Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Influential Southern Baptist Pastor And Perry Supporter Claims Gays Brainwashing America

Pastor Robert Jeffress recently claimed that gay people are trying to brainwash Americans.

So being sympathetic human beings that others can laugh or sympathize with is actually a nefarious plot to brainwash people via desensitization? And telling the true story of a man who was fired for contracting HIV is somehow manipulative? Jeffress' paranoid idea of "jamming" is also rather silly. It's interesting how when it suits them anti-gay activists talk about what an astonishingly small minority gay people supposedly are, yet then they turn around and claim that we have somehow taken over the media and are forcing people to dislike them. The reality is that public opinions of queer people have been rapidly changing for over two decades and have now shifted in our favor. Gay people haven't forced anything on anyone, the public has simply begun to change their minds.

Of course anything Jeffress says about queer people ought to be taken with a grain of salt given some of his other comments...

The report Jeffress is referring to of course was not a study of married gay couples (marriage was not legalized in the nation until two years after the study ended). Jim Burroway breaks down the details over at Box Turtle Bulletin, but here's the point:
So, what do we have? We have a study population that was heavily weighted with HIV/AIDS patients, excluded monogamous participants, was predominantly urban, and consisted only of those under the age of thirty. While this population was good for the purposes of the study, it was in no way representative of Amsterdam’s gay men, let alone gay men anywhere else.
When an anti-gay pastor cites the Dutch study I always have to wonder if they are aware of the problems with generalizing from such a study. Are they simply unaware of any interpretation other than the one anti-gay activists have proffered (like, you know, that of the authors)? Or do they fully realize what they are doing and simply don't care. In my experience Southern Baptists tend to hold themselves to a higher moral and ethical standard, so I would certainly hope that Jeffress was not knowingly being deceptive when he made these comments.

And if his comments about gay people don't give you pause, have a look at what Jeffress believes about the Catholic Church.

And of course if Jeffress thinks gays and Catholics are Satanic, then Jews, Mormons and Muslims are are certainly on their way to eternal fire as well.

And last but not least, it would seem that Jeffress also believes the First Amendment only applies to Christians.
Since God is not an American, there is no reason to think He has a particular affinity for our ideas about the separation of church and state. Nevertheless, although the First Amendment guarantees the right of every American to worship however they choose, it does not require government to provide a stone monument to facilitate that worship - even if the same government provides a chapel for Christians. 
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, the founder of Harvard Law School, wrote in his highly regarded commentary on the Constitution: "The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Islam or Judaism or any other infidelity by prostrating Christianity but to exclude rivalry between Christian denominations."
I wonder of if Jeffress is aware of religious rights laws and policies that require the military to accommodate any and all reasonable religious requests. I'd have to imagine that designating a circle of stones on a hill as an area for pagans to worship is about as reasonable a request as could be made.

It saddens me that so many Christians have taken Jeffress' approach to heart, believing that being a Christian means restricting the rights of everyone who is not. While people like Jeffress may not be calling for traditional theocracy, they are clearly calling for the state to sponsor Christianity as a sort of official religion with special rights and privileges.

I know there are a lot of great, intelligent and spirit-filled people in the SBC. And even though many of them may take anti-gay positions, I'd like to think they can at least see the rest of this man's craziness for what it is.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pretty Bigotry: Exposition of the Views of the Baptists Relative to the Coloured Population...

Pretty Bigotry is about exposing relatively well reasoned prose expressing bigotries from the past. The point is to highlight how polite, logical and even compassionate bigotry can sound. We may like to think that we are all above such "nonsense" today, but the reality is that these are often very intelligent, well read and educated people espousing such views. It is only in the harsh light of history that their ideas were seen for the naked bigotry they turned out to be. It is then, I believe, helpful to examine the best written bigotry of history in order to find their common elements and rhetorical devices.

The following is taken from a letter to the Governor of South Carolina titled, "Exposition of the Views of the Baptists Relative to the Coloured Population of the United States in Communication to the Governor of South Carolina." (Whew!) The letter was written December 24, 1822 in response to the Denmark Vesey conspiracy. Much of the prose here is difficult to wade through, which is why I have taken the liberty put in bold what I found interesting, important or oddly familiar...

On the lawfulness of holding slaves, considering it in a moral and religious view, the Convention think it their duty to exhibit their sentiments, on the present occasion, before your Excellency, because they consider their duty to God, the peace of the State, the satisfaction of scrupulous consciences, and the welfare of the slaves themselves, as intimately connected with a right view of the subject. The rather, because certain writers on politics, morals and religion, and some of them highly respectable, have advanced positions, and inculcated sentiments, very unfriendly to the principle and practice of holding slaves; and by some these sentiments have been advanced among us, tending in their nature, directly to disturb the domestic peace of the State, to produce insubordination and rebellion among the slaves, and to infringe the rights of our citizens; and indirectly, to deprive the slaves of religious privileges, by awakening in the minds of their masters a fear, that acquaintance with the Scriptures, and the enjoyment of these privileges would naturally produce the aforementioned effects; because the sentiments in opposition to the holding of slaves have been attributed, by their advocates, to the Holy Scriptures, and to the genius of Christianity. These sentiments, the Convention, on whose behalf I address your Excellency, cannot think just, or well founded; for the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the Heathen nations; except they were of the Canaanites, for these were to be destroyed. And it is declared, that the persons purchased were to be their bond-men forever;" and an "inheritance for them and their children." They were nor to go out free in the year of jubilee, as the Hebrews, who had been purchased, were; the line being clearly drawn between them. In example, they are presented to our view as existing in the families of the Hebrews as servants, or slaves, born in the house, or bought with money: so that the children born of slaves are here considered slaves as well as their parents. And to this well known state of things, as to its reason and order, as well as to special privileges, St. Paul appears to refer, when he says, "But I was free born."

In the New Testament, the Gospel History, or representation of facts, presents us with a view correspondent with that, which is furnished by other authentic ancient histories of the state of the world at the commencement of Christianity. The powerful Romans, had succeeded in empire, the polished Greeks; and, under both empires, the countries they possessed and governed were full of slaves. Many of these with their masters, were converted to the Christian Faith, and received, together with them into the Christian Church, while it was yet under the ministry of the inspired Apostles. In things purely spiritual, they appear to have enjoyed equal privileges; but their relationship, as masters and slaves, were not dissolved. Their respective duties are strictly enjoined. The masters are nor required to emancipate their slaves; but to give them the things that are just and equal, forbearing threatening; and to remember, they also have a master in Heaven. The "servants under the yoke" (bond-servants or slaves) mentioned by Paul to Timothy, as having "believing masters," are not authorized by him to demand of them emancipation, or to employ violent means to obtain it; but are directed to "account their masters worthy of all honour," and "not to despise them, because they were brethren" in religion; "but the rather to do them service, because they were faithful and beloved partakers of the Christian benefit." Similar directions are given by him in other places, and by other Apostles. And it gives great weight to the argument, that in this place, Paul follows his directions concerning servants with a charge to Timothy, as an Evangelist, to teach and exhort men to observe this doctrine.

Had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed, that the inspired Apostles, who feared not the faces of men, and were ready to lay down their lives in the cause of their God, would have tolerated it, for a moment, in the Christian Church. If they had done so on a principle of accommodation, in cases where the masters remained heathen, to avoid offences and civil commotion; yet, surely, where both master and servant were Christian, as in the case before us, they would have enforced the law of Christ, and required, that the master should liberate his slave in the first instance. But, instead of this, they let the relationship remain untouched, as being lawful and right, and insist on the relative duties.

In proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority, its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions.

The Christian golden rule, of doing to others, as we would they should do to us, has been urged as an unanswerable argument against holding slaves. But surely this rule is never to be urged against that order of things, which the Divine government has established; nor do our desires become a standard to us, under this rule, unless they have a due regard to justice, propriety and the general good.

A father may very naturally desire, that his son should be obedient to his orders: Is he, therefore, to obey the orders of his son? A man might be pleased to be exonerated from his debts by the generosity of his creditors; or, that his rich neighbour should equally divide his property with him; and in certain circumstances might desire these to be done: Would the mere existence of this desire, oblige him to exonerate hisdebtors, and to make such division of his property? Consistency and generosity, indeed, might require it of him, if he were in circumstances, which would justify the act of generosity; but, otherwise, either action might be considered as the effect of folly and extravagance.

If the holding of slaves is lawful, or according to the Scriptures; then this Scriptural rule can be considered as requiring no more of the master, in respect of justice (whatever it may do in point of generosity) than what he, if a slave, could, consistently, wish to be done to himself, while the relationship between master and servant should be still continued.

In this argument, the advocates for emancipation blend the ideas of injustice and cruelty with those, which respect the existence of slavery, and consider them as inseparable. But, surely, they may be separated. A bond-servant may be treated with justice and humanity as a servant; and a master may, in an important sense, be the guardian and even father of his slaves.

They become a part of his family, (the whole, forming under him a little community) and the care of ordering it, and of providing for its welfare, devolves on him. The children, the aged, the sick, the disabled, and the unruly, as well as those, who are capable of service and orderly, are the objects of his care: The labour of these, is applied to the benefit of those, and to their own support, as well as to that of the master. Thus, what is effected, and often at a great public expense, in a free community, by taxes, benevolent institutions, bettering houses, and penitentiaries, lies here on the master, to be performed by him, whatever contingencies may happen; and often occasions much expense, care and trouble, from which the servants are free. Cruelty, is, certainly, inadmissible; but servitude may be consistent with such degrees of happiness as men usually attain in this imperfect state of things.

Some difficulties arise with respect to bringing a man, or class of men, into a state of bondage. For crime, it is generally agreed, a man may be deprived of his liberty. But, may he not be divested of it by his own consent, directly, or indirectly given; And, especially, when this assent, though indirect, is connected with an attempt to take away the liberty, if not the lives of others? The Jewish law favors the former idea: And, if the inquiry on the latter be taken in the affirmative, which appears to be reasonable, it will establish a principle, by which it will appear, that the Africans brought to America were, in general, slaves, by their own consent, before they came from their own country, or fell into the hands of white men. Their law of nations, or general usage, having, by common consent the force of law, justified them, while carrying on their petty wars, in killing their prisoners or reducing them to slavery; consequently, in selling them, and these ends they appear to have proposed to themselves; the nation, therefore, or individual, which was overcome, reduced to slavery, and sold, would have done the same by the enemy, had victory declared on their, or his side. Consequently, the man made a slave in this manner, might be said to be made so by his own consent, and by the indulgence of barbarous principles.

That Christian nations have not done all they might, or should have done, on a principle of Christian benevolence, for the civilization and conversion of the Africans; that much cruelty has been practised in the slave trade, as the benevolent Wilberforce and others have shown; that much tyranny has been exercised by individuals, as masters over their slaves, and that the religious interests of the latter have been too much neglected by many cannot, will not be denied. But the fullest proof of these facts, will not also prove, that the holding men in subjection, as slaves, is a moral evil, and inconsistent with the Christianity. Magistrates, husbands, and fathers, have proved tyrants. This does not prove, that magistracy, the husband's tight to govern, and parental authority, are unlawful and wicked. The individual who abuses his authority, and acts with cruelty, must answer for it at the Divine tribunal; and civil authority should interpose to prevent or punish it; but neither civil nor ecclesiastical authority can consistently interfere with the possession and legitimate exercise of a right given by the Divine Law.

If the above representation of the Scriptural doctrine, and the manner of obtaining slaves from Africa is just; and if also purchasing them has been the means of saving human life, which there is great reason to believe it has; then, however the slave trade, in present circumstances, is justly censurable, yet might motives of humanity and even piety have been originally brought into operation in the purchase of slaves, when sold in the circumstances we have described. If, also, by their own confession, which has been made in manifold instances, their condition, when they have come into the hands of humane masters here, has been greatly bettered by the change; if it is, ordinarily, really better, as many assert, than that of thousands of the poorer classes in countries reputed civilized and free; and, if, in addition to all other considerations, the translation from their native country to this has been the means of their mental and religious improvement, and so of obtaining salvation, as many of themselves have joyfully and thankfully confessed—then may the just and humane master, who rules his slaves and provides for them, according to Christian principles, rest satisfied, that he is nor, in holding them, chargeable with moral evil, nor with acting, in this respect, contrary to the genius of Christianity.—It appears to be equally clear, that those, who by reasoning on abstract principles, are induced to favour the scheme of general emancipation, and who ascribe their sentiments to Christianity, should be particularly careful, however benevolent their intentions may be, that they do not by a perversion of the Scriptural doctrine, through their wrong views of it, not only invade the domestic and religious peace and rights of our Citizens, on this subject; but, also by an intemperate zeal, prevent indirectly, the religious improvement of the people they design, professedly, to benefit; and, perhaps, become, evidently, the means of producing in our country, scenes of anarchy and blood; and all this in a vain attempt to bring about a state of things, which, if arrived at, would nor probably better the state of that people; which is thought, by men of observation to be generally true of the Negroes in the Northern States, who have been liberated.

To pious minds it has given pain to hear men, respectable for intelligence and morals, sometimes say, that holding slaves is indeed indefensible, but that to us it is necessary, and must be supported. On this principle, mere politicians, unmindful of morals, may act. But surely, in a moral and religious view of the subject, this principle is inadmissible. It cannot be said, that theft, falsehood, adultery and murder, are become necessary and must be supported. Yet there is reason to believe, that some of honest and pious intentions have found their minds embarrassed if nor perverted on this subject, by this plausible but unsound argument. From such embarrassment the view exhibited above affords relief.

The Convention, Sir, are far from thinking that Christianity fails to inspire the minds of its subjects with benevolent and generous sentiments; or that liberty rightly understood, or enjoyed, is a blessing of little moment. The contrary of these positions they maintain. But they also consider benevolence as consulting the truest and best interests of its objects; and view the happiness or liberty as well as of religion, as consisting not in the name or form, but in the reality. While men remain in the chains of ignorance and error, and under the dominion of tyrant lusts and passions, they cannot be free. And the more freedom of action they have in this state, they are but the more qualified by it to do injury, both to themselves and others. It is, therefore, firmly believed, that general emancipation to the Negroes in this country, would not, in present circumstances, be for their own happiness, as a body; while it would be extremely injurious to the community at large in various ways: And, if so, then it is not required even by benevolence. But acts of benevolence and generosity must be free and voluntary; no man has a right to compel another to the performance of them. This is a concern, which lies between a man and his God. If a man has obtained slaves by purchase, or inheritance, and the holding of them as such is justifiable by the law of God; why should he be required to liberate them, because it would be a generous action, rather than another on the same principle, to release his debtors, or sell his lands and houses, and distribute the proceeds among the poor? These also would be generous actions: Are they, therefore obligatory? Or, if obligatory, in certain circumstances, as personal, voluntary acts of piety and benevolence, has any man or body of men, civil or ecclesiastic, a right to require them? Surely those, who are advocates for compulsory, or strenuous measures to bring about emancipation, should duly weigh this consideration.

Should, however, a time arrive, when the Africans in our country might be found qualified to enjoy freedom; and, when they might obtain it in a manner consistent with the interest and peace of the community at large, the Convention would be happy in seeing them free: And so they would, in seeing the state of the poor, the ignorant and the oppressed of every description, and of every country meliorated; so that the reputed free might be free indeed, and happy. But there seems to be just reason to conclude that a considerable part of the human race. whether they bear openly the character of slaves or are reputed free men. will continue in such circumstances, with mere shades of variation, while the world continues. It is evident, that men are sinful creatures, subject to affliction and to death, as the consequences of their nature's pollution and guilt: That they are now in a state of probation; and that God as a Righteous, All-wise Sovereign, not only disposes of them as he pleases and bestows upon them many unmerited blessings and comforts, but subjects them also to privations, afflictions and trials, with the merciful intention of making all their afflictions, as well as their blessings, work Finally for their good; if they embrace his salvation, humble themselves before him, learn righteousness, and submit to his holy will. To have them brought to this happy state is the great object of Christian benevolence, and of Christian piety; for this state is not only connected with the truest happiness, which can be enjoyed in time, but is introductory to eternal life and blessedness in the future world: And the salvation of men is intimately connected with the glory of their God and Redeemer.

Full letter here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Victims of the Gays: Frank Turek

There have been a few stories in the news recently about religious people claiming to have been discriminated against over their views on marriages. First up is Frank Turek. Mr. Turek is a contractor providing leadership training seminars for various large corporations. Turek also happens to be the author of "Correct, Not Politically Correct; How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone" and dozens of articles at, many of which were expressly anti-gay. Upon discovering this a Cisco employee went to Cisco's Human Resources department and complained. Cisco responded by declining to further do business with Turek.

As you watch the National Organization for Marriage's video propping Turek up as a victim and cause celeb of the the anti-gay movement remember something, Turek was not fired. Turek is an independent contractor. Upon discovering many of his views where highly inflammatory and controversial the company decided to cease doing business with him. That is not being fired! It is losing a contract because your views deeply offend a significant chunk of the population.

First of all as I said above, Turek was not fired. He lost business over his views. Would anyone care if he'd written a book espousing racist views? But hey, we agree on one thing, no one should be "outed and fired", so maybe now NOM will support ENDA?

So Turek claims he was fired simply for supporting traditional marriage, but is that true? Well here's a video of Turek claiming that homosexuals (along with Muslims) hate America, hate Christianity and want to make any criticism of them illegal.

Turek has also compared being gay to being an alchoholic or pedophile:
"If you are born with a genetic predisposition to alcohol, does that mean you should be an alcoholic? If you have a genetic attraction to children does that mean you should be a pedophile? What homosexual activist would say that a genetic predisposition to anger justifies gay-bashing? (Don’t blame me—I was born with the anti-gay gene!)"
And of course you can't compare gay people to child rapists and alcoholics without comparing us to sociopaths!

So hey, maybe this had less to with discrimination and more to do with Turek's many incredibly offensive comments. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is one thing to be against gay marriage, it is an entirely separate thing to demean and libel an entire group of people. You should feel comfortable explaining that you don't agree with gay marriage at work if the topic comes up. You should not however assume that religious liberty gives you the right to call other people diseased, broken, sick, perverse etc. without facing the consequences of such inflammatory language. Nor do you, as an independent contractor, have the right to complain if you lose business because of such comments.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Christian Anti-Gay Fringe Goes Mainstream, Lively Speaks With Moody Pastor

Scott Lively is a gay-rights activists best friend. The man's Holocaust revisionist book, 'The Pink Swastika', makes numerous ridiculous claims, namely that Hitler and his SS were really all gay, and gay rights will lead to fascism and another holocaust. Lively was also involved in the now notorious "Kill The Gays" bill in Uganda. The man is a walking cliche of religious homophobia and heterosexism.

Lively's Holocaust revisionism has, in the past, caused many more mainstream conservatives and evangelicals to distance themselves from him. That's why I found it interesting that Lively will be speaking at a conference put on by Peter LaBarbera's Americans For Truth About Homosexuality. While LaBarbera is not exactly mainstream, he is given far more credit by the conservative and evangelical world than Lively.

The really shocking part though is who Lively is speaking with, Moody Church pastor Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer. While many may not recognize Dr. Lutzer (though he does have three radio shows that broadcast all over the country, and Moody is a popular mega church), Moody is certainly a household name in evangelical circles. The Moody Church, while not officially affiliated with the Moody Institute or Moody Publishing, was founded by the same man as the other two more well known Moody organizations, Dwight L. Moody.

So what the heck is going on here? Are traditionalist evangelicals, in their desperation to win their losing battle, turning more and more to the wackos? Do they really think that any of the evangelicals who have begun to shift on this issue will be convinced by the likes of Lively? I don't know, but I certainly hope they continue destroying their credibility on this issue by associating with the likes of Lively.

(h/t to Joe.My.God)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Victim Card

From a great NYT piece about the anti-gay bullying problem in the Anoka-Hennepin school district:
One of the plaintiffs, Kyle Rooker, 14, has not declared his sexual orientation but was perceived by classmates as gay, he said, in part because he likes to wear glittery scarves and belt out Lady Gaga songs. In middle school he was called epithets almost daily, and once he was urinated on from above the stall as he used the toilet.
This right here is why I get filled up with just a bit more disgust and rage every single time some anti-gay activists tries to paint themselves as the "real" victims in this debate. Here's my advice if you are a Christian in a America and thinking of playing the religious persecution card, particularly when talking about sexual minority issues: Ask yourself, been urinated on lately? Beaten up? Had a friend killed for their beliefs? Know any Christians killing themselves to escape the torment? No? Then maybe keep your mouth shut.

Critiquing Robert Gagnon Pt. 1 - The Genesis Problem

I have recently been reading Robert Gagnon's "The Bible and Homosexual Practice", and no it is not because I hate myself (though sometimes I wonder...). Instead I decided to tackle it because, well hey someone else bought the thing and understanding the opposition is paramount in the struggle for equality. I will be writing several entries in this series as I go through the book. There have already been several reviews of Gagnon's work, two the best critiques can be found here and here

I think it is important to head these reviews off with a caveat found in Walter Wink's review: " I have long insisted that the issue is one of hermeneutics, and that efforts to twist the text to mean what it clearly does not say are deplorable. Simply put, the Bible is negative toward same-sex behavior, and there is no getting around it. The issue is precisely what weight that judgment should have in the ethics of Christian life."

In the early chapters of Gagnon's book he lays out every reference to homosexuality he could possibly find in scriptures. He then summarizes them, and the arguments around them. All the usual suspects are here, along with a few weird additions. For now I'd like to focus on what Gagnon has to say about the creation accounts in Genesis. (I should note that personally, I believe in evolution and see the creation accounts as allegorical to begin with, none-the-less, their exegesis is important for this debate).

Gagnon starts this section of the book by admitting first that the creation stories do not have anything to say about homosexuality, and then arguing that they set out a general sexual ethics.
"The creation stories of Genesis 1-3 do not speak directly to the issue of homosexual practice. However, they do supply us with a general understanding of human sexuality, set within the broader context of God's grand purpose at creation."
This is pretty typical of the kind of logical leaps Gagnon regularly makes. As he himself admits, Genesis does not "speak directly to the issue," but Gagnon won't let that stop him from making it speak to the issue. The idea that the Genesis creation story is not just about the creation and subsequent fall of humanity, but is really also about sexuality and gender, baffles me. Yes, Genesis portrays heterosexuality as normative (Adam and Eve would have struggled populating the Earth had God made them homosexuals), but that does not make it prescriptive.

To an extant I do understand what Gagnon is trying to do here. He is attempting to look at the two creation accounts and understand what they say about their respective authors views on homosexuality. My problem with this is that the authors are known only as P (Priestly) and J (Yahwist) and likely wrote these accounts down several thousands of years ago, after having received them via an oral tradition that was likely even older. When Gagnon speaks of "looking at P's view of human sexuality," one has to ask a few questions.

First, how would P (or Y, or anyone from their time period) have a view on "human sexuality" when the study of such didn't even exist at the time? This is similar to the way many traditionalists talk about the "Bible's view on homosexuality" despite the notion of sexual orientation being completely foreign to the Biblical authors.

Second, how exactly could anyone today, a good three to four thousand years in the future, possibly know what the author(s) of Genesis believed based on a few paragraphs? Gagnon can make guesses all he likes, but I'm unconvinced that he has any better idea of what these ancients "really" believed than "pro-gay" theologians. And as mentioned in the intro to this series, I don't argue with the fact that the Israelite's view of same-sex behavior was universally negative. The question is, in light of the many other attitudes of that ancient culture that we have come to reject, how should we deal with the modern issue of homosexuals and other sexual minorities.

Gagnon shows off his ability to read the minds of ancient religious authors again when he writes:
"The argument might be made that since the present problem of the earth is not underpopulation but overpopulation, the mandate for heterosexual coupling need no longer be the norm. Doubtlessly, the Priestly writer would have responded: Should humans then mate with animals to avoid procreation? Or has God changed the complementarity of male and female anatomy? God's intent for human sexuality is imbedded in the material creation of gendered beings, irrespective of the globe's population."
Doubtlessly? Really? Gagnon must have some kind of gift to be able to know, without doubt, not only what an anonymous, unknown ancient author thought but also how he would have responded to a hypothetical question. I find the ease with which Gagnon makes these assertions troubling. It is one thing to claim that "I believe" or "it is likely" about something, it is another entirely to repeatedly claim to know exactly how other people, from thousands of years ago, thought.

In Gagnon's imagined response to the question of overpopulation he also makes the same fundamental error that most anti-gay activists do, he attempts to turn homosexuality into little more than a kink. When he, pretending to be P, asks the reader, "[s]hould humans then mate with animals to avoid procreation?" he is playing on the most basic of anti-gay biases, the idea that we are just in it for the sex.

The question, as Gagnon has his imaginary Priest frame it, is about humans using animals to meet their sexual needs without risking procreation. The motive here for not having sex with the opposite sex is to avoid procreation, and the motive for having sex with animals is presumably that it is the most pleasurable alternative. This of course ignores the issue of love and commitment as the driving motivation behind same-sex coupling and intercourse, and instead posits a desire for sexual release as the prime motivation. Despite what many traditionalists seem to believe, gay men and women do not date and sleep with those of the same gender because we are "tragically broken" and unable to form "real and healthy" relationships with the opposite-sex, and thus just get our jollies where we can. Whether others want to believe it or not, real, spiritual, romantic love exists between gay men and women everywhere, and that poses a problem for this line of reasoning.

Gagnon tries to sidestep this problem by simply asserting that heterosexual coupling and marriage represents an image of God, one that homosexual coupling and marriage cannot hope to represent.
"'Male and female he created them' probably intimates that the fullness of God's 'image' comes together in the union of male and female in marriage (not, one could infer, from same-sex unions)."
There are two very serious problems with this view of the creation stories. First of all it implies that we are, in fact, not created in the image of God. We are actually created in a sort of half image of God, and only in the act of finding a mate (specifically an opposite sex mate) can we fully reveal the "true image" of God. This raises some grave questions about all those throughout scripture who went unmarried. Particularly one has to ask if this means that not only Paul, but Christ himself, never "truly" reflected the image of God because they never married.

But that is, I think, the least of the problems with this view. Even weirder, and in my opinion more dangerous, is what this says about God's nature in general. The Gospels have given to Christendom a vision of a wise, loving God who is infinitely more concerned with matters of the heart than matters of the flesh (heck even in the Old Testament God tells the Israelite that all their religiosity is worthless if their hearts are not his). But in Gagnon's view God is quite concerned with the flesh. If we, for arguments sake, take Gagnon's ideas about gender complementarity as true (which in some ways I do), then we are lead to believe that God is not primarily concerned with the spirits or hearts of a couple, but with whether there is a penis penetrating a vagina. Gagnon's view, taken to it's logical conclusion, implies that God cares more about who's penetrating who and with what, than with the hearts of those involved in the relationship. Somehow I doubt God is as obsessed with plumbing as Gagnon et. al.

Gagnon's treatment of the creation accounts not only relies on some major leaps of logic and the presupposition of knowledge about anonymous ancient authors, it also turns God into a capricious being who is more concerned with ensuring that penis enters vagina, and vagina only, then with hearts and minds. It is awkward to talk of God in this way honestly, to imagine the most supreme being in the universe thinking about and obsessing over how couples have sex. But unfortunately that is the God that Gagnon's exegesis of Genesis leaves us with.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barber, Reisman: All Gay Men Want Is Little Boys

Matt Barber recently spoke with Judith Reisman of the Liberty University School of Law on his Faith and Freedom radio show. During their conversation Reisman claimed that, "the aim of homosexual males and now increasingly females is not to have sex with other old guys and get married but to obtain sex with as many boys as possible." Matt Barber of course just sat silently agreeing, after having provoked Reisman's comment by asking, "aren’t they really running interference for the pedophile movement here? By sexualizing these children, making them receptive to potential advances from adults?"

No hate here, right?