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GAY RIGHTS: Times changing for city, church

Letter by Rev. Dave Brown, Tacoma on July 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm with 79 Comments »
July 7, 2011 9:37 am

Re: “Flag will fly proud” (Kathleen Merryman column, 7-7).

Thank you for the column celebrating the gifts of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and highlighting Pride Every Day in Tacoma. The times are a changin’ – thank God.

On Sunday, the Presbyterian Church USA will officially change its policy concerning ordaining gay and lesbian persons as ministers, elders and deacons by replacing a section of the Book of Order that excluded them from office. This change was voted on by delegates to 2010 General Assembly and approved by a majority of presbyteries (local governing bodies) across the nation.

The change was wrought not by hierarchy but by local elders and ministers who voted. It is not welcome by all in my denomination but it is by those of us who have long celebrated the gifts brought to the church community by LGTBQ members.

(Brown is pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian in Tacoma.)

Leave a comment Comments → 79
  1. beerBoy says:

    Darlin – why are you so concerned about what others do in bed?

  2. Huh – unemployment, jobs going to China, education reforms failing our children, astronomical costs of wars in 3 countries, -that’s why the world is going to Hades? Who knew?

  3. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Sounds like these dullards would qualify as Casey Anthony jurists!!!

  4. I feel sorry for bigots.
    It must be tough to hate everyone around you they way they do.

  5. PumainTacoma says:

    We’ve become a world of convenience. Everyone gets picked for kick ball, everyone gets a prize and everyone wins. But we won’t vote for a woman president, or god forbid a conservative woman, yet people who don’t even go to church or believe in a “god” now have an opinion (religious awakening) on what religion should dictate.

  6. I think I’ll just munch on popcorn and watch the religious war.

  7. What a blessing it is when people of a faith return to the founder of that faith for inspiration. The Sermon on the Mount is one of, if not the greatest statements in all of Christianity. Also, Jesus’ greatest commandment was to “love on another”.

    As we aspire to be more like Him in love and acceptance of all people our faith is strengthened.

    Congratulations to Presbyterians for accepting Jesus’ teachings. May more people who claim to be his followers look deeply into their own hearts and try to become more like Him and turn away from their own pride and fears and accept love as the answer.

  8. “Love one another”, the other was a typo, sorry.

  9. Darlin – why are you so concerned about what others do in bed? I;m not but when a so called person of God thinks that it is ok to do what is against God that is wrong, period. I have 2 queer couple friends but they don’t justify their position in fact they know it’s wrong in God’s eyes (as they have said) but this is they way they were made.

  10. Darlin,
    Where in the New Testament does Jesus condemn homosexual activity?

  11. Darlin’, Christians have a hard time convincing each other what it means to be a Christian, or what “God” has said, because most of the things churches say are man-made and not part of Jesus’ words or teachings. Jesus said nothing that could remotely be construed as being against gays and He said a lot about acceptance, forgiveness and love.

    If you are an Old Testament follower, and do not believe what Jesus said about taking away the old religious ways and replacing them with His words, then I suspect you also believe in stoning divorced women to death and all of the other Old Testament rules.

    If you think this decision is wrong, that is one thing, but please don’t claim to put your own beliefs on a pedastal ahead of what other people of faith have determined is their understanding of Jesus’ teaching. Pride goeth before a fall, you know.

  12. I do love my fellow man, queer friends included but man on man, woman and woman is against God’s word, period. Ever hear of Sodom and why God condemned them all to death?

  13. Misunderestimated says:

    Kardnos, do you have enough popcorn to share?

  14. The issue in the PCUSA has never been about loving or hating gay people; it’s about sustaining a standard of sexual conduct for both heterosexuals and homosexuals with regards to ordination…which is the “setting apart” of people called to serve as pastors and elders in the church. With this new vote (which btw was hardly unanimous) no one is expected to exercise restraint in this area of their lives. In other words, predictably, the church has been transformed by the culture rather than the culture experiencing transformation via a relationship with God.

    Gay people were not shunned or prohibited from church membership. I’m sure there are many gay people in all sorts of churches. This issue has been twisted and distorted by the press to such a degree that one can hardly engage in a real dialogue about the question any more.

    Here’s a question for those of you who are so certain yours is the enlightened view on this matter. If God doesn’t make mistakes, in other words, if I’m born gay…then why does the gay community throw its support behind sex-change operations? If God made you to be a man trapped in a woman’s body, or vice versa, why not accept and celebrate that fact?

  15. KARDNOS says:

    :::::::passes popcorn:::::::

  16. “If God doesn’t make mistakes………”

    And the red herring comes out.
    The elitisim of some people that call themselve christian and worse, enlightened.

  17. Misunderestimated says:

    Enjoying popcorn…i’m sure this will get even better once we get the “true believers” onboard…

  18. sozo, Southern Baptists say no women, that God cursed them with monthly emissions, so they cannot represent the perfect Word of God. The Catholic church also has a no-women allowed policy. They also do not allow their priests to have sex. If you can find a God-given mandate for that, please let me know. I guess any denomination that allows women to be ordained or allows their ministers to get married and have sex means no one in that denomination is required to show restraint, either in your mind.

    Or is it that you conveniently believe one set of man-made rules over another? It is OK for you to believe that personally, but please get off your high horse and judgment about others and what they believe.

    Plenty of heterosexually active ministers have shown no restraint, and I suspect it will be about the same percentage of gay ministers who have sexual problems. It is human nature. Nothing about ordination of gay ministers gives anyone a license in any church to be licentious.

    The church is always a “culture”, and the decisions are man-made, not God made. No where in the Bible does Jesus say men only need apply or gays need not apply to be able to lead people of faith.

    I love the double standard. We will only allow people who can get married to be ministers, and we will not allow gays to get married, so therefore no gays can be ministers. Purely and simply it is about denying that gay people are people of God, and if that isn’t hate, then it sure comes mighty close.

  19. KARDNOS says:

    Misunderestimated….

    We need someone with the Secret God Decoder Ring to tell us what God really meant/means/will mean. Someone who is “Annointed”.

  20. beerBoy says:

    Hasa Diga Eebowai!

  21. Darlin:
    If you know people who are queer they are not your friends.

    If you are going to live by the Old Testament you have to live by all the rules not cherry pick the ones you want to have enforced.

  22. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Look at your anatomy. Humans are designed for reproduction with only the opposite sex. Be as gay as you want, but it is not a natural relationship that I will recognize.

    America needs to stop caving into a tiny minority and keep our values. This applies to gay marriage, eco freaks, etc

  23. beerBoy says:

    ct7 – great! If you only perform your conjugal duties for the express purpose of reproduction your wife must be happy. But don’t force that practice upon the rest of us.

    But……marriage isn’t about sex so why is that germane to this discussion?

  24. ct7, please detail which American “values” you would like to uphold, the ones in the Constitution or the ones in your version of whatever religion you happen to believe?

    This discussion is about one denomination’s acceptance of their fellow humans and their right in that church to provide leadership and other pastoral duties. So speak for yourself instead of America, since “America” has already says it values freedom and justice for all, including equal rights under the laws of our nation. In my mind this church is upholding both its spiritual values and American values.

    I know for one that I don’t want to live under the rule of a Christian Taliban that makes up laws based on the needs of a patriarchal tribal society that existed over 2000 years ago. I like the values in the Constitution, and those are the ones I want to uphold and preserve.

  25. Patiently waitng for someone to respond to my question about sex-change operations, assuming we are all supposed to celebrate and work with whatever sexual parts God (or “the Universe) gave us at birth? Anyone??

    My horse isn’t high, tuddo, but I won’t apologize for believing that restraint and sacrifice are noble qualities in those who stand as leaders and role models for the rest of the world. I am always disappointed when any church leader gives in to the temptation to exploit his/her position of power and engage in illicit and/or unsavory behavior. It stinks.

  26. way to go Sozo, I can’t agree more. The ones that don’t like what you say must be the ones trapped in the opposite sexes bodies which I understand but don’t condon, no way, no how. On the sex change thing those that disagree with you just don’t have an answer to that but we are to persevere in this life no matter what we are handed. Also those of you that talk junk about the prophets, preachers, scribes etc. of 2000 years ago must not realize that these were people that knew and walked with Jesus and their word holds true today as much as it did then so deal with it, newer thinking is not always better, especially in this case.

  27. Many of you insist that Jesus said nothing about sexual conduct. I’d like to point out three things that are significant here.

    First, there was no such thing as “dating” in Jesus’ time…it was presumed that sex was part of the covenant of marriage. It was a very different time.

    Jesus ministered during a particular time in history and many of his direct sayings were contextual…thus HE SPOKE AGAINST DIVORCE. This was, of course, to PROTECT women, since an abandoned woman in that situation was virtually helpless, much as women in some African countries are today if their husbands “chase them away.”

    (BTW I notice that those of you who want to use Jesus to your advantage in these discussions always ignore his mandate forbidding divorce. Tuddo, what do you make of that?)

    Next, if you are actually familiar with the entire Bible, which few people are, you will rememer the story of the perverted societies of Sodom and Gomorrah. If not, read about it in Genesis. THEN, note the following passages from the gospels…Jesus’ words:

    (Matt 10:15, 11:23-24; Luke 10:12, 17:29).

    Later, disciples like Jude connected the dots from Sodom to homosexuality (Jude 7-8).

    Jesus listed sexual immorality as one of the sins that “make a man unclean.” Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'” Note here that this is NOT limited to homosexuality, but to all manner of sexual immorality.

    It is really important to note here that one of the reasons many folks are distressed by the recent vote in PCUSA is that it puts the church on that slippery slope of diluting or actually altering “the word of God” to suit our pleasures.

    Note: For those of you who do not see the canon of scripture as authoritative (in other words, for you it’s just another book) none of what I’ve written here matters. But for those of you who inisist on using Jesus as your passkey for sexual revolution, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

  28. Islander
    Historically all US State had laws banning homosexual and other sexual acts.

    While often targeting homosexual activity many of these laws also outlawed certain married and unmarried heterosexual couples.

    The last of these laws (mainly in southern states) were not stuck down or repealed until 2003.

    Sex change operations – Some people thank God (or nature) does occasionally make mistakes and mismatches bodies and souls.

    Concerned,
    Many people now believe that human sex is not and never was just for reproduction but was/is for pair-bounding – i.e. the glue that holds a couple together.

  29. to beerboy the sicko – his comment and meaning: what “Hasa Diga Eebowai” means, the cheery black man tells him that it translates, roughly, as “F – – – you, God!” And then all the villagers start dancing wildly, their middle fingers held up to the heavens.”

    have fun in hell bb.

  30. Gotta say I’m surprised at you bBoy. I mean I realize you come off as pretty earthbound, but this is quite adolescent of you, and ugly.

  31. sozo, I ignored your sex change comment because I thought it was just about the most ridiculous thing I have heard you say, and that is among some pretty riduculous comments.

    You lead off your question with “If I am born gay.” I am not sure what that has to do with transexualism, because gay people don’t get sex changes. Transexuals get sex changes.

    Transexuals are just as perfect as anybody else who uses makeup, perfume, wears clothes that make themselves look better or any other “enhancement” or change to the way God made them. If they were perfect whyn don’t ethey celebrate how God made them? Transexuals are just as perfect as a child born with Down’s Syndrome and needs extra help to fit into society or one who has a cleft palate and needs an operation. They are all perfect in the sight of God. In the sight of some people, like you, well that may be a different question.

    I ignored your insensitive and ignorant comment until you repeated it because I thought you would have deep regrets for saying such a disgusting thing. I ignored it because it makes you (and Darlin’ who compounded the insult to God) sound like a spiteful creature of the darkest places people can go in their dislike for people who are different than they. I know you can do better.

  32. sozo, you asked me what I make of people ignoring the divorce issue. I never ignore the divorce issue. I always ask peope who use the Bible to claim we should be against homosexuality how they can tolerate living in a society that accepts divorce in their civil law. Jesus did talk about upholding the religious law that included stoning divorced women to death if they remarried.

    I always ask them why they aren’t out trying to get the law changed so we can go back to stoning women to death. Why stop with denying civil rights to gay people. Women who are divorced, if they aren’t stoned to death, at least we should prohibit them from getting married again, shouldn’t we? At least if you believe in using any Biblical reason to deny people a fundamental human right like marriage, you should be consistent.

    My answer, as always is based on the fact that we are a secular society, and all religious arguments for or against secular law are to be ignored.

    And, please, hospitality, the way one treats strangers and the acceptance of people who are from a different society and culture and rape were the issues in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, you can put Jesus’ words into proper context. The sex demand was non consensual. Rape was a method in tribal societies to humiliate strangers or to show dominance. Even gay people condemn rape. It is a stretch to even imagine that it would be a true desire for gay sex, because Lot offered his daughters and not his sons.

  33. tuddo-you say:
    (and Darlin’ who compounded the insult to God) but I’m confused as I was just stating what was meant from beerboys awful statement against God. You might want to read my post again

  34. Darlin, was it a different darlin who wrote:

    “way to go Sozo, I can’t agree more. The ones that don’t like what you say must be the ones trapped in the opposite sexes bodies which I understand but don’t condon, no way, no how. On the sex change thing those that disagree with you just don’t have an answer to that.”

    I disagree with her, and certainly am not trapped in an opposite sexes body. And, how can you condon (sic) or not condone how a person is born. I imagine if you were born with both a vagina, plus a penis and testicles you might want to do something about it, too.

  35. Excuse me, tuddo, but I believe my question is perfectly reasonable and born in the light, not in the darkness.

    The argument for tolerating the anomaly of being born with sexual desires for people of the same sex is that people are born that way, that it’s perfectly natural and they should be allowed to follow their nature, albeit anomalous….outside the norm.

    But, if we are embracing how “Nature” made us, why not embrace it fully, including being born with male genitalia but having the “heart” of a woman. Why tinker with the way Nature made you? And please, are you seriously equating sex-change operations with wearing make-up?

    I’m glad you mentioned Downe’s Syndrome, actually, because I concur that a Downe’s baby is just as lovely and perfect as a baby without Downe’s…and yet, doctors often recommend terminating a pregnancy if it’s discovered that the baby has Downe’s. Should we terminate pregnancies when one day science permits us to discover transexuality in utero?

    Further, while I believe that a Downe’s baby is just as precious to God as any other baby, I also recognize that the syndrome brings limitations. I would not ordain a Downe’s Syndrome adult as the pastor of a church for instance; nor would I hire them as lifeguards. My niece has Downe’s and our family is blessed by her presence among us, but she cannot live alone or be left in charge of the kitchen.

    This is not ridiculous reasoning, tuddo. It’s about looking at a thing thoroughly rather than superficially.

    And about the divorce thing, my point is Jesus, himself, spoke against it–the same Jesus that you are so certain doesn’t care about our sexual conduct.
    You seem to like to use him as an example when it suits you and ignore him when THAT suits you.

  36. larsman says:

    Tuddo does a Tulsa-2-Step around this one also –

    “Have you not read that in the beginning God made them male and female? Wherefore shall a man leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife.”

    Notice here tuddo that no one is saying anything about (your red herring)”hating anyone”.

    I’m going to insist that you provide all of us with a NT reference where Jesus advocates the “stoning” of divorced women….maybe you meant Islam.

    Here’s another that I’m sure you love to go out of your way to ignore :

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections, for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
    Rom 1: 26-27
    As for the new “pastor” of the North 9th and “J” street church….if all I wanted was groovy high attendance numbers….just bypass Jesus and start worshiping Dionysus, a deity befitting the apparent endeavor…

  37. larsman, you forget that Mark quotes Jusus to include women:

    “11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”

    The penalty for a woman committing adultery in the Old Testament is death by stoning, and that was also upheld by Jeus when he answered the pharisees. The penalty for men was much less severe, and in Jeus’ times men could divorce women for whatever reason they wanted to. Women could divorce their husbands if their husbands were proved to commit adultery, but she could not remarry.

    I should have made clear that it is the remarrying part that requires the stoning to death according to Jesus.

  38. sozo, you miss my point completely. I would not divorce and I do not favor divorce. However, my personal religious views should have nothing to do with how society determines what is in the best interest of the nation in a secular democracy. Our society has proclaimed that marriage is a fundamental human right. I do not force my religious views on others or make then suffer second-class citizenship because of my religious view like you do.

    I will not even honor your failed arguments you use to try to justify your monstrous and supercilious sarcasm about gay people and transexual people. BTW, I purposely used the makeup analogy because many “Holiness” Christian denominations say that altering a womans face with makeup or cutting her hair is a sin against God’s perfection.

    It just depends on which religious Taliban gets into power on what religious rules we will have to follow. If they got in power then there goes mascara, which is a lot less grevious than the ban against gay marriage to our society.

  39. for tuddo: was it a different darlin that wrote: No, same Darlin and i just basicaly like what Sozo has to say:

    Darlin says:
    July 8, 2011 at 8:42 am
    way to go Sozo, I can’t agree more. The ones that don’t like what you say must be the ones trapped in the opposite sexes bodies which I understand but don’t condon, no way, no how. On the sex change thing those that disagree with you just don’t have an answer to that but we are to persevere in this life no matter what we are handed.
    I do see that beerboy has chickened out of this debate though. I wonder if he is getting ready for the next queer rally wanting special rights and privilages!

  40. beerBoy says:

    this is quite adolescent of you, and ugly.

    Ah yes……that massive plank in the eye from the god fearin’ folk.

  41. Even with a plank in my eye, I can spot a stinker bBoy.

  42. Tuddo, you say “I do not force my religious views on others or make then suffer second-class citizenship because of my religious view like you do.”

    First of all, I do not force anything; I do not have the power or inclination to do so. I DO, however, have a right and a responsibility to express my views which is all I’ve done here.

    Second, from whence cometh the laws of the land if not from religious tenets regarding right and wrong?

  43. I find it curious that except for tuddo, none of the usual suspects will address my question about the contradiction in sanctioning sex-change operations while insisting that we all celebrate the “way God made us.”

    Tuddo wants to make out as though I find anomalous creations inferior, but I don’t. I simply view them as the exception to the rule of nature, and I believe that loving and caring for them is mandated by the Creator. This is why I can support legal rights for gay unions without pretending to sanction that union via the sacrament of marriage. If I am wrong, I pray that God will chastise and correct me. Should that happen, I will return to ammend my comments.

    Had I been born unable to walk, I would hope that this would not prevent others from respecting me and treating me with dignity, but I wouldn’t insist that I was born “normal.” And I’m using the word normal in the academic sense…that which is within the norm. And I wouldn’t expect to get hired as someone who teaches others to walk.

    Finally, tuddo, do you always throw the baby out with the bathwater? If I were to attend a church that forbade women in ministry or forbade the use of make-up, I’d find another Christian church that had what I consider a clearer understanding of scripture. I woud not abandon the entire Christian faith because of it. Wearing make up is hardly eqluivalent to sexual conduct for those who appreciate the spiritual aspects of sexuality.

    Intelligent Christians know that we do the best we can to interpret scripture and obey God. We attend services at a church that essentially represents our understanding of God’s will, but we know that could be mistaken. It does not mean we just throw up our hands and embrace a moral free-for-all.

    So, where are those of you who would correct me in the error of my thinking here? I fear tuddo has failed.

  44. sozo, you keep purposely restating my comments erroneously and interjecting religion. I am talking about marriage as a civil legal right. Churches can sanction or not sanction any union they may wish to. As I’ve said many times, if we wanted to end most of the religious controversy, we would just call all marriages civil unions when we are talking about the rights and responsibilities under our secular government. The denial of one group or another’s civil rights just because the word “marriage” gets in the way because of someone’s religious preoccupation, is absolutely a straw man argument that only those who have other agendas, like discrimination, use.

    I don’t think people are responding because it is really impossible to understand your logic. You are the one saying transexuals are not perfect, gays are not. Then you ask gays why, if they say transexuals are made perfect in the sight of God, do they support people who want to have operations to make their bodies fit what their minds tell them. I don’t think too many people can even wonder why someone would ask such a question, much less respond to it.

    To me, your question implies that you do not support transexuals in their desire to conform to what society (not God) tells them and you are asking gays why they do. Could it be freedom of choice to live a life like they want? It makes as much sense as a Muslim in America asking why don’t transexuals just wear a burka?

    Maybe somebody who can understand what your problem is with transexuals, why you think they are imperfect in the sight of God, and are not normal (out of the norm as you put it), can answer you. If you do think they are perfect in the sight of God, then why even belabor this meaningless point?

    Poor red heads, they must not be of any worth to you, either, since they are not the norm. If they wanted to dye their hair would you keep them from being a pastor in your church?

  45. So you DON’T think it anomalous to be born with male genitalia and a desire to live as a female?

    As for red-headed pastors, Heaven forbid! Especially red-headed women pastors! I’m kidding of course…because your attempt at a humorous put down called for jest.

    For the record, I could be persuaded to support civil unions as marriage I suppose, but I do not think people should expect church pastors to perform said ceremonies or “bless them” if they don’t want to.

    This letter though was about the ordination of gay people and sexually active singles as pastors and elders in the PCUSA, and I am not prepared to ignore scripture to the extent that we invite said folks to be ministers of word and sacrament in the church.

  46. penumbrage says:

    sozo – “…why not accept and celebrate that fact?”
    If you’re speaking of our ambiguously sexed Americans (the million or so victims of any of the dozens of medical and genetic conditions resulting in interrupted feminization, incomplete masculinization, mis-matched genetic and physical gender and even genetic sexes other than XX or XY), you’d have just as much luck suggesting ‘accepting and embracing’ cleft palates, poylydactyly or port wine stains (I can hope you’d have far less luck suggesting that we restrict certain citizenship rights for being born with these birth defects as we only restrict rights in cases of diminished mental capacity, and even then we appoint legal guardians to protect those precious rights). Some born with such afflictions are untreatable, some are content with their condition, some seek surgery for improved functionality, for others the surgical gain is purely personal and social acceptance – a unique chance to feel normal when they look into the mirror or into other people’s eyes.
    Some may object to gays of choice and the hardcore may even deny victims of extreme heterosexual abuse and trauma whatever sexual identity or outlet they can manage to salvage, but I have yet to hear a coherent argument as to why an XY male with AIS (born with female genitals) can only legally marry provided his male mind happens to be homosexually attracted to another male mind.

  47. anamolous: not fitting into a common or familiar type, classification, or pattern; unusual

    sozo, certainly these conditions are anamolous. That is why I brought up red hair. Red hair is anamolous, but that doesn’t give us the right to discriminate against those who have it in our secular laws, or call them less than perfect in God’s sight.

    I think any church should have the right to look into their beliefs and determine what that means for them. I just can’t find anything in Jesus’ words to keep females, gays, transexuals or red heads from leading and teaching people of Christian faith. That is one reason why I am Episcopalean right now, and not a Southern Baptist minister any more. That is why I congratulated this sect of Presbyterians, because I think they are right (because they agree with most of the newer theology based on textual and historical analysis that uses original languages, not mistranslations).

    I think your hangup is still that you think gay sex is nasty and you would get all riled up about it in your fantasies instead of listening to the pastor’s words.

    As for forcing a minister to perform same sex weddings, that would be up to their church doctrine. The government certainly could not force them to perform a wedding that goes against their religious beliefs, in my opinion. Since marriage is a state issue, it might depend on the state’s Constitution and licensing laws, but I also bet the US Supreme Court would say that “Separation of Church and State” (I think there is such a thing”) would not allow the state to dictate to them.

    Many priests and pastors refuse to marry divorced women because of what Jesus says about them and I haven’t heard of any successful suit against that.

    Civil servants who have been granted a license by the state, like judges, well that is a different subject. I do not think anyone should be able to refuse to marry a couple where it is legal to do so based on discriminatory practices.

  48. beerBoy says:

    I’m sure you are confident of your righteousness sozo.

  49. You know tuddo, just when I think you are one of the reasonable ones, you say something ugly like this: “I think your hangup is still that you think gay sex is nasty and you would get all riled up about it in your fantasies instead of listening to the pastor’s words.”

    What an insulting and uncalled for remark. I think you should speak for what riles you up and activates YOUR fantasies and make no presumptions about me and mine.

    And frankly, until people began to make such an issue of their sexuality, I doubt that people sat in church and thought about their pastor’s sex life. No, it’s only been in the last couple of decades that sex has become a dominant topic of conversation, to say nothing of a highly marketable subject (as in Hollywood entertainment).

    No bBoy, I am not confident. I take one day at a time and am open to being persuaded and/or dissuaded by sound arguments and of course by the moving of the Holy Spirit in my consciousness.

  50. sozo, you are the one that dwells on homosexuality as a dirty, evil thing. You have said such on other threads, and you said it on this one. If you aren’t hung up on it, why do you keep describing it as “unclean”. Jesus never says that. It is you who is assuming he is listing that in the passage you quote. The passage isn’t even really about listing the things that are evil.

    sozo said: Jesus listed sexual immorality as one of the sins that “make a man unclean.” Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'” Note here that this is NOT limited to homosexuality, but to all manner of sexual immorality.

    “Not limited to” in your mind means that it includes homosexuality, but it doesn’t. That is your fantasy world I was talking about.

    You are the one that is making insulting and uncalled for remarks by making a blanket statement that homosexuality is immorality and “unclean”. Just as one cannot claim all heterosexual sex is immoral, one cannot claim all homosexual sex is immoral.

    If you truly accepted people who are gay like you say you do, you would never say such an insulting and demeaning thing.

    You picked a wonderful passage in the Bible where Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they fit what Isaiah says are hypocrites for clinging to man-made traditions and rules. He is chastising the Pharisees for calling his disciples “unclean” because they did not wash their hands in a ritual way before eating. Jesus says that evil comes from within a person and does not enter a person because someone says it does based on man-made rules.

  51. Have it your way, tuddo, but you are mistaken about my attitudes and feelings.

    And look at the entire list of things Jesus said were unclean. I didn’t say it. Jesus did. There’s a lot there, including things I am guilty of at times. We’re all broken people, but we aren’t all looking to get approval for our brokenness

  52. sozo, you start out right by saying I am mistaken about what your attitude about gay and transexual people are. Then yo9u again imply you think being gay or transexual is part of the list in the verses you quoted. Please point out on the list where you think Jesus said anything about being gay or transexual.

    If I understand your logic, being gay or transexual is intrinsically being “broken” without any redemption except by not having any sexual activity, even in marriage. You say you are only broken every once in a while (“at times”), but gay and transexuals are broken by their very nature.

    Do you think all people are broken, but gays and transexuals are just that much more broken that in your society they would not be able to have the same rights to be married and in your church they are so broken that they could not be the leader?

  53. notimetobleed says:

    sozo wrote :”And look at the entire list of things Jesus said were unclean. I didn’t say it. Jesus did. ”

    sozo,

    Please tell me where in the bible Jesus says this. I would really like to know specifically where he addresses homosexuality.

  54. notimetobleed says:

    It is clear to me that the bible’s authors we hetero males that had no idea what homosexuality was (especially since homosexualality was not even recognized as a classification of people until the 19th century). The Bible also stated that the earth was flat and the sun went up and down, so don’t tell me the bible’s authors had some supeior take what had not yet been discovered.

    They were correct in calling out gang-rape, self indulgence, and worship of fertility gods as sins. But to say there is anything in the Bible about homosexuality as we know it today…I just don’t see it.

  55. I understand that there are disputes about the language…about words that have been translated as homosexuality, and I don’t claim to be an expert in the translation arena. But I am a Christian who believes in the wholeness and holiness of scripture, including words that came not only directly from Jesus, but from prophets and apostles identified as such and respected as such throughout the history of the church. I have already identified passages where Jesus cited lewdness and sexual immorality as wrong.

    The overall message of scripture reinforces the laws as prescribed in the O.T. in Leviticus 18 — and especially when it comes to “the priesthood.” While Christ liberated us from being prisoners of “the letter of the law” he did not alter “the spirit of the law.” In other words, those things identified as good for us and righteous remained the same, and those identified as bad for us and unrighteous remained the same. For instance, the essence of the Ten Commandments is still totally reasonable among most civilized people today.

    Thus, when Jesus speaks about sexual immorality, it is reasonable to presume he is including the same things that his Jewish ancestors did in such lists.

    When I say we are broken, I mean all of us. There are Christians who do not embrace the idea of our brokenness, and if you don’t you don’t. I believe there’s plenty of evidence to support the fact that human beings, while created in the image of God, turned from God. Those who are unrepentant about their brokenness seem to believe they are, in fact, not broken. Either that or they are recalcitrant and driven by their ego needs.

    I also believe that we all fight personal “demons.” I come from a family of alcoholics, most of whom seemed to come hardwired with this problem and, I’m happy to say, most of whom have chosen sobriety.

    Pedophiles claim to have a “natural” love for children, including sexual attraction, but we do not casually condone that, nor do we sanction and bless polygamy. Why is that? When and where do we draw the line when it comes to “natural” or “predisposed?”

    For the record, I am no more troubled by a practicing homosexual than I am by a corporate cheat, probably less so. This is not about what I personally like and don’t like. And this is why I was so insulted by tuddo’s absurd presumption that I am hung up on sexual sin.

    Back to the original topic at hand, I would not recommend that a drinking alcholic be ordained as a pastor. I would not recommend someone living in an adulterous relationship. I would not recommend someone known for dishonesty in business, nor a person known for gossip and lies. Nor would I recommend a person who is sexually active with multiple heterosexual partners. Leadership in the church requires strong character, a sacrificial spirit and a desire and capcity for restraint IMO. Ordained people are not superior to others but they are uniquely suited to the ministry.

    All I’ve been trying to say here is that there are reasonable, NON-hating people in the church who are intelligent, well-read and compassionate who, in taking the whole of scripture as the “word of God” cannot in good conscience validate and conone a homosexual lifestyle or a permiscuous heterosexual lifestyle as appropriate for pastors and elders.

    Personally, I am sick to death of those opposed to the ordination of gays and sexually active non-gays being portrayed as knuckle-dragging morons with latent homosexual tendencies. Many of us have been conflicted and sad about all of this; have done our homework, studied and prayed about it for years. We’ve spent hours in dialogue with gay friends and family members and choose to take a stand that runs against the current cultural tide not because it’s fun to be in the minority on this but because we remain convicted about it even after all that.

    For people who claim to be tolerant and loving, there sure are a heap of you out there with zero tolerance for anything that does not jive with YOUR philosophies and ideologies.

  56. sozo, this is the first time that it sound like you did not label all gays or transexuals as unfit for the priesthood or being an ordained minister in your mind. In your leading comment on this thread it sounded as if hyou were against this denomination’s vote. My mistake, sorry.

    You did not exclude gays in a partnered or married relationship as being pastors and preachers in your last statement. Good, Why didn’t you say so in the first place? That is exactly how I feel.

    I think churches should look at all of their candidate’s and would exclude them if they were known to live a licentious lifestyle. If a pastor commits adultery, pedophilia, etc. whether they are gay or straight, then he or she is counseled or disciplined according to that sect’s rules (and the law). I guess I was mistaken when I thought you were excluding all gays from the priesthood or from being an ordained minister and thought all gays were living a licentious life.

    Most of the gays I know, and I think most gays and transexuals in the US live a sedate and wholesome family life, just like most heterosexuals. My point of reference is as a member of PFLAG and getting to know other families plus all of the wonderful gay families who are friends with my grandson and his partner.

  57. Tuddo, you are losing any credibility exponentially with absurd generalizations such as equating east-coast classic and neo-pentacostal denominations with an Islamic “Taliban” comparison.

    Are you not aware of our tri-leveraged balance of countervailing powers ?

    Whenever you VOTE, you are potentially ramming your values down my throat and I might remind you that all laws are legislated morality-ALL of them, even parking fines. Now “serious-up” there Tuddo and try it again, you ignored my first two examples and did not find NT scripture via Jesus regarding “stoning” of divorced women….remember the woman caught in actual adultery….this was not a case of divorce by the way. So give it another try…

  58. larsmasn, good try at revising what I actually said and what the Bible actually says. Only those people who believe we are a Christian nation and that our nation must follow their version of Chrisitan beliefs fit into my categorizing them as a “Taliban”. People who actually follow our Constitutional separation of church and state do not.

    Most Christians live and let live unless it harms them personally or harms our nation or ahrms other people. And, that is what the Supreme Court says are the only reasons to limit the fundamental human right of marriage. Everyone certainly has a vote, but use of organized religion to control our secular government and laws is what I am talking about.

    That is also what the Supreme Court said in throwing out any “majority” reason or any religious reason to restrict interracial marriage. Even a majority may not restrict a fundamental human right. Organized religions paid for the defense of Virginia’s marriage law against interracial marriages, and the Supreme Court said that was an abuse.

    Jesus said He upholds the law against women who divorce their husbands and then remarry as adultery. Part of that law was stoning to death. Plain and siimple.

  59. What, again, does interracial marriage have to do with gender specification?
    Which of your so-called (no specifics provided….I mean…specifics) as to your undefined allegation referencing some entity you call “Organized religions”.
    It seems you have an issue with the 10th amendment, and as you should know, there is no such idea, suggestion or law admonishing the so-called, false concept of “separation of church and state” which non-policy idea was to protect the forcing of business and church to adhere to the imprimatur of a specific national church….in our case the Church of England. PLEASE do your history better and not so much of your personal agenda . You seem to resort to (new term here, class) “Straw herring” (combining the two, sounds more accurate than “red man”) with your allusion to something you call “christian taliban” .

    Any response to Romans chapter one yet, or do you wish to cut and run?

  60. The Constitution does not grant rights, those are given by our Creator, the Constitution guarantees the protection of those rights.
    Those rights are conferred not on “groups” (two or more) but specifically and rightly upon INDIVIDUALS.

  61. I agree with Paul that if people are in the cult temples worshiping idols through sexual activity, then they cannot be people of the God of the Bible.

    Except for the most extreme theologians the most common understanding of Romans 1 is that Paul is describing shrine prostitution, cult prostitution, people who use sex to worship the fertility goddesses of ancient Rome.

    The history and context of the letter is important for its understanding as is the religious practices Paul was referring to.

    I am sorry your revisionist views have lost out in court case after court case about separation of church and state, but I am grateful to our founders for discussing it and adding it to the Constitution.

    I don’t think modern day gays and lesbians are in religious cults using sex to worship Roman fertility gods, especially good Presbyteruian gay ministers.

  62. Well tuddo, I think you missed something essential in my post. Though I am open to a change of mind and heart, I have not yet been convinced that the church should ordain practicing homosexuals, including those in monogamous relationships.

    This puts you and I in disagreement, period. It does NOT make me a hater of homosexuals and it doesn’t make you anything but a person who disagrees with this person. You seem to be an intelligent, reasonable guy, so when you slip into presumption and virtual name-calling, it is disturbing, Especially given how few people on this site are willing to dig into issues and discuss them in a civil way.

    For the moment we disagree on this decision in PCUSA. I continue to pray that God’s will … not mine nor yours…be done.

  63. notimetobleed says:

    Sozo, thank you for your thoughtful and respectful reply.

    While you are certainly entitled to your opinion I would argue that the basis of your argument that Jesus and other apostles condemned homosexuality relies entirely upon the belief that homosexuality was actually addresses in the bible. …And furthermore that when Jesus is referring to immoral behavior, that homosexuality is lumped in with these behaviors. I do not agree with either premise. I do share your sentiment that those who make this the defining issue are really missing the whole message from God. There are over 1,000,000 verses in the bible that are far more clear about the way we should live our lives (things we are not doing), and to focus on the 6-7 passages that VAGUELY even brush on same sex intercourse is absurd.

    I believe the bible was neither for nor against homosexuality, but rather silent on the whole matter. Here is why:
    1) As I mentioned in my earlier post Homosexuals were not identified as a distinct class of people until 1864 by German social scientist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. And the authors of the bible were all clearly heterosexual and they also assumed everyone else was as well (not that they knew any different).
    2) Leviticus is a holiness code written 3000 years ago as a guide for “priests only” in an effort to set themselves apart and over priests from the other religions and cultures. As you are probably already aware, Leviticus also contains many outdated customs and rules that would land you in jail by today’s standards. Plus a few that we all take for granted today. Just to name a few: prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig.

    This does not mean we can ignore and dismiss all of the teachings in Leviticus, but I just want to point out that Leviticus (even by Jesus’ words) was not meant for Christian believers and he talks of Leviticus in Matthew 22.34-40 after being questioned about the teachings of Leviticus in the old testament.

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
    “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

    You just don’t hear Reverend Phelps preaching on this scripture even though Jesus seems to be pretty clear that this is a big one! There is a great blog on Leviticus that I found http://christianvoices.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/liberating-leviticus/ It has many thoughtful and respectful post on the matter.

    I could go on addressing GENESIS 2:21-25, GENESIS 19:1-14, ROMANS 1:26-27, 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 AND 1 TIMOTHY 1:10
    But I don’t think I have enough room on this forum to do so. So I direct you to another great article http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/

    I will close by saying that when I was at Mass this Sunday the Gospel was Matthew 13:1-23 (I am a Lutheran that was attending a Catholic Mass) the story of the Seed Sowing. The lesson from the Priest was that this was one of the few parables from Jesus where he actually explains his own parable (a real nugget). And that by reading about the context of the story both before and after, is when the lesson all comes together. And if we do not do so we miss the message entirely.

  64. notimetobleed says:

    @ Iarsman and tuddo,

    I don’t want to get in the middle of your spirited debate, but Iarsman, here is a list of atrocities in the bible that would land you in Jail today. I belive you asked tuddo for these in your ealier post. Most of these are Old Testament but there is a Mark in there too. carry on :-)

    •DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
    •DEUTERONOMY 22:22
    If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
    •MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
    •LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
    •MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
    •DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her

  65. I appreciate your thoughtful response nttb and will continue, you may be sure, to read, study and pray about this issue. On one thing we seem to agree, this much energy and focus on this subject diverts us from far more egregious conduct among both believers and non-believers.

  66. sozo, I never respond when someone says, “I just don’t like it.” People have a right to their opinions. However when a person calls a whole group of people “unclean” like you did, and falsely uses the Bible as a foundation for the opinion, then I feel compelled to reply.

    Take care, and see you on the next thread about gay rights and the ever-evolving recognition by most Americans that they are just citizens under the constitution with all rights and responsibilities. They are not unclean devils or evil bringers of our complete and utter destruction like the most immediate past letter about the subject claimed.

  67. The gay people I know (and love) are not devils or evil-bringers. And the word “unclean” is from the Bible, not from me.

    Please keep in mind that I believe each of us is faced with a besetting sin that interferes with God’s intention for us. It is whether we recognize homosexual practice as sin that makes us differ in our opinions here. Notice I did not say anything about homosexual desire or attraction. I assume that many (though not all) homosexual people were born with this desire, just as alcholoics are born with a bent towards addiction. It’s all in what we choose to DO with ourselves in my opinion.

    If I am wrong, I will make amends to the best of my abilitly. What will you do if you’re wrong, tuddo, or is there no room for mistakes in your theology?

  68. “not” uses the GLBT definition-revising websites to confuse the difference between ancient Israel’s dietary laws with transcendent moral absolutes…
    Notice in Acts 10 (Peter at the rooftop in Joppa) that certain animals were shown to Peter and pronounced “cleansed” as in the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles……Homosexuality was not mentioned nor inferred here.
    There are those who look to change the Word ( by omission or definition revision) to fit their preconceived proclivities…
    Then there are those who pray to be conformed to the Word, rather than being conformed to the changing world.
    There is nothing new under the sun…Eccl.

  69. “not”- Mark 12 was a trick question by the Sadducees and there was no mandate involved. Please refer to the answer given by Jesus as he pointed out
    “you greatly err not knowing the scriptures neither the power of God”..

    I pass to you the same observation…you greatly err…

  70. One last question for tuddo, unless you’ve vanished from this thread, tuddo. Is it possible that loving someone may involve disagreeing with them rather than blessing every choice they make? I think your idea of love is different from mine. I loved my children enough to tell them when what they were doing was wrong. You do believe in right and wrong, right?

    Finally, I would suggest that these words spoken by Abe Lincoln in 1863 are applicable to our society today:

    “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God.”

  71. sozo, you have said before that you are on the fence between nature, nurture and choice about why people are gay. Until you get that resolved in your head, then you will be all over the place trying to justify your feelings.

    I have no doubt in my mind that being gay is part of the natural order of things, so I have less confusion. If I were in doubt, I would at least be willing to consider I was wrong and support a decision that was not harmful to the people involved.

    I always ask, and have never received a reply, as to how gay marriage (or other gay rights issues) would harm others, harm the people involved, or harm the nation. (And blanket statements like “the downfall of our entire culture” or “destroy amrraige as a sacred institution” doesn’t work for me, sorry).

    In my mind, if people cannot answer that, and they still want to “punish” gays by denying them freedom, opportunity and basic human rights, then I just think they are being vindictive or hateful and are not showing any ounce of true love, especially Christian love.

    The “choice” in my mind is exactly what the scriptures talk about, how you treat your own body and how you treat your family and others. The Bible talks about homosexual activities in contexts that show that the discussions were about when and where and now the sexual activities were being conducted.

    I find it hypocritical to brand a whole group as unclean based on your own personal interpretation of the Bible. You ignore the scientists who overwhelmingly state that being gay is not a choice. You also ignore the theologians who have studied this issue carefully and realize it was the when and where and how that was being discussed, like using sex for idol worship or using sex to humiliate strangers, etc. that are the real messages.

    Unfortunately some people and churches have social control agendas that are more important than preaching what the real message of the Bible is, especially the Gospels. I hope one day you will expand your exploration to include churches like the Presbyterians, Episcopalean, Lutheran and others who depend upon careful study and not emotional social control for their messages.

  72. You are mistaken, tuddo. I am not on the fence. I believe some people are born gay. I believe a lot of people engaging in homosexual activities are experimenting…perhaps a more hedonistic motive. People are born with al sorts of natural desires, several of which are not socially acceptable.

    As I’ve tried and tried to explain, the”choice” comes as to how one decides to live their life.

    I think you do not read with care. I’ve said if someone can persuade me (you have not done so) that I’m missing the mark in my understanding of scripture, and if God convicts me that I’ve been mistaken (I’ve asked him to take me to task if I’m wrong) I will make ammends. I will continue for the time being to believe that the ordination of gays and sexually active heterosexuals is misguided.

    If you must make those of us who see things differently than you as haters, it’s your call, but you should at least have the decency to confess your own lack of malleability. I asked you once before, are you prepared to admit that despite all your education and reading, you might be mistaken?

  73. sozo, I definitely have not called you a hater. I do think it is vindictive to deny secular human rights to people based on religious beliefs.

    I could be mistaken in my religious beliefs, but I do not believe that the USA is a theocracy, and we should not put into our secular law anything based on religious beliefs. I am sure about that.

    I will go with people who study these things, the theologians, who overwhelmingly agree with me about what the Bible says. Right wing evangelical preachers who make up stuff to control society, I will not put my trust about my faith them.

    I am concerned about how much support the tea party and the far right give to the preachers that do preach hatred and what borders on heresy. Japan is in ruins because their Emperor slept with the sun goddess, according to one prominent preacher, and counselor to Governor Perry and the tea party.

    C. Peter Wagner is they type of right wing evangelical preacher that has taken over from people who actually study scripture from original texts with the background of a solid education. He says:

    “Japan, as a nation, is one of the nation’s of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization.

    The Sun Goddess visits him in person and has sexual intercourse with the Emperor. It’s a very, very powerful thing. So the Emperor becomes one flesh with the Sun Goddess and that’s an invitation for the Sun Goddess to continue to demonize the whole nation.

    Since the night that the present emperor slept with the Sun Goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down. It’s never come up since.”

    Another, Mike Bickle, who founded the prayer association Perry is soon headlining, says that Oprah is the leader of the Harlot Babylon, and this will lead to the coming of the antiChrist. He says:

    “The Harlot Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the Antichrist. The Harlot Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes, a counterfeit justice movement…I believe that one of the main pastors, as a forerunner to the Harlot movement, it’s not the Harlot movement yet, is Oprah.”

    These are the type of people who are against gay marriage, against gay rights and against gays leading congregations of worshippers. Don’t you detect what is at least a bit of bad theology in those two statements? I think they are a very dangerous group of people for a powerful secular leader and possibly serious presidential candidate like Perry to be receiving guidance from on political matters.

    Another of the preachers that Perry pals around with said that the Freedom of Religion amendment, is not really “Separation of Church and State”, buit only applies to the Christian religion. He has called for an immediate moratorium on building any mosque, and the destruction of all non Jewish and not Christian religions in the USA.

    I see this movement as a lot more dangerous to our nation than granting gay rights. So, just call me a Harlot of Babylon. That’s not a hateful thing to say about Oprah, is it?

  74. notimetobleed says:

    @ larsman

    Each accusation you make can also be made word for word for the opposing argument (probably more so). I am not perfect and I am indeed prone to err. But from what I have seen and studied thus far…”It just ain’t there”. I believe in the messages of the bible, but this argument against homosexuality just isn’t one of them. This is not because I have “preconceived proclivities” but more that perhaps I actually do love my neighbor as myself.

  75. Tuddo, when you say “These are the type of people who are against gay marriage, against gay rights and against gays leading congregations of worshippers” you mislead readers a bit, which is part of my gripe.

    I have NO use for the people you cite here, no use for their extrement and distorted theology. But they are not the only theologians who hold that the priesthood (and I use the term here to mean “the ordained”) should be held to a different standard than others. The questions surroudning this letter are not about how the church deals with gay people in general, but about who is to be ordained as Ministers of Word and Sacrament.

  76. sozo, when you say that all gays are unclean because the Bible says they are, then you are misleading everyone. It is interesting the the largest group of Jews in the USA accept gays as rabbis and say the Law does not forbid homosexuality and they allow gays to be rabbis. They have had many more years of study to determine what the passages meant than right wing Evangelical Christians.

    The “type” of people I am talking about use false witness and perversions of Christ’s commandments to keep gays from enjoying secular rights, and I think that includes the leaders of the anti-gay Christian movement that I mentioned above.

    At least the Harlot is mentioned in Revelation, although I don’t think John said her name would be Oprah.

  77. penumbrage says:

    sozo – If I say ‘That black man over there is not fit to be a minister.’ I’m stating an opinion (it might even be supported by facts).
    If I say ‘No black man is fit to be a minister.’ I’m expressing a prejudice (a group generalization unsupportable by fact).
    When you say ‘…I have not yet been convinced that the church should ordain practicing homosexuals, including those in monogamous relationships.’ you condemn the entire group, presumably on grounds of bad moral judgment.
    As I pointed in my response to your lament that ‘…none of the usual suspects will address my question about the contradiction in sanctioning sex-change operations…’ (which, ironically, you never replied to), those grounds may apply to gays of choice but not to victims of heterosexual trauma and absolutely not to the ambiguously sexed when no choice, moral or otherwise, was ever given to them. You may not hate homosexuals but you are certainly prejudiced against them.
    We’ve spent the last couple of centuries refining the admission requirements for the free white Christian male (heterosexual) landowners over 21 club, all to the betterment of America. When we identify those discriminated against by our system we (eventually, as the majority become convinced) change ours laws with the ultimate goal of treating every individual equally – we’ve simply identified another group of individuals whose rights are being infringed.
    And I would most definitely consider it an infringement if I woke up in a hospital, the helpless recipient of an accidental sex change operation (the closest I can get to placing myself in their shoes – well, some of their shoes), and were then informed my unholy and unlawful marriage must now be annulled, my love for my wife in particular and women in general was now somehow unclean or perverted and that now I should deny every romantic and sexual feeling I have, reverse every aspect of my gender identity that is normal and natural for me and start shopping for a boyfriend if I ever want to be accepted into society or to enjoy all the rights and privileges my citizenship should confer – all because of an unplanned change in the status of the organ between my legs.
    Gays of choice and circumstance aside, we have about a million utterly blameless individuals born ambiguously sexed and it’s up to each one of us to decide whether these folks are actual human beings with the same God given, constitutionally protected rights as the rest of us, or if they are some sub-human variant deserving only a reduced subset of those rights (like women in 1900 or blacks in 1850).

  78. penumbrage says:

    larsman – I think you’re missing an important aspect of the biblical prohibition against false idols.
    Isn’t any church in danger of becoming a false idol if they stray too far from the truth of God’s creation?
    When the holy Fathers unanimously declared geocentrism to be official Catholic doctrine (in opposition to God’s creation), were they practicing idolatry or were they actually the false idols being worshipped?
    Like the missionary’s heathen, were they innocent of knowingly sinning until after Galileo’s proof of God’s true miracle was offered to them and rejected?
    Were the Catholics who burned Bruno and wanted to burn Galileo innocent of sin in God’s eyes?
    When he began to discover how God actually made the solar system work, was Galileo (a staunch Catholic) wrong to want his church to reflect the reality of God’s truth instead of maintaining mistaken human assumptions?
    Now that we begin to discover the truth of how God actually makes human reproduction work, are we wrong to point out that the ancient assumption of penis=man, vagina=woman is in opposition to God’s creation and is simply not 100% true?
    For that small percentage for which the statement is provably false, are they wrong to seek the same rights and privileges God and our constitution permit the rest of us to enjoy?

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