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?

Minnesota Marriage Battle Update: Christopher Plate Joins Minnesota Marriage Coalition

Christopher Plate, who headed up the successful Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage, is heading to Minnesota. And if you live in Minnesota you'll surely be hearing plenty from him in the months to come. But when he tells you this battle isn't about animus against gay people just remember, this is the man who once claimed that for gay couples children are little more than "an accessory I put in my purse," you know, sort of like "little tea cup dogs."

Wow, really have to love it when the anti-equality folks do our work for us.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hate? What Hate?

I was reading an article over at about Bank of America's firing Frank Turek, who had written at anti-marriage equality screed. The article itself wasn't particularly compelling, same old accusations and victimization along with the typical trope that anyone who does not want to work and/or associate with heterosexists or homophobes is a fascist member of the thought police. What was really interesting though was the comments section. Anytime I need a reminder of how much BS the "we really really don't hate the gays!" line is I just peruse the comments section of any anti-gay article or site. Here are a few choice snippets...

"Oh, and by the way, ever fabricate a reason for man/man marriage? You still can't? Wow, that stinks."
"I have never met a dim-witted homosexual but they are often very immature.
The suicide rate stuff is a fabrication. As is the marital discrimination concept.
Government doesn't ask orientation for death certificates or marriage licenses."
"We label tobacco products with warning labels because smokers die younger.
Since male homosexuals die a lot younger, should they have a warning label?"
"Tens of thousands of homosexuals tell us they'd get married if same-sex marriage were legal.
When same-sex marriage is offered, less than 2 percent of homosexuals actually get married. 
What's the truth? What do they really want? 
If government declares homosexual relationships equal to normal ones, government schools
must offer separate but equal homosexual sex-ed for seventh graders afflicted with the disorder."
"No, homosexuality is more like diabetes. Some folks will get it no matter what.
For others, avoiding certain habits will prevent it and for some others, behavior modification can send the disorder into remission."
"No...I would say [homosexuality is] far worse than leprosy."
"These folks are determined to teach homo-sexual sex to commoner children. 
Notice the obsession with child rapist Harvey Milk. They demand kids honor Harvey because of his lifestyle which included relentlous raping of a youngster.

Have we seen the face of evil yet?"
"10,000 years ago Mother Nature and the Heavenly Father got together and engineered life so homosexuals could never gain access to a childs mind. 
Notice their obsession with the kids. Homosexuals are using the media and government to gain access to children against the wishes of parents. 
Since the dawn of time, homosexuals never had access to the children. 
As society, do we know where we're going? Do we know where this ends?

They do."
"marxist qu.eers"
"you taught your 'son' the wonders of homosexuality, he tried it and it stuck.
Now he wants to use straight nomenclature and so do you, Fine Melech.
Trouble is, the 'son' of David cannot acquire rights equal to marriage
without abandoning 'gay pride'. This is why he refused to marry the man.
David/Sarzak recommend a way that proud homosexuals can gain rights.
Your way is opposed by 99% of the homosexual community.
Most homosexuals refuse to marry.

Most homosexuals want rights equal to marriage, do you really don't care?"
I know what this looks like, but just remember that anti-equality activists' opposition to marriage equality totally has nothing to do with animus towards gay people...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Queer Kids And Parenting

So I came across this letter to advice columnist Dan Savage today. In it a father is expressing concerns about his son, his son's boyfriend and their potentially weird/dangerous kinks. Dan Savage was in his usual good form, being far more conservative than any of his critics would admit. But I wanted to touch on one aspect of the letter and how it relates to parents, and Christian parents in general.
The boyfriend is 18 and sweet, but he's clearly the more dominant one. I'm worried that my son may not know how to say no to him.
So here's the thing, many traditional Christians see homosexuality as involving an abandonment of gender roles. That is usually not the case. This isn't to say that it's okay to ask a gay couple who's the "man" and who's the "woman" (most obnoxious question I've ever been asked more than once). But there does need to be an acknowledgement that there is a difference between masculinity and femininity, even if those two things aren't as strictly connected to ones genitalia as some conservatives would like to believe.

On to the point. Young gay men, particularly those likely to be the less dominant in a relationship, need advice just as much as straight kids. It's easier, I think, with young gay men who are more dominant, they need the same message whether gay or straight honestly. But it is the less dominant young gay men who often get left behind. We all tell young women not to let men take advantage of them, to be strong and know when to say no etc. But many young gay men need the exact same message. It may be difficult for the fathers out there to talk about sex and sexuality to their son in a way reminiscent of how they would talk to their daughter, but trust me they need that talk just as much.

Linda Harvey: "There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human."

Well thanks Linda, good to know I don't exist. Or, as you'd likely spin it, that I'm really just a heterosexual with a gay sex problem. These people just keep getting crazier by the minute. You can check out the audio yourself, but below is a snippet of the statements in question.
There’s one big fact that’s not backed up. There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human. One of the other things you’re gonna see as I mentioned is a big campaign GLSEN’s gonna roll out this year calling for ‘respect,’ respect! Not just for people, but for homosexual lifestyle. The PR campaign to hold up gay as a good thing: the lifestyle, not the person, because there are no such humans.
Here's "such [a] human" Linda, I'd love to talk to you. Oh, and this is the same Linda Harvey who claimed that gay people should be banned from being teachers.
Kids should not be put in the confusing position of having a teacher they like and respect in many ways who’s also known to be practicing homosexual behavior. Of course that’s where many of our children in public schools today find themselves because the National Education Association not only allows but applauds and defends openly homosexuality and even transvestite teachers…. The fact is that no homosexuality should be in our schools, period. When people leave that behavior behind, then they might be qualified for a job involving children. Out and proud homosexuals should not have jobs that involve children. I know that’s not the current policy in many schools but it should be.
She has also called for the government shut down of gay bars and other LGBT establishments.
So what could we do to make a serious dent in the HIV and syphilis disease track? One obvious approach is to stop promoting homosexual behavior to kids and falsely calling it an identity like race. We could also close down homosexual bars and bathhouses, that would be a start. God never created people to engage in these unnatural acts.
But don't worry, if you ask her I'm sure she'll tell you how much she actually loves gay people, and how she isn't bigoted or prejudiced against us at all.

It's Raining Closeted Republicans!

Step over Phillip.Hinkle, your time in the GOP closet spotlight is already over. Now it is time to meet Roberto Arango of Puerto Rico. This Republican politician recently had pictures of himself he had posted to the gay cruising site Grindr surface, and is now of course pulling a Weiner and going for the cover up. His excuse? He's recently taken some weight-loss pictures of himself for motivation...
You know I've been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I've been taking pictures. I don't remember taking this particular picture but I'm not gonna say I didn't take it. I'd tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I don't.
And of course he has no idea how they ended up on Grindr. And hey, who can say they haven't taken pictures of themselves as they loose weight? Totally reasonable. Wonder what kinds of weight-loss pictures they were...

Well okay, so I've never actually taken a weight-loss picture quite like that...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Willow Creek: Not Hate, Just A Double Standard

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz caused controversy recently by cancelling an appearance at the Chicago area mega-church Willow Creek in response to a petition calling the church homophobic. The petition cited the church's former, though long lived, relationship with the ex-gay para organization Exodus International, along with their statement following the dissolution of the relationship that the move did not indicate a change in their position. Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels recently responded to the controversy.

Personally I don't believe that anyone should be forced out of saying anything by threat of boycott. But I am suspicious of Mr. Hybels' claims that Schultz's decision was a business decision. It seems to me that a mere 700 some signatures on an online petition would hardly be enough to frighten the CEO of Starbucks, no matter how bad times may have gotten for the company. I think it more likely that Schultz had his attention drawn to the church's position on LGBT people by the petition and the buzz it got and decided he no longer wanted to speak there. Being a wealthy East Coaster, who isn't even a Christian (let alone and evangelical), he likely wasn't particularly comfortable with their position, decided to distance himself from it and gave them the courtesy of not making a big deal out of it by claiming their position had nothing to do with it.

I also enjoyed Mr. Hybel's take on what it looks like to love LGBT people as a church at Willow Creek. He claims to hold everyone there to a single Biblical standard, but in reality it is a double standard for the church's
queer members. If a straight person falls in love the standard for them is marriage and a family. If a queer person falls in love on the other hand the standard is denial and life long celibacy. And there will always be opposition from gay Christians like myself, and straight allies, who believe that Scripture, properly understood, does not support such a double standard.

I am sure that Willow Creek treats its gay congregants with respect (especially the celibate ones). As a matter of fact from what I've read from Andrew Marin the church is quite welcoming to the LGBT community, if not affirming. I'd even imagine the church leaders avoid the issue of homosexuality when they can, knowing that many of their congregants, both gay and straight, may not feel the same way they do. And while I frankly see no reason to castigate a church that at least seems to be heading in the right direction, the reality is there will always be opposition from the gay community to that heterosexists double standard.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homosexualists Attack! Minnesota Edition

In digging around while writing my most recent post deconstructing Minnesota for Marriage's talking points I found this story about one of their lobbyists, Tom Prichard of the Minnesota Family Council. Mr. Prichard apparently demanded the defunding of Twin Cities Public Television because it was going to air a program promoting deviant sex and kinks to little kids involving a lesbian couple's family. Check out the evil lesbians below. Beware, it's pretty disgusting.

Shocking stuff, right?

Deconstructing "Minnesota for Marriage"

The battle over marriage equality in Minnesota is heating up, and the anti-equality coalition Minnesota for Marriage has launched it's web site. I'd like to take a minute to go through some of their main talking points and deconstruct them. Under the section "Why Preserving Marriage Matters" is the following:
Many people mistakenly believe that proposals to allow so-called “same-sex” marriage are about allowing a new, different and separate form of marriage to coexist alongside traditional man/woman marriage. They envision it as a different expression of the same marriage institution they have always known. 
However, that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal issues involved in the debate, and with the proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota. 
What is at stake in this debate are two competing definitions of marriage. One definition – advocated by gay “marriage” activists – would define marriage as the union of any two people regardless of gender, with the law treating the parties’ genders as irrelevant to the meaning of marriage. The other definition, contained in the proposed constitutional amendment and reflective of the collective understanding of virtually every nation throughout recorded history, is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
First of all, gotta love the typical scare quotes around marriage in the phrase "gay marriage". Because of course gay couples who have been married by a church (which in my mind is what really makes a marriage), lived together their entire lives, raised children together and built a family aren't really married, they're just pretending at best, mocking God at worst.

But on to the meat of the argument here, "generless marriage".  The anti-equality crowd loves to use this term because it seems to imply that if marriage equality is achieved all married couples will suddenly become androgynous, or maybe it's because it terrifies misogynists who can see their privileged role as "the man of the family" (i.e. the one who doesn't have to cook, clean, take care of kids etc.) slipping away along with antiquated gender roles. Either way the term is a bit disingenuous. I think gender-neutral would be a better term. What marriage equality will do is not make gender irrelevant so much as recognize that same-gender couples are equal to opposite-gender couples. And, as my Christian complementarian friends well know, equal doesn't necessarily mean the same (though I do think there are far more similarities than differences).

The page keeps up the "genderless marriage" meme further on.
Under the law, one definition of marriage would not exist alongside the other. Only one of the competing definitions of marriage would legally exist. As noted in a scholarly review published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, “…once the judiciary or legislature adopts ‘the union of any two persons’ as the legal definition of civil marriage, that conception becomes the sole definitional basis for the only law-sanctioned marriage that any couple can enter, whether same-sex or man-woman. Therefore, legally sanctioned genderless marriage, rather than peacefully coexisting with the contemporary men-woman marriage institution, actually displaces and replaces it.”
This quote expresses essentially the same concerns as the one above. What I find interesting though is the fact that they fail to mention that the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy that they are citing is a decidedly conservative organization with a strong bias on this issue. And while I again take exception to the term "genderless marriage", I more or less agree with the idea stated.
Why has virtually every society throughout history defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman?
Gotta love this one. No matter how often the anti-equality folks are corrected on this idea, they just keep using it. The notion that "virtually every society throughout history defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman" is laughable. Not only has polygamy been the norm for much of history, but there actually are quite a few societies, though mostly tribal, who have recognized some form of same-sex marriage.
Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. After all, government does not license or regulate any other form of intimate relationship – not friendship, or dating, or cohabitation. People are free, under the law, to live as they choose, cohabitate with whomever they choose and engage in sexually intimate relationships with whomever they choose – all without any governmental recognition or regulation.
While the idea that "children [are] the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance" is debatable, I think children certainly are an important component of marriage and marriage law. But what does this have to do with same-sex couples?
But marriage is a special relationship reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union.
Ah of course! Marriage is about children, and banning any marriage that couldn't or wouldn't produce them is totally the best way to protect the children! Of course we don't deny marriage licences to the elderly, infertile or those who refuse to have children. And of course same-sex couples are perfectly capable of adopting and caring for children (you know, the ones that heterosexuals have abandoned), but whatever.
Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion that might otherwise become socially destructive into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion.
I totally agree! Sex is powerful and potentially destructive. Heterosexual sex in particular carries the risk of pregnancy. And hey, homosexual sex has its own risks as well. We all, every one of us, do better in a society that encourages us to channel our sexuality into healthy and safe intimate relationships. And society does better as a whole when those relationships are strong and capable of caring for children. But yet again I'm left asking what this has to do with same-sex couples.
By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage. Marriage is society’s mechanism of increasing the likelihood that children will be born and raised by the two people responsible for bringing them into the world – their mother and father.
While I see what they are getting at here, and I certainly agree that absentee fathers (or mothers for that matter) are, in general, a bad thing, I have to wonder if the anti-equality crown realizes how offensive this idea is to so many. And no, I'm actually not talking about gay people here, I'm talking about those who are adopted or who have adopted. Are these families somehow inferior to "natural" families because they are not tied together by biology? What a slap in the face such rhetoric is to those from adopted families.

I would also like to point out that legally recognizing same-sex couples in no way, shape or form effects the stability of the heterosexual family unit. Are the authors trying to imply gay couples getting married somehow forces or encourages men to abandon their children? Or are they simply trying to demean gay couples by pointing out the fact that the formation of our families often involves adoption? That would demean adoption itself of course, but as I mentioned above it would seem that the authors have no problem with such rhetoric.
While death and divorce too often prevent it, the overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. Simply stated, children need both a mother and a father. No matter one’s view of homosexual “marriage,” it is undeniable that every child born into a same-sex relationship is intentionally denied the love and affection of one of her biological parents.
Actually  "the overwhelming body of social science evidence" shows that children do better with two married parents. Yes for much of history that has de facto meant heterosexual couples, but the research that has been done on same-sex families shows that the children of those families fare just as well as, if not better than, the children of heterosexual families. This is why every major medical and mental health organization in the country supports marriage equality.
Fundamentally, same-sex marriage advocates propose to shift the marriage paradigm away from what definition of marriage is best for society – especially for children – and squarely onto the desires of the individual adults who seek to marry. Under a genderless definition of marriage, the interests of children – and therefore society’s intrinsic interest in marriage – is eliminated entirely. Only the wishes of the two adults in question matter.
This one is an oldie but a goody, the idea that marriage equality is essentially a selfish endeavor on the part of LGBT people that diminishes the importance of children in the marriage covenant. First off, given that the elderly and sterile can marry, I think we can all agree that the desires of adults already (and justifiably) play a significant role in marriage. Secondly this line of argumentation ignores the millions of same-sex couples who are de facto married (that is they live as a married couple) and raising children. For these couples one would imagine that marriage equality is just as much about strengthening the legal bond between them and their children as it is about the legal bond between them and their spouse. This raises a familiar question for me, if it really is all about the children for the anti-equality crowd, why do they seem to care so little for the legal fate of the millions of children being raised by same-sex couples?
When a court or a legislature adopts a genderless definition of marriage, legal experts warn (and actual experience from other states and countries confirms) that there will be profound consequences for society. Those people who refuse to accept this redefinition of marriage will be punished by the law. Churches and religious organizations can lose their tax exemptions and be forced to abandon their core moral principles or face punishment. Individuals, small businesses and groups will be subjected to lawsuits and regulatory action if they refuse to condone the “new” understanding of marriage. Perhaps most profoundly, children at a very young age will be taught in school that marriage is between any two adults, no matter what they have been taught at home, in church or in their ethnic traditions. Under the law, those who believe otherwise will be treated as the legal and moral equivalent of bigots.
First of all I would like to point out how incredibly ridiculous this whole line of reasoning is. I could make the same argument as a racist that these heterosexists are making. Do not anti-discrimination laws based in race make those who "refuse to accept [the] redefinition" of racial norms into bigots? Why is no one fretting over the legal rights of white supremacists who draw their values from the Bible (as virtually all racists did in the past) being trampled? Why is no one concerned that "children at a very young age will be taught" that all races are equal, "no matter what they have been taught at home, in church or in their ethnic traditions"? This whole argument is silly.

Nevertheless, even if it wasn't ridiculous, it is still misleading. There is absolutely no evidence or reason to believe that "[t]hose people who refuse to accept this redefinition of marriage will be punished by the law." Nor is there any reason to believe that, "[c]hurches and religious organizations can lose their tax exemptions and be forced to abandon their core moral principles or face punishment." Religious institutions and individuals have the right to free speech under the First Amendment and marriage equality won't change that. Don't want to perform same-sex marriages at your church? Then don't! And hell while your at it feel free to ban interracial marriages, interfaith marriages or whatever else you want. It's a free country and you are welcome to be as prejudiced and/or bigoted as you'd like. The only area in which an individuals personal opinion on this matter could possibly be an issue is in public office and public accommodation. If you run a business that is subject to anti-discrimination law then you probably won't be able to get away with discriminating against gay people. Sorry 'bout ya.

The only part of this with any grain of truth is the idea that "children at a very young age will be taught in school that marriage is between any two adults", and even that is a stretch. Certainly public schools would be required to treat all students and faculty equally, whether gay or straight. And as society further comes to accept gay people we will see more about them in our history books (just look at California). But so what? This just brings me back to what I said earlier about the rights of racists. If the anti-gay crowd has the right to ensure that their kids never hear anything (particularly anything positive) about gay people in public schools then do not racists have the same right? If I, using the Bible (or any other holy book) teach my children that God created all the races separately, meant for them to remain separate and even made some better than others, are my rights not being "violated" in exactly the same way as the heterosexists are when a public school teacher tells my children that actually all people are equal irrespective of race?

Finally I'd like to take a look at a claim made on their "The Threat to Marriage" page.
Right now, attempts are being made in Minnesota’s courts and in the Legislature to redefine marriage or eliminate it altogether. If activist judges or politicians were to succeed in redefining marriage in Minnesota in the future, there would be profound consequences for religious organizations, individuals, and small businesses—and for society itself.
This is just ridiculous. The Minnesota legislature already passed a bill banning same-sex marriage. The idea that the state is somehow on the precipice of being "forced" to accept marriage equality is laughable on its face to anyone aware of the situation there.

Further down that page there is a litany of misleading "consequences" of marriage equality that I will be looking at some other time, as this post has already gone on much longer than expected.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love, Hate, With Conservatives Sometimes It's Hard To Tell The Difference

These days the LGBT rights movement has made enough headway that most anti-gay crusaders feel the need to at least pay lip service to tolerance by claiming they really do love homosexual (so much so that they're working day and night on a cure for us!). That's why I respect Rebecca Hageline, she espouses her animus towards gay people openly, honestly and without reservation. It is, in a perverse kind of way, a breath of fresh air.

For example Hageline, in a Washington Times piece about her visit to Australia, said the following (emphasis mine):
[M]arriage in Australia is under attack by homosexual activists who seek to shoehorn their lifestyle choices into a shoe that will never fit: marriage. They want the law - and public opinion - to redefine marriage to include homosexual sex as something good, the moral equivalent of marital sexuality expressed by a husband and a wife.
History teaches that deviancy spurs decline, and the push to normalize homosexual relationships puts us on the fast track to disaster. But the bigger issue is what results when you fundamentally alter the basic building block of society. 
In my Australian speech, I warned that efforts to legitimize polygamy and pedophilia would follow in the wake of homosexual marriage.
The fiction of homosexual marriage surely will erode the morals and stability of society. It’s happening not only on the national stage, but also at local levels in ways that will affect your family and your children. 
Schools will get their doses of homosexual-promoting curricula in California; as that state is one of the largest textbook purchasers, California’s curricular decisions will create ripple effects for publishers and school districts across the country. Middle school and high school students in every state will be exposed, under the guise of suicide prevention, to the testimonies of drag queens, transvestites and formerly drug-addicted, HIV-positive homosexuals encouraging confused teens to identify as LGBT, embrace “their” community, and reject the “bullying” of their concerned parents.
 Wow. Just wow. So gay people's relationships are not even remotely equal to straight people's, the recognition of our relationships will lead to legalized pedophilia and polygamy, gay marriages are "fiction", and all LGBT people from history are "drag queens, transvestites and formerly drug-addicted [and] HIV-positive". Awesome. Good to know what you really think about us Hageline.

Now here's my usual lesson for those on the traditionalist side of this debate. Drop the "we really really don't have anything against homosexuals!" line already. If you generally believe what Hageline does, i.e. that gay marriage is a mockery of the "real" thing, it's legal recognition will lead to legalized polygamy and pedophilia and gay people really just have a mental illness which causes many of them to end up "drug-addicted [and] HIV-positive", then please do everyone a favor and stop trying to hide your animus behind caveats of love. It is not love to believe, absent any real evidence, what this woman believes. It is not love to call an entire class of people mentally ill because they happen to fall in love with the "wrong" gender. It is not love to connect homosexuality to pedophilia. So if you believe as Hageline does then grow some balls and start acting like her. Espouse your views plainly and bluntly without trying to pretend that you don't hold animus and prejudice against the gay community.

Randy Thomas: Gayest Ex-Gay Ever

It always cracks me up how incredibly gay many ex-gays come off as...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Recruitment, An Oldie But A Goody

Well you'd think that at this point the whole "homosexuals want to recruit our children!!" bit would have been laid to rest. I mean when even prominent ex-gay and anti-gay voices are admitting that homosexuality isn't something one chooses (even if they then go on to compare it to alcoholism or disease) you'd think the idea that anyone could be "recruited" would seem universally ridiculous. And yet Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, an organization accused of being a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is claiming that Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project is all about "teh gays recruiting teh childrenzz!!"

I suppose calling being gay and out (along with being transgendered) "some other kind of perversion" is par for the course for the FRC at this point. What really frustrates me though is that these are the same people who will go on national television, debate their point as politely as possible and then look all shocked and hurt when someone calls them a bigot. "Heavens no," they protest, "we love the homosexual, we just want to help!" And they'll grin, looking all innocent and genuine, and most of the audience will never get to see their real face. Most of America will never see this garbage, the hate they're willing to spew when they know it's only the proverbial choir listening. This is the kind of stuff that needs to get dragged out every singe time these charlatans try to pass themselves off as innocent moderates being called all sorts of nasty names (by those mean homosexualists of course), and all just for holding to their religious beliefs.

It is time that these groups and individuals were exposed, and more importantly, that their underlying beliefs are exposed. Here's the reality of what people like Perkins really believe about gay people, in their minds we are: mentally ill, perverted, disgusting (or at least doing something disgusting), trying to recruit innocent children (likely through molestation), broken, diseased, unhappy and "part of Satan" as Michele Bachmann put it. This letter is just a bit of the proof. So next time you see or here one of these guys playing the victim, pretending like theirs is a reasonable, moderate position, just remember what they really believe.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Michelle Bachmann Ducks And Weaves

This woman is better at dodging difficult questions than Obama circa 2008, and that's saying something. What I think this really highlights is how much the atmosphere around this issue has changed. A decade ago she would be able to easily stick by her virulently anti-gay record and statements without a problem. Now she clearly realized that she needs this all to go away lest she put off the moderates and independents. And that of course says a lot about what she thinks moderates and independents believe about gay people and their "satanic" lives.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Indiana Anti-Equality Representative Phillip Hinkle Caught Cruising Craigslist M4M Section

First and foremost, I think there is an object lesson to be learned in the story of Rep. Phillip Hinkly, who was recently caught trying to pay an 18 year old young man for sex. That lesson is one for those Christians on the traditionalist side who are convinced that the healthiest and holiest thing any homosexual can do is ignore their feelings and try to live a heterosexual life, essentially to live in the closet. Rep. Hinkle's life and behavior provide a telling glimpse into that closet.

Many gay men and women will talk about how awful being in the closet is from the perspective of the damage to the self, the self-loathing, depression, loneliness and isolation. These are all valid points, but to my Christian friends I would like to point out one other aspect of the closet, abject immorality. You know that image of the gay man on the prowl in the park, bathroom or bathhouse that the right enjoys holding up as normative for the gay community so much? Those men are almost always closet cases. The ones who are not generally picked up the habit during their time in the closet.

As I've noted before, no amount of prayer or therapy will make the need for intimacy go away. That deep seated desire to hold and be held by someone you truly love, are truly attracted to, doesn't go away. And when that desire is sublimated, ignored or repressed it tends to come out in destructive ways. Many on the traditionalist side of this debate argue that our sexual passions are an incredibly powerful thing, that we ought to heed God's will for them lest they run rampant in our lives, controlling us and eventually destroying us. And I absolutely agree with this assessment. That is why I find it so important to consider the fruit produced by what we do and say, how we live our lives, especially when it comes to something as important as ones sexuality.

Below you will see an example of the fruit produced by the closet. You will see what happens when one attempts to hide, deny or otherwise repress their natural, God-given sexuality. You see the closet is a place of darkness where the light of God and the church cannot shine. It is a place lacking entirely in integrity because it is a place of deception and obfuscation. And in this place of darkness patterns of sin can, and usually do, emerge. Patterns that can lead an outwardly upstanding, Christian man to send the following emails to an 18 year old teenage boy...
"Cannot be a long time sugar daddy, but can for tonight. Would you be interested in keeping me company for a while tonight?"
"I am an in shape married professional, 5'8", fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked."
"How about $80 for services rendered and if real satisfied a healthy tip? That make it worth while?"
"Final for the record, for a really good time, you could get another 50, 60 bucks. That sound good?"
"If u want to consider spending night u might tell ur sis so she won't worry. Would have u back before 11 tomorrow. No extra cash just free breakfast and maybe late night snack."
Now Rep. Hinkle's story is blowing up because he is an anti-gay politician who has now been caught soliciting an 18 year old for gay sex. But don't kid yourself, this kind of thing goes on in the lives of regular people all the time. The ex-gays rarely hold on to that "ex" part, and those who do are still often caught "relapsing" at least once in their lives. And as any addict can tell you, for every time someone "relapses" publicly, there are certainly numerous times they've gotten away with it.

The closet, whether in its original incarnation or when gone back into after going the ex-gay route, is place lacking entirely in integrity. It is a place into which no light can shine, and thus a place in which all manner of evil can thrive.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Could Holocaust Revisionist Scott Lively Get Any Crazier? Probably...

Scott Lively, who has claimed that Hitler was gay and purposefully recruited gay men into the SS because of their innate brutality, has stepped up the ante. Now we apparently are not only to blame for the greatest tragedy of the last century, but we're also helping to usher in the apocalypse. According to Lively Harold Camping, the recent doomsday declarer, wasn't all that far off, "Harold Camping was wrong about Judgment Day, but he was right that the rise of the homosexual movement is a sign of the end times."

And of course we "gay activists" have chosen the rainbow our symbol not because it represents diversity, but in order to snub God himself:
Did you also catch the spiritual significance of the rainbow in this context? Why has the homosexual movement chosen the rainbow as its symbol? I think they are deliberately flaunting their sin under God’s nose while holding up the reminder that He promised not to destroy the earth by flood again. They are proclaiming “See, God, you can’t stop us!” which was the exact sentiment expressed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick when he signed the first “gay marriage“ policy in the nation into law: looking up at the sky he said something to the effect of “See, nothing happened.” The “gays” of course insist that Sodom was destroyed because of “inhospitality” not homosexuality, so they are completely blind to the deadly folly of flaunting “Gay Pride” under the rainbow banner. As Isaiah put it "..they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them, for they have brought evil on themselves" (3:9).
Not only are we all "flaunting [our] sin under God's nose," but it's supposedly that very sin that brought the flood in the first place...
Thus, the corruption of marriage was instrumental in bringing about the wickedness and violence that caused God to bring the flood upon the world. Jesus warned that “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. ‘For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark‘” (Matt. 24:37-38, referencing Gen 6-7). Not only had marriage been corrupted, the people were so apathetic of that fact that they gave no credence to Noah’s warning that their sin would soon end in judgment.
Lively actually admits that no where is homosexuality mentioned as a reason for the destruction of the flood, but of course goes on to imply that it must have been. Because you know, the Bible says God hates gays, even when it doesn't...

Pat Robertson Embodies Irony

No Pat, I would rather not embrace a value system out of the eighth century, so could you please stop schilling your own?

Slam Poet Slams "That's So Gay"

Fantastic. That's a lot of talent for someone so young.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hip ≠ Right

A lot of great stuff came out of the Wild Goose Festival, including some amazing stories about the inclusion of LGBT people of faith. Kristin Rawls of Religion Dispatches has a piece up about the LGBT community's involvement in the festival. While there is much there to agree with, such as her statement that, "[i]n the future, festival organizers should invite a range of LGBT people to lead conversation from the main stage on their own terms rather than Campolo’s or Marin’s," I also found some of what was said disturbing. Yes, the festival should look to give a larger platform to actual gay Christians, rather than straight Christians who are known for talking about gay Christians. But statements such as, "the effort [to create a welcoming space for LGBT people] was marred by the inclusion of non-affirming contributors," bother me. Are we really calling for the exclusion of those who disagree with us? Having been the excluded group for so long are we willing now to turn around and exclude even the most well meaning of the 'homosexuality is a sin' crowd (such as Tony Campolo)? What kind of message does this send about the strength of our convictions, or our willingness to witness to the hope we have within us as gay Christians?

It can be difficult to straddle that fine line between affirming that our love is equal to heterosexuals love and any attempt to diminish that truth is heterosexism at it it's worse on the one had, and respecting the beliefs and opinions of those who sincerely and humbly disagree with us on the other. I understand the desire to shut out the other side to be honest, but unfortunately that can lead to just the kind of group think that leads people to say things like,
I felt the center of gravity of the mostly young, cool, hipster social justice-supporting attendees was overwhelmingly pro-queer. I thought Campolo and his cohorts were on a bit of an intellectual island… Pro-queer statements got cheered at panels; antigay statements were generally met with silence.
Um as someone who has grown up in the generation that gave birth to the, "young, cool, hipster[s]," I can say without a doubt that I want nothing to do with them. The idea that people ought to agree with us because that's what all the cool kids believe is ridiculous. Even worse that kind of attitude does a great injustice to the actual strength of our case. How can we expect anyone to take us seriously with such a childish attitude?

The biggest problem with this kind of group-think is the way it unleashes in us that which we so dislike in our adversaries. Nadia Bolz-Weber referred to those like Devin Murphy, whom the author describes as "a young member of the evangelical Calvinist tradition" as "young warriors." And in case you're confused, in the setting of a socially progressive, emergent church revival "young warriors" is rather unlikely to be a compliment. Bolz-Weber described such "warriors" as those “traditional conservatives who are not rethinking their theology," but rather, "dressing it up in designer jeans and hair gel, emulating the suburban ideal of what it means to be hip and urban.”

I'm sorry, when did hip come to mean true? Accusing those like Murphy of falsely "emulating the suburban ideal of what it means to be hip and urban" implies that such urbanity is the ultimate goal does it not? And why exactly is that the case? That kind of sentiment is incredibly elitist.

This kind of attitude is poison. I don't want Christians to support their LGBT brothers and sisters because it's "urban", "hip" or "cool". Such support is superficial and will evaporate as soon as popular sentiment turns against us. Rather I wan't Christians to support us because it's right, I want them to do it because it is what Jesus would have done, whether it is "hip" or not.

Journey Into Manhood Shows Off Ex-Gay Weidrness

Journey Into Manhood, run by Rich Wyler, is back in the news after NPR covered the program in response to the Bachmann fiasco. The retreat, which is pretty fringe even among ex-gay advocates, employs controversial "touch therapy" techniques. Apparently what men with unwanted same-sex attractions need is some alone time in the woods to cuddle with one another...

The bit at the end with the wife was probably the saddest. She clearly sees how much her husband is still attracted to men, she also clearly believes what her Church has told her, specifically that if they are faithful he will change. How much destruction will she have to witness in her life when that promise doesn't come through?