don’t have the right to use it to describe yourself either. Stop.

      “How queer these Lutheran Christians are, loving people who aren’t like them, loving as would wish to be loved, even their enemies as themselves. Isn’t this the kind of justice we all long for?”

      Or not, I guess.

      And no, it’s not the kind of justice I long for because it is not justice at all. As long as pro-equality churchgoers coddle bigoted churchgoers, justice will be unattainable in that arena.

      In spite of my objections, I thank you for taking the time to write this piece. I’m sure you knew you were going to be challenged (and, yes, attacked by some) and you did it anyway. I believe your message ended up being little more than a fluff piece with only minimally useful substance, but kudos to you for having the testicular fortitude to offer it anyway. Your approach is a step in the right direction; it’s a step on a long and convoluted detour, but at least it’s trying to get to where it should be going. Oddly enough, I’m hoping we haven’t heard the last from you around these parts.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mark snyder
      mark snyder

      I maintain that the votes will have an impact on gay Lutherans. The church is not forcing congregations to accept them, but the church as a whole affirmed that LGBT people exist and deserve dignity and respect by saying officially that churches can bless gay unions and can ordain gay pastors.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clark
      Clark

      Awesome article. Well said and thank you!

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Ben: “Take the content of his article as you will, but please don’t assume that it somehow proves that he “doesn’t give a damn about gay people.” That’s not what the words he wrote say or imply, and the negative projection that a few of you have shared certainly isn’t reflected in the life of outspoken advocacy that he has lived.”

      I know nothing about his “life of outspoken advocacy”, but the words he wrote actually say that anti-gay bigotry doesn’t really matter. It makes me wonder what kind of outspoken advocacy he participates in. “Some of my best friends are queers”?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      @strumpetwindsock: 500 years of “Lutherans” and you think the GREAT BIG STEP “agreeing to disagree” is PROGRESS?

      Lutherans are still Christians. That’s the problem.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Johnny Gall: You said: “I will recognize that a large part of the church, in my experience, have absolutely no problem with homosexuality, and probably an even larger part of the church really wants to be fine with it, but can’t find the way how.”

      It’s easy. Have them sign this Declaration:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Those willing to sign the above statement will allow good people to put Equality before Religion. Every “gay Christian” must want THAT.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Mark:

      I take it you are talking to someone else. I didn’t say that.

      But the fact is the different Lutheran sects have no authority over each other, any more than the pope and the archbishop of canterbury do… or you and Jerry Falwell.

      Saying that they agree to disagree is just a statement of fact and an acknowledgement that there is an unresolved schism.

      The progress is that they have opened the door to gay membership and gay clergy. It’s not the end of the road, but it is most definitely progress…. gained by hard work and good will that should not be scorned.

      Some may not recognize it, but those who supported these reforms are our friends.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Dennis: Why do you think LGBT people need to be “tolerated?” What’s wrong with us?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Johnny Gall: “It’s not an easy thing to make faith your first priority when so many people use it to back up their own bigotry, and when certain parts of scripture seem to approve of it.”

      Well, you always have an option of not making “faith” your priority. The world would be a better place if religious fanatics abandoned their “faith”.

      “They are taught that God comes before anything else, and I support them in this belief…”

      Needless to say, this belief is the main reason why Christian bigotry is so pervasive. Who gives a damn about gay people when God comes before anything else?

      “I stand by the ELCA. I stand by Erik. And I stand by the millions of Christians that are still finding their way on this issue, because I know it wasn’t easy for me to figure out, and I don’t expect it to be easy for them.”

      Unfortunately, it means that you don’t stand by gay people:

      “And I refuse to demand an apology or tell anyone that the progress they’re making is not good enough. And I’m not going to spend my time bitching at them, because that justifies their hatred, and then everybody hates everybody.”

      Keep doing nothing and saying nothing, like a good little traitor that you are.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eddie
      Eddie

      I’m an ELCA Lutheran pastor in a congregation that’s split on this issue. This last week has been a rough one for us. I have to say that I really appreciate what Erik has to say here, as I’ve been preaching many of the same things.

      The thing is that people don’t open up when they’re yelled at. People dig in their heels and refuse to learn when they’re not respected. Even if they halfway agree with you secretly, they’ll argue with you out of fear and just to spite you. And so, on a practical level, the only hope that people have of accepting GLBT folks is for them to find a safe place where they can work through all the pain, fear, and confusion that usually drives homophobic behaviors.

      I completely agree that most of Christianity has been hateful toward GLBT folks. And it destroys me that for many people in our world, church is the last place they would go to find God. But, at our church, we’ve already seen some good conversation happening, where people have opened up about negative experiences with gay/lesbian folks in the past that have colored their entire view of GLBT people. And in the process of opening up those fears, they’ve been able to deal with them and move past them. It’s much the same as the process of dealing with racism. It requires safe places where people can talk through these things honestly and openly.

      Ironically, it’s often by accepting people as they are, with all their bigotry and hatred, that people are able to open up, share their pain and fear, and be transformed. That’s a big part of why Jesus was so amazing to so many people — because of his radical non-judgment. And that’s why so many people have found transformation within Christianity. I’m so sorry for the ways that Christians have screwed this up for so many years in so many ways.

      But I see a glimmer of hope in the Bible’s messages of non-judgment, and I do believe that God is working within the church to transform us and open us up. The ELCA’s assembly’s actions a week ago are a first step toward that openness and that acceptance of difference. It’s a painfully slow process, though. For whatever reason, God has given us the choice of whether to be open to that constant call of love and acceptance. I wish I had the magic argument or phrase or experience that would help people suddenly “get it”, but the closest thing I’ve found is genuine acceptance and love of people, even if we disagree. It’s hard, but amazingly powerful when I’ve been able to do it.

      I hear what is being said here, and as a leader within the Christian community, I want to let you all know that I am actively working to make my congregation and the larger church a place where people of all sexual orientations are truly welcome and loved.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      This is more NOTHING from Christians. While a few have decided to be friendly towards gays and lesbians (how nice) most still HATE, because that is God’s wish.

      What Baptists shout, Lutherans whisper and Catholics mumble.

      Erik: Will YOU sing the Declaration? Will you declare that

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant?

      That would be Progress. LGBT people need some real progress.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Eddie:
      “Ironically, it’s often by accepting people as they are, with all their bigotry and hatred, that people are able to open up, share their pain and fear, and be transformed.”

      They got their “bigotry and hatred” from your place – religion. How about changing that. If you feel so compassionate about LGBT people end the biblical “lie” about homosexuals.

      “I hear what is being said here, and as a leader within the Christian community, I want to let you all know that I am actively working to make my congregation and the larger church a place where people of all sexual orientations are truly welcome and loved.”

      “truly welcome and loved?” That’s not enough Pastor. We are hated and discriminated against because Religion made us WRONG. How about changing that? We’re not wrong.

      Will YOU sign the Declaration? Will you, as a good Christian, declare:

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant?

      Signing that statement will give your comments some REAL MEANING. That’s how you can “truly love” us, you can un-wrong us.

      We need a Christian with heartfelt conviction to sign the Declaration and begin a very real and very sincere effort to reform religion. Everything else is just holy mumbo-jumbo with no real progress.

      Maybe you AND Pastor Erik would sign the Declaration?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blaine
      Blaine

      First off, thank you for taking the time to write this article Erik. I don’t agree with much you wrote, but I’ll at least give you kudos for trying.

      Now, let me start by saying that yes, I find that this whole ceremony was nothing more than “window dressing” as you called it. It was nothing more than a PR move meant to make you and your comrades feel better for allowing such venom and hate to be spewed for all this time without even so much as an inkling of resistance from the vast majority of you who should be constantly reminding your fellow members that the person they are supposedly striving to be like, Jesus, spoke of love and compassion and was inclusive. Essentially, your organization has just round aboutly announced its utter failure at spreading the “loving” word of Jesus to those who have hate in their hearts… And now, rather than strive to change that hate and morph it into love by leading by example, your congregation aids them by allowing them to continue to plant the seeds of hate and misery for future generations. So to correct you, I would say this ceremony was more than window dressing, it was a complete disgrace.

      Secondly, your comparison of Ryan Mills to those of us in the queer community is quite frankly repulsive. Does Ryan Mills know what its like to be looked down upon by the vast majority of society? Does Ryan Mills know what its like to fear the loss of friends and family simply for explaining to them who he is? Has Ryan Mills ever been spit on, beat up and verbally abused for simply expressing his affection for another human being he loves in public? Has he ever been refused work for exclaiming who he is? People within the gay community, myself included, have faced some of these challenges head on. And many of these challenges were present specifically because of people like Ryan Mills. If you wish to elicit sympathy for a bigot like him who has done much to harm innocent human beings, you wont find much coming from me.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @strumpetwindsock: Why not evaluate people based on what they actually believe?

      Uh, that would require him to actually say what he believes. And, as has been covered so many times in this discussion – no churches or clergy have been willing to say.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Regarding Stumpetwindsock’s comment that “Using Luther’s words against modern believers is about as relevant as using the bible literally against them,” it might be worth pointing out what Luther’s contributions actually were:

      1. He eliminated the “middle man” from the Catholic belief that you had a priest as an intermediary between you and your deity, together with that middle man’s cut of the action (e.g., the practice of selling “indulgences” to reduce the time one’s “sinful” relatives had to spend in “purgatory”, which was a significant source of revenue for the Catholic Church).

      2. He introduced Christianity to the idea that religious leaders were not infallible, at no small risk to his personal safety.

      3. He translated the Bible into German, further cutting out the middle men.

      Having started a new Christian sect on the premise that religious authorities may in fact be spouting nonsense from time to time, it is hardly incumbent on Lutherans of any variety to take everything Luther said seriously – his own precedent applies to him as well.

      Also, it is widely accepted (including among Lutherans) that Luther had some crazy notions, particularly when he was elderly. http://books.google.com/books?id=Rl9IvfxcrpAC&lpg=PA235&ots=2XqozQDTx0&dq=Martin%20luther%20prejudices%20-King&pg=PA235#v=onepage&q=Martin%20luther%20prejudices%20-King&f=false has a description of some of these. There is no reason to take his anti-gay prejudices any more seriously than his other ones such as his rabid antisemitism.

      PS – someone else is using “B” as a name as well – this post is from a different person than the one posting previously on this thread.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eddie

      I’ve got to take you to task for some of your post. First, I’m an ex-Lutheran, baptized at birth Christian, and gay from conception.

      You said: “The thing is that people don’t open up when they’re yelled at. People dig in their heels and refuse to learn when they’re not respected.”

      The thing is, mainstream Christianity has been yelling at gays and lesbians for centuries. Mainstream Christianity, including the Lutheran Church, has been promoting verbal, physical and spiritual violence against GLBTQ people. You are criticizing the wrong people, and you appear to expect GLBTQ people to coddle and baby-talk to those who oppress us.

      The truth is that strong, assertive language – yelling even – is an extremely effective form of communication, used by most vocal species of life. The fact is that when GLBTQ people take the soft-talk approach, NO ONE LISTENS.

      I have coming up on three decades of experience testifying to other Christians about the destructiveness of anti-gay theology. Sugar-coating the issue does not work. Namby-pamby ‘agree to disagree’ nonsense is just that, nonsense. It only tells bigots that the harm they inflict is inconsequential.

      The fact is that humans, like most animal life on this planet, are biologically programmed to correlate the degree of harm we cause another with the assertiveness of their complaint about it. When we articulate our pain mildly, people interpret that to mean that the oppression we endure and its consequences are mild.

      There is no font type larger enough, loud enough, yelling enough, to tell you how it feels as a gay Christian teen to sit in church and be told that God hates you. Even engraved across the universe in letters made of galaxies would not adequately express the pain ‘homosexuality is sin’ inflicts on GLBTQ people.

      And this, you wrote: “where people have opened up about negative experiences with gay/lesbian folks in the past that have colored their entire view of GLBT people” I would hope you would realize that this is a typical argument in support of prejudice, any prejudice. Racists always have a ‘negative experience with black folks, or white folks, or asian folks to justify their destructive generalizations. Anti-semites always have a negative experience with Jews to explain their destructive generalizations.

      But for any rare time that a het Christian may have had a genuine ‘negative experience with gay/lesbians folks in the past’ – GLBTQ people experience negative experiences with mainstream/conservative Christians daily. There’s a minister on the blogs today, famous for declaring that every single homosexual is a sexual predator, and should be executed. And yesterday, there was at least one different parallel example, and the day before that, and the day before that.

      The truth is, Eddie, that we GLBTQ people generally encounter multiple ‘negative experiences’ of mainstream Christians a day. There’ll be some derogatory, anti-gay statement by a “christian” in the news on any given day, and any web forum, chat room, discussion board will have at least a few new anti-gay posts by “christians” on any given day, and there’ll be something on the radio, and on tv, and at work or on the bus.

      Think about the “Yes on 8″ signs, for example. Every time a GLBTQ person saw that on someone’s lawn, shop window, bumper – we were told ‘you are inferior’ and we knew, it was an expression of conservative/mainstream religious thought. Even in a small town like the one I live in, I had the ‘negative experience of Christianity’ those signs represented any time, every time I left the house, for most of a year.

      A major portion of our lives are spent having negative experiences with conservative/mainstream Christians – and for Christian GLBTQ people, that includes with our families, friends, clergy, the church we were baptized and confirmed in.

      So whatever complaints hets Lutherans may think they have, those complaints are as trivial as a single molecule of water in the Atlantic ocean when compared to what has been deliberately, purposefully, and knowingly inflicted on generation after generation of GLBTQ people.

      You and your peers need to stop lecturing GLBTQ people on what we should do to make our oppressors, your congregants, behave. Frankly, I’m tired of being told what to do, when I’m not the one participating in a thousand years of prejudice, persecution, harassment, murder and torture.

      You and your peers shoulg be lecturing your congregants on what they should do: the requirement to live what Christ commanded: love God with your entire self and love others as your self.

      That is the magic argument, Eddie, Erik, by the way. Every element of anti-gay theology and prejudice, every interpretive assumption, every negative assertion about GLBTQ people, every act of discrimination, intrinsically violates Christ’s Law of Love. The answer is really that simple – treat GLBTQ people as you would want to be treated, do not do to gays what you do not want done to you. If you want to get married, let gays get married. If you don’t want to be called a pervert, don’t call gays perverts. It really is that simple. People only make it difficult because they want to have someone they can righteously harm, someone they can exclude from ‘your neighbor’ so they can freely sin.

      When het, mainstream Christians study and evaluate the gotcha verses – Romans 1, etc, as if it applied to them, consistently they conclude that there is simply too much ambiguity, too much translational doubt, too many contradictions and conflicts, to support the traditional “homosexuality is sin” interpretation. The challenge it getting them to do so.

      What you and Erik should be doing is working to convince your congregants to walk in our shoes, rather than imploring us to walk in the shoes of your congregants.

      Bear in mind, the majority of GLBTQ people in the U.S. were more or less raised in Christian families and churches – we’ve already walked your walk, that’s part of how we know how destructive and terrible it is for everyone.

      P.S. It is interesting that your calls for acceptance, and those articulated by Erik, are some of the few times I’ve seen a het Christian apply ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ to his or her self.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      Eddie wrote: “That’s a big part of why Jesus was so amazing to so many people — because of his radical non-judgment … I see a glimmer of hope in the Bible’s messages of non-judgment …”

      Please, please, please. A little intellectual honesty and integrity. Please.

      “The Bible’s messages of non-judgment”

      That would be *your interpretation* of its “messages,” would it not? Were it not so, the Bible’s “messages of non-judgment” would be crystal-clear to anyone with even a kindergarten-level of biblical literacy.

      And the “radical non-judgment” of Jesus? Oy vey. Jesus was incredibly judgmental. Incredibly so, and selectively so. He reserved his worst judgment for the hypocrites and his greatest mercy for the broken, but to argue that he was “non-judgmental” is, well, ludicrous beyond belief.

      To take this argument to its logical conclusion: if we were to truly embrace this “radical non-judgment” claimed on behalf of Jesus, we would have no argument against ANYTHING: racism, sexism, heterosexism, slavery, etc.

      As May Sarton wrote in her book Faithful Are the Wounds:

      “The trouble with liberals is that they see *all* sides. It paralyzes them.”

      Jesus was judgmental. He judged the Temple, he judged the rich, he judged the Pharisees and the Sadducees, he judged the Levitical laws, he judged the lawyers, he judged the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida, he judged demons, he judged the world, he judged his disciples, he judged the money changers, he judged the stiff-necked of Israel, he judged, judged, judged. And he had less patience for hypocrites than for anyone else.

      Eddie, since you’re a pastor, why not be bold? Prophetic? Don’t be a Milquetoast, be a Milk.

      “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

      Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Erik,

      To put a little perspective on some of what you wrote:

      “First of all, I want to make clear what these changes mean . . .”

      Consider how this would appear for any other group of people

      For example, in terms of race: “the range of Lutheran interpretation and application on being black currently are 1. bad, 2. not good, 3. maybe OK, and possibly, 4. good”

      Or: “the range of Lutheran interpretation and application on being White currently are 1. bad, 2. not good, 3. maybe OK, and possibly, 4. good”

      Or one could substitute any other criteria relevant to your personal life. The point is, how warm would you be if the ELCA decided that a disparaging and condemning interpretation about an intrinsic trait you have was equally valid to a positive or neutral one.

      You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to; I know from first hand experience in the Lutheran Church how Lutherans dealt with interpretations that negatively judged their own lives – they “exegesis”ed their way into allowing remarriage after divorce.

      The mistake in your explanation, and in the ELCA’s decision, is in making homosexuality the object of debate, the thing that needs defending, when homosexuality inflicts no harm, does not violate Christ’s commands, and bears no intrinsic evil fruit.

      Really, by assuming the homosexuality was something that needed to be defended, justified, reconciled, accepted, – i.e., by evaluating homosexuality instead of prejudice, the ELCA intrinsically made a negative value judgement about an intrinsic, innate, uplifting, beautiful, loving element of many people’s lives, something that harms no one –

      Instead of evaluating the real sin of prejudice.

      The ELCA’s decision essentially asserts that the range of interpretation on prejudice is 1)good, 2)not bad, 3)maybe bad, and possibly, 4)bad.

      So, really, nothing has changed at all.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eddie
      Eddie

      @Brian and David — Actually, I regularly quote to people the fact that most gay/lesbian folks think that Christians hate them — and that Christians need to walk the talk of loving others. I regularly tell people in my congregation about the extreme damage that Christians have done to people in the GLBT community. I regularly tell people that one third of teen suicides are GLBT kids, when they only make up one tenth of the population. And I regularly tell people that a lot of times, this stems from what they were taught in church and by the culture at large.

      If I stand up in front of my congregation and tell them that they’re all wrong, they’ll just leave and go down the street to a fundamentalist church that will tell them exactly what they want to hear. And they will just join the ranks of those spewing hate. The only chance I have of helping them grow through this is by respecting them and helping them work through their stuff. If you have a better way of magically breaking through the closed-mindedness that people cling to so hard, please let me know. Maybe in your experience, yelling at people has worked. In my experience, people just walk away and continue believing what they did before.

      @David — I regularly call people’s attention to the parts of the Bible that put love above all other things. It makes me angry and sad when people quote the Bible to condemn others, because it completely misses the point of the Bible — love. Even as magic as that argument is, people bring up the idea that, just like someone who is caught in an addiction, sometimes people need to have their problems pointed out in love. I can tell them all day until I’m blue in the face that homosexuality isn’t a sin, but they rarely listen. From what I can tell, the walls that people build up are very thick, and the only thing I can do is love them where they’re at and try to help them make the connection between the acceptance they receive and the acceptance they should extend to others. It baffles me, though, how resistant people are to this.

      What I do know is that I’ve found I have to build a respectful relationship with people before they’ll accept any sort of challenge and take it to heart. People tune out lecturing in about 5 seconds. A relationship, though, usually goes a lot farther. I fight with this a lot, because justice delayed is justice denied. And at the same time, I would rather have justice and transformation a year from now in a person’s life than never. It’s maddening how long it takes, and it’s very frustrating. I don’t know about your experience, but I have seen the transformations happen, and once they do, those people are usually the biggest advocates for GLBT folks.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      I think what’s being conveniently forgotten in all this to do is that religion, if it truly wants to be considered a moral beacon in this world, owes us.

      As the only thing that makes homosexuality wrong, and then as the only thing that indoctrinates children with the belief that homosexuality is wrong, religion is entirely responsible for all the anti-gay discrimination we experience. The Abrahamic religions are particularly culpable. Since the Book of Leviticus circa 500 BCE, these three cults have spread their power and secured their death-grip control over what is accepted as right and wrong. Think about how many gay men and women have lived miserable, closeted lives because of that belief system. In the 2500 years that they have been spreading their anti-gay poison, how many gay men and women have died? How about in the 500 years that Lutheranism has preached about gays and lesbians? Are we supposed to just forget those victims because now, in the last couple of decades, a few rogue denominations have decided to agree to disagree?

      I think we deserve more than a welcome.

      These paltry tokens of acceptability are embarrassing. After everything you’ve done to us, you have a whole hell of a lot more ‘splainin to do.

      When religion was monolithic and strong, churches never hesitated to tell us what was wrong and right. And that power was used exclusively to our detriment. Now, when what we actually need is a decisive statement, all we get is a cowardly “maybe/maybe not, you know? Who are we to say?”

      Not even nearly enough.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @B:

      Good points, thanks.

      It wasn’t my intention to cut the man down after all, he was a fairly radical reformer himself.

      But never mind what he had to say about gays. Look at his opinions on witches and dissenters. If he were to reappear on the earth today he would be considered a monster.

      My point – we do live in a very different world, and it is neither fair nor accurate to tar anyone nowadays with what was considered just and acceptable back then.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Eddie: Still, even here in the safety and camaraderie of homos, within the anonymity of the internet, and completely off the record – you are not willing to make a decisive statement that homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant.

      You claim to recognize how important this is. You claim to understand the weight of the young lives lost to bigotry.

      You have the opportunity to take on the mantle of moral authority and leadership. What’s stopping you?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Eddie: You told the truth Pastor Eddie: “If I stand up in front of my congregation and tell them that they’re all wrong, they’ll just leave and go down the street to a fundamentalist church that will tell them exactly what they want to hear.”

      You won’t do the courageous thing because YOU WILL LOSE BUSINESS. Then, you want to protect us LGBT folks from the Hate-spewing Fundamentalists? No kidding? You have a congregation that may be 50% “haters,” and you’re okay with that?

      I asked you to sign a simple Declaration – 7 words that will end the hate, shame and pain of being religiously branded as a homosexual. Tell ALL OF US why you will not declare:

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful and Deviant.

      Otherwise you believe we are. You and probably the majority of your Congregation. If that’s the case – YOU should be ashamed.

      Sooner or later a Christian is going to have the moral conscience and balls to un-do the wrong done to LGBT people.

      Pastor Eddie and Pastor Erik have that opportunity NOW.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      I look at organized religion from a purely political point of view. Maybe some Lutherans look favorably on gay couples but others obviously do not. The people that look at us unfavorably are in fact the same people that donate money to organization like NOM and Focus on the Family. These hate organizations clearly want to destroy us. In my humble opinion, until we have equal rights, it is very dangerous to support any of the churches.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rick
      rick

      gays are treated like witches.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @rick:

      Not by a long shot. You might want to read some history.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Both Pastor Erik and Pastor Eddie have suggested there are “good” Christians and “bad” Christians, but they won’t help us figure out which are which.

      They suggest the fundamentalists are the “bad” Christians, while acknowledging within their own congregations there is hatred and “disagreement” about homosexuals. In fact, they have identified and spent a whole Weekend talking (arguing) about it. But, they won’t do anything about it.

      The difficulty with getting action from a Pastor is the fact that they are more concerned about their paycheck than their people. So much for “being called to do God’s work.”

      God would sign the Declaration.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “If I stand up in front of my congregation and tell them that they’re all wrong, they’ll just leave and go down the street to a fundamentalist church that will tell them exactly what they want to hear.”

      You know, Paul had something relevant to say about telling people what will tickle their ears. But more to the point, Lutheran and other Christian clergy have had no problem standing in front of their congregations and telling the 10% or so that were gay, that homosexuality was sin, that God abandons homosexuals, and so forth. Yet you sound reluctant to tell an even larger group of people that they are engaged in the sins of prejudice and injustice.

      “Maybe in your experience, yelling at people has worked. In my experience, people just walk away and continue believing what they did before.”

      Frankly, looking at where the ELCA is now, your way hasn’t accomplished much of anything, and clearly in the ELCA, people continue believing what they did before.

      In my experience, the soft-sell, agree to disagree, don’t ruffle feathers approach consistently fails. In California, the GLBTQ politico’s tried that in their attempt to stop Prop 8. They refused to talk about the harm that the ban on same-sex marriage causes, they refused to assertively denounce prejudice, they refused to articulate just how truly evil Prop 8 is.

      Prop 8 passed.

      “The only chance I have of helping them grow through this is by respecting them and helping them work through their stuff.”

      You are confusing respect with collaborate, in my opinion. You are not respecting your parishioners when you assume that they will leave you if criticize them. Het Christians have no significant ‘stuff’ about homosexuality. They don’t. They have a dismissive, superficial, though too often vitriolic condemnation about something ‘Good Christians don’t talk about’.

      Keep in mind, I grew up in the Lutheran church, my father is a retired minister. I’ve walked the walk you are trying to guide your parishioners on. I had to, to survive both as a gay man, and as a Christian. You might consider giving my experience some weight. I realize that Lutheran ministers, at least of the prior generation, were trained to summarily dismiss the input of non-clergy, but, that has rarely been successful long-term.

      The truth is, the only chance you have of helping your het parishioners ‘grow through this’ – - – you know, that phrase itself it dismissive. Can’t you bring yourself to say ‘reject prejudice’. The issue here is not the personal growth of heterosexual Christians.

      The issue is overt prejudice, a bias that inflicts considerable physical, emotional, social and spiritual harm on millions of human beings.

      The issue isn’t to tell them homosexuality isn’t sin, but to demonstrate to the, exort to them, preach to them,

      that prejudice is.

      Your post is somewhat dismissive of my experience, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve seen many, many people change from vitriolic homophobe to apologetic to advocate of equal rights for GLBTQ people. And it never happens without the realization that mainstream Christian hets are inflicting on GLBTQ people a level of pervasive abuse they would never tolerate themselves.

      It appears that you seek a way for your congregants to ‘grow’ out of the sin of prejudice without having to feel the need for repentance, without having to understand that what they are doing, believing, saying, is sin.

      I have to say, your remarks about ‘People tune out lecturing in about 5 seconds.’ are disengenous at best, given the centuries that Lutheran clergy have been lecturing their congregations about not only homosexuality, but all kinds of other things, and the millenia that Christians have been lecturing homosexuals about our lives. Frankly, your posts come across as more lecturing from het clergy about what homosexuals must do.

      So I repeat, we are not the ones with the sin issue here. The sin you and your peers should be addressing is the sin of prejudice.

      Lastly, because it touches on communication, and returning to my earlier point, this: “I have to build a respectful relationship with people”

      It made me laugh, and not in a good way. You appear to argue that you cannot criticize the prejudice, because that would be disrespectful of your parishioners. Yet anti-gay Christians, of all denominations including the ELCA, have insisted that their condemnation of homosexuality is an expression of their esteem, their love, their respect. They respect us sooooo much, they have to strip us of our civil rights, our dignity, our personhood, even our lives.

      Some double standard there, Eddie.

      How to explain this? The relationship you seem to be articulating is not a respectful one, not for either party. And it shows no respect at all for GLBTQ people. It is more of a codependent relationship, where you allow your congregants to continue in prejudice by making excuses and justifications for them. From appears in your posts is not a case of tearing down walls, or breaking through them, but of propping up those walls until some other agency erodes them out from under you both.

      The thick wall you mentioned is a good analogy, it much like a damn. Damns rarely erode away in anyone’s lifetime, if they fail, it is because of a catastrophic breach; the wall is pierced, or its foundation collapses, its material fails. And no one ever brought down a brick wall by brushing it with a feather pillow.

      You want to bring down a wall – there are two ways. Undermine its foundation, or pound on it.

      When it comes to a wall of belief, you can undermine the traditional interpretation, bit by bit, word by word, piece by piece. Or more actually, you as pastor have to provide your congregants with the tools to undermine the wall themselves, to find and see and grasp each error in translation, each irrational assumption, each mistake, verse by verse.

      (Or you can let atheists undermine their faith itself. That might be more extreme, but it happens a lot.)

      Or, you can pound on the wall. Pound on it in anger, in joy, in sorrow, in abject repentance (an appropriate position for most Lutheran clergy, actually), in whatever sincere emotion and perspective is appropriate and honest, but, tickling it with a feather like the recent ELCA decision is just disrespectful to everyone involved.

      Conservative Christians have been claiming for years that their condemnation of our very lives, is because they respect us too much to let us live in sin. Homosexuality is not sin, you said you believe that, and so their condemnation was misplaced.

      But prejudice and injustice and oppression are innately sin. Respect your congregants enough to criticize those sins.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew W
      Andrew W

      Amazing conversation. Thank-you Queerty.

      I am trying to really understand the position of both Pastors. They want us to embrace Ryan the Bigot uhhhmmm because HE BELIEVES HOMOSEXUALS ARE WRONG. Where do you think he got those ideas?

      The “bigoted, hate-spewing, homosexual hating, prize-winning Christian Ryan, got those beliefs from …. (wait for it) …. Lutherans. Jesus Christ, give me a break. “Poor Ryan, he believes what we taught him.” Forgive him, forgive us, forgive Christians.

      The most incredible revelation about this exchange is the FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that the Lutheran Church is full of bigoted homosexual haters and two “gay-friendly” Lutheran Pastors DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Isn’t Chrisitianity beautiful?

      “Agree to Disagree” otherwise know as DADT, is alive and well at the Lutheran brand of Christianity.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B.
      B.

      strumpetwindsock wrote, “My point – we do live in a very different world, and it is neither fair nor accurate to tar anyone nowadays with what was considered just and acceptable back then.”

      To add a different example, Thomas Jefferson was at one point the head of a committee of the Virginia Assembly that proposed a bill that included the clause, “Whosoever shall be guilty of Rape, Polygamy, or Sodomy with man or woman shall be punished, if a man, by castration, if a woman, by cutting thro’ the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half diameter at the least.” http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/Bill_64 has the details.

      For the most part, it was an attempt to liberalize the laws of the time but that did not keep the above clause out of the bill, and the outline of it was apparently drafted by Jefferson as indicated by his handwriting, suggesting that it by and large reflected his point of view.

      One would surmise that Jefferson simply accepted the existing beliefs about homosexuality and didn’t give it much thought, which goes to show that even someone who was very enlightened for his time does not always get everything right.

      So basically, we shouldn’t ridicule the people who thought the earth was the center of the universe a thousand years ago, but rather the people who still think that today.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian made a great point:

      “Sooner or later a Christian is going to have the moral conscience and balls to un-do the wrong done to LGBT people.”

      Eddie, Eric, the real sin issue here is not homosexuality. GLBTQ people have not been sinning by making for some thousand years and now suddenly we’re not. Homosexuality has never been sin.

      The prejudice always has been sin, missing the mark, disobedience. And that should be the focus, for the ELCA, for clergy.

      Eddie, you said “I can tell them all day until I’m blue in the face that homosexuality isn’t a sin, but they rarely listen. ”

      They rarely listen because it is the wrong message. What you, and your peers and your congregations should be saying is:

      “We have sinned against gays and lesbians, in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this we deserve God’s punishment both now and in eternity.

      I am truly sorry for my sins, for any time I have preached condemnation of homosexuals, for any derogatory or abusive thing I’ve said or done to gays, for using words like pervert and predator, sick and evil to define millions of human beings.

      I recognize that our prejudice can never be excused or justified, on any grounds, not tradition, not interpretation of Scripture, not ignorance or culture.

      Forgive me.”

      Laugh, get angry, whatever, but I’m serious. Until mainstream clergy acknowledge their own guilt and sin in fomenting prejudice, their congregations aren’t going to either.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Angry Gay Dude
      Angry Gay Dude

      Jesus loves you! And he’ll love you even more if you tithe 100% of your next paycheck in the collection plate! LOL!

      Gay Christians are delusional and out of touch with reality. (Straight Christians are too, but that’s another story entirely). Here’s what I have to say on the subject:

      http://www.angrygaydude.com/2009/08/gay-christians-wtf/

      Aug 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #1 using similar name]

      The story of Three Lutheran Pastors.

      Pastor Ryan Mills is a very vocal bigoted, homophobe spewing hate speech and arguing against LGBT people serving as Pastors. It would be easy to see him as one of those “God-sent-Katrina Fundamentalists.”

      Pastor Erik writes a lengthy article claiming the “triumph” of “agreeing to disagree” about homosexuals. He admonishes us to be tolerant of Pastor Ryan’s Beliefs. He claims to be a friend of LGBT people.

      Pastor Eddie comments that many people still hate homosexuals – even in THEIR church, but they can’t OR won’t do anything about it. 500 years hasn’t been enough time, one supposes.

      Three Pastors – from Proud homophobe to Lutheran apologist.

      So, if I have this whole thing clear, it is okay to belong to the Lutheran Faith if you hate homosexuals and it’s okay to be a Lutheran Pastor if you hate homosexuals. By welcoming and condoning hatred ALL Lutherans are the same – they still make homosexuals wrong.

      None of this StrumpetWindsock “some Christians are good and making progress” is fully exposed as pure bull-shit. Not a single Lutheran has taken a stand against Pastor Ryan (the Bigot) or any of the membership. Meaningless votes. Gay-clergy window-dressing. Rainbow flags. Inclusiveness. Gay-friendly. It’s all bull-shit because not a single Lutheran has tried to stop any of it.

      Lutherans might be well served to take a vote amongst the membership. Those that want to keep perpetuating the religious lie about homosexuals can be the “bad” Lutherans and those that want to reject the religious lie about homosexuals can be the “good” Lutherans. The good ones can even have permission to use the rainbow flag.

      This is the only fair way to handle this mess. Stand up and be “counted.”

      If your Pastors don’t have the balls to do this, maybe some of the faithful will. Be courageous. God will reward you.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 6:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #2 using similar name]

      People who need mythology to guide them need meds. It’s really as simple as that.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Disgusted American
      Disgusted American

      Im sorry,but as an X-Catholic,and a dare I say it – middle aged man…all you have to do is watch…HUBBLE DEEP FEILD on YouTube, to realize there’s NO-one,Thing,It..Judging Us as Human Beings on this little spec of a planet,in a tiny corner of a spiral galaxy, One of the Many Billions in the Universe…each consisting of 100′s of Billions of Stars/Suns/Planets…..we really aren’t that special….I seriously doubt there is some Mysterious SKy God somewhere,He,She,It..Judging us on what We do with OUR Penis’and Vaginas……Its thought processes like that,that continue to Hold mankind back from truly achieving a Better world for everyone!

      Aug 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Timothy
      Timothy

      Erik,

      Beautiful essay.

      I’m sorry that some – on both sides – will never understand what you are saying because they are all busy fighting a culture war against their enemies. They’re all insisting that the other guy, and his beliefs, ideas, and often basic rights must be annihilated.

      They will never get that Jesus’ wild revolutionary irrational concept was that there’s no such thing as your ‘enemy’. That guy who is trying to harm you, you love him – he’s human, flawed, fragile, broken, and completely convinced that he’s right and you’re wrong – just like the rest of us.

      Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 7:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eddie
      Eddie

      I appreciate the feedback, even from JonJon, who called me a “fucking bigot.” And David, I appreciate the perspective that you bring. Really, I’m still trying to figure out all this stuff. Pastors are human beings, and we screw up just like everyone else. David, I hear what you’re saying about tolerating intolerance, and I think you’re right that I need to kick it up a notch in speaking out against bigotry in all its forms. I already do, but it’s something I could be more prophetic about. As for listening to lay people, I wouldn’t be engaging in this discussion if I didn’t want to learn from others. Personally, I’m a big believer in Luther’s idea of the “priesthood of all believers.” And I am painfully aware that being ordained doesn’t magically make a person smarter, wiser, more spiritual, or more worth listening to than anyone else. I would love it if I had the direct line to God and could speak with that authority, but I don’t.

      I do hope that by being the leader of a congregation, I can influence people to love one another and fight injustice. I also pray that they have the wisdom to not listen to me or to challenge me if I make a mistake. I encourage them to make sure it’s a discussion, not just a lecture. People in my church often feel very free to challenge me, and I value that.

      I really wish I could undo and make right all the hatred that’s been spoken from the pulpit in God’s name. I don’t support anyone preaching that homosexuality is a sin, and I do not preach that. What I will say is that I’ve seen a good number of same-sex relationships where there is more love, respect, and kindness shared between two people than there is in most straight relationships. And in those cases, I do not believe that homosexual relationships are sinful, depraved, or in any way wrong. When two people are sharing their lives in mutual, respectful love, I think it’s a good thing, whether those folks are in same- or opposite-sex relationships.

      Most of the historical evidence I’m aware of says that when Paul was condemning homosexuality in his letters, he was condemning pedophilia, which was a common practice in Roman culture — it was usually older men with young boys. And as for Romans 1, Paul’s assumption was that same-sex couples weren’t natural. But if someone is born gay or lesbian, from what I can tell, it would be unnatural to be in a heterosexual relationship. I believe very much that God doesn’t make mistakes in making us, and I’ve known enough GLBT folks to know that God has made them how they are.

      From what I can tell, relationships are “sinful” when they involve people harming each other physically or emotionally. And I have known enough gay and straight folks to know that these abusive relationships are very much equal-opportunity. But it’s not being gay or straight that makes a relationship good or “sinful.”

      And as much as I can speak for my church, I apologize for the ways that we have mistreated, abused, or harmed GLBT folks — or have encouraged that mistreatment. There’s no justification for it. I believe we’re called to walk with one another in love and respect, and there is no place for any words or actions that harm GLBT or any other folks.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @Timothy: Another “gay-Christian.” What Erik demonstrated with his “beautiful essay” was that Lutherans have NO STANDARDS for their Membership or Leadership. He acknowledged that they have bigotry and homophobia in their congregations and in the pulpit.

      By your tender logic Lutherans should embrace bigots and homophobes. Oh, wait – they have. Hate is alive and well in the Lutheran Christian Club. And we thought we could tell the Lutherans from the Baptists.

      Pastor Erik refuses to do anything about the bigots or haters. That makes him a coward. What does your God think of cowards?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 7:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Mark wrote, “Pastor Erik refuses to do anything about the bigots or haters. That makes him a coward.” Actually, it merely makes him ineffective! Seriously, though, he can’t help the bigots or haters with their problem if he kicks them out of “his” church (which he might not have the authority to do). He can’t force people to stay, and he can’t do anything about what goes on in a different Lutheran church, not even file a meaningful complaint as there is no central authority to appeal to. It seems that the ELCA needs a 2/3 vote to get a real policy change, a sure recipe for paralysis, so if he tries to push something through the ELCA, you can expect glacially slow progress.

      There are obvious structural problems with how Lutherans,or at least ELCA Lutherans, organize themselves in cases where something actually needs to get done when there is no broad consensus (sufficient for an easy 2/3 vote) among them, but you can’t really blame him for that – he didn’t set it up and it is next to impossible to change as a change would require a 2/3 vote.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Eddie: “And as much as I can speak for my church, I apologize for the ways that we have mistreated, abused, or harmed GLBT folks — or have encouraged that mistreatment. There’s no justification for it. I believe we’re called to walk with one another in love and respect, and there is no place for any words or actions that harm GLBT or any other folks.”

      Apology accepted. Now, let’s make some REAL progress.

      Will you sign the Declaration? Will you declare that

      Homosexuality in Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Again, Pastor Eddie, if you truly mean what you have said and want end the hatred of LGBT people PLEASE sign the Declaration.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #4 using similar name]

      There is something not authentic and grandiose about his loquacious post. What reaching out? The bigots get a pass as well.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @B: You have CONFIRMED that Lutherans HAVE NO STANDARDS. I’m curious, if hatred and bigotry are allowed in the leadership and membership of the Lutheran Christian Club, when will the Christians be revoking their little franchise?

      Aug 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eddie

      I’d like to tighten the focus a bit, because it looks like my point got lost. You wrote: “I really wish I could undo and make right all the hatred that’s been spoken from the pulpit in God’s name. I don’t support anyone preaching that homosexuality is a sin, and I do not preach that.”

      I see a present tense statement there, in reply, I presume, to a point I made about past acts. So, to be blunt, have you ever in your career preached ‘homosexuality is sin’, or participated, even a lay position, in a congregation where that was taught?

      Keeping in mind Luther’s standard regarding sin – in thought, word or deed, what we have done, and what we have left undone. So, have you ever manifested anti-gay prejudice? Did you ever use “f*g” as an insult in high school, or vilify a girl by calling her a “d*ke”? Ever tell a derogatory gay joke, ever support a political candidate or ballot measure that maligned GLBTQ people? Ever stand by silent when someone else used anti-gay rhetoric?

      Very, very few people in this country, gay or straight, can truthfully answer “no” to those questions. Most of us, regardless of our sexual orientation, expressed this society’s overt homophobia at one point or another in our lives, at least in our youth.

      Generally, GLBTQ people have to face that in themselves, they have to face the homophobia they learned from childhood on and any way they acted on it, and repent, that is, recognize that their behavior was wrong, and be sincerely apologetic. And then they have to forgive themselves.

      But too many hets, who are trying to be accepting, also try to avoid admitting to their own instances of prejudice, and avoid repenting/apologizing or seeking forgiveness for those acts. But if they don’t repent, they cannot forgive themselves, and won’t manifest the real change of heart that will cause others to forgive them, either.

      As Luther indicated, repentance, recognition that one has done wrong, is crucial to a change of heart, a change of direction, liberation from sin. So when I mentioned pounding on the wall with abject repentance, as the means to get your congregants to listen, it was a purposeful statement.

      When a member of the clergy tells his/her congregation “I have sinned” it gets their attention. For a clergy to tell their congregations, “I sinned against gays and lesbians when I . . .” whether it was verbal abuse in grade school, or teaching anti-gay theology from the pulpit last year, it gives considerable more credibility to when that person talks about rejecting prejudice, rejecting prejudice-manifesting theology. The acceptance, the revised theology you teach now is only as meaningful to others, including your congregants, as the contrition for any personal past sins against GLBTQ people that comes with it.

      You should be able to see a sense of that in many of the other posts here, people are frustrated, in my reading of it, because there is little indication of personal responsibility for personal thoughts, words, deeds, things done and things undone, that harmed GLBTQ people. No doubt those of your congregants who ignore rebuttal of anti-gay theology sense the same thing, and so dismiss such rebuttals as empty.

      I’m not unappreciative that you don’t teach anti-gay theology now, but I’m making the point that it is not enough to just stop teaching something that harms others, one must also recognize and apologize for one’s personal acts in the past, to give credibility to what you teach now.

      You also wrote, “And as much as I can speak for my church, I apologize for the ways that we have mistreated, abused, or harmed GLBT folks — or have encouraged that mistreatment.”

      For all the irked generalizations others are posting, the issue here, the key to credibility both with GLBTQ people, and your congregants, is not in apologizing for ‘my church’ – for really, no one can apologize for others and have it be anything but an empty gesture, except Jesus , and even then, His act of all encompassing apology is only meaningful to other Christians.

      The key is in personal responsibility.

      It is necessary, to heal this or any prejudice, for people to own their personal acts of prejudice, past or present, and repent, apologize, to indicate sincerity and a break with, a sincere rejection, of that past behavior and the belief that drove.

      There is no sign of such repentance in the recent ELCA decision, it is a baby-step of nanoscopic proportions. Frankly, it really doesn’t even recognize any wrong doing on the part of the Lutheran Church or mainstream Christianity. And that is, in my opinion, why there is so much frustration articulated in many of the other posts here, why the ‘but look what we did accomplish’ rings so hollow.

      If you want to effect change, one must be living it, not half-heartedly, but all the way. And in case like this, where an entire society has consistently, pervasively sinned against a group of people by persecuting and maligning them, that means taking personal responsiblity for any personal expression of that prejudice in one’s past.

      Make it clear to your congregants that your rejection of ‘homosexuality is sin’ is something you live personally, to the point of repenting of any past anti-gay behavior in your, and you’ll make a more convincing case to them, and to GLBTQ people.

      On another note, regarding Paul’s letters, including Romans 1 – Paul’s remarks that get applied to GLBTQ people have nothing to do with pedophilia. His description in Romans 1 is of the religious practices of a known fertility cult worshipping Cybele and Attis. Telling people that Paul was only condemning pedophilia, instead of acknowledging that he was bashing other people’s religious practices (appropriately or not), only ends up supporting anti-gay theology, because of the homophobic assumption/characterization linking gays to pedophilia. As for the practice of pederasty in ancient Roman and Greek societies, it is only superficially comparable to pedophilia, particularly since it was a custom of married, presumably heterosexual men.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      “They will never get that Jesus’ wild revolutionary irrational concept was that there’s no such thing as your ‘enemy’. That guy who is trying to harm you, you love him – he’s human, flawed, fragile, broken, and completely convinced that he’s right and you’re wrong – just like the rest of us.”

      Except that racists, sexists, and heterosexists (among others) are, in fact, WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Period. Wrong. Get it?

      Unfortunately, when the prophetic imperative is tied to the profit motive, the inevitable result is ethical bankruptcy.

      “You poisonous snakes! How can you evil people say anything good? Your mouth says what comes from inside you.” (Matthew 12:34)

      No, there’s no such thing as your enemy, unless he’s a poisonous snake from a brood of vipers. Praise the Lord.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #71 David: EXCELLENT POST!!

      Erik & Eddie – please read and I would like to suggest something else: To really learn, I suggest you read a few books about homosexuality (my favorite short book is What does the Bible really say about homosexuality by Fr. Daniel Helminiak) and for a really radical book “The Trouble with Normal” by Michael Warner. I’m not asking you to agree with any of it, but just REALLY trying to understand the other person’s point of view especially if at first glance you really “hate” it is enlightening.

      And as ministers, I would like to know how anyone knows with or without certainty what “women exchanging the natural use of intercourse for the unnatural” means. Really. What precisely does that mean?

      Also, as ministers, doesn’t it bother you to use a book for moral instructions where Lot offered his daughters to the mob? And didn’t he have sex with them prior to or after that incident? Drunk or not, he had to know it was his daughters. If it isn’t Lot, there is someone else in the Bible who did this. Also, I really feel since “to know” is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, and it only meant anything sexual a few times, isn’t is possible, nay LIKELY that in a tribal ancient place when Lot himself was a stranger and HE himself was entertaining yet MORE strangers, the townspeople might just want TO KNOW what is going on at house? And not be interested in Lot and/or the angels for sex? Just a thought.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      @Brian: your redundancy is really disrupting the discussion. you’ve said your piece; please stop.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 10:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      All of your posts were excellent.

      Aug 28, 2009 at 11:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Mark wrote, “@B: You have CONFIRMED that Lutherans HAVE NO STANDARDS. I’m curious, if hatred and bigotry are allowed in the leadership and membership of the Lutheran Christian Club, when will the Christians be revoking their little franchise?”

      Actually, I haven’t confirmed that – the term “Lutheran” encompasses a number of sects, each of which can have its own standards, and these cover a broad range. Some (e.g., the WELS
      Lutherans) take the Bible literally and really are homophobic. Others are a lot more reasonable.

      Also, the other Christians have no right to revoke the “franchise” of any flavor of Lutherans – the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gets in the way. For example, if you want to create a church that declares that Jesus was (a) gay and (b) descended from space aliens, existing Christian churches have a right to whine about it, but that is all they can do. They have no right to stop you. The only hypothetical entity that has such a right is a Deity operating outside of the U.S.’s jurisdiction and that can lob a lightning bolt in your general direction. Don’t stay up late at night waiting for the lightning bolt if you don’t want to be sleep deprived.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @dgz: I understand if Lutheran “honesty” is not important to you. Tomorrow there will be another installment of Morning Goods.

      Get some sleep.

      Pray for answers. Then, look for them here tomorrow.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @B: Christianity is like Baskin Robins Ice Cream except 10,000 flavors. It’s too confusing to keep a “thinker” up late.

      Jesus is in the shower. I better get ready.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      This discussion was interesting and enlightening. Thank-you David for your very thoughtful consideration. I will complete my comments by suggesting this: as difficult as some people think this conversation is – WE MUST HAVE IT. Our Equality is more important than Religion. Religion made us wrong and that has created all our problems. It seems many “religious” people are willing to correct that wrong, but their Clergy is way behind them.

      Soon, we will have a historic moment – when Christians will be required to take a stand for or against homosexuals. Their leadership is too afraid to do it, but it is coming.

      While I respect the fact that two Lutheran Pastors had the balls to “discuss” homosexuality, I have no respect for their inability to take a stand for fairness and equality. They have put their paychecks first. They know what the problem is and they both acknowledged it – but, neither would seek to repair it.

      We should expect more from our religious leaders, like leadership and maybe the courage to do what’s in their hearts – unafraid and confident in truth and in hope.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nikko
      nikko

      Erik, your article is a classic long-winded fart of an answer, clearly trying to avoid what we all know: christianity does not accept homosexuality. So stop wasting my time and fuck off.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emily
      Emily

      I loved this piece, thank you for all the work you do. I grew up with Erik in high school and college. He has always been an open minded and compassionate human being. The negative comments on this blog are counter productive ( as the article mentioned) and neglect any sort of reference to the courage and personal sacrifice such a stance takes. While he may not be aligned exactly to what your end point may be. He is in the trenches voicing alternative representations of the bible, of humanity and of love…that are vitally important parts of the dialogue. This in itself deserves greater respect than the blogs entail. His courage and self awareness deserve greater respect.

      Emily Ellis

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Emily: There is nothing courageous about saying evil is acceptable. Treating bigots as though their opinions have even the faintest shred of validity does absolutely nothing for anyone, bigots included.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      Eddie–I appreciate your kind words here and your attempts to reach out. If this is your only experience with a gay themed website, you should know that they’re not like this. Judging gays based on Queerty would be as bad as judging Lutherans based on Pastor Ryan. If you want more rational and less hyperbolic discourse, try After Elton or Pam’s House Blend. That being said, I personally have no use for church, religion, or God. I think life would be a lot better off if none of those things existed. (And Pastor Ryan getting a few nasty emails does not mean we suddenly have a shared life experience). However, you’ve no doubt helped make things easier for any gay Lutherans out there, and for that you should be highly commended. Thank you for that, at least.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 5:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • a
      a

      I almost cried

      Aug 29, 2009 at 6:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      A few of questions.

      1.) It seems to me that the vote of the ELCA was premised on the “fact” that being a homosexual is just an orientation and not a choice. If being gay is not a choice, why do I know several folks who are ex-gay? Ask anyone who has gay friends and they will tell you that they also have friends who are ex-gay.

      2.) Is it really the role of the church to “save society” and create heaven here on earth. Was that not really one of the temptations put before Christ by the Devil?

      3.) When Jesus called out his emissaries, he only called out traditional, married men and women or single people. No married same-sex couples and no folks in “committed relationships” ( whatever that means ). Do you think that is instructive at all? What did Jesus do; he chose married straight couples and single people to spread his word.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      @Mark: what the fuck are you talking about?

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ammon
      Ammon

      It is so disheartening to me to read all these bitter posts from lgbt folks. I choose not to be bitter even though my “religious” parents have rejected me, and my faith is what allows me to do that (and to respond to a call to ministry as an openly gay man). Your bitterness makes you blind to the reality in churches–amazing things are happening. There ARE churches who have stood up and said that there is nothing wrong with or deviant about homosexuality–the United Church of Christ ordained its first gay minister in 1978 and affirmed gay marriage in 2005, see http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/statements.html . The Episcopalian Church has gone through a lot of persecution to stand up for LGBT rights and dignity. Now the ELCA has taken a hugely significant step to include LGBT people, which will lead to many beautiful things happening in that community. It might be slower progress than some wish for (myself included) but it is significant progress. I never thought I would see it in my lifetime. I know the church has hurt so many, but if you stay in your bitterness and anger, you will not be able to notice beautiful things happening around you. You don’t need to go back to church if that is not what you want, but your bitterness shows you are still very much in relationship to it–we can only be angry when we care. I say all this in the hope of healing, not to judge.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Ammon: “I know the church has hurt so many, but if you stay in your bitterness and anger, you will not be able to notice beautiful things happening around you.”

      Bullshit.

      I’m bitter and angry, but I’m perfectly willing and able to notice the churches and pastors that actually stand up for gay people. Sadly, the ELCA and Erik Samuelson aren’t among them.

      “You don’t need to go back to church if that is not what you want, but your bitterness shows you are still very much in relationship to it–we can only be angry when we care.”

      Are you implying that we shouldn’t care about anti-gay bigotry?

      Yes, we’re angry. And, yes, we care. It sickens me that some Jesus-happy gays are making excuses for Christian bigots. And it saddens me that gay Christians perpetuate the same religion that have done them so much harm.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Jaroslaw:

      Actually there are much worse things in the Bible than the story of Lot, for instance God’s chosen people being told to kill every single person in the land they were moving into.

      But we did talk about the Sodom story already a few months ago. It is actually pretty clear that the mob outside intended to do them some kind of great harm.

      Although the story is unclear about homosexuality in the Bible, in the Koran it is very specifically anti-gay. Also in Islam the part about Lot having sex with his daughters is not there, and is considered heresy (partially because Lot is considered a prophet in Islam).

      @Rusty:
      The bible doesn’t actually say what sort of personal relationships most of the disciples had.

      And I don’t think the distinction of being married and living in a committed relationship is made anywhere in the bible at all. That is a recent invention with no biblical foundation.

      The only thing Jesus did say about it was that his followers had to be prepared to break up their families if necessary and serve his mission.

      He said very clearly that his message would set some family members against one another.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • beergoggles
      beergoggles

      I just thought it was hilarious that you say “I’m sorry that we Christians have allowed this unchecked hate to go on for so long and have been such hypocrites.” out of one side of your mouth while at the same time furthering the very same by providing cover for the rest of the xtians.

      The fact that you’re probably a good person with a good heart does little to offset the peddling of a bankrupt theology.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom Zdon
      Tom Zdon

      Ok – but what does any of this have to do with gay news? Lutherans vote to recognize the obvious would have been a nice title – 3 lines max. More than that is wasted internet space – which even though cheap – is still spending way too much on this stuff.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew W
      Andrew W

      @Emily: Sorry Emily, your friend Erik is a COWARD. He hasn’t done anything courageous. I guess it makes sense that a “high-school” friend would suggest his comments were useful.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Ryan: You said to Pastor Eddie: “However, you’ve no doubt helped make things easier for any gay Lutherans out there, and for that you should be highly commended. Thank you for that, at least.”

      How did Pastor Eddie make things easier for gay Lutherans? He refused to take a stand on anything. While his apology is welcome IT IS NOT ACTION.

      Pastor Erik and Pastor Eddie didn’t take a stand on homosexuality. It is still WRONG at their Lutheran franchises. They are clearly more interested in maintaining their paychecks than doing anything courageous.

      This is just another example of supposed “gay-friendly” religion revealing its true identity of hate and discrimination when you get to look behind the curtain. Maybe that part of this episode help inexplicable “gay-christians” see the light, the light of truth and fairness and equality. Maybe gay-christians will choose to put our community before ancient superstition and religious dogma.

      As long as we let religion make us wrong, we will never have equality. Lutherans make us wrong (members and Pastors) and they have done nothing about that.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      I think it’s worth looking at the text of the actual vote that passed (some interesting key parts of which I’ll reprint below). Celibate gay men and women already could be ordained, but now they’re allowing gay men and women who actually have sex in a committed relationship to be pastors as well.

      Looking at it solely in terms of who can be ordained or not, this does actually give gay people the same rights as straight people, just in terms of if they can be Lutheran pastors or not. This is pretty great, not just for the baby step of progress it represents, but because it’s making all the anti-gay Lutherans freak out.

      From the actual statement that passed on the 19th, here is the Lutheran stance on homosexuality:

      >>While Lutherans hold various convictions regarding lifelong,
      monogamous, same-gender relationships, this church is united
      on many critical issues. It opposes all forms of verbal or
      physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It
      supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to
      prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public
      services. It has called upon congregations and members to
      welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their
      families and to advocate for their legal protection.<>This church recognizes that, with conviction and integrity:

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful,
      contrary to biblical teaching and their understanding of
      natural law. They believe same-gender sexual behavior
      carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. They therefore
      conclude that the neighbor and the community are best
      served by calling people in same-gender sexual
      relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a
      celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be
      accompanied by pastoral response and community support.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that homosexuality and even lifelong,
      monogamous, homosexual relationships reflect a broken
      world in which some relationships do not pattern
      themselves after the creation God intended. While they
      acknowledge that such relationships may be lived out with
      mutuality and care, they do not believe that the neighbor or
      community are best served by publicly recognizing such
      relationships as traditional marriage.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the
      context of sexual orientation and lifelong loving and
      committed relationships that we experience today. They
      believe that the neighbor and community are best served
      when same-gender relationships are honored and held to
      high standards and public accountability, but they do not
      equate these relationships with marriage. They do,
      however, affirm the need for community support and the
      role of pastoral care, and may wish to surround lifelong
      monogamous relationships or covenant unions with prayer.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the
      context of sexual orientation and committed relationships
      that we experience today. They believe that the neighbor
      and community are best served when same-gender
      relationships are lived out with lifelong and monogamous
      commitments that are held to the same rigorous standards,
      sexual ethics, and status as heterosexual marriage. They
      surround such couples and their lifelong commitments with
      prayer to live in ways that glorify God, find strength for the
      challenges that will be faced, and serve others. They
      believe same-gender couples should avail themselves of
      social and legal support for themselves, their children and
      other dependents, and seek the highest legal accountability
      available for their relationships.<>What is Harassment?
      Under Minn. Stat. 609.748, harassment is defined as:

      -A single incident of physical or sexual assault.

      -Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser.

      -Targeted residential picketing, which includes:

      marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversely affects the safety, security, or privacy of an occupant of the building, and

      marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.

      -A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one’s presence is harassing to another.<<

      Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to put it back in concrete terms, using the church’s own words.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      ACK – sorry, my use of arrows screwed up my post – here it is:

      I think it’s worth looking at the text of the actual vote that passed (some interesting key parts of which I’ll reprint below). Celibate gay men and women already could be ordained, but now they’re allowing gay men and women who actually have sex in a committed relationship to be pastors as well.

      Looking at it solely in terms of who can be ordained or not, this does actually give gay people the same rights as straight people, just in terms of if they can be Lutheran pastors or not. This is pretty great, not just for the baby step of progress it represents, but because it’s making all the anti-gay Lutherans freak out.

      From the actual statement that passed on the 19th, here is the Lutheran stance on homosexuality:

      –While Lutherans hold various convictions regarding lifelong,
      monogamous, same-gender relationships, this church is united
      on many critical issues. It opposes all forms of verbal or
      physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It
      supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to
      prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public
      services. It has called upon congregations and members to
      welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their
      families and to advocate for their legal protection.–

      Very nice, right? But it’s the “verbal harassment” part that bothers me. Here are the church stances on gay relationships, which Erik summarized above as adding “good” to the already-accepted “bad”, “not good”, and “maybe OK”:

      –This church recognizes that, with conviction and integrity:

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful,
      contrary to biblical teaching and their understanding of
      natural law. They believe same-gender sexual behavior
      carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. They therefore
      conclude that the neighbor and the community are best
      served by calling people in same-gender sexual
      relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a
      celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be
      accompanied by pastoral response and community support.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that homosexuality and even lifelong,
      monogamous, homosexual relationships reflect a broken
      world in which some relationships do not pattern
      themselves after the creation God intended. While they
      acknowledge that such relationships may be lived out with
      mutuality and care, they do not believe that the neighbor or
      community are best served by publicly recognizing such
      relationships as traditional marriage.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the
      context of sexual orientation and lifelong loving and
      committed relationships that we experience today. They
      believe that the neighbor and community are best served
      when same-gender relationships are honored and held to
      high standards and public accountability, but they do not
      equate these relationships with marriage. They do,
      however, affirm the need for community support and the
      role of pastoral care, and may wish to surround lifelong
      monogamous relationships or covenant unions with prayer.

      • On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are
      convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the
      context of sexual orientation and committed relationships
      that we experience today. They believe that the neighbor
      and community are best served when same-gender
      relationships are lived out with lifelong and monogamous
      commitments that are held to the same rigorous standards,
      sexual ethics, and status as heterosexual marriage. They
      surround such couples and their lifelong commitments with
      prayer to live in ways that glorify God, find strength for the
      challenges that will be faced, and serve others. They
      believe same-gender couples should avail themselves of
      social and legal support for themselves, their children and
      other dependents, and seek the highest legal accountability
      available for their relationships.–

      So, the ELCA officially says that sometimes (at the discretion of an individual pastor), “the neighbor and the community are best served by calling people in same-gender sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be accompanied by pastoral response and community support.”

      Thus, here are some questions that I’m overwhelmingly curious to hear from Eddie or Erik about:

      Given that gays in relationships can now be pastors, does this mean one pastor can call another pastor to repentance? And is it not strange to call someone to repentance for something that the pastor’s own church says is not only (sometimes) OK but which you can do and still be ordained in the same church?

      And might it not constitute harassment to enlist the community in calling a gay person to repentance and celibacy?

      Here are the harassment laws from Minnesota, Pastor Ryan’s state:

      —What is Harassment?
      Under Minn. Stat. 609.748, harassment is defined as:

      -A single incident of physical or sexual assault.

      -Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser.

      -Targeted residential picketing, which includes:

      marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversely affects the safety, security, or privacy of an occupant of the building, and

      marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.

      -A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one’s presence is harassing to another.–

      Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to put it back in concrete terms, using the church’s own words.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Ammon:

      but your bitterness shows you are still very much in relationship to it

      Tell that to black or Jewish person and see what THEY will tell you!

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Ammon: “We can only be angry when we care.”

      WE are angry because of what religion has done and continues to do. It is the source of ALL our pain and suffering because it branded homosexuals as wrong, sinful and deviant.

      Get your facts straight – UCC, Episcopalians and Lutherans have done absolutely NOTHING to un-do the “wrong” of homosexuality. Allowing gays and lesbians to preach doesn’t change anything accept that a few more gays get to wear robes.

      Allowing some LGBT people to “participate” doesn’t change the Christian Doctrine. Both Pastor Erik and Pastor Eddie refused to make a simple Declaration about homosexuality. This demonstrates what they actually believe about us – despite their words of “acceptance” and “tolerance.” THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH US – WE DO NOT NEED TO BE TOLERATED.

      For 2,000 years religion has made homosexuals wrong and you expect us to be joyous when they “agree to disagree” about homosexuals? They need to have the courage to end the hate of LGBT people by ending the biblical lies about homosexuals.

      These gay-friendly churches aren’t friendly enough to actually do something significant for LGBT people, but the will hang a rainbow flag and take your money.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @vernonvanderbilt:

      There is nothing courageous about saying evil is acceptable. Treating bigots as though their opinions have even the faintest shred of validity does absolutely nothing for anyone, bigots included.

      BINGO!

      Arguing in favor of bigotry would be like arguing in favor of murder.

      And if that sounds like a stretch for some of the gay pro-Christians on this site, let me remind you that there are places in the world where bigotry does call for the murder of gays.

      And it is done in the name of God.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew W.
      Andrew W.

      @bedford: It’s a wordy bunch of “nothing” for LGBT persons. Who cares if gays can work at the Lutheran Church? I mean, really?

      Lutherans are just like all other Christians – they hate homosexuals. They did NOTHING about that reality.

      What Baptists shout, Lutherans whisper and Catholics think. They all share the same “beliefs.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @Ammon: “but your bitterness shows you are still very much in relationship to it.”

      Did you even bother to read all the comments? It’s not “bitterness,” it is anger for what religion has done to homosexuals and what these “courageous” Lutherans didn’t do.

      Both Pastors had a chance to change history and become the first Christians to reject the biblical lies about homosexuals. They declined.

      Pastor Eddie was correct when he referred to the whole affair as “window dressing.” The ELCA conference was a colorful bunch of NOTHING. It did confirm bigotry and hatred are alive and well at the Lutheran franchise – for both leaders and customers.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • I Love Jesus
      I Love Jesus

      I have followed this discussion very closely and cannot ignore the attacks on “gay Christians.” I have been a Lutheran since birth and (for Brian and his ilk) I AM WRONG, SINFUL AND DEVIANT because I am homosexual. That is in God’s Word the Holy Bible and it is TRUE.

      Every week I repent for my sinful and deviant behavior and I thank God for his forgiveness. In spite of my flaws I will be welcome in the coming Kingdom of God. Non repentant homosexuals will suffer eternity in Hell.

      If that doesn’t motivate all GLBT people to embrace Christianity, I don’t know what would. Us gay-Christians are being saved.

      IGNORANCE = HELL

      Wake up.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Emily:

      While he may not be aligned exactly to what your end point may be.

      That comment right there, is pretty indicative of the fact that neither of you DO have a clue as to what our end point may be.

      He is in the trenches voicing alternative representations of the bible, of humanity and of love…that are vitally important parts of the dialogue. This in itself deserves greater respect than the blogs entail.

      Frankly, my dear…I don’t give a damn!

      I didn’t hear him tell InExile and me how wrong it is that we cannot bring our foreign-born partners into the land of birth and the government to whom we pay taxes.

      I did not hear him say how wrong it is that we do not have equal employment and housing rights.

      I did not hear him say ho wrong it it that we are treated as second-class citizens in our own homeland.

      And, I did not hear him say how wrong it is that the Church has been mostly at fault for the short-comings the LGBT comunity has had to deal with for far too long and what it is doing, besides given us permission to don robes as another poster pointed out, to right these wrongs.

      Just saying sorry doesn’t cut it. Actions speak louder than words.

      Respect? You want us to show more respect? How in God’s name, if he/she does exist, can you expect anyone to respect an institution that never has, and still does not respect us? An institution that continues to make us wrong and tells us that we will surely spend an eternity suffering hellfire and brimstone for simply not believing their fairy tales?

      By that line of reasoning, I should respect an Islam Iman who wants to hang my sorry ass from the nearest public street lamp bercause his “God” tells him that is what he expects and wants of his servants here on earth?

      You gay Christians expect far too much “forgive and forget” from your brothers and sisters. You should be championing for the respect of the LGBT community, not that of the church which has caused all of our misery.

      But then, who am I to take away your hair shirt and quirt which you obviously respect more than your own LGBT brothers and sisters?

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      Hi there. I am also a pastor. I am a woman, and I am married to a man. I’m actually part of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), but I have friends who are pastors in the ELCA, and a few of them are in same-sex relationships, or would like to be in the future.

      To be honest, until I saw this discussion this morning, I was celebrating last week’s decision, for now my friends would be able to be open about their relationships. For many of us serving within mainline denominations, last week’s decisions feel like a huge step in the right direction. The PCUSA hasn’t even gotten that far.

      But now, after reading through people’s comments, I am realizing how little was actually accomplished. And it is a painful and condemning realization.

      Last week’s resolution said that it’s ok to welcome people in same-sex relationships into our pews and into our pulpits, but it ALSO said, in a rather white-washed way, that it’s ok to still think that homosexuality is a sin.

      That sucks.

      Many people (or at least most scientists anyway) agree that one’s sexual orientation is about as innate as whether one is left or right-handed. So, if you say that homosexuality is a sin, then aren’t you also then saying that homosexuals are inherently evil? Did the ELCA really just pass a resolution saying that it’s ok to continue to believe that a certain group of humans, through no choice of their own, are inherently evil?

      Yeah, I can see why you’re less than thrilled.

      Those of us who are more progressive try to make excuses for why we continue to tolerate such hatred in our churches.

      “None of us is free of sin,” we declare. “People who are prejudiced are still God’s children, are worthy of God’s grace and mercy, and are welcome in God’s house.” But, if you’re not heterosexual, it’s pretty hard to feel welcome in a place that’s trying to accommodate people who are bigoted.

      “It takes time for things to change,” we argue. “Be patient with us.” But in the meantime, while you’re waiting for us to change things, you can’t hold your lover’s hand in public without risking injury or death. Justice delayed is justice denied, as the saying goes.

      “But we don’t want to split the church!” we cry. But is it worth preserving an institution that isn’t enthusiastically answering God’s call to proclaim truth and bring about justice?
      “But the church does a lot of good things in the world!” we counter. Yes, it does, you may acknowledge, but how much does that count for when it’s also denying the rights, the mere existence really, of up to 10% of the world’s population?

      “But homosexuals don’t suffer as much as other groups of people.” And then you probably just start to laugh, if you don’t start to cry.

      Many of us who become pastors do sincerely want to answer God’s call to proclaim truth and justice. We start off our careers with the fantasy that we are going to change people’s minds about these things. Then we discover that those people are signing our paychecks every two weeks.

      The truth is, it’s really hard to be willing to rip apart an institution when our livelihoods depend upon it. The ministry is a very specialized career for which we spend years training. It’s not like we can just go out and find another job if we get fired. A few pastors do have the freedom to take those risks. But a lot of us have families who are depending upon us for income and health insurance. Even if we’d be willing to sacrifice ourselves, it’s hard to sacrifice your loved ones to do the right thing.

      At this point, we must then ask ourselves why we chose to become pastors in the first place, since doing so has made it so hard, in some ways, to act on our principles.

      And for us, this is the greater truth, for most of us didn’t exactly “choose” to become pastors. Most of us feel that God “called” us to become pastors. Though we answered that call, some of us did so kicking and screaming a lot of the way. Personally, I feel like I had about as much choice about becoming a pastor as I did about my sexual orientation.

      And so, we tell ourselves reassuringly, if God has called us to serve this institution known as the Church, then God must feel there’s something about this institution that’s worth hanging onto and trying to fix. It could be a load of crap, but at least it helps us sleep at night.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @I Love Jesus:

      I AM WRONG, SINFUL AND DEVIANT because I am homosexual. That is in God’s Word the Holy Bible and it is TRUE.

      Sounds like a lot of self-loathing to me. Guess you will get good use out of your hair shirt and quirt.

      Non repentant homosexuals will suffer eternity in Hell.

      Do I detect a note of judgment in that statement?

      In spite of my flaws I will be welcome in the coming Kingdom of God.

      It’s good to be the king (queen), no? LOL

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @Rebecca:

      Wow. That’s an amazingly sincere post. Thank you, Rebecca.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Rebecca: You said a lot more than both Pastor Erik and Pastor Eddie had the courage to say. It was very authentic and heartfelt. Thank-you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

      [Queery Editors Please Note Rebecca's Comment. I believe it should be highlighted.]

      Aug 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      Rebecca’s comment should be highlighted. It’s clear that she “gets it.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Rebecca:

      Truth be known, I was slack-jawed that such an honest, sincere and compassionate post should come from…

      1) A Pastor

      2) A str8 married woman

      It is clearly evident that you are involved in some deep, intense soul-searching. And that is a good thing.

      I too would like to say thank-you, Rebecca, for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with us.

      [Queerty Editors, I too believe Rebecca's Comment should be highlighted.]

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      @schlukitz:

      I was blessed in that I grew up in an environment that was more accepting than usual of gays and lesbians, and then I attended a fairly liberal college. And I have a few very close friends who are LGTBQ.

      Many pastors of the more “progressive” pastors were not blessed with such opportunities. A lot of them had pretty conservative upbringings.

      In many ways, I am more impressed with those pastors. They grew up being told over and over that homosexuality is a sin, yet they were willing and made the effort to try to change their minds.

      Maybe they don’t always “get it” quite as quickly and easily, but they are doing their best to be open to learning and trying to understand.

      I know it’s taken them a lot more courage and effort for them to get to where they are than it has for me to get where I am.

      And seriously, more and more pastors, especially younger ones, truly are making the effort to understand and to change things.

      We make a lot of mistakes. But I promise you, we are trying.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @I Love Jesus:

      IGNORANCE = HELL Wake up.

      Sorry. I couldn’t just let that slip by without comment.

      According to Darwin and other evolutionists, the scientific community and radio carbon dating (none of whom you creationists respect or accept the opinions of), mankind has been on this planet for at the least the last 150,000 years or more.

      Christers, by contrast, have only been on this planet for some 2,000 years, about a tenth of the time mankind has existed.

      Obviously, mankind managed to survive very well long before Jebus ever arrived here if, in fact, we are to believe that he did.

      So, my question is:

      What happened to the souls of all the people who existed before Christianity came to be?

      Did they all go to hell to suffer eternal hellfire and brimstone, simply because they did not know of his coming?

      Seems a mite unfair to my way of thinking and pretty sadistic of an “all knowing and loving God”.

      Sorry if my logic offends, but I will chose to employ logic, hands down every time, as opposed to simply choosing to believe in fairy-tales, demons, lakes of fire and other delusions that cannot be seen or proven scientifically.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @Rusty–Where are you getting your info, dude? I’ve never meant an “ex-gay” in my life, nor have I ever met anyone who has. Trying to act like they’re as commonplace as gay people is ludicrous. It also is destined to failure, by every objective study.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @I Love Jesus: Sounds like you have been completely brainwashed.

      No. 110 · schlukitz – I could not agree more!

      Aug 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @InExile:

      Sounds like you have been completely brainwashed.

      Maybe even a lobotomy, eh what? LOL

      Aug 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Rusty

      You sinned in your post, by bearing false witness. Please repent.

      “1.) It seems to me that the vote of the ELCA was premised on the “fact” that being a homosexual is just an orientation and not a choice. If being gay is not a choice, why do I know several folks who are ex-gay? Ask anyone who has gay friends and they will tell you that they also have friends who are ex-gay.”

      Homosexuality is not a choice. Frankly, you are bearing false witness about the lives of millions of human beings, including me and my partner, when you declare or insinuate or suggest that our testimony of our lives to the immutability and intrinsicness of our sexual orientation is false, asserting that we ‘chose’ when we have repeatedly asserted we did not.

      I have hundreds of gay and lesbian friends and a few who call themselves ‘ex-gay’, and I know of no one, absolutely no one, who has changed their sexual attractions from homosexual to heterosexual. Ex-gays consistently, routinely admit that they still experience same-sex sexual attractions. They haven’t changed into heterosexuals, they have simply embraced a life of constant, painful denial and deception.

      In all of the literature, all of the testimony, there is no concrete evidence that anyone has ever changed from being exclusively or primarily attracted to his/her own gender, to being exclusively or primarily attracted to the opposite gender.

      The totality of evidence indicates that, at best, some highly motivated bisexuals are able to successfully repress their same-sex attractions. Additionally, some homosexuals are able to temporarily suppress their same-sex attractions and feign, fake, imitate heterosexual attractions for a short time.

      Fraud is not change.

      The leading ex-gay ministry has now repeatedly admitted that people’s sexual attractions do not change, only the label, the identity, the word they use to describe themselves changes. The fact is that ex-gay ministries are a ugly and destructive con game that have destroyed many lives, and emotionally and spiritually wounded thousands of people.

      Frankly, you are bearing false witness about the lives of millions of human beings, including me and my partner, when you declare or insinuate or suggest that our testimony of our lives to the immutability and intrinsicness of our sexual orientation is false, asserting that we ‘chose’ when we have repeatedly asserted we did not.

      “2.) Is it really the role of the church to “save society” and create heaven here on earth. Was that not really one of the temptations put before Christ by the Devil?”

      You are in error here as well.

      “3.) When Jesus called out his emissaries, he only called out traditional, married men and women or single people. No married same-sex couples and no folks in “committed relationships” ( whatever that means ). Do you think that is instructive at all? What did Jesus do; he chose married straight couples and single people to spread his word.”

      Jesus did send out the disciples in pairs, and given the cultural restrictions on women in that culture, most of the couples sent out to spread the Good News, would have been two males.

      Actually your premise is a fundamentally dishonest one. First off, the NT texts provide very little information about the relationship history of the disciples, so your conclusions are spurious at best.

      Second, Jesus was operating within a particular context, a predominantly Jewish society that did not publicly acknowledge same-sex couples. To conclude from the absence of overtly acknowledged inclusion of same-sex couples, from the ranks of Christ’s disciples, that Jesus rejects or condemns homosexuality, is irrational.

      After all, Rusty, there were are many categories of people who are not represented among the disciples:

      no English speakers
      no Inuit, no Asians of any ethnicity
      no one from any of the indigenous peoples of the Americas
      no one from any of the indigenous peoples of Europe
      no one from any of the indigenous peoples of Africa
      to name only a few

      Jesus chose from the pool of people available to Him, but that does not mean that in doing so, He excluded all those people who were not represented in the cities and towns of Palestine.

      In fact, if your premise were to actually be applied, most of us could not be, need not be, are excluded from Christianity, regardless of sexual orientation. Most Christians alive today come from ethnic backgrounds that are not represented by the disciples, and unless you come from middle-eastern ethnic stock, you too are excluded through your own standard.

      Instead of your false premise, Jesus’s message was to be shared with “all” people. That includes gays and lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered folk, as well as every other subset of humanity.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Re: post 101

      I cannot, in good conscience, repeat your id, because to me, it would be spiritually disrespectful to condone the degrading things you wrote by accepting the premise in your id.

      I am compelled though to point out that your remarks: “I have followed this discussion very closely and cannot ignore the attacks on “gay Christians.” I have been a Lutheran since birth and (for Brian and his ilk) I AM WRONG, SINFUL AND DEVIANT because I am homosexual.”

      Are the worst and nastiest attack on GLBTQ Christians posted here.

      The only thing deviant is your malice toward yourself and toward millions of human beings. Extending your self-hate onto all other GLBTQ people is a vicious and utterly un-Christ-like act of hate.

      Schulkitz

      You projected: “You gay Christians expect far too much “forgive and forget” from your brothers and sisters. You should be championing for the respect of the LGBT community, not that of the church which has caused all of our misery.”

      Actually, gay Christians do not need, much less expect, “forgive and forget” from our GLBTQ brothers and sisters, we have not wronged you. We’ve been maligned enough though, to want some apologies from many non-religious GLBTQ people.

      Despite all the vitriol from certain people here, GLBTQ Christians are not the ones who have created and sustained anti-gay prejudice. We are people who refuse to be deprived of our relationship with God to appease bigots.

      Where other GLBTQ people have surrendered their faith, or had none, and therefore unintentionally given religious homophobes what they seek; GLBTQ Christians resist the core demand of such homophobes more fully than anyone else, by demanding and keeping the most intimate, personal, unique thing religious homophobes seek to deny us

      our relationship with God.

      We refuse to surrender to the homophobes. That doesn’t make us collaborators, as some have asserted in other forums, it makes us the front line of the resistance.

      The fact of the matter is that the bulk of the success of gay rights, the majority of activism, the majority of money, the majority of work, the majority of visibility, has come from GLBTQ people who were also Christians, who refused to be forced by homophobes to chose between their innate self and their faith.

      The reality is that GLBTQ civil rights would not have come anywhere near as far as it has, as fast as it has, without the hard work of GLBTQ Christians.

      The fact is that we have been championing respect for GLBTQ people, and fighting more than anyone else, anti-homosexual theology and those who teach it. Some of us have been fighting this battle our entire adult lives, and frankly, because we demand the right to retain our spirituality as well as our civil rights, for us, the fight has an even greater level of intimacy that it does for non-religious people.

      Frankly, Schulkitz, your statement too strongly parallels the way homophobes try to falsely define the lives of GLBTQ people for us. You did that to GLBTQ Christians.

      More important, though, Schulkitz, is the point that the derogatory remarks made here, and elsewhere, about Christians in general, and about Gay Christians, are as much prejudice and bigotry as the remarks by any homophobe.

      Christians are not monolithic, and are widely split on even the issue of homosexuality. There are entire denominations that reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ as heresy, though few use that word. Within most of the mainline denominations, there are congregations and groups of congregations that do reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ completely.

      So when you, or any other GLBTQ person bad-mouths all Christians, or Christians in general, rather than directing your criticism specifically at those who believe, teach and act on ‘homosexuality is sin’ – you are as guilty of prejudice and bigotry as any homophobe.

      Vent, articulate anger and frustration, share as much pain and emotion as you are willing to make public. It just doesn’t help when GLBTQ folk mirror the behavior of homophobes by using all-inclusive generalizations, ignoring or marginalizing the efforts of Christian GLBTQ people and progressive het Christians, or assert as fact false things about our lives.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 3:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “The reality is that GLBTQ civil rights would not have come anywhere near as far as it has, as fast as it has, without the hard work of GLBTQ Christians.”

      Meh.

      Without Christianity in general and organized Christianity in particular, much of this hard work would have been unnecessary. It’s like being proud of putting out the fire that had been started by you.

      “So when you, or any other GLBTQ person bad-mouths all Christians, or Christians in general, rather than directing your criticism specifically at those who believe, teach and act on ‘homosexuality is sin’ – you are as guilty of prejudice and bigotry as any homophobe.”

      Bullshit.

      The notion that ‘homosexuality is sin’ doesn’t make sense outside Christianity, just like the concept of “thetans” doesn’t make sense outside Scientology. That’s exactly why even “nice” Christians like you make it easier for Christian homophobes to spread anti-gay bigotry.

      All (or nearly all) Christians promote divine authority, absolute morality (and the concept of sin), the Bible as the word of God (including its anti-gay verses), deterministic evolution or even creationism (“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”), etc. All these factors strongly reinforce anti-gay prejudice.

      Yes, a guy like you can spend a few hours of your time trying to explain to a conservative Christian why Leviticus is no longer relevant – and it seems to be a good thing: you are fighting “anti-homosexual theology”, aren’t you? But it doesn’t change the fact that, without Christianity, no one would give a damn about Leviticus, and people would simply be much less prejudiced.

      That’s why a Christian is doing more harm than good to gay people unless he or she is militantly pro-gay.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      @David:

      Frankly, Schulkitz, your statement too strongly parallels the way homophobes try to falsely define the lives of GLBTQ people for us. You did that to GLBTQ Christians.

      Frankly, David, your statement too strongly parallels condemning America for declaring war on Japan when they bombed Pearl Harbor!

      I was very much with you…until you made that statement. It sounds too much like the Mormons, who cried, “foul” when the LGBT community voiced their anger and frustration at the passage of Prop8. Who did what to whom and who tossed the first hand grenade?

      I have no problem with anyone’s spirituality and I will fight to the death, anyone’s right to worship however and whatever they please. I will not, however, go softly into the night, sit down, shut-up, move to the back of the bus or show a modicum of respect for a religious cult that has chiseled in stone and made the cornerstone of their belief system, their bigotry, hatred and disrespect for a group of human beings who have done absolutely nothing to them to earn or deserve the humiliation, disrespect and suffering that they has inflicted on LGBT throughout two millennia.

      Dismissing all of the horrible things the RC Catholic Church has done to LBGT people over the ages with a wave of the hand or making a cavalier statement like “Well, that was another time and place” or “look at all the good they have done”, is very much akin to telling a Jew to show a little appreciation to Hitler for having built the Autobahn, putting a chicken in every pot and a Volkswagen in everyone’s driveway. Never mind that six million Jews perished while Hitler was doing all of those “good” things. You Jews need to get over your selves.

      Some questions to ponder?

      How many of these good, gay, Republican Christians will be attending the march on Washington, DC this fall?

      How many of them are telling their Pope, their Bishops and the hierarchy of the monolithic religious cults they are of a part of and support, that it is the Church that is wrong, and not the some 30 million LGBT people…just in America alone? And please, let’s not derail the point of this discussion with a red herring disputing the number of gays in America.

      How many would be willing to sign a document such as Brian and Andrew advocate stating that…

      Homosexuality is not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant
      Where other GLBTQ people have surrendered their faith, or had none, and therefore unintentionally given religious homophobes what they seek; GLBTQ Christians resist the core demand of such homophobes more fully than anyone else, by demanding and keeping the most intimate, personal, unique thing religious homophobes seek to deny us our relationship with God.
      Whoa! Don’t blame that on gays who are non-spiritual, non-religious or those who are recovering from the mental illness brought on by religious brainwashing that starts at childbirth.

      The only people who are trying to deny your relationship with God, is the very people who keep telling you that he is a jealous and vengeful God who will, in a heartbeat, send you to hell for eternity if you don’t disavow your homosexuality and live your life as a lie, just because he wants you to.

      He made you the way you are, but he hates you for the way you are. What a classic mind-fuck!

      Oh wait. As a practicing Christian, you do believe that you are queer by choice, right?

      Just disregard my last comment.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Rebecca wrote, “Last week’s resolution said that it’s ok to welcome people in same-sex relationships into our pews and into our pulpits, but it ALSO said, in a rather white-washed way, that it’s ok to still think that homosexuality is a sin. That sucks.”

      My guess is the “white-wash” was necessary to get it passed as they needed a 2/3 vote, which they barely got (one vote less and it would have failed). The significance of the vote is that it may mark a tipping point. What will probably happen as a result of this vote is that most homophobic members of the ELCA will leave. Once that happens, subsequent LGBT-friendly resolutions will be easier to pass as the need for throwing the homophobes a bone to get something passed diminishes.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Eugene:

      militantly pro-gay

      Beautiful! You summed it up in a nutshell.

      ’nuff said.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @schlukitz:

      I am reminded of an old expression my grandmother often used.

      “Shit, or get off the pot.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rudy
      rudy

      @schlukitz: She should have just fed you more bran.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Eugene

      I love the way you use the very same tactics to defend your prejudice that homophobes do.

      Your dismissal of the contributions of Christian GLBTQ people

      “Meh.

      Without Christianity in general and organized Christianity in particular, much of this hard work would have been unnecessary. It’s like being proud of putting out the fire that had been started by you.”

      Is identical to the dismissal homophobes apply to the contributions of GLBTQ people. And your last sentence is a lie. Now, maybe, dishonesty is acceptable behavior in your ethical system, but, when you lie about Christians, you sacrifice the right to complain when homophobes lie about homosexuals, or when fundamentalists lie about atheists.

      Your next response was also an empty, and coarse, dismissal. I accurately stated that the process of prejudice and bigotry is the same, whether the target is homosexuals, or Christians. You replied:

      “Bullshit.” Exactly the way homophobes respond to any criticism of their bias. And then, just as homophobes routinely do, you make a irrational and false accusation: “That’s exactly why even “nice” Christians like you make it easier for Christian homophobes to spread anti-gay bigotry. ”

      That is the a false accusation, unethical and immoral. The fact is that by challenging the theology of homophobes who use the Bible, I make it much more difficult for them to spread bigotry. Unlike you, I publicly arm people with information about the history of the texts, the translation and interpretation issues, the way the texts contradict other parts of the Bible.

      The volume of vitriol I get from homophobes, for simply publicly challenging their theology, proves how wrong you are. Ironically, homophobes use the exact same argument, the ‘you are only helping the other side’ accusation of being a traitor.

      See, you really are mirroring exactly the tactics and attitudes of homophobes, the only difference is your target. You are not better than them, they are not worse than you. They target homosexuals, you target Christians. You justify, they justify.

      By the way, you use of the quotes around the word nice, to insinuate that it is just a veneer, is yet another tactic we see homophobes doing all the time. Your statement “why even “nice” Christians like you” is identical in construction and communicative intent as any homophobes use of same-sex “marriage” or same-sex “intimacy”, any time they put quotes around an accurate term to introduce a false doubt.

      I’m serious here, your post is identical in character to arguments used by homophobes. When you emulate them, you’ve lost more than just your civil rights.

      Your next paragraph demonstrated several common tactics that homophobes routinely use. First, you presented a false generalization about Christianity, as homophobes do about homosexuality, constructed solely to further your argument.

      This: “All (or nearly all) Christians promote divine authority, absolute morality (and the concept of sin), the Bible as the word of God (including its anti-gay verses), deterministic evolution or even creationism (“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”), etc.” is categorically false. Parts of it apply to some denominations, but not others, parts are little more than distortion. What is clear is that you are presenting yourself as an expert on something you have little knowledge of, just as homophobes do to GLBTQ people, and then cherry-picking just that smidgen of fact that suits your intent to malign billions of people.

      The fact is that Christ’s command ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is actually an expressive of fluid morality and personal authority, which most progressive denominations openly acknowledge, and even many conservative denominations recognize and teach indirectly. But, just as Paul Cameron insists he knows what homosexuals really think, do, feel, want, believe, you insist that you really know what Christianity is all about.

      Christianity is no where near as uniform as many atheists and agnostics portray it, even within conservative denominations like the ELCA.

      You also claimed, falsely: “All these factors strongly reinforce anti-gay prejudice. ” No, the fact of the matter is that the core teaching of the Bible do not reinforce prejudice, of any kind. The fact of the matter is that the traditional interpretation of a handful of minor passages used to create ‘homosexuality is sin’ contradicts the core elements of Christian teaching about God, about morality and ethics, about justice.

      I realize you will tune this next thing out, but it needs saying anyways.

      As committed as some Christian homophobes are to the traditional interpretation of the gotcha verses, it is nothing compared to how committed many atheists, particularly GLBTQ atheists are, to that traditional interpretation. The most vitriolic and insistent demands that the traditional interpretation is correct (i.e., homosexuality is sin) come not from homophobes, but from some atheists. Face it, you need to sustain that traditional interpretation, and to degrade and marginalize the work of Christian GLBTQ people, in order to excuse and justify your prejudice against all of the myriad diverse Christians.

      By the way, your disparaging dismissal of my efforts is identical in tone and goal to the way homophobes dismiss the lives, emotions, devotion, and testimony of GLBTQ people.

      One more parallel for you to think about, if you will. You said:
      “But it doesn’t change the fact that, without Christianity, no one would give a damn about Leviticus, and people would simply be much less prejudiced.”

      This is effectively the same argument that homophobes use. It is just a variation of ‘without homosexuality, we would have no reason to discriminate’ or ‘if there were no homosexuals, no one would be prejudiced’.

      It is not a coincidence that both homophobes, and atheists, tend to imagine a world where their target does not exist at all. Imagining a world without Christianity is exactly the same as imagining a world without GLBTQ people. Spiritual faith is as intimate and personal as sexual orientation, the capacity for as innate as sexual orientation.

      To premise a world without Christianity is to image a world wherein millions are denied something that is meaningful to them, something that sustains and uplifts them, something that is crucial to their quality of life.

      Just as imagining a world without homosexuality is to image a world wherein millions are denied something that is meaningful to them, something that sustains and uplifts them, something that is crucial to their quality of life.

      Some atheists long for and work for and vilify others to achieve a world with a Christians, exactly the way some homophobes long for and work for and vilify others to achieve a world with homosexuals.

      So, my statement before is not bullshit. Prejudice is wrong, no matter who you target. It is wrong when some Christians target homosexuals, and it is wrong when some GLBTQ people, or some atheists, target Christians.

      The moment you, Eugene, justify your prejudice against Christians, you justify any homophobes prejudice against gays and lesbians, or any racist’s prejudice, or any misognyst’s prejudice, or any lookist’s prejudice.

      All of it is the same flaw, the same error, the same sin, the same immorality, only the target changes. And when you chose to target one group of people for their religion, for the beliefs of a subset, you are no different in any way, from someone who choses to target people for their sexual orientation, or their skin color, their weight, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.

      The really striking parallel between your post, and the arguments made by homophobes over the decades, is the way you completely dismissed all of the accurate information, all of the reasonable arguments I presented, choosing instead to argue a construct designed solely to malign those you are prejudice against.

      It is wrong from Cameron and his peers do it, and GLBTQ people complain vociferously about it. It is wrong when you, or any other non-religious person does it, too.

      You don’t have to be a better person than homophobes, but, really, why not be better than them?

      Aug 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Yep. It really sucks when the LGBT community does not fight “fahr and sqahr” and in accordance to the rules set-up by the Christians.

      Just another one of LGBT peoples moral failures, in a long list of them engineered by “da Pope.”

      And when you chose to target one group of people for their religion, for the beliefs of a subset, you are no different in any way, from someone who choses to target people for their sexual orientation, or their skin color, their weight, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.

      And when you choose to target one group of people for their sexuality, for the beliefs of a religious cult, you are no different in any way, from someone who chooses to target people for their sexual practices, or their skin color, their weight, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.

      The moment you, Eugene, justify your prejudice against Christians, you justify any homophobes prejudice against gays and lesbians, or any racist’s prejudice, or any misognyst’s prejudice, or any lookist’s prejudice.

      The moment you, David, justify your prejudice against LGBT people, you justify any Christian’s prejudice against gays and lesbians, or any racist’s prejudice, or any misogynst’s prejudice, or any lookist’s prejudice.

      These were only a couple of your comments chosen at random, in which you have chosen to invert the actual occurrences of the crimes. What your arguments and that of the church consistently and conveniently choose to ignore, David, is who started the shit-slinging in the first place?

      First, the Church maligns us and then it tells us how “wrong” it is to argue a construct designed solely to malign those you are prejudiced against.

      That’s a little like telling Roosevelt to “Play nice and don’t be so mean to Hiro Hito for bombing Pearl Harbor.” That gets another “Meh”.

      So, when did the furniture get rearranged on the ceiling, I wonder?

      Just more brainwashing and mind-f**king from the control-freaks who brought us the twin concepts of original sin and guilt.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Schulkitz
      You wrote: “Frankly, David, your statement too strongly parallels condemning America for declaring war on Japan when they bombed Pearl Harbor!”
      Not at all. How self-aggrandizing and dishonest at the same time. It is ironic though that you employ another standard tactic of homophobes, rather than actually address what I wrote honestly.
      Your ‘they hit me first’ excuse doesn’t work for children on playgrounds, why even attempt it here? You don’t get to be prejudiced just because someone else was prejudiced to you. GLBTQ people don’t accept that excuse from people of color. Why do you think it will work for you and your prejudice against people of faith?

      As a tactic for avoiding the fact that you are blaming all members of a hugely diverse group for the actions of some, it fails utterly.

      Ironically, you are again employing a strategy that homophobes routinely use. They articulate some negative act attributed to some or one homosexual, and condemn all homosexuals en masse.
      You wrote: “I have no problem with anyone’s spirituality . . .”
      But how many times have homophobes made comparable statements “do what you want in your bedroom, but . . . “ Clearly, though, you are articulating a huge problem with other people’s spirituality, for you targeted people for criticism based on their spirituality, not on anything they had actually done, or not done, said or not said.

      You wrote: “Dismissing all of the horrible things the RC Catholic Church has done to LBGT people”
      Since I made no such dismissal, and in fact, argued quite strongly for being blunt, even supporting “yelling” about the harm caused by anti-gay theology, your false premise is simply a dishonest tactic. You are trying to insinuate that I have made weak arguments I haven’t made. Such dishonesty is something GLBTQ people complain about when homophobes do it about us, and here you are, doing it to me, and to Christian GLBTQ people in general.

      How is your prejudice any different from that of any racist, homophobe, misogynist, anti-Semite, etc? Your questions are sophist game-playing, loaded with false assumptions. Most of the Christian GLBTQ people I know, for example, are registered Democrats, or members of the Green party. You are arguing from a fantasy, rather than reality, just as homophobes do.

      You wrote: “Whoa! Don’t blame that on gays who are non-spiritual, non-religious or those who are recovering from the mental illness brought on by religious brainwashing that starts at childbirth.”
      I did not blame anyone for anything, and kindly refrain from making false accusations about me going forward.

      It is worth noting that your statement here: “the mental illness brought on by religious brainwashing that starts at childbirth” is identical in its communicated effect as the charges that homophobes makes a homosexuals. You reduce my spiritual life to ‘religious brainwashing’, and homophobes reduce my relationship with my same-sex partner to ‘sexual brainwashing’ and mental illness. In both cases, you and the homophobes, you bash a part of me you neither understand nor respect. And you do that in the context of attacking my character through a false representation of my argument.

      I did not even imply the concept of blame in the statement you quoted, and I certainly did not blame non-Christians as you falsely imply in your subsequent paragraph. Don’t worry too much though, for I am actually quite use to be falsely accused and having my statements distorted; homophobes do it all the time.

      And homophobes routinely refute things they imagine they see in my posts, or in the lives of homosexuals, so it is no surprise that you are doing it as well. Not surprising, but sad. We object so much when homophobes make the kind of irrational and degrading statements that you have made about me, about Christians, about GLBTQ Christians. But here you are, using the exact same rhetorical devices homophobes use, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph.

      You wrote: “Oh wait. As a practicing Christian, you do believe that you are queer by choice, right?”

      This was a particularly foul statement. First, just as homophobes do to GLBTQ people, you tell me what I must believe, think, feel, based on your assumptions about Christians. Second, you make the derogatory fantasy, despite the fact that in a prior post, I had explicitly stated: “Homosexuality is not a choice.” Post 114. So you are ignoring what I have actually said, to foist onto me an alternative reality of your own fabrication, created solely to articulate and defend your prejudice.

      You wrote: “Just disregard my last comment.”
      One might be justified in disregarding all of your comments, frankly. But, as nasty as your post was, the larger issue of the nature and inherent immorality of prejudice, makes it necessary to address your comments anyways.

      There is another irony here. I posted about the terrible parallel between the way homophobes articulate and defend their prejudice, and you responded not only by defending your prejudice, as homophobes do of course, but by using more of the same arguments, recast to suit your target.
      Prejudice is prejudice, regardless of who is targeted, and that is part of why the arguments, the tactics, the communicative goals, are so consistent whether they are voiced by a racist, an anti-Semite, a homophobe, or someone bashing people of faith.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: <i”We refuse to surrender to the homophobes. That doesn’t make us collaborators, as some have asserted in other forums, it makes us the front line of the resistance.”

      I appreciate most of your comments David. The are very thoughtful and very sincere. I am one of those that has referred to “gay-Christians” as collaborators. First, the “front line of resistance” would imply you have put yourself at some “risk.” I don’t see that – anywhere. It certainly wasn’t with this Lutheran episode – they refused to take any risk.

      My comments need not be taken personally, but should cause you to think. Chrisitianity made homosexuality wrong. Every Christian denomination continues to make it wrong, while ONLY 1% of the US Churches are now “gay-friendly.” Questions about whether or not certain faiths really are friendly have been answered in this discussion. Lutherans clearly ARE NOT gay-friendly. They will now allow gays and lesbians to be Pastors, but they “agreed to disagree about homosexuals.” This is NOT progress. Certainly, somewhere in the mix there are some good intentions, but nothing significant happened.

      We also learned that many Lutheran members and many Lutheran leaders are bigoted homophobes and they admittedly DO NOTHING about it, well except “agree to disagree.” They clearly do not have any moral standards, yet we are supposed to believe they have some “moral authority.” Their ELCA convention was a charade. The highlight of the whole affair was hypocrisy and hatred.

      So, I have a very simple question for you – if you belonged to a Club (any kind of club) that discriminated against women or blacks, would you

      1) stay a Member of that Club? Or
      2) would you try like Hell to change it and if unsuccessful then leave? Or
      3) would you just utter (like a Lutheran) “to each his own” and not feel like a collaborator?

      Some of us have a very hard time understanding why gay-Christians stay in the Christian Club when it clearly hates and discriminates against homosexuals. So far not a single church or Christian denomination has made a valid attempt to “end the wrong of being a homosexual. Lutheran Pastors Erik and Eddie are “holding onto their paychecks,” instead of taking a risk.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Schulkitz wrote:“Yep. It really sucks when the LGBT community does not fight “fahr and sqahr” and in accordance to the rules set-up by the Christians.”

      Funny but I wrote nothing even remotely related to the above. Why not address what I actually wrote, instead of raising these strawmen to diddle? Why are you so outraged at the idea of behaving the way you demand others behave? (and who does that remind all of us of?)

      Schulkitz wrote:“The moment you, David, justify your prejudice against LGBT people, you justify any Christian’s prejudice against gays and lesbians, or any racist’s prejudice, or any misogynst’s prejudice, or any lookist’s prejudice.”

      False accusations are a standard tactic used by homophobes. At no point in any of my points have I articulated anything that even hints at prejudice against GLBTQ people. You are dodging the truthfulness of what I have written by engaging in unethical and immoral behavior.
      Falsely accusing me doesn’t change anything, it simply reinforces that you are articulating prejudice as much as any homophobe.

      Schulkitz wrote:“These were only a couple of your comments chosen at random, in which you have chosen to invert the actual occurrences of the crimes.”

      That’s a false accusation. There is no statement by me that inverts the actual occurrences of anything. Who started it is irrelevant, that’s a childish argument. Little children try to justify harming other people because ‘they started it’, but that doesn’t work. And frankly, your accusation itself is false when you apply it all Christians, and particularly to GLBTQ Christians.

      Ironically, homophobes use this argument too, insisting in a variety of ways that ‘the gays started it’. How alike your arguments are to theirs, Schulkitz.

      Schulkitz wrote:“then it tells us how “wrong” it is to argue a construct designed solely to malign those you are prejudiced against.”

      Again, your argument is a dishonest one. I haven’t told you it is wrong to argue against the construct “homosexuality is sin”, and to the best of my understanding, neither is Eddie or Erik, or any of the progressive/liberal/welcoming and affirming Christian churches. I strongly advocate GLBTQ people to fully educate themselves about the errors, frauds, false assumptions used to construct “homosexaulity is sin”, and to employ that information as thoroughly and effectively as they can.

      I have been criticizing the wholesale dismissal, disparagement, prejudice against people of faith in general, against Christians in general, and GLBTQ Christians in particular. You and others have been attacking people rather than ideas and beliefs, while I have tried to redirect criticism to the ideas and beliefs.
      Just as homophobes define the lives of all GLBTQ people by sexual acts, you and some others here are defining all Christians, all people of faith, by beliefs. That is a form of prejudice. No amount of abusive behavior on your part will change that.

      Look, I get it that you are strongly attached to your prejudice against people of faith, Christians in particular, and you think that the wrongs done to you by some, give you the right to malign and denigrate all people of faith.

      It does not, anymore than the wrongs, imagined or real, that some homophobes claims a gay man or lesbian did, gives them the right to malign and denigrate all GLBTQ people.

      You are entitled, even called, to criticize and rebuke the specific individuals who have wronged you (and GLBTQ people in general), and you are entitled, even called, to criticize and rebuke theology, ideas, claims, false statements, frauds and lies, beliefs and idealogies that have wronged you (and GLBTQ people in general).

      But you are not entitled to blame all people of any one group for the actions of a subset of that group.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “Christians are not monolithic, and are widely split on even the issue of homosexuality. There are entire denominations that reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ as heresy, though few use that word. Within most of the mainline denominations, there are congregations and groups of congregations that do reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ completely.”

      Please prove this statement.

      The gay “favorites” are usually MCC, UCC and the Episcopalians, but NONE of them have formally declared “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.” Sure, many are “gay-friendly,” but in reality it simply means you and your defects are “tolerated.”

      The religious lie about homosexuals MUST end. I see no evidence that any gay-Christians have taken that stand. Not even gay clergy.

      Re-read Rebecca’s post above. SHE told the TRUTH. Gay Clergy won’t risk their “paycheck” to take a stand for truth.

      The Lutherans didn’t take any risks and they didn’t make ANY progress.

      So, please tell us where gay-Christians are “ending the wrong” of being a homosexual. Please.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      You wrote: “I am one of those that has referred to “gay-Christians” as collaborators. First, the “front line of resistance” would imply you have put yourself at some “risk.” I don’t see that – anywhere.”

      Do you realize how similar that statements people made to obstruct the hate crimes legislation, on the grounds that they’d never witnessed anti-gay violence?

      GLBTQ Christians do put themselves at risk. Many have targeted with death threats, personally targeted, by the homophobes they have argued with. They risk being ostracized by not just their families when they come out, but by the community, the congregation, that they have been a part of, often for their entire lives. They risk becoming targets of hate crimes not from some stranger, but from people they’ve know all their lives.

      “It certainly wasn’t with this Lutheran episode – they refused to take any risk.”

      The final decision in this “Lutheran episode” is not really about GLBTQ Christians taking risks, that was het clergy, and yeah, they really did not take much of a risk. Though there is some financial risk to embracing inclusive theology, some hard-core conservative members may leave the church, and churches do have bills to pay, PG&E doesn’t give electricity away. But repeatedly, churches that have chosen inclusion have tended to see remarkable growth as a result, particularly in the demographic that is the most crucial to long-term stability – young adults and families.

      “My comments need not be taken personally, but should cause you to think. Chrisitianity made homosexuality wrong.”

      No. Some people in leadership positions, within Christian organizations like the Catholic Church, claimed that homosexuality was wrong. There is a huge difference.

      The idea ‘homosexuality is sin’ never appears explicitly, directly, indisputably in the Bible. It is a construct, an interpretation, one created by some human beings for their own reasons. Much of the history indicates that this heresy was created for political goals more than anything else.

      Some people made homosexuality wrong, and then interpreted the Bible to support them.

      “Every Christian denomination continues to make it wrong, while ONLY 1% of the US Churches are now “gay-friendly.” ”

      No. I don’t know where you got your statistic of 1%, but there are several Christian denominations that categorically reject ‘homosexuality is sin’: UFMCC and UU are the first two that come to mind, because I have direct interaction with both. Many of the mainline denominations are split, or splitting, between progressives who reject ‘homosexuality is sin’, and conservatives who assert it.

      See, I don’t just think about this subject, I live it and research it, participate in it and study it. Christianity is as diverse as GLBTQ people. Really.

      “This is NOT progress.”

      That isn’t accurate either. It is not sufficient progress, but it is progress. Twenty years ago, points 3 and 4, about homosexuality being maybe good, or good, were not even discussable. There was only the condemnation.

      “So, I have a very simple question for you – if you belonged to a Club (any kind of club)”

      First off, your premise is flawed. Christianity is not like a club, one congregation can vary greatly from the next, even within the same denomination, but dramatically so from denomination to denomination.

      “that discriminated against women or blacks, would you”

      I have left many organizations, quit more than one job, changed churchs, rather than participate in discrimination. In some cases, I have first worked to effect change, in other cases, I have simply walked away. If the ‘club’ was crucial enough, I made the effort to effect change, if the ‘club’ was something easily replaced, or trivial, I walked. I pick my battles.

      “Some of us have a very hard time understanding why gay-Christians stay in the Christian Club”

      And here is the key degrading, erroneous assumption in your question. The ‘some of us’ you wrote of define all of Christianity by Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, and now Ryan Mills. That is incorrect. Such people define themselves, and to a lesser degree, those people who actually follow them.

      Christianity is defined by Christ’s teaching, which do not condemn homosexuality. Christ’s teaching do condemn injustice and prejudice, abuse, degradation, persecution, anything that harms others.

      So your trick question is really asking me if I’d walk away from a “club” I don’t even belong to. I have left the Lutheran church, and as long as there is no synod that explicitly rejects ‘homosexuality is sin’, I will not be a member. I may attend a Lutheran congregation that explicitly rejects “homosexuality is sin”, but that is not likely, for other reasons.

      I currently belong to one of those denominations that explicitly reject ‘homosexuality is sin’. I have been a member of that denomination for some 26 years now. I have friends who are members of progressive congregations and subsets of mainstream denominations, participating in congregations that explicitly reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ even when other congregations of the same denomination embrace that belief.

      I’m not about to discard all of Christianity because of the subset that are homophobes. That is what the homophobes want most of all.

      If you get nothing else from anything I posted, at least take in this: What religious homophobes want most of all, before anything else, beyond anything else, is to keep homosexuals away from God. They will endure if GLBTQ get civil rights, even marriage. They will endure, if mainstream society accepts us. But if God accepts us and we accept God, their sin is inexcusable. They will no option but repentance, and they fear that more than anything else.

      “So far not a single church or Christian denomination has made a valid attempt to “end the wrong of being a homosexual. ”

      This is just a lie. There is no excuse for it. There are hundreds of churches that are actively working, day after day, year after year, to end the theology ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      I don’t appreciate it when homophobes make such categorically false, degrading statements about GLBTQ people, and I do not appreciate it when non-religious people, of any sexual orienation, make them about Christians and people of faith.

      when it clearly hates and discriminates against homosexuals. So far not a single church or Christian denomination has made a valid attempt to “end the wrong of being a homosexual. Lutheran Pastors Erik and Eddie are “holding onto their paychecks,” instead of taking a risk.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Subset? Are you kidding me?

      99% of churches are not “open, affirming, welcoming” or any other semantic version of pretend change. That is not a subset. And, as has been so exhaustively discussed (but apparently still demands repeating), there has not been a single denomination with the bravery to make a simple, decisive statement of moral integrity.

      So, it would seem the standard Christian belief is actually that homosexuality is sinful, wrong, and deviant. I guess that would make you and others with the same belief the true subset.

      The burden, then, is on the subset to, as Eugene said so well, be militantly pro-gay. If your belief is different from that of standard, historical religion, then it’s up to you to say so, and fight like hell to make your belief the standard.

      If that’s the game (which it is), then celebrating these pseudo acts of clerical clergy are incredibly counter productive.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “Again, your argument is a dishonest one. I haven’t told you it is wrong to argue against the construct “homosexuality is sin”, and to the best of my understanding, neither is Eddie or Erik, or any of the progressive/liberal/welcoming and affirming Christian churches. I strongly advocate GLBTQ people to fully educate themselves about the errors, frauds, false assumptions used to construct “homosexaulity is sin”, and to employ that information as thoroughly and effectively as they can.”

      You don’t need these lengthy comments that MISS THE POINT.

      A major Christian belief is that “homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant.” You have suggested, countless times now, that “certain” LGBTQ gay-Christians have rejected that belief. Which ones?

      To keep this conversation in context we have been discussing the FACT that religion – including your Christians – have made homosexuality wrong. It is the source of ALL the hatred of homosexuals. If one truly cares about the plight of LGBTQ people then you MUST sincerely and honestly acknowledge the source of our suffering and then STOP IT.

      Religious proclamations about homosexuals are the “lies” that have branded us. Of course we must un-do that negative branding and then re-brand ourselves. To that end it would indeed be helpful if some Christian denomination or even a single Christian Church would simply and courageously Declare:

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful and Deviant.

      Can you make that happen? If not, a Christian is a Christian is a Christian.
      Baptists shout what Lutherans whisper and Catholics think. It’s all the “same beliefs” until they CHANGE THEM. They have NOT been changed.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: How many opportunities have you been given to prove your claim that these congregation have decisively rejected the doctrine of homosexuality as sin? I guess I’ll just have to ask one more time. Where’s the document? The press release? The official declaration? Anything on letterhead, even?

      I won’t hold my breath for you to get back to us. Why would this time be different?

      Oh, and that 1% statistic is straight from HRC’s misguided faith-outreach program, for those who have paid attention to the homo-religious reality out there. For clarification, that’s 1% of US congregations that are “open, affirming, or welcoming.” Not the percentage of congregations that have rejected the homosexual sin doctrine. That percentage? Still 0.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “I love the way you use the very same tactics to defend your prejudice that homophobes do.”

      It’s not a prejudice. It’s logic and reason. Christianity has been a major source of bigotry, and we both know it.

      “Is identical to the dismissal homophobes apply to the contributions of GLBTQ people.”

      No, it isn’t. I don’t dismiss contributions of Christian GLBTs. I’m just saying that they are counterbalanced by the fact that they spread Christianity. Homophobes say something else entirely, anyway. Their dismissal is based on illusory notions. My “dismissal” is based on real, observable harm.

      “The fact is that by challenging the theology of homophobes who use the Bible, I make it much more difficult for them to spread bigotry.”

      And you also make it easier for them to spread Christianity – which will result in bigotry if you aren’t very persuasive.

      “See, you really are mirroring exactly the tactics and attitudes of homophobes, the only difference is your target. You are not better than them, they are not worse than you. They target homosexuals, you target Christians.”

      You are missing a very important detail. They target gays for being gay. I target Christians for hating gays (or making it easier to hate gays). In other words, I don’t have a problem with believing in Jesus Christ, etc.

      “The fact is that Christ’s command ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is actually an expressive of fluid morality and personal authority, which most progressive denominations openly acknowledge, and even many conservative denominations recognize and teach indirectly.”

      We both know that it isn’t the “greatest commandment”. If “love thy neighbor…” was the greatest commandment in Christianity, I wouldn’t have a problem with Christianity and Christians. But, as Johnny Gall said, “They are taught that God comes before anything else”, so the end result isn’t derived from personal authority.

      “The fact of the matter is that the traditional interpretation of a handful of minor passages used to create ‘homosexuality is sin’ contradicts the core elements of Christian teaching about God, about morality and ethics, about justice.”

      Without Christianity, these passages would simply be irrelevant. Just because they are minor, it doesn’t mean that the passages don’t exist. And the traditional interpretation actually makes sense, so your point is moot. Whether you like it or not, the Bible says that gays “shall be surely put to death”, and you need a very esoteric interpretation to change the meaning of the phrase.

      “The most vitriolic and insistent demands that the traditional interpretation is correct (i.e., homosexuality is sin) come not from homophobes, but from some atheists. Face it, you need to sustain that traditional interpretation, and to degrade and marginalize the work of Christian GLBTQ people, in order to excuse and justify your prejudice against all of the myriad diverse Christians.”

      You are horribly, horribly wrong. You should understand one thing: atheists care about Christianity mostly because it harms people. That’s exactly why they focus on the most harmful interpretation. Had Christianity been a harmless superstition, atheists would have ignored it. That’s why, for example, Richard Dawkins didn’t write a book called The Feng Shui Delusion. ;-)

      It’s not unlike a drug trial. Doctors focus on the most harmful results.

      “One more parallel for you to think about, if you will. You said:
      “But it doesn’t change the fact that, without Christianity, no one would give a damn about Leviticus, and people would simply be much less prejudiced.”

      This is effectively the same argument that homophobes use. It is just a variation of ‘without homosexuality, we would have no reason to discriminate’ or ‘if there were no homosexuals, no one would be prejudiced’. “

      In this “parallel”, you equate the victim to the perpetrator. Essentially, I said, “Without X, they would have no reason to discriminate”. And the homophobes say “Without X, we would have no reason to discriminate”. The first phrase condemns bigotry, the second phrase excuses it.

      “Imagining a world without Christianity is exactly the same as imagining a world without GLBTQ people. Spiritual faith is as intimate and personal as sexual orientation, the capacity for as innate as sexual orientation.”

      [citation needed]

      No one is born a Christian.

      “To premise a world without Christianity is to image a world wherein millions are denied something that is meaningful to them, something that sustains and uplifts them, something that is crucial to their quality of life.”

      Bullshit. They can find (or create) a less hateful substitute. That’s exactly why I said that I don’t have a problem with Christians who are militantly pro-gay. What I have a problem with is the whole “disagreeing on homosexuality” thing.

      “Prejudice is wrong, no matter who you target.”

      Does it mean that we shouldn’t target homophobes? Erik Samuelson seems to think so, but I can’t agree. You can’t tolerate intolerance.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      Schulkitz wrote:“then it tells us how “wrong” it is to argue a construct designed solely to malign those you are prejudiced against.”

      I didn’t write that. YOU did. It was a quote of a comment you made in your post no. 22, third from the last paragraph.

      You have proven what I have said time and time again. Arguing with a Christian, is like arguing with a drug-addict in need of a fix.

      Several Facts you should be aware of, David.

      First of all, I am not a Christian, therefore I am not obliged to play by your Christian rules and regulations or debate religious dogma with you.

      Second, I do not accept the bible as the inerrant word of God, therefore you will score no points with me by quoting from it.

      Third, I do not believe in or accept your Jesus as my personal savior and ticket to heaven. Fear of hell is not one of my phobias. Hell is the province of Christians like you.

      Forth, I do not accept the fairy-tale notion of angels, cherubs and saints playing harps in heaven. I have no desire to spend eternity in such a boring environment of self-righteous asshole I could stand when they were still here on earth.

      Fifth, I do not accept the notion of Satan and demons lurking about in order to steal my soul in order to sadisticaly burn it for eternity in hell while God rubs his hands together in orgasmic delight.

      Sixth, your militant defense of being a member of a cult that has consistently defiled and scourged members of the LGBT community since it’s inception, does not require that I be respectful of you or the cult to which you belong.

      Seventh, I will not apologize for choosing not to believe the rhetoric, fairy-tales and lies preached by Christians so that they can get their way. You WILL meet with militancy each and every time you try to club we non-believers over the head for refusing to accept your lies and deceit.

      Eighth, I will not apologize for being an atheist, an agnostic, a non-believer or any other term you choose to use in a pejorative way in order to make these groups of people look like sinners who are going straight to hell when they die. Intimidation is futile when applied to non-believers. Save it for those truly fearful of “God’s Wrath”. They deserve it more than we do. They made it the old-fashioned way. They “earned” it.

      Ninth, I do not accept the Christian notion of Judgment Day, Armageddon, The Rapture or any other cockamamie notion of cataclysmic destruction of the earth and it’s inhabitants by God. In fact, I think it is pretty disrespectful to the creator, if there is one, to so passionately lust for the destruction of his very creation and the habitat of all living things, humans aside. How cold, calloused and cavalier.

      And lastly, I do not accept the twin notions of original sin and guilt. I am not guilty of having done anything to garner the ire of God and refuse to accept the guilt you Christians wish to burden everyone with.

      Go sit in a corner and suffer by yourself. I have better things to do with my time.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “Some people in leadership positions, within Christian organizations like the Catholic Church, claimed that homosexuality was wrong. There is a huge difference.
      The idea ‘homosexuality is sin’ never appears explicitly, directly, indisputably in the Bible. It is a construct, an interpretation, one created by some human beings for their own reasons. Much of the history indicates that this heresy was created for political goals more than anything else.
      Some people made homosexuality wrong, and then interpreted the Bible to support them.”

      With this statement you have lost ALL credibility. To DENY that Christians believe homosexuality is wrong is painfully ridiculous.

      But, then you reference Unitarian Universalist as a “Christian Denomination that rejects the idea that homosexuality is a sin.” Uhhh, UUs are not “Christians.” They believe everything and nothing. They are proudly “non-Denominational.” Your other reference – UFMCC is a gay-friendly group that HAS NOT formally declared that homosexuality is not a sin. Many of us believed they would – they have not.

      If you want to make progress for LGBTQ people you must recognize that ALL Christians are alike, unless THEY PROCLAIM THEIR DIFFERENCES.

      I have provided a very simple and direct 7-word Declaration. Find some Christians “friendly” enough to sign it.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      Please prove this statement.

      “The gay “favorites” are usually MCC, UCC and the Episcopalians, but NONE of them have formally declared “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.” ”

      You ask for proof, making false statements for which you provide nothing.

      The UFMCC has indeed formally declared that homosexuality is not a sin. The UUA has formal statements rebuking said teaching.

      The Episcopalian Church is itself a diverse group, with a complex position on doctrinal authority. There are many Episcopalian congregations that have published rejections of ‘homosexuality is sin’. You are demanding monolithic behaviors from groups that are much less monolithic than you realize. Not every denomination of Christianity is as tightly hierarchical as the Catholic Church.

      “Sure, many are “gay-friendly,” but in reality it simply means you and your defects are “tolerated.”

      False again. You are making the same kind of false rhetorical device that homophobes routinely employ. If not all GLBTQ orgs explicitly condemn NAMBLA, they say, then we all support it. It is foul when you do it, and foul when homophobes do.

      And you are, as homophobes do to us, telling me what the reality of my life and faith and church is, in unsubstantiated contradiction to all of the evidence I have encountered. That is wrong when Paul Cameron does it, and wrong when you do it.

      “The religious lie about homosexuals MUST end. I see no evidence that any gay-Christians have taken that stand. Not even gay clergy.”

      Again, the fact that you don’t see anything, means nothing. Almost certainly, you cannot see my backyard, but it exists. Frankly, I think your eyes are closed, because clergy, gay and straight, have been taking that stand for decades. My partner was just reading to me from a book by Marcus Borg, a het clergy who has specifically taken that stand, and taken a lot of heat for it.

      The fact is that there are clergy who are standing up for GLBTQ people, and denouncing ‘homosexuality is sin’. Some have lost their jobs for it, like Jimmy Creech. Mel White has spent the latter half of his career working to undo the damage he supported in the first half.

      Either you don’t pay attention, or you were being deliberately false, because these are stories that have garnered national, public attention, over the last two decades.

      “Re-read Rebecca’s post above. SHE told the TRUTH. Gay Clergy won’t risk their “paycheck” to take a stand for truth.”

      Actually, I think Rebecca was talking about some het, progressive clergy in her experience, nothing more.

      There are priests, gay and straight, in the Catholic church who are challenging church dogma on homosexuality, and some have been fired for it. There are ministers in every denomination who are challenging ‘homosexuality is sin’, and some pay for it with their lives and careers.

      Essentially, your question is identical to that from a homophobe who asserts ‘there is no anti-gay violence, show me’, even though real life accounts of strongly supportive clergy, gay and straight, have appeared on major newsnetworks and newspapers, in magazines like Time, and even featured in GLBTQ publications.

      I think your question is really a diversionary tactic, an attempt to create a false impression, knowing that like anti-gay crime, there is just too much evidence to fairly summarize in a casual forum like this.

      I think you are articulating prejudice and conjecture, Brian, rather than something you have actually researched and studied, I think you are repeating what you’ve been told or assumed.

      Who else does that? And don’t GLBTQ people complain, rightfully so?

      By the way, I unintentionally left your last paragraph without quotes at the end of my last post (128)

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      You are not discussing with integrity, morals, or decency.

      You quoted me: “Some people in leadership positions, within Christian organizations like the Catholic Church, claimed that homosexuality was wrong. There is a huge difference.
      The idea ‘homosexuality is sin’ never appears explicitly, directly, indisputably in the Bible. It is a construct, an interpretation, one created by some human beings for their own reasons. Much of the history indicates that this heresy was created for political goals more than anything else.
      Some people made homosexuality wrong, and then interpreted the Bible to support them.”

      And then replied:
      “With this statement you have lost ALL credibility. To DENY that Christians believe homosexuality is wrong is painfully ridiculous.”

      My statement is accurate, and your false generalization does not refute my statement. Your “painfully ridiculous” statement is not even an accurate summation of the passage you quoted.

      The fact is the Bible simply does not contain any explicit statement condemning homosexuality, or homosexual sex. It contains a handful of passages that people have, over the centuries, gradually, come to interpret as creating a condemnation of homosexuality.

      You have instantiated what I mentioned before, that it is not homophobic Christians who are the most committed to ‘The Bible condemns homosexuality’, but people who despise Christianity.

      Your dismissal of my credibility simply indicates that you cannot refute what I have stated.

      “But, then you reference Unitarian Universalist as a “Christian Denomination that rejects the idea that homosexuality is a sin.” Uhhh, UUs are not “Christians.” ”

      According them, they are. You dishonestly defining Christian to suit you, and in doing so, you are collaborating with fundamentalists, who insist that only they are “real” Christians, and that “real” Christians hate homosexuals.

      Jesus said nothing condemning homosexuality, and a great deal condemning prejudice, bigotry, and injustice.

      You as a non-Christian just know more about the entire breadth, scale, history and complexity of Christianty, exactly the way homophobes, as heterosexuals, just know more about the entire breadth, scale, history and complexity of GLBTQ people and their lives.

      “Your other reference – UFMCC is a gay-friendly group that HAS NOT formally declared that homosexuality is not a sin. Many of us believed they would – they have not.”

      Wrong. I’ve been a member for nearly two decades. Perhaps you have some bizarre and twisted definition of ‘formally’ that makes your lie appear to be accurate, but, as someone who has participated in MCC congregations, they explicitly reject ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      “If you want to make progress for LGBTQ people you must recognize that ALL Christians are alike, unless THEY PROCLAIM THEIR DIFFERENCES.”

      So, I have to embrace your lies.

      Homophobes insist the same thing, Brian. Like you, they demand that GLBTQ people have to do this and that, to please them.

      But let’s be honest here, there is no pleasing you, is there? No matter what any person of faith does, it won’t be enough for you.

      Just like so many homophobes. As Pogo said . . .

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: “The UFMCC has indeed formally declared that homosexuality is not a sin. The UUA has formal statements rebuking said teaching.

      Please provide the proof. MCC has a rambling brochure about homosexuality, but they have not formally stated that “homosexuality is not a sin.”

      The Episcopalian Church is itself a diverse group, with a complex position on doctrinal authority. There are many Episcopalian congregations that have published rejections of ‘homosexuality is sin’. You are demanding monolithic behaviors from groups that are much less monolithic than you realize. Not every denomination of Christianity is as tightly hierarchical as the Catholic Church.”

      Please provide the proof. Yes, Episcopalians allow gays to participate, but they have not formally stated that “homosexuality is not a sin.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: Re: UUA being christian.

      Here’s their statement taken directly from their website.

      “The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a religious organization that combines two traditions: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. They consolidated into the UUA in 1961.

      Both groups trace their roots in North America to the early Massachusetts settlers and to the founders of the Republic. Overseas, their heritages reach back centuries to pioneers in England, Poland, and Transylvania.

      Each of the 1,041 congregations in the United States, Canada, and overseas are democratic in polity and operation; they govern themselves. They unite in the Association to provide services that individual congregations cannot provide for themselves. Each congregation is associated with one of the UUA’s 19 districts.

      Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.”

      They do not claim to be a christian denomination. They claim only to be “a liberal religion with jewish-christian roots.” That is not the same thing as being a christian organization. Don’t slam others for getting their facts wrong if you’re going to do the same thing.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: Your entire basket of comments on this matter are completely WITHOUT PROOF.

      If MCC took a meaningful stand on homosexuality, I believe they would be very proud of it – perhaps highlight it on their website. Nothing there, David.

      I’m beginning you are one of the ones that has been “conned” by MCC. “How Christian.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      No. 139 – I’m beginning TO BELIEVE you are one of the one that has been “conned” by MCC. How “Christian.”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      @David: “Mel White has spent the latter half of his career working to undo the damage he supported in the first half.”

      That’s because he’s gay. He didn’t suddenly become “more Christian”. He simply couldn’t take it anymore. So you don’t have a reason to attribute his change to Christianity.

      Whether you like it or not, atheists are more gay-friendly than Christians. For example, atheists overwhelmingly supported gay people’s marriage rights in California.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: Thank-you.

      @David: Your suggestion that “Christians do not believe homosexuality is wrong or a sin” IS OFF THE CHARTS.

      Look at Gallup polls where nearly ALL of the people who claim “homosexuality is wrong” attribute that to their “religion.” Look at the Prop 8 results as well.

      HOMOSEXUAL BAD = RELIGION & CHRISTIANITY = RELIGION

      It’s very simple. Christians believe homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant.

      Find some that don’t – and PROVE IT. Get your friends at MCC to sign the Declaration.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @Ryan:

      I know two people who were gay, in long-term lesbian relationships who are now married. One with children and one planning on starting a family. I do not have any objective studies, I am only relating my own experience. And, just today, I asked other friends if they knew folks who were gay but now are homosexuals. 2/3 said YES! They all remembered folks living in college, or in their youth who are now heterosexual and many in family situations.

      So, don’t get down on me. I am only reporting facts!

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      You said to Brian You are not discussing with integrity,
      morals, or decency.

      Then you went on to say The fact is the Bible simply does not contain any explicit statement condemning homosexuality, or homosexual sex. It contains a handful of passages that people have, over the centuries, gradually, come to interpret as creating a condemnation of homosexuality.

      Oh really? Well, here are two of the most common bible quotes used to condemn homosexuality.

      Leviticus 20:13? ASV: (American Standard Version, 1901) “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

      That’s pretty straight forward. No rocket science here to figure out. You suck dick or fuck ass, you get put to death. What part of that do you not understand?

      There are further references to this quote from many versions of the bible as you can plainly see in the following link.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibh3.htm

      The other is Leviticus 18:22: 22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

      God makes it pretty plain that he don’t be liking this kind of kind of behavior. Perhaps you would care to share your interpretation of this scriptural passage?

      And if that is not enough documentation to convince you that your bible does, indeed, contain explicit statements against homosexuality, then how about this “clobber” list?

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/homglance.htm

      And you have the balls to accuse Brian of lack of integrity, morals or decency?

      Check out the color of your own pot bottom, dude, before you go calling the pot black!

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Correction: “before you go calling the pot black” should read,
      “before you go calling the kettle black”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Rusty: It’s called bisexuality and social conformity. Genius.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      I wrote: Schulkitz wrote:“then it tells us how “wrong” it is to argue a construct designed solely to malign those you are prejudiced against.”
      Now Schulkitz , you reply:“I didn’t write that. YOU did. It was a quote of a comment you made in your post no. 22, third from the last paragraph.”
      Wrong. Post 123, fourth paragraph from the end.
      Your post is degrading and offensive, and suggest a complete lack of ethics.
      “First of all, I am not a Christian, therefore I am not obliged to play by your Christian rules and regulations or debate religious dogma with you.”
      No one said you were. But no one is obligated to put up with the verbal abuse you have inflicted on people of faith, and I, and anyone else, has the right to rebuke it.
      “Second, I do not accept the bible as the inerrant word of God, therefore you will score no points with me by quoting from it.”
      Irrelevant, since I have neither seek to points with you, nor get you to accept the Bible under any conditions. You are raising a false issue, again.
      “Third, I do not believe in or accept your Jesus as my personal savior and ticket to heaven. Fear of hell is not one of my phobias. Hell is the province of Christians like you.”
      Irrelevant again, because the criticism I have raised regarding articulating prejudice, requires none of the above. It does presuppose an ethic sense, but does not require that it be found in any religion whatsoever.
      “Forth, I do not accept the fairy-tale notion of angels, cherubs and saints playing harps in heaven. I have no desire to spend eternity in such a boring environment of self-righteous asshole I could stand when they were still here on earth.”
      Irrelevant as well, though your carefully constructed distortion of Christian belief is extraordinarily, and deliberately offensive, in precisely the same way that the carefully constructed representations of GLBTQ people from Paul Cameron and his peers is offensive. Nothing in your post so far differs from the behaviors routinely displayed by the average homophobe, except your target.
      “Fifth, I do not accept the notion of Satan and demons lurking about in order to steal my soul in order to sadisticaly burn it for eternity in hell while God rubs his hands together in orgasmic delight.”
      During the Prop 8 campaign, on the website for newspaper, one homophobe posted a link to extreme, essentially brutal gay porn, and insisted that it demonstrated what ‘all gays do in bed’. Your statement above is the same manifestation of immoral prejudice, only with a different target.
      “Sixth, your militant defense of being a member of a cult that has consistently defiled and scourged members of the LGBT community since it’s inception, does not require that I be respectful of you or the cult to which you belong.”
      Your pejorative characterization of me and my posts, is yet another example of the tactics that bigots universally employ. Your strawman argument is simply dishonest and pathetic. The only thing that would require you be respectful of others, is a healthy moral or ethical sense. If you do not have one, or chose not to use it, that is your issue.
      “Seventh, I will not apologize for choosing not to believe the rhetoric, fairy-tales and lies preached by Christians so that they can get their way. You WILL meet with militancy each and every time you try to club we non-believers over the head for refusing to accept your lies and deceit.”
      No one asked you to apologize for not believing in God, your false accusation by insinuation is dishonest and unethical. It suggests that you will no address the material I have actually presented. I have not tried to ‘club non-believers’ about anything, and to be blunt, all of the language here that even remotely appears like clubbing, has come from people who oppose the existence of Christians.
      The lies and deceit have been yours, Schulkitz, do not foist them on me. I am just as tired of being falsely accused by fundamentalist Christians as I am of being falsely accused by fundamentalist atheists.
      “Eighth, I will not apologize for being an atheist, an agnostic, a non-believer or any other term you choose to use in a pejorative way in order to make these groups of people look like sinners who are going straight to hell when they die.”
      I haven’t asked you to apologize, and I have not use any term to describe people who do not believe in God, in a pejorative way. Your consistent insinuations about me are uncalled for, unethical, and, they deeply and consistently align with the behavior of all other bigots. Racists make the same basic points, as do homophobes, anti-Semites, etc.
      “Intimidation is futile when applied to non-believers.”
      So far, the closest anyone has come to attempting intimidation, is your posts.

      To cut to the chase, it doesn’t matter whether you accept or reject any religious beliefs, because the issue I’ve been addressing to date is independent of religious beliefs. The bigotry you’ve articulated it wrong, no matter who you were maligning. Changing the target of malice and degradation, from homosexuals to Christians, does not make prejudice any less reprehensible.
      Frankly, you don’t need to have any ethics, you can legally be completely devoid of any sense of right and wrong, any empathy, or responsibility. Be as foul as you like.

      Lots of bigots do.

      Since you claim to have better things to do, I trust that you will live up to that, and spend your time on something other than spreading prejudice and bigotry.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @David:

      Wow, before you go judging me I would think you should consider the log in your own eye before you start judging the spec in mine.

      A few comments. Yes, I know at least two people who were gay, lived in gay relationships for a long time, and now are heterosexual; one married, and the other planning marriage and a family. So, you can judge me, but I am only reporting facts that I have observed and know. I know these folks pretty well.

      And, today I asked friends if they knew folks who were gay and are now heterosexuals and the answer was 2/3 YES. I was a bit shocked myself, but those are the facts. Only ancecdotal, I am sure you will say, but please don’t say you don’t know anyone who knows folks who were “ex – gay” because I am reporting real facts to you here.

      Now, with regard to Christ’s tempatation by the devil, you can read it in the gospels. I like Luke the best but you can read others.

      There are a lot of commentaries on the three tests by Satan to Jesus, but it seems to me that the crux of all the tests was to get Christ to distort his real mission; which was to save us with his death and resurrection and announce the Kingdom of God. Even a modest distortion would have been a victory of the Evil One.

      I, frankly, see the LGBT Agenda the same way. You start with a premise to to usher in the Kingdom of God in this age, in this worldy Kingdom, because that ( I guess to sum up your thinking ) is what Jesus would want. And, by doing so, those of you who support “gay rights” are trying to call Jesus the King of the Gays — Just as Jesus was name the King of the Jews (those who were considered unclean) and for which he was crucified.

      By doing so you diminish Him for your own Agenda. For this, you should repent.

      Jesus did not come here to raise the level of our society. He cam here to call us out to be disciples of a new order, of His Kingdom.

      By pushing the LGBT Agenda onto his Kingdom, you try to constrain Christ. And, quite frankly, you are “using” Jesus as much as the radical religious right does in all its worst moments. By trying to impose the LGBT Agenda onto Christ you do the same as Pilate when he imposed the King of the Jews upon Christ.

      Now, as far as the emissaries – just read the Bible.

      Jesus called single men and married men to be his emissaries. Peter was with his wife when he traveled. (1 Cor. 9:5). Prisca and Aquila (the woman is named first). Andronicus and Junia. Philogus and Julia.

      You are right, Jesus never called homosexuality “unclean” which is the claim of so many.

      But, you error and nail him to the cross of your own politics and LGBT agenda.

      Please consider the weeping and bleeding Christ when you so proudly push your view of His Kingdom, because it pains his followers and his children.

      I pray you will at least pause a few moments to allow the truth of what I say to penetrate your soul, and plead to our Lord Jesus for clear understanding.

      Thank you.

      Rusty

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      “Please provide the proof. MCC has a rambling brochure about homosexuality, but they have not formally stated that “homosexuality is not a sin.”

      You have provided no proof, but demand it.

      The denomination’s doctrine explicitly rejects ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      “Please provide the proof. Yes, Episcopalians allow gays to participate, but they have not formally stated that “homosexuality is not a sin.”

      Your double standard is dishonest, Brian. You have expected me to take your word, about a subject you know little about, without a shred of evidence. Yet, when I tell you from my personal experience that you are wrong, you demand evidence.

      “Your entire basket of comments on this matter are completely WITHOUT PROOF.”
      Nothing you have posted has anything behind it.

      You are changing the criteria for discussion to one you have not even attempted to meet. That is dishonest and reprehensible.

      It is typical though. And you are hoping that I will chose not to invest the time to substantiate every statement, so you can pretend that your completely unsubstantiated claims win by default.

      So, Brian, before I make any effort for you, first you must prove, with five citations each, every single one of your many claims.

      vernonvanderbilt

      I’ve attended many UU congregations, known several UU clergy, and many more UU members over the years. Your interpretation is simply fraudulent and false.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @Chance:

      My friends do not say they are “bi-sexual.” They say the were gay but are not now. So, you tell me. They are only reporting facts. If it disturbs you, I cannot give you any solace. These are facts and others have the same experience.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Still waiting. A memo, maybe? Official smoke signal?

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: You’re an idiot. As I said, I got my information directly from the UUA website. You want a link to that?

      http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

      There’s the section I quoted, word for word. It’s not my interpretation at all, just the facts I found after 60 seconds of actual research. You could have fucked everyone who’s ever been a UU member and it still doesn’t change what is written on their official website. Now you’re just being an asshole.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      I wrote: “The fact is the Bible simply does not contain any explicit statement condemning homosexuality, or homosexual sex. It contains a handful of passages that people have, over the centuries, gradually, come to interpret as creating a condemnation of homosexuality.”

      Schulkitz, who claimed falsely to have better things to do, replied: “Oh really? Well, here are two of the most common bible quotes used to condemn homosexuality.

      Leviticus 20:13? ASV: (American Standard Version, 1901) “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

      That’s pretty straight forward.”

      First, Schulkitz, you may not know this, but Leviticus was not written in English. You are quoting a translation, which is an interpretation from one language into another.

      The passage you are quoting is inaccurately translated. In Hebrew, it uses two separate words to connote a male person, the first has the intrinsic connotation of ‘husband’, and the second has the intrinsic connotation of ‘priest’ or holy man.

      The portion translated ‘as with a woman’ is actually a reference to a woman’s bed. It only makes sense in the context of a husband doing something in his wife’s bed. It has no bearing at all on men who do not have wives.

      The word translated ‘abomination’ actually means an act of ritual impurity, and many things are called to’bah in the Torah.

      The Leviticus passage you quoted, and its peer, actually condemn a married man cheating on his wife with a priest. They appear in the context of a long list of rules, most of which condemn acts of heterosexual intimacy, that is describing the religious fertility rituals of other people’s the people of Israel had encountered.

      Now, had you looked at this passage with any thought at all, the ‘as with a woman’ should have been your first clue that something was wrong. God, of all people, would know that gay men do not have sex with men as if they were women, and the inclusion of that phrase radically changes in the meaning. If that phrase had not been included, that the condemnation of male-male sexual intimacy would be expressed, but, because that phrase is included, this passage is not, and cannot, be a condemnation of homosexuality.

      But bear in mind, I used the word explicitly, and a shaky inference does not fit that standard.

      “No rocket science here to figure out. You suck dick or fuck ass, you get put to death. What part of that do you not understand?”

      Neither in the text as translated, or in the Hebrew original, to the concepts ‘suck’, ‘dick’, ‘fuck’, or ‘ass’ appear.

      I am well aware of the clobber verses, your condescending tone is inexcusable and abusive. And as I have indicated, repeatedly in prior posts, I am thoroughly aware of the many flaws, translation errors, irrationalities required to accept those clobber verses as condemning homosexuality.

      The really dishonest thing is how you cherry-picked, for even the Religious Tolerance website provides much of the rebuttal and challenge to the traditional interpretation. I will give you but one statement from your own source that should have influenced your diatribe:

      “Are Bible translators truly free of bias?

      The answer is no. They have never been free to translate the Bible as their understanding of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek dictated. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibi1.htm

      The sad thing is that you are so invested in proving that Christianity condemns homosexuality, that you have publicly defended the very lie that has caused GLBTQ people so much suffering.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: Furthermore, if you want to get even further into it, here’s a description of Unitarian Universalism.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/u-u.htm

      “Unitarianism Universalism is an unusual religious organization. Unlike most religions in North America, it does not require its adherents to adhere to a specific set of beliefs. Its membership includes individuals who identify themselves as Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Humanists, Wiccans, or other religious tradition. Many inter-faith couples find it to be a comfortable religious home. UUs view the main function of the congregation as facilitating the spiritual quest of its members.”

      Still want to call it christian? Some members may identify as christian, but the church itself is not.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Rusty

      “Wow, before you go judging me I would think you should consider the log in your own eye before you start judging the spec in mine.”

      Yet you blithely judged millions of people, not about something they said, but about their very lives.

      “Yes, I know at least two people who were gay, lived in gay relationships for a long time, and now are heterosexual; one married, and the other planning marriage and a family.”

      And I know personally, nearly a dozen ‘ex-gays’ who married, had a family, and finally, after hurting a lot of people, admitted that they still were, and always had been, gay/lesbian.

      The behavior people engage in is proof of nothing, Rusty.

      Your ‘facts’ are not facts, they are hearsaye. Nothing more. Even if I, or anyone else here, believes that you had any conversations with anyone, you have no way of knowing if the people you talked to were telling you the truth, or telling you what they think you want to hear. And you have no way of knowing if what they said was accurate or not, nor do they have any way of knowing if what they were told was accurate, or not.

      The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence, versus hearsaye, that anyone has ever changed from homosexual to heterosexual.

      But there is a terrible flood of people testifying that they tried desperately, with all their power, all their faith, to become heterosexual, and nothing changed. There is a sad flood of testimony from people who once claim to have changed, who called themselves ‘ex-gays’, and preached to congregations that God had made them heterosexual, only to admit months, years later, that their sexual orientation had never waived.

      Your hearsay against reams of material on a wealth of websites and books, study after study, all indicating sexuality orientation is innate and immutable, ex-gay ministries and therapies harm people rather than help them.

      Additionally, against your hearsay, Rusty, not only have I known people who were once ‘ex-gay’ and later admit they were only telling lies to themselves and everyone else, I’ve know hundreds of GLBTQ people over the years, and read many more testimonies, who testify to doing everything imaginable to change into heterosexuals, without success.

      “I, frankly, see the LGBT Agenda the same way.”

      Your derogatory vision is both abusive, and malicious. It is predicated on character slurs that are intrinsically unChristian, a fantastical fabrication that has no foundation in reality.

      “You start with a premise to to usher in the Kingdom of God in this age, . . .”

      Nope. From the get go, you’re premise is pure fantasy. All of your assertions in that paragraph are simply false.

      “Jesus did not come here to raise the level of our society. He cam here to call us out to be disciples of a new order, of His Kingdom.”

      Do you realize that the second sentence contradicts the first? Being a ‘disciple of a new order’ would have the effect of raising the level of society. Never mind that your context is completely divorced from what progressive denominations, and GLBTQ Christians, believe.

      “By pushing the LGBT Agenda onto his Kingdom,”

      False accusations are sinful, Rusty.

      As for ‘emissaries’, you missed my point. If you apply the standard of the NT emissaries to determine who can, and cannot follow Jesus, than by ethnicity and race, most Christians cannot.

      “But, you error and nail him to the cross of your own politics and LGBT agenda.”

      Please, do not make any more false accusations. There is no such thing as a gay agenda.

      “I pray you will at least pause a few moments to allow the truth of what I say to penetrate your soul, and plead to our Lord Jesus for clear understanding.

      Thank you.

      Rusty”

      Kindly do not pray about me, your assumptions about me are degrading and abusive, and you are, in my opinion, attempting a form of spiritual rape, effectively asking God to force me to follow you.

      So just don’t.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anthony in Nashville
      Anthony in Nashville

      There were a lot of interesting comments here, especially from Rebecca and David. And I’m glad Queerty used something besides race baiting to generate a lot of hits.

      I had a 75 minute conversation with a (straight) pastor last week that centered on how gay people have been treated/depicted by Christians. He said “there is a difference between Scripture and the Bible,” which I thought was odd for a preacher to say.

      He explained that in his opinion, the Bible has been written and interpreted in a way that allows the church and/or authorities to control people by instilling fear. But if you go to the parts where Jesus speaks, there is nothing about being gay, and since he was clear about what he thought was important, homosexuality must not have been a big deal to him. This preacher also spoke about how sad it was that many gay people have turned away from spirituality because of religious homophobes.

      It was maybe the first time I heard a preacher admit that a much of the Bible is “bullshit” (his words) with a political agenda. I’m not saying I’m about to declare myself a Christian, but it did prove that not all religous people are bad.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Rusty

      “As I said, I got my information directly from the UUA website. You want a link to that?

      http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

      There’s the section I quoted, word for word. It’s not my interpretation at all, just the facts I found after 60 seconds of actual research. You could have fucked everyone who’s ever been a UU member and it still doesn’t change what is written on their official website. Now you’re just being an asshole.”

      Do you know what an interpretation is? Do you understand that word, or just derogatory ones like those you’ve called me?

      There is no statement, or implied concept, indicating that UU’s are not Christians. There is nothing that rejects the teachings of Jesus Christ. In fact, your own citation states: “Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. ”

      All Christian denominations have Jewish Christian roots. Who do you think wrote the Torah, the first portion of what Christians call the Old Testament? Who collected the histories and letters and songs, etc, that comprise the rest of the Old Testament. Jews. The Old Testament is the Jewish half of Christian belief.

      Now, the word Christian, in the phrase “with Jewish-Christian roots” who do you suppose that refers to? Do you suppose it refers to the same person that Christian’s mean when they use the term Christian?

      It does. It refers to Jesus Christ.

      The problem is that you are applying to UU a very limited, fundamentalist definition of what is, or is not, a Christian, and one that has no basis in Christ’s teachings, frankly.

      The other problem is that you are arguing from what you can glean on the fly, about a group you apparently do not belong to.

      Have you ever attended a service at a Unitarian church, better, have you attended services at a diverse variety of Unitarian churches?

      I have. And I have seen people disparage Unitarians, claiming they are not ‘real’ Christians, and have heard from Unitarians how much that offends them.

      By the way, the matter came up because one person admitting to dismiss my statement that Christian clergy are actively working to support GLBTQ people, by redefining Christianity to exclude Unitarians. So: http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/4722.shtml

      “Nine Unitarian Universalist ministers from eight states traveled to Washington, D.C., on Monday to urge the Senate to vote down a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage. They were part of a 35-member interfaith delegation from across the country. ”

      The fact that you resorted to name-calling, though, is really the nail in the coffin for your rebuttal. If it had been accurate, you’d would have been civil.

      Don’t let your hatred and hunger to persecute Christians in revenge blind you to reality – most of the people who are working to achieve equality for GLBTQ people, and to erase the heresy ‘homosexuality is sin’ are Christians.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @Chance:

      It has been my experience that those who militantly advance the LGBT agenda use snickering to, what, prove a point.

      So, use “genius” the in the pejorative. Demean, make fun, put down. This has nothing to do with the truth. It may satisfy your sense of “truth” but it advances nothing.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Chance,

      You can wait forever for me to meet a standard neither you, nor anyone else even attempted. I post from a lifetime of experience.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Rusty

      You said to Chance, not that I condone his/her post to you, or anyone,
      “It has been my experience that those who militantly advance the LGBT agenda use snickering to, what, prove a point.”

      There is no LGBT agenda, or GLBTQ agenda, or gay agenda. It has been the experience of most GLBTQ people, that folks who use the meme ‘gay agenda’ in any form, are actively promoting the persecution and degradation of millions of people through scare tactics built on lies.

      In other words, you ain’t foolin’ anyone.

      As for the snicker thing, all kinds of people use that to communicate all kinds of things. The tendency expressed in your posts of interpreting anything a GLBTQ person, or someone you think is GLBTQ, as negarious, is unChristian and abusive.

      In my opinion, anyone who promotes the idea that people can change from gay to straight, is remarkably unfamiliar with the truth, or deliberately and purposefully fleeing it.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @vernonvanderbilt:

      Vernon, if this idiot cannot deal with the fact that all religions use their bibles, Korans and Torahs to condemn homosexuality, how on earth are you gonna get him to accept the fact that United Universalism is not a Christian faith?

      Judging by the sheer quantity and the furiousness of his responses, I do believe that the man is probably frothing at the mouth by now.

      He has accused everyone on this site of lack of responsibility, empathy, integrity, ethics, morals, decency, morality, making distortions and inaccurate translations, falsehoods, cherry-picking, using words that are not in the bible, irrelevancy, dishonesty, inaccuracies and of being condescending, abusive, insinuating, fraudulent, unethical, prejudicial, bigoted, foul, degrading, offensive, intimidating and reprehensible.

      I’d say that pretty much runs the gamut in Roget’s Thesaurus.

      I do believe he left out the word disingenuous, however.

      No doubt, he will resort to it in his next slam. ;o)

      Aug 29, 2009 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Schulkitz

      You wrote: “Vernon, if this idiot cannot deal with the fact that all religions use their bibles, Korans and Torahs to condemn homosexuality, how on earth are you gonna get him to accept the fact that United Universalism is not a Christian faith?”

      Evidently, you cannot offer any substantiated rebuttal to my refutation of the traditional interpretation of Leviticus 20.

      And I bet you cannot substantiate your claim about the Qu’ran, since you used the anglicized spelling, clearly you do not read or speak Arabic. My partner of 14 years does, though, and guess what, there is about as much ambiguity and question about what the Qu’ran, and Mohammad, actually says about homosexuality, as what the Bible and Jesus have to say.

      As a community, GLBTQ people, tend to get really offended when homophobes make assertions about us that are entirely based on speculation, hearsaye, recollections of third or fourth hand opinions, and biased assertions from questionable source with agenda’s of prejudice and domination.

      Yet repeatedly, several anti-Christian participants have engaged in those exact methods to promote and spread their own prejudice, their own bigotry.

      Your false accusation by exaggeration doesn’t change the fact that you, personally, have repeatedly made false claims about the contents of my posts, and your own, and about the beliefs and lives of millions of human beings. Sadly, that is something I’ve had to tell almost as many atheists as homophobes.

      Your derogatory characterization of me is abusive, another trait long associated with bigotry and prejudice. Because you see me as a Christian, you refuse to see me as a human being, refuse to be civil, and interpret everything I say in as negative a way as possible.

      For anyone else GLBTQ here, that should sound remarkably familiar. How often are treated that way by people who are prejudiced against us because of who we love?

      When I see some homophobe spewing hate speech about gays and lesbians, I immediately see, unwillingly really, all of the GLBTQ people I know and love, have known and loved over the years.

      I am, as I hope most participants are, brutally aware that when someone calls GLBTQ people ‘perverts’, he is talking about me, my partner, our friends, and many more people I value, real human beings, imperfect, flawed, wonderful human beings.

      But Schulkitz, Brian, and your peers, when you, or some fundamentalist atheist bad-mouths Christians, calls us delusional, and worse – I immediately see, unwillingly really, all of the people of faith I know and love.

      I am aware that you are maligning real human beings, my partner, our friends, family and many more people I value, real human beings, imperfect, flawed, wonderful human beings.

      And from that perspective, the prejudice and bigotry articulated here about Christians is identical to the prejudice and bigotry articulated by homophobes.

      Both parties are maligning people I care about, human beings who do not deserve such abuse, no matter what you think you know about them.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: Do some fuc*ing research. You have shown yourself to be un-informed. Move on.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Rusty: < Typical Christian.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @David:

      David, I generally don’t like to get in long cyber debates. Generally, I don’t. But the sophistry and ad hominum of your responses require a response.

      Rusty

      “Wow, before you go judging me I would think you should consider the log in your own eye before you start judging the spec in mine.” (This is what I said (Rusty, that is))

      Yet you blithely judged millions of people, not about something they said, but about their very lives. (This is what you said)

      So, David, you suggest and judge that I am callous about people who are gay. You do this, I guess, to prove a point that makes you feel better..which is that those who disagree with you are callous and “blithely judge.” It should make you feel uncomfortable that this is not the truth. There are many of us who do not judge anyone, but leave that up to God. That does not mean, however, that we cannot discern “right” and “wrong” and “truth” from “deceit.” It may make you feel better to cast me and millions like me off as “judgmental” but that is not the case. We simply are speaking the truth as we see it.

      I stated that I am not citing any lengthy studies. I am not. I repeat, I am not citing any studies at all. I am citing my own personal experience which is true. The ex-gay folks I am talking about are friends. They were friends when they were gay and they are friends now that the are heterosexual, marrying the opposite sex, having babies, and planning families. And, as I said, I asked others today and this evening and the reponse was “YES” they knew people who were once “gay” but now are “straight.” How am I to judge a persons inner struggles? I can’t. I don’t. I am only reporting my personal experience with friends. In your view, I would guess everything is hearsay, including the non-identified studies to which you refer. Those could only be based on “hearsay” response to questions put to folks in the study. But, my experience is different. The two lesbian women who I am referring to in the post tonight are very happy and seem to me, quite frankly, to be overjoyed about their heterosexual and family situations.

      I said — “Yes, I know at least two people who were gay, lived in gay relationships for a long time, and now are heterosexual; one married, and the other planning marriage and a family.”

      You responded — “And I know personally, nearly a dozen ‘ex-gays’ who married, had a family, and finally, after hurting a lot of people, admitted that they still were, and always had been, gay/lesbian.”

      That is good. You are reporting your experience. I do not diminish that, I do not degrade it or snicker at it. I believe you.

      You said “The behavior people engage in is proof of nothing, Rusty.”

      My response — What? Behavior is proof of nothing? So, homosexual behavior is proof of nothing, or just ex-gay behavior is proof of nothing?

      You said: “Your ‘facts’ are not facts, they are hearsaye. Nothing more. Even if I, or anyone else here, believes that you had any conversations with anyone, you have no way of knowing if the people you talked to were telling you the truth, or telling you what they think you want to hear. And you have no way of knowing if what they said was accurate or not, nor do they have any way of knowing if what they were told was accurate, or not.”

      My response. “I do not judge. You are correct. I cannot know the inner counsel of anyone. Neither I nor YOU can. The small voice of each person that communes with God, or not, should not be for either of us to judge.”

      You say “The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence, versus hearsaye, that anyone has ever changed from homosexual to heterosexual.”

      My response: “My observations of friend is evidence. Maybe not good enought or conclusive in your view, but it is evidence of some sort. And, the response of friends this evening is evidence. Again, maybe not good enough or solid in your view, but it is some evidence. Besides, you say that behaviour proves nothing.”

      You said “But there is a terrible flood of people testifying that they tried desperately, with all their power, all their faith, to become heterosexual, and nothing changed. There is a sad flood of testimony from people who once claim to have changed, who called themselves ‘ex-gays’, and preached to congregations that God had made them heterosexual, only to admit months, years later, that their sexual orientation had never waived.

      Your hearsay against reams of material on a wealth of websites and books, study after study, all indicating sexuality orientation is innate and immutable, ex-gay ministries and therapies harm people rather than help them.”

      My response — “You know, I believe you. I do believe that there is lots of pain and desparation from people who have tried to become homosexual. I NEVER suggested that it was a simple thing nor that it was even the right thing for anyone. I only reported that some people I know are ex-gay, by their own behaviour and statements.”

      You said “Additionally, against your hearsay, Rusty, not only have I known people who were once ‘ex-gay’ and later admit they were only telling lies to themselves and everyone else, I’ve know hundreds of GLBTQ people over the years, and read many more testimonies, who testify to doing everything imaginable to change into heterosexuals, without success.”

      My response. “I believe you. I believe you are truthful in reporting your “hearsay.” Why would you not believe my “hearsay?”

      My statement — “I, frankly, see the LGBT Agenda the same way.”

      Your response — “Your derogatory vision is both abusive, and malicious. It is predicated on character slurs that are intrinsically unChristian, a fantastical fabrication that has no foundation in reality.”

      My response — ” “Intrinsically unChristian?” I don’t even understand the statement. Let me parse that a bit with you. Intrinsic — as in wholly or naturally or essentially not Christian of “of Christ.” First, if evening suggesting that gays should not be pastors or church leaders is essentailly unChristian, then 2000 years of essentially and fully Christian tradition is wrong, according to you. You claim a lot for yourself there. You have a view on the arc of history that others, mostly, do not claim.

      “Derogatory visison?” What I am saying is that many try to hiJack Christ and his message for their own agenda. We have seen the conservative, corporatist, statist, right do this for many year. I am suggesting that the LGBT “rights” advocates are doing the same. I posit that position. Instead of responding you simply judge with big words like Derogatory and Vision. Go ahead and slander me, but do not think I or others are to simple to see your approach. I, and many millions, are waking up and rejecting the slander. That is what it is.

      You say “You start with a premise to to usher in the Kingdom of God in this age, . . .”

      Nope. From the get go, you’re premise is pure fantasy. All of your assertions in that paragraph are simply false.

      My response — Again, you seem to use the pejorative as you standard response. “pure fantasy?” Ok, I know it is earier to demean my statement that to respond to them, and others see this as well. It is just getting old, that is all.

      You said — “Jesus did not come here to raise the level of our society. He cam here to call us out to be disciples of a new order, of His Kingdom.”

      Do you realize that the second sentence contradicts the first?

      My response — “How?”

      You said “Being a ‘disciple of a new order’ would have the effect of raising the level of society. Never mind that your context is completely divorced from what progressive denominations, and GLBTQ Christians, believe.”

      My response “Non sequitor, it seems to me, and against the testimony of history. Christ was here. He came in the Flesh. It did not raise the level of society one whit, and He was the Almight, the God of Heaven and Earth. That society crucified Him. Christ was not a progressive, a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian, or any other political or psychological tag you try to put on Him. He as Christ, The Risen One. Progressive denominations means what? that they go along with pop culture? I do not demerit progress. I believe it it. I just do not try to shackle truth with the chains of “progress” only when it sevres my myopic and selfish interests; as I believe is the case with the LGBT Agenda.”

      “By pushing the LGBT Agenda onto his Kingdom,”

      False accusations are sinful, Rusty.

      My response. “Which false accusation? And, btw, you judge me again? Watch out for that log, as I mentioned.”

      You said — “As for ‘emissaries’, you missed my point. If you apply the standard of the NT emissaries to determine who can, and cannot follow Jesus, than by ethnicity and race, most Christians cannot.”

      My response. “You have a point here and I am going to reconsider my statements in light of your response.”

      You quote me “But, you error and nail him to the cross of your own politics and LGBT agenda.”

      And then you judge “Please, do not make any more false accusations. There is no such thing as a gay agenda.”

      My response. “What? Take a look at the statement of Goodsoil.org “” Goodsoil is a collaboration of organizations working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families in the full ministerial and sacramental life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).”” Sounds like an agenda to me; if ever there was one.””

      I said — “I pray you will at least pause a few moments to allow the truth of what I say to penetrate your soul, and plead to our Lord Jesus for clear understanding.

      Thank you.

      Rusty”

      You said “Kindly do not pray about me, your assumptions about me are degrading and abusive, and you are, in my opinion, attempting a form of spiritual rape, effectively asking God to force me to follow you.

      So just don’t.”

      My reponse. “You may find some satisfaction is a phrase like “spiritaul rape” and some power in imposing that judgment on me and others who do think like me. It is not convincing and cowardly to suggest that form of pejorative on me without, once, honestly considering what I have had to say.”

      “And, I can pray as I like.”

      We may need each other. I do not claim the truth. I claim only the one who is the Truth.

      God help us.

      Rusty

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh_Philly
      Josh_Philly

      @David: I spend a little time on Queerty and I enjoy most of the comments. This particular conversation is both timely and important. I agree with the idea expressed here that Christians, if they truly are “friends” of homosexuals, must reject the lie about us – we are not wrong.

      David – I can only say I believe you are delusional AND delusional. People have asked you to provide some proof of your assertions and you have know.

      But, I must now seek to have you committed when you suggest “Christianity doesn’t make homosexuals wrong.” Even the do-nothings at HRC know that much. They don’t do anything about it, but they know.

      Stop commenting without providing any substance.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      My, what an exchange. Is anyone still reading? Brian and David keep asking each other for “proof” that is easily Googleable.

      The UFMCC was formed by a gay man, for gay people, in 1968, and has under 50,000 members, so their whole existence is a ‘declaration’ against homosexuality-as-sin (their site is practically devoted to debunking bible passages used to condemn homosexuality).

      The UUA formed in 1961, has about 100,000 members, and prides itself on having “no creed” (i.e no statement of belief, so no place to declare anything), as well as the fact they welcome pagans and atheists, among others. Sign me up!

      Interestingly, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has flat-out stated publicly that she believes homosexuality is not a sin.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      It would be in your best interest if you practiced your advice before giving it to others.

      If you think that anything I’ve posted is false, you are free to demonstrate clearly how and why. Since so far, you have failed to substantiate your own claims, all of which I know from experience are completely divorced from the reality of the lives of the people of faith I know, and from my decades of following the religious aspect of the issue, I am confident that I am orders of magnitude more informed about Christianity, its history and diversity, its beliefs, the traditional interpretation of the gotcha verses as well as the rebuttal/counter to that interpretation, etc, than your posts indicate you are.

      The only reason I am even bothering to respond to you is to point out the striking parallel to your response to me, again, to that homophobes routinely use in forums, and propaganda.

      Whenever GLBTQ people tell homophobes factual information they do not like, that counters and refutes their claims, we’re told we are uninformed, need to do research, and so on. We told we cannot know the truth about our own experiences, and everything we say is dismissed because we are gay or lesbian.

      You are doing the exact same thing to me, not because of my sexual orientation, but because of my faith, because I have rebuked your biased statements about real people.

      Good grief, you act like this, and then expect heterosexual ministers to risk the ire, their jobs, their solvency of their congregations to assertively renounce prejudice?

      Peas in a pod calling each other green.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @David: Thanks, David. That’s all the confirmation I needed. The brave step so many of us are asking for is, in your words, a standard that no one has even attempted.

      Just generally, to everybody, I’d like to say that I don’t give half a damn what all the holy books say. I care what the religions do. And what they do is condemn us, or agree to disagree. Not one has proudly, bravely, and definitively declared that homosexuality is not a sin. We need to have higher standards. If we call the ELCA, MCC, UCC, UU, etc ‘courageous,’ then we’re selling ourselves miserably short.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      And I bet you cannot substantiate your claim about the Qu’ran, since you used the anglicized spelling, clearly you do not read or speak Arabic.

      Spare me, please, of your superior, condescending tone and your seeming need to obfuscate for the purpose of trying to make everyone on this thread look like a babbling baboon. It’s not working.

      I do not need to read or speak Arabic to understand what the body of a youth swinging from the end of a rope in a public square in Islamic Iran means.

      Now, could you please re-read to me from the bible, that nice, warm, fuzzy story about how Jesus and God loves us gays and will hold us safe from harm. I do so love a good story with a happy ending.

      And just FYI, Mister-know-it-all, the Koran can also be spelled Qur?an.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Bedford

      Just fyi – not having a creed does not equate to not being a Christian, in case that was seen to substantiate the idea that the UUA are not Christian. The early Christian church didn’t have creeds either – explicit statements of faith every attests to, and Jesus did not instantiate any.

      Josh

      “David – I can only say I believe you are delusional AND delusional. People have asked you to provide some proof of your assertions and you have know.”

      And yet, you provide no proof for you belief.

      Why should I meet a standard of evidence no one else here is? Nice double standard to go with your ad hominem. I cannot tell you how many homophobes have insisted that I, and anyone else who refutes their prejudice, is delusional. How like them your post makes you appear.

      “But, I must now seek to have you committed when you suggest “Christianity doesn’t make homosexuals wrong.” Even the do-nothings at HRC know that much. They don’t do anything about it, but they know.”

      Your personal attack is verbal abuse. Your complaint indicates that you either do not understand the difference between Christianity the religion, and the actions and beliefs of some Christians.

      The teachings of Jesus Christ, which is what Christianity is, do not make homosexuality wrong. The interpretations of some commentary by Paul, two passages of Levitical Law, and irrationally distorted view of a mythical historical event, are twisted, by some people, to fabricate the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      The fact that my years of study as a Christian invalidates your belief doesn’t make my delusional or mentally ill, it indicates that I’ve studied the material.

      “Stop commenting without providing any substance.”
      Giving advice you are not even attempting to live is a waste of time and empty theatrics.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Josh_Philly:

      After reading the copious, convoluted comments David has made on this thread, it should be self-evident that he is a disingenuous liar…as well as a bs artisté.

      Oh! I feel so much better, now that I have beat him to the punch in using that term. LOL

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Rusty

      “So, David, you suggest and judge that I am callous about people who are gay.”

      No. I was pretty clear, you are spreading a lie about millions of peole – the lie that homosexuals can change into heterosexuals, that homosexuality is chosen.

      “I stated that I am not citing any lengthy studies.”

      You are relying on hearsay, that contradicts the direct experience of thousands upon thousands of people, to perpetuate something that GLBTQ people consistently state is a lie about our lives.

      That is reprehensible.

      “My response. “I do not judge.” The fact is that intrinsic to your lie about our lives is a negative judgment about the veracity of millions of GLBTQ people. And your judgment is not even based on your own experience, but second or third hand information from people who have very good reasons to tell you untruths, given the homophobia in our culture.

      I’m skipping the bulk of your response, for a variety of reason, including dinner. It is largely comprised of denial and obfuscation, and it is clear you are not sincerely attempting anything even approaching dialogue.

      I asked you not to pray for me, and you replied:
      “My reponse. “You may find some satisfaction is a phrase like “spiritaul rape” and some power in imposing that judgment on me and others who do think like me. It is not convincing and cowardly to suggest that form of pejorative on me without, once, honestly considering what I have had to say.”

      “And, I can pray as I like.”

      Your response is abusive and dehumanizing, and demonstrates the very coerciveness and hunger for domination that people rightly criticize. Your prayer would not only be unwelcome, it would be a sin against me.

      That you rejected my request the first, indicates to me though, that you do not truly follow Jesus Christ. If you do truly follow Jesus Christ, set aside your self desire, and respect my respect, keep your prayers to yourself.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Chance
      You wrote:
      “Thanks, David. That’s all the confirmation I needed. The brave step so many of us are asking for is, in your words, a standard that no one has even attempted.”

      That rhetorical device doesn’t even work for pre-teens anymore, even on myspace.

      This statement “Not one has proudly, bravely, and definitively declared that homosexuality is not a sin.” is categorically false.

      I have learned the hard way that accuracy and honesty is irrelevant to homophobes; it appears you trying to convince me that you share that trait.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      David said to Brian:

      The only reason I am even bothering to respond to you is to point out the striking parallel to your response to me, again, to that homophobes routinely use in forums, and propaganda.

      OMG! The great Christian sage of the ages is deigning to address himself to the likes of lowly, unappreciative peons like us.

      With a little bit of luck, perhaps David will decide that we are simply not worthy of his time, attention or a response and simply choose to ignore us.

      Oh well, it’s nice fantasy.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @bedford: MCC has NO formal Declaration about homosexuality and whether or not it is right or wrong. They have a few article written in the 80s and 90s, but no Declaration. If the did, they wouldn’t be Christian anymore.

      So, look again. Look for a real statement, not a collections of articles. There is a big difference.

      MCC is “gay-friendly” and you would expect them to declare that “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.” But, they have not.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      A priest and a rabbi were sitting next to each other on an airplane.

      After a while, the priest turned to the rabbi and asked, “Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork?”

      The rabbi responded, “Yes, that is still one of our laws.”

      The priest then asked, “Have you ever eaten pork?”

      To which the rabbi replied, “Yes, on one occasion I did succumb to temptation and tasted a ham sandwich..”

      The priest nodded in understanding and went on with his reading.

      A while later, the rabbi spoke up and asked the priest,”Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?”

      The priest replied, “Yes, that is still very much a part of our faith.”

      The rabbi then asked him, “Father, have you ever fallen to the temptations of the flesh?”

      The priest replied, “Yes, rabbi, on one occasion I was weak and broke with my faith.”

      The rabbi nodded understandingly and remained silent, thinking, for about five minutes.

      Finally, the rabbi said, “Beats the hell out of a ham sandwich, doesn’t it?”

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason White
      Jason White

      @David: You are an idiot. A complete idiot. You repeatedly lie and rant and rave, but you have absolutely NO substance.

      This article and the many comments were both helpful and interesting – until you came along.

      I have tolerated Christians, but you are as messed up as Fred Phelps. Hopefully, anyone viewing this conversation recognizes that Gays AND Christians are equally repelled by your meaningless dribble. People have asked you for just a crumb of evidence and you offer none.

      At least for me, you represent the worst in being “gay,” and the worst in being “Christian.” You make me sick. You should be ashamed.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian

      You are still wrong. UFMCC’s theology is its formal statement, it is a statement of their beliefs and they repudiate, reject and refute the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      Your ‘real statement’ is just a convenient way of dismissing anything that refutes your lies.

      As you put it, but without the profanity, do some honest research for a change. I suspect that you are demanding some sort of simplistic statement only so you won’t have to follow a full, reasoned and substantiated refuttal of “homosexuality is sin”.

      http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Sexuality_Spirituality&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=629

      Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness
      by Rev. Elder Don Eastman

      “The Good News is that, since 1968, when Metropolitan Community Church was founded, the emergence of a strong lesbian and gay community, and the conclusions of new scientific studies on homosexuality have forced the Christian Church to reexamine these issues. 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!”

      That is the heading and a subsequent paragraph from a MCC statement on homosexuality. It is a formal statement,it is one of their published, public statements on the subject. I suppose I could scan the ‘statement of beliefs’ from a bulletin for you, but I am sure you would dismiss it at photoshopped.

      The more important issue is that GLBTQ people hate it when homophobes tell lies about our lives and then demand that we meet their standard of proof about something they know nothing about.

      Which is exactly what you are doing.

      Now, Brian, where is your formal statement declaring that deceit, deception, and false testimony are wrong? Where have you, personally, publicized that formal statement?

      If you haven’t . . .

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Simon Says
      Simon Says

      @Jason White: Well said. This David is an idiot.

      If he is an advocate for LGBT people we are in big trouble. I used to go to MCC and I know for a fact that they dance around the question about homosexuality. I was told “gay is okay,” but I wanted to know the crap about homosexuals in the Bible was not part of MCCs beliefs and they said it was a “complicated issue.” That’s when I left.

      I go to UU now. MCC lies to its members. Somebody should sue them.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Jason

      I really have no problem with being considered an idiot by anyone who espouses bigotry and prejudice. It really isn’t an insult, it is kind of like when anti-gay clergy are caught in adultery.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @David: This confirms your limited capacity and wishful thinking. Your MCC “reference” is simply an article written in 1991 by a Professor and NOT a statement by MCC.

      MCC has never said homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant. Try sending them an email asking for that declaration. We already have. They will NOT do it.

      Why not stop trying to mislead people and just ask for the Declaration tomorrow morning? Based on your dribble they should be anxious to sign it.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Simon Says
      Simon Says

      @David: Just like I said. That “article” does not even contain the MCC name – it is not from MCC. It is a reprint from someone who espoused the idea that homosexuality is not wrong, but it’s not a “statement” from MCC.

      This is how they trick old gay trolls like David. Then, he says what they won’t say, because they don’t actually believe it. What a beautiful con. Thank you Jesus.

      Aug 29, 2009 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      It’s interesting to note the similarity between David and Holocaust deniers.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 12:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh_Philly
      Josh_Philly [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @David: That supposed MCC article is

      “Homosexuality; Not A Sin, Not A Sickness”

      by Rev. Elder Don Eastman

      ©Copyright 1990 Los Angeles Universal Fellowship Press

      it isn’t a Declaration, but one guy’s opinion.

      There are more:

      The following books are highly recommended for those wishing to study issues of homosexuality as related to the Christian Church. You can click each title for more information from Amazon.com.

      The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley

      What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helmeniak, Ph. D.

      Holy Homosexuals : The Truth About Being Gay or Lesbian and Christian by Rev. Michael S. Piazza

      Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positive Christian Response by Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott

      Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse by Dr. Rembert Truluck

      We Were Baptized, Too: Claiming God’s Grace for Lesbians and Gays by Marillyn Bennett Alexander and James Preston

      Come Home: Reclaiming Spirituality and Community As Gay Men and Lesbians by Chris Glaser

      Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Rev. Dr. Mel White

      Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality : Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century by John Boswell

      Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell

      The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart by Peter J. Gomes

      ©Copyright 1990 Universal Fellowship Press

      Aug 30, 2009 at 12:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Simon,

      You are wrong. That article comes from an MCC minister, from the fellowships website. Before you falsely accuse me, at least read the url on the link.

      Your name-calling and insults are abusive. Simon, you claim that you ‘used to go to MCC’ – well, I’ve been a member for years, participating in several different congregations, in a variety of ways. The denomination itself does not “dance around the question of homosexuality”. It is specifically, boldly addressed.

      Now, some individual congregations, located in conservative towns and cities, are more circumspect than others, but then, many MCC churches have been fire-bombed, targeted for vandalism, and other acts of domestic terrorism. Some may indeed be less out, loud and proud, in the presence of newcomers and strangers. But personally, I think your verbal abuse about me is a tell, a sign that your entire claim is fabricated.

      Brian, you are wrong. The author of the article is “Rev. Elder Don Eastman”. Do you understand what those titles mean?

      The article you maliciously dismiss, is from MCC self-description of what they believe. Under a heading titled “Our Beliefs” is a link to a page with a number documents addressing homosexuality, articulating in detail why and how they reject ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      The two of you are simply wrong.

      You are making demands that people meet your standard to prove the truths of their lives, exactly the way homophobes demand that GLBTQ people meet their standards to prove the truths of our lives.

      I get it that you don’t like hearing that, and even when I was encouraging Erik and Eddie yesterday to exhort their congregations about prejudice, I knew that no one likes being called on it, and knew that even raising subject of anti-Christian prejudice here would result in a flood of hate and name-calling from fundamentalist atheists.

      Oh well. But your bad behavior doesn’t make prejudice, either anti-gay or anti-Christian, any less wrong. It is possible, even, that from your anti-Christian rhetoric, Erik and Eddie, if they are still following this, may get a taste of how anti-gay rhetoric actually feels.

      I realize that you and your peers, non-Christians, anti-Christians, atheists, fundamentalists atheists, have no culpability for your prejudices. Progressive/Liberal people of faith, no matter how offended we are by your behavior and insults, are not going to give into dominationist theology, fundamentalist Christians, by any name, those who use their religion to justify harming people, and we’re not going to stop our work just because some other folks behave as nastily as the homophobes do.

      But that doesn’t make it right. And when you support anti-gay theology, and lie about progressive Christians, you are attacking the people who are trying to help you too.

      So, Brian, Simon, where is your formal statement declaring that deceit, deception, and false testimony are wrong? Where have you, personally, publicized that formal statement?

      Will you two sign a Declaration: Telling lies is a violation of human dignity, a violation of trust, and wholly inexcusable and reprehensible behavior.

      You expect others to sign declarations, step up to the plate.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 12:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      “it isn’t a Declaration, but one guy’s opinion.”

      Josh, do you understand what context is?

      That ‘one guys’ opinion is presented, on the MCC website as a statement of their beliefs. The word mincing going on by fundamentalists atheists here only indicates that they simply will not accept the truth – not all Christians are homophobes, many openly, overtly, deliberately and at often great risk, support, nurture and celebrate GLBTQ people.

      Your post, by the way, is just one guy’s opinion. So is Brian’s, and Simon’s, and Schulkitz, unless someone is using multiple ids.

      But the opinion are you dismissing is presented on MCC’s website as a statement of their beliefs, and it categorically repudiates the idea ‘homosexuality is sin’.

      Now, anyone who actually knows Christian theology can quickly see that the other titles there also articulate the rejection of ‘homosexuality is sin’ that several people have repeatedly lied by claiming it isn’t there.

      For example, from “Coming Out as Sacrament”
      “A sacrament is an act that mediates the grace and mystery of God. Coming out is a sacrament for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) people of faith because it sets us on a lifelong path of manifesting God’s grace in our lives. Coming out is crucial to our spiritual development because it starts us on a journey of integrating our GLBT identity into our whole life. ”

      This premise, that the truth-telling of coming is sacred doesn’t explicitly state ‘we reject the teaching ‘homosexuality is sin’. It doesn’t have to, for rational readers, because in order for coming out to be sacred, homosexuality cannot be perceived as sin.

      This demonstrates not ambivalence or ‘dancing around’ as Simon falsely accused, but how intrinsic to MCC theology on sexuality the rejection of ‘homosexuality is sin’ actually is. In MCC, not only is the rejection of ‘homosexuality is sin’ public and frank, it is a given frame of reference for any discussion about being a GLBTQ person of faith.

      The reality that in this nitpicking about MCC comes from people who have a completely insufficient breadth of knowledge of the subject, are making demands for a specific proof, framed for their selfish needs, when the answer they are demanding had been articulated at depth, in detail, explicitly and definitively.

      But I do get it – there is no evidence whatsoever that would change your minds, Brian, Simon, Schulkitz, not because evidence doesn’t exist, but because you do not want the truth.

      You want your lie, because that is what you need, the lie nurtures your prejudice and shields you from responsibility.

      The personal attacks from y’all, they don’t make you right, and they prove nothing about me. They only indicate that you will stoop to bad behavior.

      But here’s the thing. You and your peers really have no ethical grounds now to ever complain about any ugly thing any homophobe says. Oh, I know that won’t stop you from complaining. But your complaints will be empty, because you treat others in exactly the same homophobes treat GLBTQ people.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 12:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @David:

      On several occasions, you employed the term “fundamentalists atheists” in a pejorative manner. The term is a misnomer and one that makes you look uninformed and ignorant for even making such a statement.

      I suggest you read the following article and stop using that term before everyone on this thread is convinced that you are a total raving lunatic.

      http://atheism.about.com/b/2005/09/06/fundamentalist-atheists.htm

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kyan
      Kyan

      MCC = LGBT Bull Shit

      If they are authentic the should make a formal statement. My ex used to belong to MCC but he quit because it was the same old Christian B.S, + a rainbow flag.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #89 – Strump – I know we discussed the Lot story months back, and I know we mostly agree, but your post might lead some to believe that I “aquiesced” to your interpretation. I don’t doubt the mob meant to do harm, but that doesn’t invalidate my statements. WHY they meant to do harm, or what had them riled up could still have easily been the fact that in tribal ancient societies people were extremely suspicious of strangers. We still are today very uncomfortable around “differentness” – Goodness the words “normal” and “abnormal” are used incessantly as if there is no room in the billions upon billions of humans on thsis planet for diversity if only for its own sake!

      Anyway, again, even though we discussed the Lot story before, this interpretation was not my idea and you yourself say that the Koran version doesn’t have Lot having sex with his daughters so religious texts are often anything but clear and subject to manipulation. But I mention it primarily because this is the story most often cited about the “sinfulness” of homosexuality.

      Also, I’m still waiting from Eddie & Erik about my questions! If they’re still reading and not put off by some of these absurd squabbles on here…..

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wild Gift
      Wild Gift

      @unclemike: For real.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 4:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      It seems to me that you find it easier to call names than deal with the things I am saying to meet my logic and statements with you own.

      Instead of responding you simply call “liar,” or say that my statements are “reprehensible,” or slide by my statements by calling them “obfuscation and denial,” and worse yet, accusing me of being “abusive,” “coercive,” and “dehumanizing,” and even accuse me of spiritual “rape,” and “hunger for domination.” Some pretty strong stuff there, but it does not meet any of the substance of what I have said or questioned.

      I at least said I was willing to reconsider my position on some things (if you would have read and responded to my last full post here rather then just labeled it as “obfuscation.”

      And then you ask others to be open-minded about LGBT and whether they should serve as pastors in the Lutheran church? I strongly suggest that you just think about what you are saying. You want folks to come around to your way of thinking, but by gosh, if they don’t — instantly — then just name call and judge and bludgeon with every slanderous phrase you can pull from your “I would rather slander that talk” lexicon.

      Now a few things. You keep saying that what I say is “hearsay.” Yes, to the extent I am reporting what I have heard others tell me about their own lives, that is true. But I have no reason to doubt it. Just like I don’t doubt it when you tell me what is true about your own life. But this does not mean you should diminish the statements of other and then bash me with being “reprehensible” and “abusive.”

      Hearsay? Do you believe Jesus was raised from the dead, or is that just hearsay to you? And, if you do not believe this, why would you even be interested in whether a person in a homosexual, committed relationship could be a pastor in Lutheran church?

      And so it goes. I only suggest you will never gain the trust of folks who are not LGBT by judging us and calling us names.

      I hope you had a good dinner.

      Rusty

      Aug 30, 2009 at 5:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: You’re still an idiot. Individual UU members may identify as christians, but the church as a whole does not, and it welcomes all manner of people, people who identify as atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, pagans, etc. They make no argument about having an exclusive on truth, much less in a christian context. The whole point of UU is to develop one’s own beliefs and to try to help others to grow in theirs. There is no christianity involved. If you believe otherwise, you’ve been seriously misled, or you’re just lying because it’s obvious you can’t bear to be proven wrong.

      Clarifying your misstatement on UU has nothing to do with my attitude toward christianity. I don’t give two shits about christianity so long as it doesn’t infringe on my rights as a non-christian. People can believe what they want so long as they don’t feel compelled to try to force me to believe it as well. You’re just trying to lump me in with your other self-perceived enemies so you can feel that much more persecuted. The truth is, you’re just a dumbass. And that has nothing to do with your religion, I assure you.

      @schlukitz: Yeah, I know, but I don’t like being called a liar when my source is the organization in question’s own statements. Still, I do recognize that David is a buffoon of the highest order who gives gay christians a bad name by his sheer ridiculousness. I’ve never been more glad not to be one.

      @Chance: UU is courageous. They are 100% supportive of GLBT people, and have been major allies to our community since they were founded. Don’t lump them in with our “fake friends.” They don’t deserve that.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @David: And seriously, I thought I was long-winded, but at least I make an effort to limit my number of long posts so I don’t bore people. You use so many words to say so little. You might find it helpful to lay off the thesaurus a bit and talk like a human for a while, in bite-sized chunks. Maybe then people would care. Honestly, every post does not have to be a carbon copy of the ten ludicrously nonsensical lectures that preceded it.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Jaroslaw:

      Then you and I are probably more in agreement than you might think. I don’t think what the mob was up to is relevant except to point out that they meant to harm them and represented evil.

      Also the fact that this story does change significantly between the two books is evidence that many of the older stories in scripture should be taken as moral lessons and not events which happened exactly as written – if they happened at all.

      @schlukitz:

      I don’t want to get back into the old debate about what atheism is (after all, I have read TANK’s claim that you can’t challenge his atheism because it isn’t a belief in anything), but “fundamentalist” describes quite accurately the argument coming from a lot of the anti-religion posters here.

      They are the only ones arguing for accepting an exact, literal reading of the Bible (or at least its translation).

      They are the only ones who argue that every Christian is responsible for the evils done by the worst Christian church, and for every evil done in the name of the bible.

      They are the only ones who pay no attention to what people and reform churches actually believe, and instead tie them directly with the literal word of the Bible.

      If you take values out of the picture and simply look at the facts of what they believe about the bible, their thinking is right in line with the most fundamentalist of Christians – literal interpretation and nothing else.

      From where I sit it is a fair and accurate description, even for people who claim to believe in nothing.
      I’ll keep using it.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Speaking of Tank, I haven’t seen any recent posts by him.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @schlukitz:

      I don’t want to speculate because it might be any of a number of things, but I have also noticed that he seems to be gone, and I haven’t noticed any new names that are a close match for him.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @strumpetwindsock: “They are the only ones who argue that every Christian is responsible for the evils done by the worst Christian church, and for every evil done in the name of the bible. They are the only ones who pay no attention to what people and reform churches actually believe, and instead tie them directly with the literal word of the Bible.”

      I’m one of those “people,” and here’s why: Until a gay-friendly or “reform church” actually Declares a difference in belief, yeah they are ALL the same. The most recent example is the ELCA Lutherans – they are allowing gays to serve as Clergy, but they simply “agreed to disagree” about homosexuality.

      Christian belief about homosexuality IS the PROBLEM. Christian belief made homosexuals wrong, sinful and deviant. If a Christian group or even an individual Christian Church wants to acknowledge they have changed that belief, it’s very simple. Just sign this Declaration:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Of course all of us appreciate the efforts of LGBT people of Faith. But, we must measure those efforts with real, effective progress. Participation is not progress, ending the “wrong” of being a homosexuaL is.

      Many of us hoped the Lutherans would take a very clear stand and reject the religious lies about homosexuals – they did not. In fact, they showcased just the opposite – bigotry and hatred, from Leaders and Members alike.

      So far, not a single denomination or a single Christian Church has declared we are “not wrong, sinful or deviant.” Until this happens we will still be wrong and can never be equal.

      ALL person must put Equality BEFORE Religion. We all inhabit this world as “equals,” and then we have the freedom to believe whatever we want. But, LGBT people must not accept or tolerate the “lie” that we’re wrong. As equals nobody should be empowered to make another human (or entire group of people) wrong.

      The day is coming when members of religious organization will have to take a stand – either for or against Homosexual beliefs. It has begun for Episcopalians, Lutherans and some Baptists. This will indeed divide these organization into two very different groups – those who deny equality and those who embrace equality. The sooner it happens, the better – especially for LGBT persons.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh Philly
      Josh Philly

      For David:

      [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_BtqUSG7RCA0/SNuTgNZIzVI/AAAAAAAAAVw/KNSX55bHMvU/s200/scissors.jpg[/img]

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Brian:

      Brian, your position has hardly changed in the 50 or so times you have repeated it.

      I don’t want to get into the cases of churches which have already declared that homosexuality is not a sin; you and I will get nowhere on that issue.

      One new thing you say though is that you appreciate the efforts of LGBT people of faith.

      I think this is significant, because the inference that you do not respect them is part of the reason I have been challenging you in the first place.

      I accept that you are sincere, but I must point out that your ridiculing and scorning their churches doesn’t really help our brothers and sisters in their efforts to bring about that reform we all want.

      Do you imagine they are not even more frustrated than you about the bigots in their churches? Do you think they are not aware of the work that still needs to be done?

      Do you imagine that if they had the numbers and felt it just to force that kind of change they would not do so? The fact is they are in a deeply divided federation of churches. We have to recognize and respect the limitations they are working with.

      They have worked hard to turn peoples’ minds in our favour; why reward them by insulting the beliefs which they hold dear and have put a lot of effort into standing up for.

      We’re not the ones who have to do the hard work. The least we can do is treat their beliefs with respect and support them.

      Frankly, shitting all over their church in fact work against what they are trying to do, in my opinion. I sure wouldn’t appreciate being handed an ultimatum and having my beliefs dumped on that way. I can imagine it would be even harder for someone who was struggling to be inclusive.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Whup-ass Master
      Whup-ass Master

      I’m a little ashamed of some of you. Inclusion, like it or not, is a two-way street. It does our souls and our cause no favors to continue spewing bile and shitting on people for their faith. The trick behind that whole Grace thing…that “loving thy neighbor” spiel? In the end that’s the only thing that might actually change their minds. If we want hate to go away, we’d better remove it from our arsenal.

      And this is coming from an agnostic.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tomas
      Tomas

      I’m in recovery from religious abuse. The author, and his defenders, seem to be simply more dealers (still) in denial.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @vernonvanderbilt: Unfortunately, UU isn’t courageous. They just can’t, it isn’t their place. They are a congregation without doctrine – as you’ve said, the person sitting next to you in a UU service might be a Christian, an atheist, a Buddhist, or a pagan. It could also be a homophobe whose discriminatory beliefs come from a Judeo-Christian tradition.

      Some congregations may be friendlier than others, but without a set of official beliefs or doctrine, they can’t exactly have an official belief about homosexuality.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @strumpetwindsock: This article and the collection of +200 thoughts has been enlightening. The actions of the ELCA have been enlightening. What is still lacking is accountability.

      I will repeat that I appreciate all efforts of LGBT brothers and sisters who are working to “grow” (change) religion from the inside. I know their efforts are sincere, I just know they are not enough. This does not devalue their efforts in any way, it just means we need MORE of an effort to change religion. Inclusive isn’t any where near enough. Inclusiveness hasn’t prevented gay teens from taking their own lives because they believe (and have been told) they are wrong.

      Regrettably, the Lutherans made no progress at ending the “wrong” of homosexuality. Their convention was another (perhaps, hopeful) moment in the 2,000 years that has seen little progress in un-wronging the religious lies about homosexuals. In the context of time and action, it can only be described as “too little, too late.”

      Most references to Blacks civil rights struggles miss the mark, but I will try just the same. First, I would make a distinction that I believe homosexuals are not “oppressed,” as much as they are “hated.” That hatred flows from the Biblical branding of homosexuals. What’s very clear today is the profound lack of accountability, moral standards and any courageous efforts to solve the problem.

      Within nearly all religious organization their are a range of beliefs – from unashamed bigot to apologetic “progressive” believers. Polling data suggests small groups at both extremes and a large “uncertain middle.” I suspect this was the case in for Blacks on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, when Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. She was allowed on the bus (in the pews), but had to sit in back. She was “welcomed” on the bus (in the pews), but had to sit in back. The Bus (church) was still available for her to reach her destination, but, again she had to sit in the back. This reminds me of the current makeup of most denominations and individual congregations. LGBT people sit in the back of the pews inasmuch they sit with people who continue to make them “wrong.”

      This makes we wonder at what point does a “Christian” Rosa Parks REFUSE to sit in the back of the bus – or in a bus that is very clearly populated by bigots and homophobes? Or anything else that may be dangerous to fellow passengers? My last ride on a subway in NYC was under the watchful eyes of transit policeman.

      A Church has more responsibility for the “passengers” ride than a bus or subway company. Why hasn’t someone taken a stand sufficient to separate the “wheat from the chaff?” The thought appears metaphorically in the Bible, where John the Baptist, speaking of the one ‘that cometh after me,’ continues (Matthew 3:12) ‘Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This idea promoted by Pastor Erik (and tolerated by many) “that each person gets to believe whatever they want” doesn’t seem very Christian or Pastoral. Where are the standards?

      At some point each denomination and every Member will have to take a stand, it is inevitable. They will choose to either “right the wrong done to homosexuals” or continue to hate and discriminate. Yes, split the church. And YES, the sooner, the better. Honestly, if I was a regular worshiper I would want to do it in a place that I had been reasonably assured was cleansed of the bigots and haters (chaff).

      This split is already happening. Every time the Lutherans or Episcopalians have a vote some churches re-align with denominations whose beliefs more closely resemble their own. But, this is happening so slowly that we will never see it in our lifetimes – and THAT IS THE PROBLEM. I am not willing to wait for full LGBT Equality.

      Homosexuals will never be equal until we rid minds of the “religious” beliefs that we are wrong. All the data I have studied suggest that 25% of the population in “non-religious” and most don’t care about homosexuals. 25% of the population is “very-religious” and they do care about homosexuals – probably forever-convinced that they are “wrong, sinful and deviant.” Half the population is in the “uncertain middle.” Many of them will put equality before [personal] religious beliefs and the LGBT community would then have a”majority” of support FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY. We would also be nearing “equality.”

      So, for ALL of us concerned, the important question is when or even if someone within the institution of religion will lead us to that moment or someone on the outside? Either way is fine with me, the result is most important. But, gay-christians shouldn’t see any of this as a threat. The target is not Christianity, but the anti-homosexual “beliefs” that have harmed us. We will someday have Christians that have officially rejected those harmful beliefs. Soon, I hope.

      Presbyterian Minister Rebecca posted a beautiful comment acknowledging the problem and very honestly admitting that she would gladly stand for justice, but she could not risk her job (and income.) This was a straight woman AND a Pastor. I have never heard a gay Pastor speak with such honesty and sincerity.

      I do hope that Rebecca is checking this site to see follow-up comments. I want her to know that I greatly appreciated her courage and honesty. I am one gay man that would gladly put up a significant amount of money to “cover her back” if she were to take such a stand and lose her job. I am certain i would not be the only one to financially acknowledge her courage and commitment to fairness and equality. I wonder why it isn’t one of our own that is willing to state the problem in such clear and sincere language? Why isn’t it one of us willing to risk their career for the greater good of their Church and society? Why not?

      I hope you understand my single intent here is to solve the hatred and discrimination of homosexuals. I am about winning equality NOW and not later. It is VERY IMPORTANT. It will happen soon.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark In Indiana
      Mark In Indiana

      Please Zeus, no more Jesus. Ever.

      Pretty Please.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Brian: Bravo. I look forward to the tides changing through the kind of accountability and leadership you’ve mentioned. Let’s hope it’s a tsunami.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      Eloquently stated. Well done, Brian.

      I am going to be 73 years old next month and like you, I am about winning equality NOW and not later.

      All of my life, people have been saying, “be patient…these things take time.”

      Not only have I been patiently waiting for my civil-rights, I have been fighting for them ever since Stonewall.

      I want to be united with my partner, in the land of my birth and I do not have a lifetime ahead of me in which to wait much longer.

      So, why must I wait? Can anyone give me a good reason that I can understand before my old brain becomes too addled to understand anything?

      Aug 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Chance: Except you’re entirely wrong. You’re confusing dogma and principles. The UU church does have beliefs. What they lack is dogma. Here are their seven guiding principles. They affirm and promote:

      • The inherent worth and dignity of every person

      • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

      • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

      • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

      • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

      • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

      • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

      And here’s their statement on “Justice & Diversity.”

      “Unitarian Universalists are dedicated to living our faith and practicing what we preach.

      Working for civil rights and combating oppression are essential parts of our spiritual journey. Our faith community has worked for justice for hundreds of years, from advocating for free speech and the free practice of religion as far back as the fifteen hundreds to helping to abolish slavery and supporting women’s rights beginning in the eighteen hundreds.

      We continue to work for justice today in ways that resonate with our Principles, from protecting our environment to standing up for the full rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people. While we cannot always take action on every issue that arises, we do our best to make our congregations, our communities, our denomination, and our world a better place. ”

      More from the UUA website:

      “Unitarian Universalism is one of the few religions that ordains openly Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender people. Our BGLT clergy (who are permitted to partner or marry) participate fully in our faith community as pastors in some of our largest congregations.

      We work to promote acceptance, inclusion, understanding, and equity for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons of all colors, races, and ethnicities, both within the UUA and in society at large. We are committed to protecting the civil and legal rights of BGLT people and families across the country. Unitarian Universalists have been at the forefront of the same-sex marriage debates, advocating for the right for each person to marry the partner of his or her choice.”

      In the realm of religion, LGBT people have no greater allies than the UU church. It is entirely unfair, and completely wrongheaded, to lump them in with the others. Though other denominations may contain individual members who are allies, the UU church is one of the only churches that is an ally to GLBT people itself.

      It’s not really a “believe what you want” religion. If anything, it’s more accurate to call it a “believe how you want” religion.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 8:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: Do UUs ever reject the idea that Homosexuals are wrong, sinful or deviant? I didn’t see that in the principles you posted.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B.
      B.

      In No. 176 · Brian wrote, “MCC has NO formal Declaration about homosexuality and whether or not it is right or wrong. They have a few article written in the 80s and 90s, but no Declaration. If the did, they wouldn’t be Christian anymore.”

      This statement is shear nonsense – a belief that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality is consistent with being a Christian: many Christians believe that the rules laid out in
      the “Old Testament” do not apply to them (others disagree).
      So, you can be a Christian and reject what is in Levicitus.
      You can also reject specific statements in the New Testament based on the possibility of human error or you can take those
      statements to be allegories or metaphors. Also, some of what
      Paul wrote was political in nature – he was trying to unify a
      diverse group of separate sects, and that requires writing
      some “spin” to help things along. Try reading
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Christianity for some background, and then keep in mind that the only passages that might be interpreted as anti-gay were written by Paul (who had a number of sexual hangups of his own – if he were alive today, he would be recommended for therapy).

      Regarding Brian’s comment, “MCC is ‘gay-friendly’ and you would expect them to declare that ‘homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.’ But, they have not.” …

      Since MCC (as far as I know) was started as a gay-friendly
      church and never claimed that homosexuality was wrong, sinful,
      or deviant, why should MCC bother with a formal declaration?
      Bet MCC doesn’t have a formal declaration that the rest of the universe does not revolve around the earth either, a point over which the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo.

      People generally don’t put out formal declarations on things they find completely obvious.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Brian: It sounds like you’re getting hung up on terminology, then, because that idea is inherent in everything I posted above.

      “The inherent worth and dignity of every person”

      “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations”

      They are an affirming, accepting, and welcoming religion. They have accepted us as we are and permitted us to fully participate in every aspect of spiritual life longer than any other religion currently active today. They have been at the forefront of the equality battle going all the way back to when no other churches would touch the issue with a ten foot pole. They are still on the frontlines to this day, fighting for not only our civil rights, but also our dignity as human beings.

      Reread the portions I quoted above (which came directly from the UUA website and are considered the church’s official positions) and then decide for yourself what you think those words mean. If you’re wanting them to be more blunt about it, you’ll have to talk to them, as I’m not a UU member. What you need to bear in mind is that words are only words (and any reasonable person would agree that their words say a lot more than anyone else’s) and actions are actions. They don’t just talk the talk, Brian, they walk the walk.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Brian: To clarify, in response to your specific question in post #209…every day.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Chattanooga Unitarian Universalist Minister Rev. Jeff Briere, answers a reporters questions on January 7, 2009:

      Q: Many fundamentalist Christians view homosexuality as a sin. What is your personal opinion on this oft-heated debate?

      A: It’s not for me to criticize another’s beliefs, or “views,” as you put it. Nor should others presume to criticize mine. Our church has no doctrine, no dogma. We believe that everyone (of a certain maturity) can make the determination for himself or herself as to what is a sin. It seems to me to be a personal matter.

      At the end of the day, I believe you can believe what makes sense to you. But if you believe in an exclusive, domineering or hurtful philosophy, you probably won’t be happy in my church. And I would intervene if you acted on those beliefs, either in the church or in the community.

      This question leads me to say that religions are not engaged in a football game, nor any kind of combat or struggle. We are not playing a video game in which we score points by converting anyone to our beliefs or conquering them so that they won’t believe what they used to believe. I understand this attitude is not shared by some in the Christian community.

      Q : Many homosexuals say that they feel unwelcome and unwanted at many churches. What would you say to these individuals?

      A: It’s easy to say, “Come on over to my church.”

      But that flippant rejoinder misses the pastoral concern here. People quite often come to church with open hearts and vulnerable feelings. They are often wounded by their experience in churches and religious societies that are exclusive; that is, churches which practice a theology that puts some people in and others out. In recent years, I have noticed that some churches are striving to practice an inclusive religious life, and that’s good, because I believe that we are all in and no one is out. It’s like a big lifeboat, this world. We’re all in this together.

      While I find the words of this UU Minister to be interesting and encouraging – he stopped short of the position or (your words) principle that homosexuality is Now Wrong, Sinful or Deviant. UUs have a lot of room for varying beliefs – I wish “equality” was a stated belief. That could begin to happen if the said homosexuality was NOT WRONG.

      This Minister was close, but not close enough.

      I have spent time at UU churches and i appreciate their inclusiveness. At one congregation gays and lesbians were clearly welcomed, yet at another there wasn’t a rainbow flag in sight.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: “They have accepted us as we are and permitted us to fully participate in every aspect of spiritual life longer than any other religion currently active today.”

      “As we are?” How are we? Are we wrong? Are they accepting “wrong” homosexuals?

      I’m seeking precision because it is very important. Many Churches accept “defective” homosexuals. Some tolerate the same. Unless they make a very clear statement that we are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant we do not know if they believe that.

      Religion believes we are wrong. That has caused ALL our pain and suffering. We need every single religion to reject that lie and do so very directly. UUs should have no problem doing that. I’m looking forward.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Brian: That’s because there are no uniform requirements as to how individual UU churches should decorate their buildings, Brian. If you can be nitpicky, so can I. (Don’t get your panties twisted, as that was obviously a joke.)

      The real point here is that, even though that particular minister didn’t come “close enough” for you, he’s only one UU minister out of (probably) thousands. If you were to ask those same questions to ten, twenty, or a hundred UU ministers, you’d probably get just as many variations on the same basic theme, that the UU church affirms and welcomes all BGLT people to attend and participate in all aspects of church life. That’s something that is uniform for every UU church, no matter how many rainbow flags they have hanging on their walls. You’re forsaking substance for surface.

      You should also be aware that the UUA offers what is called a “Welcoming Congregation” designation, given to specific UU churches who pledge to go above and beyond what is already expected of them as far as the GLBT community is concerned. The individual congregations you have visited probably had this designation, if the rainbow flags are anything to judge by. That’s part of how you get it, by including GLBT symbology, history, and stories alongside those of everyone else. If an individual church doesn’t “gay it up” it’s probably because their parishioners don’t see the need to do so. That doesn’t change what they believe, though.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B.: “People generally don’t put out formal declarations on things they find completely obvious.”

      Christians (for 2,000 years) have defined homosexuality as Wrong, Sinful and Deviant. That is a fact. MCC is a relatively new brand of Christianity and would therefore have the “traditional beliefs” of Christianity – including how bad homosexuality is. To make that “change in traditional belief” absolutely clear a simple statement is required.

      Welcoming or inclusiveness or even blessing LGBT civil unions is nice, but it leaves the “traditional Christian” hatred of homosexuals fully intact.

      Look, I agree with you – MCC appears to be willing to make that simple Declaration that:

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Because of their history, commitment to equality and clear LGBT inclusiveness you might think they would be eager to sign the Declaration that makes their belief perfectly clear for all to see and understand. You should know they have declined to sign it on 3 separate occasions in the last year.

      Why?

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Brian: Okay, until you actually decide to read the paragraphs and statements I quoted from the UUA website and give thirty seconds’ thought to what they mean, I’m no longer engaging you. I’ve already given you everything you’ve been asking for (incessantly, of everyone, for the last I don’t know how many days, to the point of obnoxiousness) but you’re still complaining about the paper it’s wrapped in.

      I get what you’re trying to do, and I agree with you completely, but you’re starting to be a dick about it because you keep getting hung up on semantics. If you want the UUA to sign your little statement, send them an e-mail or call them or something. I can’t do that for you, because I’m not a UU member. My only goal in talking about them has been to correct some lies that were told about them and to point out that they do not belong in the same class as other religious groups who have been discussed on this thread.

      Like Sinead O’Connor said when she tore up the pope’s picture: fight the real enemy.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Brian:

      I wouldn’t be disagreeing with you if you had been making a more respectful argument like this from the beginning.

      Frankly up to now you have been saying that Christianity – in fact all religion – is the problem, and that all the reforms to support gay rights are just callous marketing.

      But perhaps you have changed your mind.

      I am happy to see these reforms being made, but really they have nothing to do with me, since I am not a member of any church. What is really important is changing the law.

      I support anyone’s right to worship how they wish, even if that person is a gay Catholic. It’s none of my business.

      But the real spectrum of the faithful goes a bit farther than apologetic progressives. As far as I am concerned someone who actively supports us has no reason to feel any kind of guilt, and that goes for GLBT members, too.

      And schlukitz, I don’t know how active your churches down there have been in political matters, but our United Church actively lobbied the Canadia government in support of marriage equality.

      Yeah, sure they were just doing it to cash in on the big bucks in the gay marriage market, but I’ll take a pound of that kind of support before a bunch of guilty heteros wailing mea culpa anytime.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      Why gays even attempt to believe Christianity is a puzzle to me. Christianity is a 3000 year old religion that finds itself slowly dying off due to cultural irrelevance and scientific discovery. What do they do in response? Theological revision.

      Every 50 years or so Christians revise their dogma to say that it’s now okay for women to thought of and treated as equal human beings. It’s now okay for non-landed white men to vote. It’s now okay for slavery to be frowned upon and religiously illegal. It’s now okay for the “sons of Ham” (eg. Africans) to be treated as equal human beings. It’s now okay to allow “witches” to live. It’s even religiously correct now for Christians to frown on mass genocide. All of the aforementioned examples violate what is spelled out as “truth” in their bronze-age book of religion. Christianity is clearly a religion of historic revision.

      According to the Bible, gays should be put to death. That is clear in print. At least with the fundamentalist sects (and also with Islamic fundamentists), we are not dealing with shades of gray and people who only half hate us.

      Christianity, at least for this fag, is an anachronism. Let them try to amend religious belief into their state constitutions.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: “You should also be aware that the UUA offers what is called a “Welcoming Congregation” designation, given to specific UU churches who pledge to go above and beyond what is already expected of them as far as the GLBT community is concerned. The individual congregations you have visited probably had this designation, if the rainbow flags are anything to judge by. That’s part of how you get it, by including GLBT symbology, history, and stories alongside those of everyone else. If an individual church doesn’t “gay it up” it’s probably because their parishioners don’t see the need to do so. That doesn’t change what they believe, though.”

      That’s the problem – we don’t actually KNOW what they believe. Traditional Christians believe what is “in the book,” most quite literally. UU is an alternative religion that seems to value several important principles over ancient dogma or doctrine – and that is great. But, your assertion that different ministers at UU Churches will give different answers is probably quite cool – until we get to those pesky homosexual questions. I have met a UU Minister who believes homosexuals are wrong. He used to be an Episcopalian – so, he’s made progress. But, his “beliefs” exist within the House of Unitarian Universalists. Why not set “standards” that put equality BEFORE religion?

      If any religion was poised to see the value of “all human beings are equal,” now go pick some beliefs – it would be the UUs.

      Many of us have hoped that UUs could be a safe place for not only LGBT person, but for freedom and reason and conversation. One UU Church I visited felt exactly like that – perhaps it was one of those “Welcoming Congregations.” I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t ALL “welcoming.” Because of this, I can visit a UU Church and sit right next to someone that believes I am Wrong, Sinful and Deviant.

      I don’t want to sit and contemplate life’s beauty and mystery next to a bigot that hates my ass. None of us should have to – that’s what standards are for.

      Have UUA set that up. Have them sign the Declaration:

      Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      and i’ll join you some Sunday morning.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #219 Tinkerbell – you are right about what you say, but you just forgot one or two important things. Human beings have always believed in some form of religion since time began and life is about change. There isn’t a human anything that hasn’t changed. Don’t dump it all on Christianity. And I’ve said this on other posts too – an African American friend of mine, not particularly religious, has travelled the world and says emphatically the status of women is far superior in the “Christian” countries. Among other things. Something you might want to consider.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @strumpetwindsock: Thank you for your kind words. I haven’t changed my position, but I have learned from many – including you. I have focused on winning full equality for LGBT people and frankly, to that end, NOTHING is sacred. NOTHING is more important than our full equality and I am not going to settle for incremental steps when the answer is very clear – we must un-wrong homosexuals and then re-brand us in the loving, compassionate and wholesome reality of who we REALLY are.

      I want to invite you to change your perspective, also. You said: “What is really important is changing the law.” That can’t happen until we change beliefs. That is our problem – people decide or vote based on their beliefs.

      HRC and all the other “gay rights pimps” do not have a plan for Equality. They exist to play the political game and earn their paychecks. We will NEVER win politically until we deal with those pesky “beliefs.” HRC and ALL the others have done NOTHING about those beliefs. In fact, I fail to see the “incentive” for any of the existing LGBT groups to actually create a solution. It’s not like we have pooled our LGBT resources and offered a $10 million REWARD for “the Solution to LGBT Equality,” (maybe that’s a good idea, though). We just have a bunch of groups making promises and earning a paycheck.

      WE are going to find a solution. I understand that many LGBT people are in the fight – many are gay-Christians. I would not diminish their efforts, but I am calling them to action – WE MUST END THE WRONG OF BEING A HOMOSEXUAL.

      I believe we will begin to see progress in the next few months. We will have equality (in the majority) in the next few years. I promise.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      In No. 216 · Brian wrote, “@B.: ‘People generally don’t put out formal declarations on things they find completely obvious.’ Christians (for 2,000 years) have defined homosexuality as Wrong, Sinful and Deviant. That is a fact.”

      It’s not really a fact – it is a half truth. Some Christians have been saying that, but certainly not all. Also, some scholars think an anti-gay attitude among Christians did not really take off until the 12th century – read http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_17_123/ai_n26705070/ for an example. So, “2000 years” is an exaggeration.

      http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian (written by a gay “Reverend”) has a Biblical argument against the homophobes. Also read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity_and_homosexuality for some historical context of where homphobic beliefs might have come from – it is not just from the early Christians but from the pagan society the early Christians lived in, where certain types of same-sex sexual activity was regarded as contemptible (other cases were acceptable).

      Aug 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @Jaroslaw:
      Jaroslaw, how far back can you definitely prove (or analogically prove, for that matter) that homo sapiens have held to religious beliefs?

      For Christianity, the max would have to be about 3200 years (the commonly held belief of the time of the fictional character of Abram). Before that?

      Science has our ancestry at MUCH earlier than that. The fossil data for life on our planet would date living creatures at hundreds of millions of years, while the bronze-age bible says that all life began in 7 days and then lists the lineage from Adam, Eve, and Seth in several generations that, at best, would span single thousands of years.

      Who shall I believe here? Hmmmmmm…a revisionist religion that tells me to take what they say on “faith” (based on ancient stories) or what my brain weighs is correct?

      A simple statement of “Human beings have always believed in some form of religion since time began,” is illogical and goes totally against the scientific method of discovery. I’m certainly glad that human inventors never subscribed to this way of thinking. We would not have automobiles, the internet, air travel, satellites, cell phones, televisions, etc, if we all kept the idea that “that’s the way we have always done it.”

      Christianity is illogical and is now trying to revise itself to try to maintain a sense of relevance in an ever-changing society.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 11:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: ” a Biblical argument against the homophobes. “

      That’s not enough and will NEVER be enough. You suggest that “not all Christians believe” and yet it is difficult to determine which ones do or don’t – which has been the theme of this whole Post.

      I will not accept anything “implied” or “suggested” when it is too easy to just make the declaration. Our Equality is not negotiable. It is important and we should not allow “gray areas” or ambiguous inferences. It is too easy to simply declare. There is no excuse NOT to be very clear and/or complete.

      Regarding whether or not religious people believe “homosexuals are wrong,” you said:

      “It’s not really a fact – it is a half truth. Some Christians have been saying that, but certainly not all.”

      in the last gallup Poll 79% of those identifying themselves as “religious” stated homosexuality was “wrong.” There are numerous studies saying the same thing. I believe “secularism” accounts for the 21% that do not believe we are wrong, more than the gay-friendlies do. We have some catching up to do.

      You speak of and promote MCC as one of those churches. Yet, MCC has declined on 3 separate occasions to sign the Declaration. MCC is indeed “gay-friendly,” but not friendly enough to make a bold statement about gays and lesbians.

      Of the +350,000 churches in the US, only 1% are gay-friendly (according to HRC). While this is good news and a step in the right direction – it isn’t very significant. Especially if they continue to refuse to sign the Declaration.

      WE are Not Wrong.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: The UUA has had several opportunities to sign the Declaration. Nothing yet. I hope they are giving it serious consideration. I think it would be helpful.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @strumpetwindsock:

      And schlukitz, I don’t know how active your churches down there have been in political matters, but our United Church actively lobbied the Canadia government in support of marriage equality.

      I cannot speak for the UU Churchs here in Florida, but when I was still living in NJ, I was a member of the Gay Activists Alliance of NJ for many years and we were allowed to met weekly at the UU Church in Morristown, NY, a courtesy that is apparently extended to gay groups in other parts of the country as well.

      While I never attended any of their services and know little about their official doctrine and political involvements, every member of that organization treated all of us with the greatest of respect.

      Personally, I have no gripe with the UU Church. If they are ok with me, then I am ok with them.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @strumpetwindsock: “And schlukitz, I don’t know how active your churches down there have been in political matters, but our United Church actively lobbied the Canadia government in support of marriage equality.

      Yeah, sure they were just doing it to cash in on the big bucks in the gay marriage market, but I’ll take a pound of that kind of support before a bunch of guilty heteros wailing mea culpa anytime.”

      Did you just suggest a Church did something for cash – Some “marketing?”

      I thought so.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Brian, you stated: “That’s not enough and will NEVER be enough”

      The fact is that nothing will ever be enough to please you.

      Brian: Declare that you reject ‘homosexuality is sin’
      Gay Friendly Church: “We reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ as false doctrine.”
      Brian: “That doesn’t count. Put it in writing.”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Posts documents detailing their rejection of 'homosexuality is sin', and why.]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count. Phrase it the way I told you to.”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Posts Brian's exact words to the web.]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count. Give me your statement.”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Emails the statement to Brian.]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count, put on paper.”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Prints out the statement, mails it to Brian]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count, it is printed, not handwritten”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Handwrites the statement, remails it]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count, you used blue ink, everyone knows you have to use black ink for real statements”
      Gay Friendly Church: [Rewrites the statement in black ink, remails it]
      Brian: “That doesn’t count, you didn’t use good paper . . . you didn’t attach a wax seal . . . there’s a typo . . . there’s a crease . . .

      Iteration after interation later, a signed in blood document, on the most expensive vellum paper, gold-leaf embossed, with a wax seal, hand letter caligraphy, notarized, dated, is hand delivered to Brian in front of all of the world’s press . . .

      Brian: “Ok, that looks good. Of course, this is dated for today, so it means nothing about anything you’ve done before today.

      There will be nothing to please people who are consumed by their prejudice against people of faith.

      “That’s the problem – we don’t actually KNOW what they believe.”

      No, Brian, you refuse to accept their testimony about what they believe. Of course, that is the root essence of atheism – refusing to believe other people’s testimony.

      MCC has a clear an explicit statement, but that isn’t good enough, you demand that people obey you, cater to your prejudice, about something that is, in the end, absolutely none of your business anyways.

      People of faith are not accountable to you. You are not their deity. Yet you, who supposedly reject the very notion of the existence of any Divine, seek to be the supreme authority, a deity, over millions of independent, human beings who are not, Brian, your inferiors or your subjects.

      Get over yourself, seriously. No denomination has to justify its existence by catering to your whims.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @tinkerbell:

      Are you the Tinkerbell who lived in Flushing, NY, worked in a leather shop in the Village and moved to Arizona with your partner a couple of years ago?

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @tinkerbell:

      Christianity is illogical and is now trying to revise itself to try to maintain a sense of relevance in an ever-changing society.

      But..but…marriage is a five-thousand year old tradition. You’re trying to redefine marriage….

      *stomping feet under the computer desk* LOL

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @schlukitz:

      I should clarify that I meant the United Church of Canada, which is a different organization than your United Church of Christ.

      While I was making a statement about church support, and as I am sure you know I feel religious freedom is important, I maintain that our most important fight will always be legal fight for our rights in the secular arena.

      What happens in these churches is important, I believe but in cases like yours (as with most any matter involving our rights) it is the law that matters.

      @Brian:

      Yup, I did.
      I’m sure you took it as I intended… as a joke and a barb at the commenters who suggested that was their actual motivation.

      @tinkerbell:
      Since before we WERE homo sapiens, actually.
      Archaeologists have found offerings and flowers in Neanderthal graves. Not proof of organized religion perhaps, but certainly evidence of belief in spirit and afterlife.
      And most of our oldest books, like Gilgamesh, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead are religious works.
      Religion is in a constant state of change, surely. But we will always have a belief in symbol, ritual and the supernatural. We are simply built that way

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      No…I’m the Tinkerbell who grew up in the mountains of NE TN and SW VA, who served in the Army, and was honorably discharged under DADT.

      I am someone who was raised in fundamentalist religion in the southern Appalachian Mountain region.

      I’m pretty much a country bumpkin who rode the short bus to school. I just want to think for myself and the patent story of religion (esp when it relates to how gay folk are treated) is bogus and unsubstantiated.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Tinkerbell,

      You are seriously uneducated on this subject.

      “Christianity is a 3000 year old religion that finds itself slowly dying off due to cultural irrelevance and scientific discovery. ”

      Christianity is approximately 2000 years old, dating back to the ministry of Jesus Christ in approximately 30 BC, though a firm date is complicated by alterations to the calender made several times in the interim.

      It is the offspring of Judaism, which goes back about about 2000 years further.

      Christianity is not slowly dying off. Some subsets of it are showing explosive growth, some moderate growth, some are waning, new denominations and subset arise every year. Christianity is hardly culturally irrelevant, it continues to play a strong role in cultures around the world – just as GLBTQ people living in California. Science is no threat to religion, any religion, including Christianity.

      “According to the Bible, gays should be put to death. That is clear in print.”

      No. Just no. As I pointed out yesterday, the Bible was not composed in English, and the text you are obliquely referencing was written in Hebrew. Hebrew at that time had no word for the concept ‘men who have sex with men’, so your ‘clear in print’ statement is completely false. The text you mention has subsequently been interpretted, but interpretation is a very different thing from ‘clear in print’. The text you mention actually condemns married men who have sex with a priest of a false religion, a form of adultery with overtones of idolatry.

      Your post demonstrates one of the major flaws that fundamentalists atheists make consistently – arguing from the thinnest veneer of information about a hugely complex and nuanced subject. Ironically, people who oppose creationists scream bloody damn murder about the way ID’ers cherry-pick a few tiny slivers from science, the way you have cherry-picked a few tiny interpretations, to found their assertions on.

      You also wrote: “Jaroslaw, how far back can you definitely prove (or analogically prove, for that matter) that homo sapiens have held to religious beliefs?

      For Christianity, the max would have to be about 3200 years (the commonly held belief of the time of the fictional character of Abram). Before that?

      Science has our ancestry at MUCH earlier than that. The fossil data for life on our planet would date living creatures at hundreds of millions of years, while the bronze-age bible says that all life began in 7 days and then lists the lineage from Adam, Eve, and Seth in several generations that, at best, would span single thousands of years.”

      Setting aside your errors here, archeaologists specializing in human cultures have found what they consider to be indications of religion that go back at least 10,000 years, and there are other evidences even older that are still debated and researched.

      Neither you, nor Brian, are participating with any sincerity, in my opinion. Both of you are simply digging for excuses to justify reviling and verbally abusing millions of human beings.

      Why you are even contributing is beyond me. As a man, I do not lecture women on their experience of menstuation or childbirth, to do so would be obscenely arrogant. I don’t tell women “You have to X to prove that your experiences are real.” Yet here you, and your peers are, demanding, of people who are not accountable to you, that they jump through your hoops, obey you, appease you, to prove to you something you do not, perhaps refuse to experience.

      Participants at this blog would be livid if some heterosexual showed up here, and ranted and demanded obediance to their commands, the way you, and Brian, and company have done.

      The posts from you folk make it clear that you do not tolerate the existence of people of faith, and do not recognize the human-ness of Christians. So can you possibly contribute to this discussion other than your malice and falsehoods?

      Have the integrity we wish homophobes would have, go post to a subject that is not about people you hate.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @tinkerbell:

      Thank you kindly for clarifying your ID for me. It is the first time I ever saw anyone else using handle besides the person I was making reference to in my inquiry and it naturally piqued my curiosity.

      So glad to hear that you’re a man who uses his noggin to figure things out for himself, instead of just using it for a hat rack rack as so many people seem inclined to do.

      I grew up in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in upstate New York and the central west coast of Florida, as my family became show birds when I was around the age of 10.

      I was raised in the RC Catholic faith, but I was pretty much over it by the time I was five or six. Even at that early age, I was never one to let someone do my thinking for me and that pretty quickly earned me the title of “Rebellious”. LOL

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Is there any real proof of Neanderthals? or Homo Habalis?

      Most current research that I have read of Neander-tals are certainly discounting their existence. Even if they existed, when did they exist, Strump??? It was supposed to be a few THOUSANDS of years ago.

      Let me give you some logic behind your religion. You believe in good vs. evil. Light vs dark. Have you ever wondered where that came from?

      Imagine yourself 10,000 years ago as a hungry scavenger around a campfire in the pitch darkness. What you can see is in the light. It is GOOD because it cannot harm you and immediately soothes you. You hear unknown sounds outside of the light. It scares you. Your acquaintance wanders from the campfire and disappears from the group with shrieks. You find him (or her) the next day torn to shreds by the unknown agents of darkness. What did it? The evil, unknown agents of darkness. The unknown demons were the demise of your campmate…not the predators of the plains.

      This is the origin of religious belief in the world. Light vs darkness. Good vs evil. Life vs death.

      Gay folk deserve the same legal rights as everyone else. Religious superstition be damned and ignored.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Sorry for the confusion on my behalf about the Churchs. I get a tad bleary-eyed around this of the evening (morning). ;o)

      And thank you for the additional thoughts and feelings you expressed.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @David:

      The Christianity that I was raised in roots itself much later than the actual, alleged birth of the person who claimed to be the Yesuhaic Messiah (the Yeshua of fundamentalist Christianity who was purported to be born in Bethlehem, but was also purported to be a Nazarene). Yeah, you Christians claim that you follow a son of a Nazarene carpenter who lived about 2000 years ago, but most of you will say that your beliefs go much farther back.

      Many, if not most Christians will say your bronze age religion stretches back about a thousand more years (3000ish years ago…no one can put a date on a figure that probably never really existed) to the figure of Abram of modern-day Iraq. This character is AKA…Abraham, the father of Isaac, concubine of Haagar (so much for traditional marriage), husband of Sarai, father of Ishmael (of whom the Muslims claim lineage), grandfather of Jacob, tribe of Isreal and father of the Hebrews. (All of which can be referenced in the bronze-age reference book of genesis).

      The problem with Christianity is that it is full of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination. Those who adhere to it know NOTHING of their own religion or their bronze age “holy” book.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @tinkerbell:

      I agree with you that supernatural interpretation of events is a major part of our religions and superstitions.

      My point is that this way of thinking will always be part of us. If it’s not churches and taboos it will be UFOs, lottery tickets and political parties.

      But I hardly think the churches are done anytime soon.

      And regardless of the latest theories about neanderthal (and as I understand it they died out or more likely interbred with our ancestors during the last ice age) that does not change the archaeological record of elaborate burial sites around 50,000 years ago.

      @schlukitz:
      No problem… my mistake for not being clear in the first place.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @strumpetwindsock:
      How far back does our weather-bound archaeology of civilized humanity go? 50,000 years, you say? Okay, I will take that, though I don’t have that record as fact in science. Our record of natural science and biology goes MUCH farther back than 50k years…it goes MILLIONS of years.

      Granted that Christianity/Judiasm goes 2-3k years, Islam goes back to 500A.C.E (AD) and the eastern religions similar time frames, by your very own timeframe, all religions are but a flash in the pan of the history of humanity by your accord. Even if humanity miraculously appeared 50,000 years ago (which the fossil record clearly contradicts), ALL major religions of today are but a passing fad.

      Christianity is a bronze age religion that is, thankfully, in its wane.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Tinkerbell

      “The problem with Christianity is that it is full of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination.”

      So, just like your posts. Your gross and fraudulent distortion is bigotry, identical in construction and purpose to statements by homophobes that ‘the problem with homosexuality is that it is full of perversion, selfishness, and unnatural acts’.

      Your claims about Christians are no different from those made by any homophobe about homosexuals. When you become them, as your posts suggest you have, they win.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      Okay, David. I am a second class citizen with over a 1000 fewer rights than you. I have no legal standings with my partner whom I love. I cannot serve the country that I once fought desperately for simply because of who I love. I was discharged under DADT.

      Why?

      It’s simply because of religion! No more, no less. I’m a simple person, but can you tell me any reason why gay folk are second-class citizens without the same rights that you straights enjoy other than the fact of religion???

      Barring religious arguments, can you justify ANY reasons why I (as a gay person) shouldn’t have the same legal rights as you???

      Religion is the sole basis of bigotry against the GLBT, yet religion is illogical and so inhumane.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @David:

      So, I guess those who strip the civil rights of others turn things to where they are the persecuted because those who they torment speak out against their tormentors.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @tinkerbell:

      Actually, Tinkerbell, it’s your government that is to blame.

      The soviet union and the nazis had no problem persecuting us without a religious argument. Hitler’s argument was that we did not help perpetuate the german race.

      Do you think every basher walks around with a bible in his pocket? The bigots don’t need religion to hate us. They manage just fine without it.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Agreed that the Nazis hated us and sent us to the death camps with a pink triangle on our sleeves. Nazis disgust me. So do the racist people that populate my area.

      My supposition is that the only argument in 2009 for keeping us subjugated as second-class citizens, unable to marry, unable to join the military, unable to freely express ourselves is…RELIGION in general and Christianity in general.

      Both are illogical arguments as to why the “state” that we pay taxes to should treat us as subhuman.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      In No. 225 · Brian wrote, “@B: ‘ a Biblical argument against the homophobes.’ That’s not enough and will NEVER be enough. You suggest that ‘not all Christians believe’ and yet it is difficult to determine which ones do or don’t – which has been the theme of this whole Post.”

      Now you are just being dishonest – you are quoting fragments of sentences and completely ignored the URL I gave you pointing to an article by a gay “Reverend” saying quite clearly that Christians who believe that homosexuality is wrong don’t know what they are talking about – they haven’t actually studied the Bible well enough to determine what various passages really mean. That URL clearly indicates that there are in fact Christians who do not believe that homosexuality is wrong.

      Then you went on to quote me saying “It’s not really a fact – it is a half truth. Some Christians have been saying that, but certainly not all,” and you replied to that by saying, “in the last gallup Poll 79% of those identifying themselves as “religious” stated homosexuality was “wrong.” You don’t realize that your quote of a Gallop Poll is consistent with what I wrote! Your statement was a half-truth because you ignored that 20 percent.

      You then wrote, “You speak of and promote MCC as one of those churches,” yet I never mentioned MCC in the post you commented on, and previously I simply said I was under the impression that MCC was gay friendly, which hardly promotes MCC. What you are whining about is that MCC apparently won’t sign some specific declaration. Yet, http://www.libchrist.com/other/homosexual/ufmcc.html seems to have a copy of an MCC statement of some sort that claims, “The good news is that, since 1968, when Metropolitan Community Church was founded, the emergence of a strong lesbian and gay community, and the conclusions of new scientific studies on homosexuality have forced the Christian Church to reexamine these issues. 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!”

      Then, aocording to http://www.mccctl.com/552.html the MCC’s position includes “GAY, LESBIAN, TRANSGENDER, & BISEXUAL CONCERNS
      We are an inclusive church with a special outreach to the LBGT community. Straight, LesBiGay, Transgender, and Questioning are all a part of our congregation. All are valued and affirmed. We offer holy unions for same gender couples and traditional matrimony ceremonies for straight couples. Either can be called a wedding. We believe the love of God is all-inclusive and unconditional and we disagree with those who say love between people of the same gender disqualifies them from a relationship with God. Just as you are, you are welcome and affirmed at MCC-CTL.”

      So, I’m not sure exactly what it is that you are complaining about, other than complaining for the sake of complaining.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 3:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • doug modlin
      doug modlin

      You’re awesome Erik – and it’s awesomely vulgar to find a lutheran pastor who uses the word ‘fuck’. Not because it’s a cool thing to say….but because it is a sign of being HUMAN to be a little off-the-cuff once in a while.

      It reminds me of how I’ve always liked to imagine the scene at the temple in Jerusalem…. Jesus – full of love, and normally so peaceful – brandishing a whip, getting in-your-face pissed, screaming (translated to English) ‘you sons-a-bitches, get the f@#@ out before I f$** your s*#*t up!’ I mean, really – Christ was TICKED and he meant business…..

      Anyway, I’ll be sending your article out to as many people as I can, because you make sense and are HUMAN – a trait that many (but definitely not ALL) pastors seem to lack. Thank you.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 4:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Tinker Bell – Boy do you need some therapy! I started my post by saying you were right! But you have so many blinders on, all you can do is react and explode! My post was extremely short – why don’t you read it? Did you read anything else I wrote on this post even? I am totally behind the state treating everyone equally and haven’t excused Christianity (or any other religion) of anything. I simply asked that you don’t dump everything wrong in the world on it.

      As others have pointed out, religious history goes back many thousands of years, so perhaps I wasn’t technically accurate to say “always” in describing human belief in religion but to jump from that to “we wouldn’t have cars, cell phones, air travel etc.?” Your thought processes are seriously defective.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 6:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: You are an idiot. You misquote and intentionally try to derail the conversation.

      B. has been suggesting that “Preacher writings against homophobes and for acceptance of homosexuals” is sufficient. No, that is not enough. The belief that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant does not go away when we are merely “accepted.” the same can be said for Baptist’s treatment of women – they’re accepted, but still oppressed by Church doctrine.

      Both David and B. ramble incessantly with innuendo and metaphors yet they refuse to see that none of this changes the problem. The problem for LGBT persons is that we have been branded by religion as “wrong” and until that is rejected we can NEVER be equal. Even if we are accepted or tolerated – we’re still wrong.

      It seems both of you just can’t get over “being liked” by your Church. That’s precious. But, it doesn’t change anything for LGBT people. That is my goal. Un-doing the wrong done to homosexuals by religion.

      It takes courage to try to create full equality for LGBT people. it also takes very direct and unambiguous language. You can keep gilding the lily of “gay-friendly” churches, but it doesn’t make a difference to our community until they Declare:

      “Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.”

      Let us know when that happens.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 10:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: “there are in fact Christians who do not believe that homosexuality is wrong.”

      Which ones have stated it as a “belief” of their institution? A formal documented belief? Christians believe homosexuality is wrong – and that is not debatable. If you have some Christians that are rejecting that belief “formally and in writing,” please share.

      UUA, UCC, MCC and others have not yet made that Declaration. many of us remain hopeful that they will. When they do there will no longer be uncertainty.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @David: This is what you ALWAYS do:

      No. 241 · David
      Tinkerbell: “The problem with Christianity is that it is full of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination.”

      David: So, just like your posts. Your gross and fraudulent distortion is bigotry, identical in construction and purpose to statements by homophobes that ‘the problem with homosexuality is that it is full of perversion, selfishness, and unnatural acts’.
      Your claims about Christians are no different from those made by any homophobe about homosexuals. When you become them, as your posts suggest you have, they win.

      You never actually respond, but suggest other comments are homophobe-like, instead of sincere. You’re an idiot. You have not contributed to this conversation. Conversation requires sincere responses and an EFFORT to learn, grow and understand. You have not only failed, you are simply “proudly disruptive.”

      Aug 31, 2009 at 10:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @Jaroslaw:

      What are you, Jaroslaw, a psychologist who diagnoses others based upon web posts? LOL.

      Of course I read your original post. You were apoplectic toward Christianity by in essence saying “yeah, we’re bad, but not nearly as bad as other religions…just look at the place of women here as opposed to Africa.”

      Using the analogy that humans have had superstitious religion over the past few thousand years does not make their kooky, bigoted beliefs okay.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      In hopes there are more than 5 people still reading, I have a simple question for Rebecca or other pastors:

      Given that Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has publicly and concretely stated that she believes homosexuality is not a sin (despite it not being official creed), with no official recourse, I got to thinking — is it REALLY true that Lutheran (or other religions’) pastors will lose their jobs &/or congregations if they say so?

      The Lutheran church officially “opposes all forms of verbal or physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public services. It has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection.”

      It has also now officially stated that “The church recognizes that, with conviction and integrity, on the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the context of sexual orientation and committed relationships that we experience today.”

      So if we’re talking about pastors like Erik who publicly bemoan homophobia and the closed-mindedness of his pastor peers (and thus presumably has a similarly open-minded congregation), can’t Erik and pastors like him just say “I acknowledge the different beliefs of my brothers and sisters, but personally I believe that homosexuality is not a sin”?

      It may seem minor to many – since they support gay rights and oppose homophobia – but “sin” is really the operative word…

      Aug 31, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Tinkerbell – get a dictionary! Pointing out a fact is not apoplectic. I noticed you didn’t respond to my other points either. Nor did you seem to notice others were correcting you as well. I knew you’d bring out the “are you a psychologist?” but I thought that was the nicest way to say you’re not logical. What more can a person do? Acknowledge you’re right for the most part, and point out some facts you didn’t notice and you seize upon that “psychologist” thing. Oh well.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #253 Bedford, I’m starting to see the light on the person who keeps calling for “sign the declaration.”

      If the Lutheran church or any other body is calling for no discrimination in public accommodation, no physical or verbal harrassment, etc. just go on and sign the declaration!

      To acknowledge ‘some’ disagree with scriptural interpretations, well, that is dishonest in my view. If you can’t see that eating shellfish, and any number of other prohibitions are on the same exact level as whatever they meant by “a man lying with a man”, then it couldn’t be too damn serious of an offense.

      Couple that with Jesus not saying anything about homosexuality, factor in genetic research and I think SHOULD be able to easily say having a Gay orientation is beyond a person’s control and move on to important things such as world hunger? Health insurance? Greening the world? Nursing home inspections etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      Jaroslaw, you pointed out everything but a “fact.” You originally stated that humans had believed in religion for most of our history, while there is no proof whatsoever that we had (not that it would matter, anyway.) So, when someone points out an error you made, you resort to personal attacks questioning my sanity? LOL, I don’t think it’s me who needs help. I am just fine with my self-esteem and adjustment.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      PS – please no more arguing about the UFMCC and UUA, these are churches that arose to provide a welcoming place for gays that want to explore religion; they’re “niche” churches that aren’t the problem. The arguing just amounts to gays arguing with each other over semantics or the larger question of whether gays should be involved with Christianity or religion at all, which isn’t productive nor the topic at hand (and yes, I prefer “gays” to “gay men and women”).

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @bedford: Except that UFMCC and UUA have not declared that “homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.” We are making progress with both denominations, but no declaration yet. I believe they will sign it.

      Acceptance and welcoming are good steps, but eventually we must end the idea that homosexuality is wrong or a sin. The easiest thing for “Christians” that do not believe the traditional Christian belief that we’re wrong, can sign the simple 7 word Declaration. Then, there would be clarity.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      There is an old adage.

      “Never argue about sex, politics or religion. You will never win any of them.”

      And judging by the sheer number of posts on this thread, I guess that holds as true today as it ever did. ;o)

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @schlukitz: Haha, very true. What is most interesting is that Religion itself made discussing religion taboo.

      Go figure.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bedford
      bedford

      Brian, Brian, Brian. Methinks your declaration is not going to be signed via this comments section. Also, again, re: UFMCC and UU:

      THE UFMCC IS A GAY CHURCH. That “homosexuality is not a sin” booklet – and all the others which proclaim it as well – is an official church publication. It is stated. In print. In several church publications proudly listed under “our beliefs” on their website. Are we REALLY debating whether a gay church is “gay enough”?

      The UU has no creed and welcomes atheists and pagans. How could they ‘officially’ state that homosexuality is not a sin when they have NO ‘official’ statements, and in accepting atheists and pagans, ‘officially’ don’t even believe in god??

      Ask people to sign it that actually need to sign it (just please ask THEM, not all of us. We agree with you. We agreed with you 250 comments ago.)

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Oh Tinkerbell stop already.

      People have always looked to the external to explain life situations which they could not. Cultures have worshiped the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, imbued animals with special powers etc. That is where superstition, witchcraft, fairytales and every other manner of human religion, cultic practices came from. With such a long, expansive and totally encompassing KNOWN history, it would be inconsistent to the nth degree that people pre-history would be any different than most of us today.

      So THAT is what I was admitting to when I said “technically” we do not know in a legal proof kind of sense whether or not people had religion for all time, but in a practical logical sense, we can be 100% certain that they did. This doesn’t seem like the monumental “error” you’re making it out to be.

      The other “fact” I was referring to was the status of women in Christian countries.

      The attack on your sanity comes from YOU calling me apoplectic and your out of control responses to others here. Go back and re-read some of the stuff you posted!

      Aug 31, 2009 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WestCanuck
      WestCanuck

      “Q: Many fundamentalist Christians view homosexuality as a sin. What is your personal opinion on this oft-heated debate?

      “A: It’s not for me to criticize another’s beliefs, or ‘views,’ as you put it. Nor should others presume to criticize mine.”

      Typical soft liberal. Worse than a hard-core conservative. The notion that not all ideas are equally worthy of respect is an alien concept to such people. Would Briere fail to criticize racism? Sexism? Antisemitism? No, of course not. Completely disingenuous and the height of hypocrisy. No wonder religion of all kinds is losing credibility on every front.

      “BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that in order to transform the racist institutions of our world, the General Assembly urges the Unitarian Universalist Association and all its parts to establish relationships with other international and interfaith organizations that are working to dismantle racism.” (1997 Business Resolution)

      “It is important to affirm over and over again that racism is a sin that permeates society and the church,” said Strouse, representing Bishop Lee M. Miller of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (Reported by Dave Condren, News Religion Reporter, 1/16/01)

      Aug 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @bedford: The ECUSA (Episcopalian) is, indeed, moving in the direction that Jefferts Schori espouses, and I believe it will get there, though probably partly due to schism. But its official position and stand, as a church, will be as result of acts of Convention, and not just because Jefferts Schori says so. That has not happened yet, but it needs to.

      Episcopalians have been VERY welcoming to the LGBT Community, but they still make homosexuality wrong, sinful and deviant. Jefferts is trying to move them to eventually Declare it is not wrong, sinful or deviant. Most people believe this will split the Church into two groups: Those that wish to continue to believe homosexuality is a sin and those that do not.

      Nobody knows when that will happen. The reason it would be very helpful is that each of the groups could be “clearly defined.” At some point, as religion makes these choices, those who believe in hating homosexuals will become a smaller part of Christianity. Nobody know what that will be, but we should be anxious to find out.

      Have “the” Vote Bishop.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @bedford: Check MCC materials again – it’s the same trick that UCC uses. They provide “suggested reading” regarding homosexuality which are “somebody’s ideas about the possibility that Christians may be misunderstanding homosexuality.” The author, on occasion, may state his or her personal belief, but MCC as an institution has never “officially” stated (or Declared) “homosexuality is not a sin.” There have been several efforts in the past 5 years to do so and they have declined.

      It would be in their best interest and for all their followers, to just come out and say it – as an institution. It’s not hard. Seven words that set the record straight:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Ask MCC to sign it. It would be VERY helpful.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @bedford: Co-sign.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “B. has been suggesting that ‘Preacher writings against homophobes and for acceptance of homosexuals’ is sufficient.”

      Brian, you either have a real reading comprehension problem or you are dissembling. What I was pointing out was that the set of Christian churches that have reasonable positions on homosexuality – that there is nothing wrong with it – is not empty. Your statements claimed the set was empty.

      I never claimed anything was “sufficient” because the remaining Christian churches are a big problem, but the problem is not all of them. All I asked you to do was to complain about the ones that are actually contributing to the problem and not the others.

      Your whines about MCC are childish – you seem to be complaining that MCC won’t sign some particular declaration even though MCC’s stated position appears to be that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being gay. This may surprise you, but many organizations routinely refuse to sign declarations that some random group asks them to sign. The reason is simple – if you sign one, then someone else will come by asking you to sign another one. The end result will be the need to hire a full time staff to handle all the people wanting their pet declarations reviewed and signed, and with all those declarations, your own message will be lost in the noise. There are a lot of tiny groups with their own crazy agendas out there, and any reasonably run organization does not want to have a staff member spending his or her time talking to some “activist” who wants a ban on hunting gay whales (as if someone hunting for whales could tell the difference).

      Aug 31, 2009 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: I appreciate your comments and your understanding abut MCC and their gay-friendliness. But, this is a very serious issue. Christianity (for 2,000 years) has made homosexuality wrong. Some groups appear to have rejected that belief, but it is only with hearsay and suggestion.

      It is important that we reverse the 2,000 year negative branding of homosexuals. I believe MCC has done a lot in that regard, but it is not “official.” I asked MCC to sign that Declaration several times and they have REFUSED. They claimed in would put their “Christian belief” in “jeopardy.” That’s the problem, although I am not completely certain what “jeopardy” meant.

      Have a Christian sign the Declaration and MAKING IT VERY CLEAR would be a huge Victory for LGBT persons and the un-wronging of homosexuals. You ask them to sign it – or ask your self why they will not sign it. They must have a reason.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @Chance:
      Chance, and Brian- if what you actually need is a clergy person to say it, I will.

      Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant.

      Rev. Lura Groen

      ps,I know tons of clergy who have and will say

      Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant.

      Some denominations use slightly different words, because, guess what? They don’t know you, and you don’t set church policy. But I’ve heard homophobia and heterosexism preached against as sins more times than I can count, and have preached those sermons myself. If you haven’t heard a clergy person say

      Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful, or deviant,

      It’s because you aren’t listening. I’ll sign this statement again,

      Rev. Lura Groen

      Aug 31, 2009 at 8:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @Mark:
      “No Lutheran stood up to this?” Literally hundreds of lutherans were present at our assembly, visibly present, engaged in conversations with voting members, and speaking vocally at microphones for change. Many had been lutheran activists for decades, working for the full inclusion of LGBT people. Both clergy and lay spoke at the microphones for full inclusion. And we have changed minds over time- 2/3 of the assembly voted to include gay pastors. Not far enough, certainly, but please do respect the work of those who have been speaking publically for decades.

      ps- Pastor Mills was speaking our against changing policies, and yes, therefore supporting discrimination. He hasn’t been “very vocal” about this, nor does he spew hate. Challenge us, yes, but get your facts right.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @David:
      They rarely listen because it is the wrong message. What you, and your peers and your congregations should be saying is:

      “We have sinned against gays and lesbians, in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this we deserve God’s punishment both now and in eternity.

      I am truly sorry for my sins, for any time I have preached condemnation of homosexuals, for any derogatory or abusive thing I’ve said or done to gays, for using words like pervert and predator, sick and evil to define millions of human beings.

      I recognize that our prejudice can never be excused or justified, on any grounds, not tradition, not interpretation of Scripture, not ignorance or culture.

      Forgive me.”

      Yes! I’m waiting to hear that too!

      Aug 31, 2009 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: What Denomination or what Church. You know what you say, as Clergy, is not what the organization believes. I am talking about the official belief or doctrine or your Christian group.

      Where is that?

      Aug 31, 2009 at 11:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: What denomination or church is willing to sign the Declaration?

      Aug 31, 2009 at 11:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Lura: Sorry. Someone should have mentioned to you that it’s impossible to please those two. No matter what you or your denomination does, they’re going to want more.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @vernonvanderbilt: Gee, that’s dishonest. Why do you have trouble with the very simple idea that if “homosexuality is Not Wrong” a denomination or Church would say so – officially. Is this really something you want to nuance? Or maybe, kinda think is true?

      You have NEVER suggested why a religious organization WOULD NOT want to be perfectly CLEAR.

      If Lura’s representation is real, providing someone proof is the least to ask. LGBT equality is a very important matter. Please, treat it that way.

      I will remind you and B., that you still have not delivered any “official position” for ANY Christian organization. That would be a very big deal. Keep trying.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “@B: ‘there are in fact Christians who do not believe that homosexuality is wrong.’ Which ones have stated it as a “belief” of their institution? A formal documented belief? Christians believe homosexuality is wrong – and that is not debatable. If you have some Christians that are rejecting that belief ‘formally and in writing,’ please share.”

      Err, Brian, I day or so ago I posted a link http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian written by a Christian “Reverend” who clearly is rejecting the belief that there is something wrong with being gay. Read it.
      Don’t go around asking questions over and over when you are obviously ignoring the answer.

      You don’t have to believe this guy’s theology to admit that there are in fact Christians who are not anti-gay.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “It is important that we reverse the 2,000 year negative branding of homosexuals. I believe MCC has done a lot in that regard, but it is not ‘official.’ I asked MCC to sign that Declaration several times and they have REFUSED. They claimed in would put their ‘Christian belief’ in ‘jeopardy.’ That’s the problem, although I am not completely certain what ‘jeopardy’ meant.”

      Oh, so *you* asked someone at MCC to sign your pet declaration and were told you to get lost. Well, one question is what else was in it? MCC has obviously rejected the “homosexuality is sin” garbage. What else might be in your declaration, and why do you think MCC has any obligation to sign something just because you want them to?

      I’m also curious if your attitude regarding MCC is the result of being sort of jilted. :-)

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ThinkRealHard
      ThinkRealHard

      @B: Soulforce is not a Christian Denomination or even a Christian Church. You have provided one guys opinion.

      I understand what Brian is trying to do. Unfortunately, I don’t think ANY Christian organization will go on the official record and reject the lies about homosexuals. I wish they would, but none have.

      I would still be an Episcopalian if they had done that.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: “Oh, so *you* asked someone at MCC to sign your pet declaration and were told you to get lost. Well, one question is what else was in it? MCC has obviously rejected the “homosexuality is sin” garbage. What else might be in your declaration, and why do you think MCC has any obligation to sign something just because you want them to?”

      It said:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Just those 7 simple words. Nothing else.

      Like I have already told you – they suggested that if they sign that their standing as Christians would be “in jeopardy.”

      It’s very clear they can “appear” to embrace LGBT people and even create the appearance that the above Declaration is true – but, they won’t say so OFFICIALLY. Based on your confidence about MCC, it seems you are a victim of this beautiful charade.

      I have no feelings about MCC that are any different than any other Christian organization. Of course, I would like that to change. Perhaps you can help. YOU ask them to sign it.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: “why do you think MCC has any obligation to sign something just because you want them to?”

      Every single LGBT person in the world wants them to sign it. We all want to end the “wrong” of being a homosexual. Christian organizations did that. If MCC does not share that traditional belief, they should just say so. 7 simple words that could change the World for our Community.

      So, specifically, I think they need to sign the Declaration to end the confusion. You are convinced they have rejected the lies about homosexuals and I (and many others) are not convinced. It only takes SEVEN SIMPLE WORDS. You’d think they would be anxious to clear up the confusion.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @ThinkRealHard:

      @B: Soulforce is not a Christian Denomination or even a Christian Church. You have provided one guys opinion.

      Nice as Mel White’s words are, I checked that out as well and you are absolutely right.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 9:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ThinkRealHard
      ThinkRealHard

      @schlukitz: Mel White has done a wonderful job of trying to end hate and bigotry. Unfortuanately he has stopped short of the Declaration. But, his efforts are certainly appreciated. He has made a difference.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      ThinkRealHard wrote, “@B: Soulforce is not a Christian Denomination or even a Christian Church. You have provided one guys opinion.”

      Yes, one guy’s *published* opinion and you can presume others hold the same opinion as well, but Brian did not ask for a Christian Denomination but rather for a Christian!

      The problem is that Brian is making unqualified statements that are false as stated, although true for all too many Christians and Christian denominations. It’s the scope of his statements that I’m objecting to.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “@B: ‘why do you think MCC has any obligation to sign something just because you want them to?’ Every single LGBT person in the world wants them to sign it.”

      Brian, you are posting false information – hardly any LGBT person in the world wants them to sign your declaration if only because hardly any have heard of it. And a lot of LGBT people probably don’t give a damn given that MCC already has what appears to be a gay-friendly position.

      But given the number of factually challenged statements you make, why should anyone believe any of your claims about what MCC actually told you? If you want to be believed, try to be a lot more accurate in what you post.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ThinkRealHard
      ThinkRealHard

      @B: The problem is that Brian is making unqualified statements that are false as stated, although true for all too many Christians and Christian denominations. It’s the scope of his statements that I’m objecting to.”

      Then do what I am going to do – I am trying to find a Christian group that will sing the statement. I don’t think anything about Gay-Friendly-Christians is very clear. I think Brian has a good idea, if only to actually know where everyone stands. Right now, I don’t know – nobody knows.

      Maybe MCC will sign it. Maybe even my Episcopalians. I’ll pray.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      The dumbest thing said in this entire conversation:

      The issue isn’t to tell them homosexuality isn’t sin, but to demonstrate to them, exort to them, preach to them, that prejudice is.

      David said that.

      The “prejudice” is because of the lie about homosexuality. If you dealt with the lie, their would be no prejudice.

      WE will never be equal until we end the “wrong” of being a homosexual.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: “MCC already has what appears to be a gay-friendly position.”

      YOU said that. Thank-you for making my point.

      ASK MCC to Sign the Declaration.
      Then, it would be clear.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 10:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      ThinkRealHard wrote, “Mel White has done a wonderful job of trying to end hate and bigotry. Unfortuanately he has stopped short of the Declaration. But, his efforts are certainly appreciated. He has made a difference.”

      Where I’d disagree is with the “stopped short” part – he clearly was stating that there is nothing wrong with being gay, but he didn’t do it in 10 words or less. That’s primarily because he was writing it from a Christian perspective to convince homophobic Christians that they were wrong, even if they believed the Bible was error free (hence, his point that humans reading alleged error-free text can make mistakes in understanding it).

      Sep 2, 2009 at 1:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      ThinkRealHard wrote, “Then do what I am going to do – I am trying to find a Christian group that will sing the statement. I don’t think anything about Gay-Friendly-Christians is very clear. I think Brian has a good idea, if only to actually know where everyone stands.”

      If you want them to “sing” it, talk to the chorus director; if you want them to sign it, why should they? If they sign yours, they will presumably have to go around signing everyone else’s. I find it interesting, however, that both you and Brian ignored comment number No. 269 by Rev. Lura Groen stating just what you asked.

      To be frank, it is hard to take you people seriously when you whine about some declaration not being signed and then ignore people who state just what you claim you want to hear. You’ve shown that signing your “declaration” is pointless because if someone does sign it, you will most likely simply ignore the fact and continue to complain.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 1:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Brian:

      “Gee, that’s dishonest.”

      No, not really. If you want to pick on the Unitarians (who aren’t even a christian church) then it’s obvious there is nothing any religious organization could do to please you.

      “I will remind you and B., that you still have not delivered any “official position” for ANY Christian organization. That would be a very big deal. Keep trying.”

      You’re right. This is because I have little interest in anything any christian organization does to begin with (unless, of course, they’re violating my rights or the rights of my people). I am not a christian, do not attend any church, and believe most of them are full of crap anyway. I have no need to change any churches because what they believe is not my responsibility.

      You see, you’re so caught up in what other people allegedly “think” that your message has become a secondary issue. You’re stuck in this idea that churches have to “love” us if we’re to gain justice and equality under the law. Why do you want their acceptance so badly? If you consider yourself a christian, then maybe it’s understandable. If you aren’t, though, I simply cannot see why this matters so much to you. As a non-christian, I couldn’t care less what they think of me. I don’t need the churches to validate me in order to believe I’m entitled to equal rights.

      The truth is, you’re anti-church more than you’re pro-gay. You want them to sign your little proclamation so badly because you know they won’t, thus backing up your already established viewpoint. And you know what? That’s fine with me. I don’t have much love for the church (any church) either. But just be honest about it. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps part of the reason none of them will sign it is because they can smell you coming a mile away? If you really wanted your proclamation to be signed by someone, you’d hand it over to a believer and let them work on it. Outsiders have no standing with any church, and you know this.

      But you don’t want them to sign it, so instead you’re doing what you’re doing, spouting off ad nauseam on this site to anyone who’ll pay attention, ranting and whining and writing off all evidence, from the solid to the tangential, that there might actually be churches and religious organizations out there who do not believe homosexuality is a sin.

      You hate religion. That’s wonderful. More people should. Just be honest about that and stop being a douche. You make the rest of us non-believing queers look bad by association.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 1:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      vernonvanderbilt wrote, “You’re right. This is because I have little interest in anything any christian organization does to begin with (unless, of course, they’re violating my rights or the rights of my people).”

      Brian referred to both of us, and his statement, “I will remind you and B., that you still have not delivered any ‘official position’ for ANY Christian organization. That would be a very big deal. Keep trying,” seems to be a lie – I previously pointed him to the URL http://www.libchrist.com/other/homosexual/ufmcc.html that apparently contains the official position of the MCC church. It includes a section with the heading

      NOT A SIN-NOT A SICKNESS

      which, after a description of homophobic churches’ beliefs, was followed by “The good news is that, since 1968, when Metropolitan Community Church was founded, the emergence of a strong lesbian and gay community, and the conclusions of new scientific studies on homosexuality have forced the Christian Church to reexamine these issues. 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!”

      These guys immediately discounted it (I hadn’t pasted in the heading, so if they thought it wasn’t there, it could only be because they didn’t bother to look at the link to see what it actually said).

      The fact is that nothing will satisfy them. You have the phrase “NOT A SIN – NOT A SICKNESS” and they still complain because someone wouldn’t bother to sign their silly petition.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 2:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • getreal
      getreal

      @Brian: Well I am a Christian equality activist and I will sign on with the common sense idea that Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful and Deviant. If you are a believer you know we are all created in God’s image gay, straight, trans whatever so the contention that ones identity is “sinful” is an insult to God. For the non-believers homosexuality is a natural occurring phenomenon in just about every animal and even some insect species.Segregationists used religion and the bible to justify their bigotry blacks were smart enough to not make it a holy war but a matter of common sense and justice. Stick to the facts not emotion. Attacking religion may make you feel good but it only plays into homophobes plans by keeping the moveable middle away from our way of thinking. This is a civil rights movement not your therapists office where you unpack your emotional baggage about religion. You are helping the other side. Hate religion hey that’s your right but don’t muddy the water and alienate people we will need statistically to win states and eventually federal rights. Use your head not your hurt feelings on the subject of religion and gay rights.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 3:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @getreal: You’re wasting your time with them, I fear. Nothing you do or say is going to be good enough, and no amount of reason (or facts, for that matter) is going to make any difference. For what it’s worth, though, as a gay non-christian, I appreciate your help in the war for equality.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @B: I think I missed that link, but it’s good that you posted it whether it was read or not.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rudy
      rudy

      @getreal: Yep.
      Atheists are even more despised than gays.
      If B wants to be an atheist activist, that’s fine with me, but it can’t be part of gay rights.
      Trashing people’s religion, demanding they sign your loyalty oath (what is this, the Gay Nicene Creed?) – this is all counterproductive.
      We need all the support we casn get, and that means laying aside our differences – which are great on a host of issues – and being welcoming and inclusive.
      Following this ideological path would do just the opposite and would destroy the gay movement.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 5:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Err, Rudy, I think you are confusing me (B) with Brian.

      You wrote, “If B wants to be an atheist activist, that’s fine with me, but it can’t be part of gay rights. Trashing people’s religion, demanding they sign your loyalty oath (what is this, the Gay Nicene Creed?) – this is all counterproductive.”

      It was Brian’s loyalty oath. Rather than call it counterproductive, I called it silly and pointed out that many organizations refuse to sign declarations handed to them by some third party, if only to avoid encouraging every nut out there to demand similar treatment for whatever the nut’s pet peeve happens to be.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 11:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ThinkRealHard
      ThinkRealHard

      @B: Again, that is “commentary” and not a Declaration. Besides, it only says gays and lesbians should be “accepted.”

      MCC should make a very clear 7-word statement. It’s not hard.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 11:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ThinkRealHard
      ThinkRealHard

      @getreal: @getreal: There is no “attack” of Religion – just a request to be VERY CLEAR. Just based on this article and comments, it’s very clear that it’s UNCLEAR.

      The truth is MCC and UCC have REFUSED to sign the Declaration. That’s odd. Most of us on this site are asking WHY NOT?

      Sep 2, 2009 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @rudy:
      @B:
      @vernonvanderbilt:

      You can try to complicate the issue by suggesting “atheists are attacking religion,” or that gee whiz “MCC appears to have said homosexuality isn’t wrong,” or even that “religion is sacred.”

      YOU MISS THE POINT: RELIGION MADE US WRONG.

      I am very “neutral” about religion. People can believe whatever they want to believe. We recently learned that probably the “majority” of Lutherans believe LGBT people are “wrong, sinful and deviant.” Two of their Pastors confirmed that and a third spewed hateful anti-homo bigotry.

      Several studies like the Pew Foundation and ARIS, along with several Gallup Polls, CLEARLY demonstrate that “religious people” (primarily Christians) believe homosexuality is wrong. Because of that belief we HAVE NEVER WON A POPULAR VOTE. It is CLEAR we must change those beliefs – or we will never win a popular vote and we will NEVER be EQUAL.

      I agree MCC “appears” to have changed their beliefs and yet they have REFUSED to make a very simple and clear Declaration. We can only wonder why?

      The LGBT Community needs ALL Christians to reject the biblical lies about homosexuals. Many in their congregations are willing to that, but it requires leadership. Lutherans declined to provide that leadership and instead made a tiny incremental step towards “acceptance” by allowing “gay clergy.” Big deal.

      So far, not a single Christian Denomination, or Faith or Congregation has made this very simple, unambiguous Declaration:

      Homosexuality is Now Wrong, Sinful or Deviant

      When Christians begin to do that we will begin to end the WRONG of being a homosexual. When we are no longer WRONG we can be EQUAL. Christians that are LGBT or those that are fair-minded friends of ours, MUST encourage their religions to reject the biblical lies about homosexuals.

      My comments are ONLY about LGBT EQUALITY.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @getreal: “Well I am a Christian equality activist and I will sign on with the common sense idea that Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful and Deviant. If you are a believer you know we are all created in God’s image gay, straight, trans whatever so the contention that ones identity is “sinful” is an insult to God.”

      Please get you denomination or individual Church to sign the Declaration. I understand your position, but we need religious organizations to make that statement.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      Okay, I know I’m beating a dead horse, but I can’t stop myself:

      Denominations do not sign declarations that come from outside of them. When they make theological statements, for better or for worse, they make them through a long process of internal study. In the more liberal denominations, the ones who agree with you that homosexuality is not sinful, etc, this usually involves a large amount of grassroots participation- signing something from outside would undermine the participation of all the people, and reinforce a false idea that church leadership knows best.

      Therefore, when theological/social statements are made by denominations, they tend to use the words that the members of that denomination use. For better or for worse, liberal christian folks have largely rejected the language of sin, deviance, etc, because of their abusive uses in the past. Therefore, when liberal christian denominations make declarations about sexuality (and you should broaden your own statement: there is more to the queer community than just homosexuality!) they tend to use words like “we affirm sexuality.” “coming out is a sacrament.” “our sexualities are good gifts from God.” Any church making those statements publicly (and I regret the lutheran church is not one of them) is obviously not thinking of homosexuality as a sin.

      I understand your feelings that if the language of sin was used before, it would be more helpful if the language of sin were used now to repudiate those ideas. Unfortunately, entire denominations, making statements, are not revolving around your personal feelings.

      However, it is the job of individual pastors to tailor our words in the way that you will best hear the message. So I, as an ordained minister, can happily tell you that homosexuality (and bisexuality, and queerness, and being transgender, and being intersex, and genderfuck) are not sinful, deviant, or wrong.

      And I’ll gently advise you that you are willfully misinterpreting the language of the MCC, UCC, Brethren, Unitarians, and many others. Maybe one day you’ll be able to hear their affirmation of you.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rudy
      rudy

      @B: Sorry, it was late and I got confused.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vernonvanderbilt
      vernonvanderbilt

      @Lura: That was one of the better statements on this thread in a while. I’m pleased that you posted it, even if, in Brian’s case, it is futile.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: “Therefore, when liberal christian denominations make declarations about sexuality (and you should broaden your own statement: there is more to the queer community than just homosexuality!) they tend to use words like “we affirm sexuality.” “coming out is a sacrament.” “our sexualities are good gifts from God.” Any church making those statements publicly (and I regret the lutheran church is not one of them) is obviously not thinking of homosexuality as a sin.”

      NONE of those statements un-wrong being a homosexual. It sounds nice, but they don’t reject or end the religious belief that we are wrong.

      YOU are a Pastor of what Church and what denomination?

      UUA, MCC and UCC have not been clear or made a very simple Declaration that Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.

      Affirm all you want and Welcome all you want – that’s not the same as rejecting the Biblical lies about homosexuals.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Brian: Perhaps you can make a list of the Christian organization that have formally (as part of their beliefs) declared homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Nobody has been able to find a single one yet. I would start with MCC. I bet they’d sign the Declaration. Anything short of an honest declaration is just “sweet talk” that seems to work for Vernon and B., but not the rest of us.

      You would think with something as important as religion, everyone would want to be “perfectly” clear. No doubt.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: “Denominations do not sign declarations that come from outside of them. When they make theological statements, for better or for worse, they make them through a long process of internal study. In the more liberal denominations, the ones who agree with you that homosexuality is not sinful, etc, this usually involves a large amount of grassroots participation- signing something from outside would undermine the participation of all the people, and reinforce a false idea that church leadership knows best.”

      It’s called a vote.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      I’m an openly Queer pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. (The lutheran denomination that has been in the media lately.)

      Nope, no vote. We just don’t vote on outside petitions. Sorry. That’s not the way denominations work, and you are displaying nothing but arrogance to think entire denominations should revolve around what you want.

      Many, many christians, and a few christian denominations, have “renounced biblical lies about christianity.” Here’s another:

      http://www.radicallyinclusive.com/content.cfm?id=2007

      It says, in part: We will reject any misguided messages of self-hatred, intolerance, or prejudice that fail to acknowledge that all individuals are fearfully and wonderfully made in the likeness and image of God.

      Given that sexual orientation is explicitly mentioned on the page, that is clearly a repudiation of the idea that homosexuality is sinful.

      Again, I hope that one day you are able to see there are christians, and churches, which affirm you and your life.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      In comment No. 297, ThinkRealHard wrote, “@B: Again, that is ‘commentary’ and not a Declaration. Besides, it only says gays and lesbians should be ‘accepted.’ MCC should make a very clear 7-word statement. It’s not hard.”

      It may not be hard, but it is pointless when the section of what I quoted had a heading that said, “NOT A SIN-NOT A SICKNESS”, and it is clear that such a heading is a declarative statement, followed by “commentary” explaining it.

      You also misrepresented what MCC stated. It did not only say that gays and lesbians should be accepted. Rather it said that “gay men and lesbians should be accepted – just as they are – in Christian churches, and homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed!” A church does not “celebrate” a relationship it considers to be wrong or sinful. Your use of the word “only” implies that the other clause was absent, which is not true.

      The problem with you guys is that you continually put out factually inaccurate statements, one after another, and you ignore any correction to it. No wonder MCC ignored you (if that is what actually happened).

      Sep 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: What’s your name?

      Sep 2, 2009 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Lura: “It says, in part: We will reject any misguided messages of self-hatred, intolerance, or prejudice that fail to acknowledge that all individuals are fearfully and wonderfully made in the likeness and image of God.
      Given that sexual orientation is explicitly mentioned on the page, that is clearly a repudiation of the idea that homosexuality is sinful.”

      Jesus Christ. It DOES NOT mention homosexuality and it does not say these very simple words:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      It speaks to “acceptance and tolerance. Many Christians “accept” or “tolerate” homosexuals. None have made a clear and simple statement to end the biblical lies about homosexuals. You, and others, repeatedly quote flowery statements of “Jesus loves everybody,” but no statement regarding REJECTING – SPECIFICALLY that part of the Bible that has made us wrong for 2,000 years.

      LGBT persons will never be equal as long as we let religion make us wrong. Still, no religion has ever reversed that part of Christian doctrine. They’ve danced around it and cloaked it in “acceptance” or “we’re all sinner,” but none has officially rejected those beliefs.

      Finally, we have 1,800 different Christian denominations – each the result of “changing beliefs.” The “actual” and confirmed beliefs of each type of Christianity are what separate them. We’re still waiting for the ONE that, in very plain language, rejects the idea that homosexuals are wrong, sinful or deviant. I’m betting MCC will be first to show the courage to make that declaration.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: Why doesn’t MCC just simply say IT’S NOT WRONG? They have had +40 years to mave a very simple Declaration.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “You can try to complicate the issue by suggesting ‘atheists are attacking religion,’ or that gee whiz ‘MCC appears to have said homosexuality isn’t wrong,’ or even that ‘religion is sacred.’ YOU MISS THE POINT: RELIGION MADE US WRONG.”

      No, you are missing the point that nobody is obligated to sign your silly petition. You also stated, “I agree MCC ‘appears’ to have changed their beliefs and yet they have REFUSED to make a very simple and clear Declaration. We can only wonder why?”.

      First, there is no evidence that MCC ever had homophobic beliefs to change (the church started in 1968 and as far as I know was always gay friendly). Second, one perfectly good reason for not signing your silly petition is that you are simply tiresome. Third, I gave you a pointer to what I believe is an MCC document that clearly states that being gay is not a sin. Why do you continually pretend this document does not exist or does not say what it clearly does say?

      Sep 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: ALL you have provided are “articles” written by clergy. You have provided nothing that is a clear statement from MCC.

      Trying to obtain full equality for LGBT person will never be “tiresome.” Until we end the Biblical lies about homosexuals – we will never be equal.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 7:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “@B: Why doesn’t MCC just simply say IT’S NOT WRONG? They have had +40 years to mave a very simple Declaration.”

      Probably because when MCC’s official position is that homsexuality is not a “sin”, is not a “sickness”, and that “homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed,” adding that “it is not wrong” is redundant.

      As to your “+40 years”, you need to learn a little history. You can start with http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/history/mcc.htm which starts with the statement, “The story of MCC begins with one man, defrocked by his Pentecostal church for homosexuality and recovering from a suicide attempt, who dared to believe God’s promise of love and justice for all people.” This is
      followed by the statement, “UFMCC was born a few months later on October 6, 1968, when the Reverend Perry led eleven men and one woman in the first worship service of what was to become Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles, California (currently pastored by Rev. Neil Thomas and now part of the MCC complex in West Hollywood, CA). Foreshadowing the diversity that was to flower in the next decades, the congregation that morning encompassed people of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish backgrounds, including one person of color (a Latino), one Jew, and one heterosexual couple. In the following decades, the Reverend Perry received innumerable human rights awards as he guided MCC to growth and maturity.”

      Sep 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: “Probably because when MCC’s official position is that homsexuality is not a “sin”, is not a “sickness”, and that “homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed,” adding that “it is not wrong” is redundant.”

      They have refused because if the actually do say “Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant” they will no longer be Christians.

      I get that you believe they have – it doesn’t matter. The 75% of American Christians believe homosexuality is wrong and the MCC “charade” hasn’t changed that number. If MCC made a Declaration, perhaps that would help. I still believe they’ll probably be first.

      Sep 2, 2009 at 7:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      In comment 310, Brian wrote, “no statement regarding REJECTING – SPECIFICALLY that part of the Bible that has made us wrong for 2,000 years.”

      What part would that be? If you mean Levicitus, read http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2 for starters. I’ll give you one quote: “There seems to be a scholarly consensus that the Book of Leviticus, more or less as we have it, is from exilic times. The generally agreed-upon context is the permission given by Cyrus of Persia (in approximately 538 B.C.E.) to the exiled Judeans to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. We know from archaeological evidence that Cyrus allowed a number of conquered peoples to rebuild their homelands and local temples. In each of these cases he required the newly re-established priesthood to publish its traditional law. Leviticus, in this scholarly view, is the result of the Judean priesthood’s effort to do so. This is why Leviticus (and the “P” document generally) reads like a priestly handbook. It was composed to inform Cyrus and his officials about what the Jerusalem priesthood intended to do with its newly granted authority.”

      What Leviticus contains is a description of rituals and a “holiness code” that includes sexual taboos of the tribe. The details are purely of historical interest. BTW, one reason for the ban on anal sex (not homosexuality) is that their neighbors worshiped a pagan god called Molech and Molech worship included the use of male and female temple prostitutes. Read
      http://www.gaychristian101.com/Shrine-Prostitutes.html for details. There is some contention regarding whether the ban on anal sex between men (not between men and women) applied in general to practicing Jews at the time or merely in the context of pagan religious practices.

      Having a taboo on a common practice of one’s neighbors is an effective way of splitting your group off from your neighbors. If that’s what they did, what relevance does a specific taboo have for us today?

      What I’d guess is that your real agenda is to get MCC to say that the Bible is wrong and that saying it is being mistranslated or quoted out of context is not what you really want to hear. No wonder they showed you to the door – religious types never say that their scriptures are “wrong” but rather paper over the contradictions and mistakes in some very complex and clever ways. What you really want is for MCC to stop being a church!

      Sep 2, 2009 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      In No. 315, Brian wrote, “They [MCC] have refused because if the actually do say ‘Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant’ they will no longer be Christians.”

      Brian, that statement of yours is complete and utter nonsense.
      http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/CourseDescLong2.aspx?cid=6593 has a description of various early Christian beliefs, many of which died out (or were snuffed out). Some had as many as 30 gods. A belief about homosexuality would be a very minor variation. There were lots of “gospels” and “scriptures”. Finally they held a meeting and made a political decision about what to keep and what to ignore.

      You also said, “I get that you believe they have – it doesn’t matter. The 75% of American Christians believe homosexuality is wrong and the MCC “charade” hasn’t changed that number. If MCC made a Declaration, perhaps that would help.”

      The web site I referred you to indicated that MCC’s membership passed 40,000 at about the year 2000. It is tiny. Having MCC sign some silly declaration won’t have any impact on (for example) the Baptists.

      The reason MCC was raised as an example is that it contradicts your assertions about all Christians.

      Sep 3, 2009 at 3:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @B: Nothing in all the “commentary” from MCC rejects the Biblical lies about homosexuals. It’s a bunch of opinions from everyone BUT MCC.

      Your belief that MCC has ever formally declared that homosexuality is Now Wrong, Sinful or Deviant is simply wishful thinking. Given that you are “religious,” you are used to that kind of thinking – delusional.

      I am working for LGBT Equality and I do not and will not settle for ambiguous, rambling commentary – especially when it is easy to simply agree to those 7-words.

      MCC will eventually sign the Declaration and that will benefit our efforts to obtain equality. It just won’t be because of you. It will be because of some of us who “demand” that religion end the wrong they did to homosexuals. You don’t take it as seriously as it actually is. 40,000 members of MCC believe what? Exactly? If I was you, I would want a definitive statement from MCC on the matter.

      So far MCC has refused to say definitively that homosexuality isn’t wrong or to include that in their official beliefs. You should ask them (and yourself) why not?

      Sep 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Now = Not
      (sorry in the train)

      Sep 3, 2009 at 7:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Brian wrote, “@B: Nothing in all the ‘commentary’ from MCC rejects the Biblical lies about homosexuals. It’s a bunch of opinions from everyone BUT MCC. Your belief that MCC has ever formally declared that homosexuality is Now Wrong, Sinful or Deviant is simply wishful thinking. Given that you are “religious,” you are used to that kind of thinking – delusional.”

      Who said I’m “religious”? That is just another thing you made up. I merely pointed out that, when you can find an MCC document with a heading, “NOT A SIN – NOT A SICKNESS” and when you read that the church was started by a gay preacher who was booted out of another church for being gay, then it is pretty obvious that signing your silly petition is pointless for MCC as MCC has in fact declared that homosexuality is not wrong. They aren’t causing the problem and have never contributed to it.

      Also, you are repeating your “Now Wrong” typo. Do you write this stuff or do you just cut and paste it from a list of talking points?

      Sep 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Roger Dearborn
      Roger Dearborn

      @Mike: And I don’t trust a pastor who takes it in the pooper!

      Sep 11, 2009 at 1:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Believer
      Believer

      What a guy! What a church!
      No laws..yahoo!
      You can cuss, drink, have sex with whoever you please, whenever you please where ever you please!
      Paul must have really screwed up the teaching of Christ when he condemned all of the above.
      Somebody is following the wrong God.
      I wonder who

      Feb 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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