Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

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Raising the Stakes

January 14, 2009

It’s happened again!  We’ve been the victims of a drive-by gifting.  I reported last month that Scott and I had been the target of what appears to be a gay-bashing, except there was no violence, no vandalism.  The would-be bashers simply threw gay porn magazines at one of our vehicles.  This time, our Furtive Fairy (is that the gay counterpart to a secret Santa?) left us a toy.   An adult toy.  Silicone anal beads.

Scott had left for work already, and I went out to warm up my car before work.  I saw something lying on the road where his van was parked and thought that maybe something had fallen off his vehicle.  I walked over to inspect it, and was surprised to discover that we had been “gifted” once again. 

I’m not sure what to make of these events.  In some ways, it feels like we’re being gay-bashed, targeted because of our orientation.  In another way, though, I can’t say that we’re being “bashed” because the actions of this person aren’t intimidating. They’re doing no damage to our property, nor to us.  We’re just left standing there scratching our heads. 

Here’s what a few of my friends and colleagues have offered in the way of understanding this puzzling person or persons:  Perhaps this is a deeply closeted gay man who resents the fact that Scott and I are living our lives in the open for all to see.  We don’t flaunt ourselves, but it’s clear that 2 men are sharing a house and they are a couple.  So this bitter man has all the gay porn magazines, and evidently some toys that he can taunt us with.  I can imagine that he buys these things and satisfies himself, then in a rush of guilt, purges his life of these things vowing never to do it again.  His own self-hatred is turned toward us, and we are the recipients of his gay exorcism.  Internalized Homophobia that occasionally is aimed at those who live the life he feels he can not live.

 tailpipe-small1

On the other hand, maybe those beads just fell out of someone’s tailpipe.

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When You Can’t Prove What is Obviously True

December 31, 2008

It all started with a phone call from the new interim pastor of Paradise Christian Church* (wink and tip of the hat to preacherlady). 

“This is Reggie Dominy.  I’m the new interim pastor here at Paradise Christian.”

“Yes. Good to talk to you.”

“I’ll be selecting the hymns for the worship service from now on.  I guess you’ve been doing that for a while?”

“I’m really uncomfortable with that.”

“Why?  That’s not typically the organist’s job.”

“Well, it’s part of my job description.  I do it well and I’m not comfortable giving it up.” 

And that’s how the battle began.  That phone call lasted more than thirty minutes, and during that time, I found myself making some strong and defensive statements to a stranger who’s face I’d never seen.  I felt attacked, especially when Reggie said that he had to pick the hymns because we needed to change the way we do things since attendance at worship had decreased.  I told him that he was making it sound as if that was my fault; as if my music were the cause of people not attending worship services.  Reggie said he wasn’t saying that, but how else could I read that implication in the context of this conversation?

In the first service over which Reggie presided, there were at least five statements that sent up red flags in my mind.  From our phone conversation, it sounded like Reggie desired to create a solemn, even somber service steeped in traditional worship and laced with long moments of silence and reflection.  Nothing could have been further from the reality of what happened that very first Sunday in November. 

The humor was abundant as well as inappropriate.  Reggie set the tone in the announcements which are made before the organ prelude and the official start of the worship service.  As Thanksgiving was approaching and the Outreach committee was planning on giving food to several needy families, a plea was being made for congregants to donate canned goods.  Reggie’s pitch went like this:

“You know that can of salsa you bought seven years ago and it’s been sitting there on your shelf and you don’t know why you bought it?  Go ahead and bring that in for the food drive.”

It was then followed up with some muttered statement about buying a new can of something to go with it.  The request for food donations was being played for laughs, while the sincere request was downplayed.   Throughout the service we learned a few things.  For instance, it became clear that Reggie loves to eat deviled eggs.  And just in case someone might not have gotten that message, Reggie repeated his declaration of love for deviled eggs in the next four consecutive worship services.  We also learned that he likes to hear jokes, and that we should feel free to tell him Polish jokes and “jew” jokes.  For some reason, as Reggie made that statement, he hesitated, as though there were more kinds of jokes he enjoys, but felt it best to edit himself as this was part of his introductory sermon.  We also learned that there is a proper way to introduce onesself, which, one would know how to do “if you’ve ever been to college.”  What an effective way to discourage the “wrong” kind of people from attending church!

Most telling was the one particular family that Rev. Dr. Dominy made sure to mention in his sermon.  It was the one family in which the husband has a great job, the wife is a SAHM, and the two daughters are involved in dance lessons, baton twirling corps, and kiddie pageants.  They also happen to be the family who left the church in a huff, refusing to return until the full-time minister was either fired or resigned.  Dr. Dominy made sure to say their names, or compliment the beauty of the daughters, or involve the family in most of the services during November. 

On my last Sunday as music director, December 21st, Reggie did something that was at best unethical, and at the worst, creepy in the sense of looking too much like a child molester.  As part of his sermon, he asked the two little girls, both under the age of 12, to come forward and model their new Christmas dresses.  Embarassed, they walked to the chancel, where Reggie had them put their forefingers on their heads and do a ballerina turn for all to see the new outfits.  Then, in spite of smaller children moving back and forth between the sanctuary and the nursery, Dr. Dominy gifted the two “models” with presents, to be opened there in front of everyone. 

The weeks between that initial phone call and my final service were stressful. Communication between Dr. Dominy and myself was archaic.  He would leave handwritten notes, in the most screeching hot pink ink, on the piano.  I asked our secretary why he didn’t use email.  She replied that he wasn’t very computer savvy.  That statement that was refuted in the coming weeks when, during a sermon, Reggie mentioned looking things up on the internet.  It was countered again in a meeting of the church committees in which one member spoke of the email exchange that he and Dr. Dominy had. 

The hymns that Dr. Dominy chose were ancient, plodding tunes with dated language.  Although one of his stated reasons for taking the hymn selections away from me was the need to match the hymn texts to the scriptures, I seldom saw how the two aligned themselves.  Several times within those few weeks that Reggie and I worked in the same building, he repeated hymn choices.  I was left wondering if he selected hymns the way he selected the Psalms for our worship services:  numerically.  On his first Sunday in worship at Paradise Christian Church, Dr. Dominy selected Psalm One for our call to worship.  In subsequent weeks, the Psalms were used, in numerical order, regardless of the sermon topic, and regardless of the scheduled readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

The final straw came on the morning of December 19th.  I received a text message from our secretary asking me to call her asap.  I replied with a request that she email me, as I had students all day (with my teaching position at a public school) and would not have a break to make a phone call until late in the day.  The email arrived quickly, and in it, was a message from Dr. Dominy that said:

Ok  here goes.    Reggie left me a note to ask you if you got a brass ensemble for Christmas Eve.  If you did, please get the name of the group and names of their songs to me on Monday.  If you did not, please contact the band director at local school district.  She has some names of students who might be available or some other musicians in the area.  She can be contacted at local middle school xxx-xxx-xxxx  Her name is middle school music teacher her e-mail address is someteacher@someschool.

I am sending you the bulletin stuff so that you can give me the song titles by Sunday (or Monday morning at the latest)  The ones in pink he would like the brass ensemble to do  and he would like the choir and the brass ensemble to join in on the other carols as well.

Reggie said to contact him if you had any questions or suggestions.  xxx-xxx-xxxx

Thanks Dana

Interesting thing about this email:  I do not recall having a conversation with Reggie in which firm plans were ever made about the Christmas Eve service, let alone such an important detail about hiring or assembling a Brass Ensemble for the service.  At my first opportunity to call, I phoned Dr. Dominy.  In that phone call, I was verbally pushed around.  During a break from ministry, Reggie had been a car salesman, and a good one according to some accounts.  I could tell that I was being manipulated by his words.  He objected to my statements about why it would be impossible to assemble a brass ensemble just five days before the performance.  He interrupted me.  He cut me off.  He dismissed my professional musical advice.  Then I figured out what was going on.  I was being placed in a “catch 22” situation:  fail to assemble the ensemble, and Reggie could claim I’m not doing my job;  get one together in short order with no time to rehearse, no many to pay them, no music to give them, and have a disastrous performance on Christmas Eve and he could say that I didn’t do my job as well as I should have.  For me, given all that I had witnessed in the previous weeks, my only option was to resign.  My plan was to do so immediately, leave them without a musician for Sunday morning as well as Christmas Eve, but friends talked me out that plan. 

I learned that the committee charged with finding this interim pastor had failed to check his references.  They hadn’t bothered to call his former churches and talk to them about his strengths and weaknesses.  After handing in my resignation letter, and feeling crappy for about 24 hours, I decided that I’d look to see what I could find on this guy.   I did a search for “Dr. Reggie Dominy”  on Google and discovered that the guy is pretty computer savvy, contrary to previous claims. 

I also found one particular piece of information that confirms what I suspected from that very first phone conversation.  Reggie seemed to have some contempt for me from the very beginning.  It didn’t make sense that an interim pastor would walk in and start changing things before ever experiencing a worship service in the way that the members were accustomed to worshipping.  Interim pastors usually keep things going, the status quo, until the permanent pastor is hired.  This bit of information explains why he and I could never work together.

In the eight weeks in which both of us, interim pastor and music director, tried to do our duties, there was rarely a moment of kindness, of friendship, even an attempt to understand each other.  Attempts by Reggie to put up a facade of respecting and valuing me, at least in front of the congregation, fell flat.  At one service, Dr. Dominy said that he appreciated the “beautiful competency” that I brought to the services.   Competency?  Well, I must have some adequate skills when it comes to music.  It’s like saying “I love you” to someone and hearing “and I’m fond of you as well.” 

What could make us resist each other like oil and water?  The search results contained a major clue:  a letter to the editor of an online denominational magazine, written by one Dr. Reggie Dominy.   Here are some relevant excerpts:

I have no problem deleting statements from the Barman Confession (ah, another confession) that are editorial additions and weren’t originally there. Make it pure! I do have problems with ignoring cogent statements in the New Testament regarding homosexuality (Romans chapter 1 seems rather clear.) The Scriptures have to be our final authority about the actions and directions of God. What makes an action a sin at the time written but not in the present? More people lie and cheat others than participate in homosexual activity, and we all seem born with that narcissistic trait (this makes it a natural act); maybe the Church should support, or at least condone, lying and cheating.

            I hurt for gays and lesbians who have in the past been wrongly excluded from the Church. I also hurt for those devout Christians who believe the Presbyterian Church has abandoned them in this decision. They feel NO peace, NO unity, NO purity in the General Assembly decisions. Our voted inclusivity feels like exclusivity for many devout Presbyterians. They feel the Scriptures have been ignored. Many will leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whole churches will leave. We do not now exclude homosexuals from church membership; but our ushering in their ability to be church officers and ministers will usher out other true believers from the whole church.

          There were times in the past when portions of our Presbyterian Church supported slavery. There were times when we excluded folks from the Lord’s Table because they weren’t of our ilk. There were times when we Presbyterians haughtily looked down on those who were not like us in faith and practice. There were times when women could not be ordained. We overcame and grew through those parochial sins.

There’s so much there that I could write about, and perhaps I will examine more of this letter on this blog at some point.  The important thing to notice is that while attempting to sound compassionate, even loving toward the “homosexuals”  it is clear that Dr. Dominy does not like gay and lesbian people.  Nothing else explains his immediate dislike for me, nothing else explains why he felt the need to change my job description, nothing else explains why he created a situation with the purpose to tarnish my integrity with a congregation who felt I was doing a fine job for them. 

Dr. Dominy believes that my orientation is a choice, and as such, is a sin, much like lying and cheating.  For him, the scripture about such things is clear, although, he’s managed to find some grace in the Bible for himself, being a divorced man.  There are many more scriptures concerning divorce, than there are homosexuality.  Reggie hurts for gays and lesbians who feel excluded from the church, but then goes on to reinforce that exclusion.  Homosexuals are welcome to be members in the church, but if they are given positions of authority, church officers and ministers, then true believers will leave the church.  Did you catch that?  Whether Reggie admits it or not, whether he would claim his words as his own or deny them, it’s stated clearly in that letter, gays and lesbians are not true christians. 

My mind goes back to that phone call.  I recall Dr. Reggie’s claim that if he had known I was going to be so opposed to his removal of my job duties, that the phone conversation was going to go so poorly, he would have come to my house and visited with me and my…friend.  He choked on the word “friend.”  I didn’t correct him and say “husband” because I felt like I had said so much that was in direct confrontation that I didn’t need to add to the tension of that phone call.  I can never file charges of discrimination because I resigned voluntarily.  Even if I had been fired, the situation created by Reggie would have appeared to be a legitimate reason to do so.  Discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry is seldom blatant, but at church it is couched in the language of love and compassion, making it all the more painful. 

A final word to my friends at Paradise Christian Church:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

*all the names have been changed

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Hey Hatas! It’s Time to Walk the Talk

September 27, 2008

It’s time for the rubber to meet the road, and I’m not talking about fucking in the streets.  I have run into too many christians spouting off homophobic comments, writing anti-gay blog entries, that, when confronted, employ less than honorable journalistic skills and hide behind the common refrain “God said it in the Bible, I didn’t.  If you don’t like it, take it up with God.” 

So, homophobes, bigots, hypocrites, family values supporters, christians, and evangelicals/fundamentalists, take note:  it’s time to put up or shut up.  You need to find some ethical standards if you’re going to participate in the blogging world, and you need to be consistent about your beliefs.  In addition, you need to support your beliefs with scripture as well as demonstrate that you know some reliable facts before you form an opinion and put it out there for all the world to see.

Let’s take another look at the American Family Association’s boycott of McDonald’s.  I recently hit the tag surfer button here on my wordpress dashboard and ran across a young man who enjoys blogging about conservative issues.  Jermy Buffo seems to think that McDonald’s was acting improperly when it did two things:  requested a group discount for sending at least 15 employees to a training session known as the “Out and Equal 2008 Workplace Summit”  and donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  Bluffer then made some outrageous replies to comments at his blog, and employed some questionable practices while doing so. 

I confronted Mr. Fluffer with some hard evidence about his claims.  Claim #1 was that McDonald’s had suffered a huge financial blow because of the AFA’s boycott.  I provided a link to Yahoo’s stock reports which showed McDonald’s stock values had steadily increased since start of the boycott. I think most people would agree that this would indicate that the boycott is having no effect whatsoever.  Claim #2 was that McDonald’s was pushing the gay agenda above and beyond anything else.  I did the math for this guy, and showed him how McDonald’s gave a total of $30,462.50 for joining the NGLCC and attending the Equal and Out Conference.  Then I quoted from McDonald’s own website that shows they have donated $460 million in grant money over and above their corporate support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

The really disturbing stuff comes in how Boffo handles the comments.  One of my replies was totally deleted, which caused me to start making screen captures of my posts that were awaiting moderation.  At one point, Jerkmy accuses me of calling his writing “crap.”   I searched my replies and finally discovered that I had quoted another comment by a guy named Andrew.  Andrew had called the writing crap.  Now, remember, Jeremy claims he doesn’t delete any of the comments, however, when I posted the correction that Andrew had made the comment, not me, that particular post never made it to the blog. 

It’s just a bit of creative editing that allowed Mr. Bluffo, the right-wing, conservative, anti-gay blogger to accuse me of lying without ever having to admit to his own error.  So what have we learned from the religious right?  Make accusations, and never admit that you were wrong. 

Now let’s take a look at a woman who represents God, although I’m not sure if this is a self-proclaimed title or an actual endorsement from the Almighty.  I’m not sure who represents the licensing in this case.  Here’s a link to Janelinda, but let me warn you, the woman has no taste.  The font size, colors, and site theme more than clash, it hurts the eyes.  Janelinda caught my eye while tag surfing a few days ago. 

Here’s the exchange that got things rolling:

janelinda said: The truth is that Paul’s writings are clear that homosexuality is a sin rewarded by death. If the state won’t do it, the church will.

keltic said:  wow, it sounds like you’d like to kill all the gay people. as a matter of fact, it sounds like you’re threatening to do just that. will you pick up the first stone?

Now, I don’t put this out there to brag, but I know my way around the Bible.  I know which books are Old Testament and which are New Testament, I know the major themes, and I even hold a minor in religious studies.  I know that the verse to which this woman refers to does not have a death penalty attached to it.  I also know that Jesus silenced a group of hypocrites by saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as a way of teaching that humans can not make that kind of judgment against each other.   Yet, here is a woman who is perfectly willing to make that kind of statement, and proclaim it loudly as her duty to God. 

Again, the deceit and unethical tactics commence.  Janelinda began using my comments as material for her blog entries, yet she would let my comments sit “awaiting moderation” for days on end. 

Another favorite tactic of the screeching fundamentalists:  when confronted, fling a little mud.  Case in point:  in reply to my question about why christians are concerned so much with homosexuality and less about divorce, in light of the fact that Jesus said nothing about the former and plenty about the latter, I got a response about pedophilia. 

Yes, Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality even as he was silent about molesting children.

I gave her the statistics that prove children are in more danger from straight people, but she chooses not to be confused by facts. 

Once again, I had to request that the owner of the blog post all of my comments, not just those they wanted their readers to see.  One comment has been lost completely, after which I began performing screen captures.  This particular blogger decided that my comments could go unpublished, but that she would use them as a starting point for ever more shrill homophobic posts.  A request to allow my posts to be made public was met with a disclaimer at the beginning of another blog entry about how nasty “teh gays” are. 

Now I am engaged in what can best be described as talking at each other, I certainly wouldn’t call it a dialog.  Ms. Jadedliah seems to think I don’t have an understanding of the Bible.  Notice how she ignores my questions about other laws or rules that are clearly stated in scripture.  She so cleverly turns that around to say that she doesn’t need to explain the law to me.  Of course she doesn’t!  I already understand the law, but I also understand that no one can ever fulfill the law.  I know that every time a fundie trots out a scripture with the intent to beat a homosexual into submission, they are ignoring all the words around it that condemn them 20 times more than God’s word condemns gays and lesbians.  Miss Jane claims to be a minister, called to preach God’s unchanging word.  So when asked about a few scriptures that imply women should never take on that role, she pulls a few more out of context to support her case. 

You will not move from what God has said in the Bible? that is excellent news!
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

as well as 1 Timothy 2:12-14 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

So you are condemned by your own words. “I was called to ministry. I didn’t decide this myself. I was called when a child to preach the gospel.”

To whom do you preach? Only other women? You have been instructed by God’s Holy Word to keep silent. why is it that you, by your own admission, disobey God’s commandments?

I admit to playing devil’s advocate in this exchange.  I believe women have a rightful place in ministry.  I’m just baffled by a woman who can ignore clear scriptures about her own position within the church, then turn around and issue condemning decrees about gays and lesbians with those same scriptures.

So here is my request, Mr. Fluffer, Ms. Janelicka, and all you other hate-filled (love the sinner, hate the sin) types of christians/ fundies/ evangelicals/  right-wingnuts/ conservatives/ homophobes.  Do us all a favor and start living your lives in a more consistent fashion.  When you write an offensively homophobic blog entry, have the balls to go exactly where you intend it to go. 

For instance, if you want to use Leviticus as your basis for hating on the gays, you’ve got to be willing to kill us.  The scripture is clear.  It doesn’t say that the government has that responsibility, it doesn’t assign that duty to some church committee, it is entirely up to God’s people to stand up and do the right thing:  Kill those Faggots! 

If you’re going to skip lunch at McDonald’s because they gave a few nickels to a gay & lesbian organization, you’ve got to hold fast to that commitment.  Now, go out and find all the other businesses that support homosexuals and boycott them as well.  Need some help?  Here’s a list:  Burger King, Pepsico, Frito Lay, Wells Fargo, Kodak, Levi’s, Pacific Gas & Electric Co (Californian’s united for Hate, turn off those lights!), Motorola, American Express, Shop n Save, Cub Foods, Blue Cross of California, Comcast, Capitol One, Coors Light, AT&T, Marriott, Ramada, Hilton, Southwest Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, UPS.  Have we hit you where you live yet?  You, homophobes calling for boycotts and screaming that granting civil rights to gay and lesbian people is giving them special rights, need to walk the talk!  Stop giving your hard-earned straight dollars to all these companies that are pushing the gay agenda!  Do it now!  I mean it. 

Stop listening to music created by gay people.  That means you’ll have to give up all your Judas Priest albums (Rob Halford is gay), no more Clay Aiken, Johnny Mathis, or Barry Manilow.  No Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, or K D Lang.  How’d you like Ray Boltz’s music back in the day?  Surprise, he just came out too.  Is the music minister at your church a male?  He may be deeply closeted, but he’s most likely gay.  Don’t sing along until you can have him fired and replaced by your 85 year old aunt Stella.  Into classical?  Change the station when Aaron Copland hits the airwaves, or Samuel Barber, or even Tchaikovsky.  Don’t even think of going to the theater for a Broadway show;  you’ll find more gays than you can shake a stick at, whether you’re into shaking sticks or not! 

Need some more help?  Go buy a gay magazine like Out, or Advocate, or Instinct.  Don’t worry about reading any of the articles, just make a list of the companies who advertise in the magazines.  Then, keep that list handy whenever you need to make a purchasing decision.  You’ll need to avoid Tylenol products, Avis car rentals, premium movie channels, all the major clothing designers, and most travel destinations. 

But why stop there?  Let’s bring the hate a little closer to home.  Who does your hair?  Have you been going to that gay man for your latest hairstyle?  Stop it!  What’s your favorite restaurant?  Make sure that chef with the short hair isn’t a butch lesbian.  Got a car that needs maintenance?  Be sure to ask the mechanic if he’s ever had a cock in his mouth.  And for God’s sake, don’t go to the garage that has a woman working on cars.  Does the coffee shop employ androgynous baristas?  Go get your morning java at the convenience store. 

You think that “millions and millions” of Americans want to recognize marriage as being one man and one woman?  That’s great, a little hyperbolic, but great.  If it’s as you say it is, then there should be no problems finding businesses, large and small, that will assist you in your boycott of all things gay.  Think globally, act locally.  Hate universally.

I have one small favor to ask.  Could you email me and let me know what time you intend to be here to stone me?  I’d hate to be late for my own funeral.

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Spiritually Deaf and Blind: 2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad

June 23, 2008

I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in somewhat of a dialog with a Southern Baptist Minister for the past day or so.  I thought the discussion was pleasant until this morning when the minister voiced his concern that he was being targeted for his anti-gay speech.  Very quickly, he shut down his church’s blog to comments from the general public.  Note to bloggers:  if you put it out there in the public realm, you can be sure someone will see it, comment, and perhaps disagree with you. 

Pastor Rick’s blog announced that he would be preaching against gay marriage this Sunday morning (June 22) and gave the scripture reference.  I suspected that this would be prooftexting so I made a comment that asked Pastor Rick to go beyond Romans 1: 18-32, and include Romans 2, which demonstrates what Paul was trying to teach the christians in Rome at that time.  Many believe that Paul was condemning homosexuality with this scripture, but careful reading reveals that this is just not the case.  It is hard for some christians to accept this, and this appears to be the case with Pastor Rick. 

By Sunday afternoon, we get a sense of the direction this is going to take.  Pastor Rick feels targeted by myself and the one other person out of six that I messaged about this blog. I brought it to their attention with the purpose of reading my response, not to engage in an attack against Pastor Rick.  We very quickly hear the slippery slope arguments of allowing gay marriage will mean that polygamy, child prostitution, and all forms and expressions of sexuality would become legal.  In a later response to my friend, Matt, Pastor Rick distances himself from comparing homosexuality to child rape, yet it’s clear by listing them together, even in an order meant to show levels of depravity, that P. Rick does not think very highly of gay people. 

I downloaded the sermon and listened to what the good pastor had to say.  I took some notes.  There was a carefully planned introduction that made sure the audience knew that this week’s news story about gay marriage came from a sinful place: California. He now refers to it as the “left coast” because it has “left” America’s morality; it’s left sensibility. There you go, let’s get started with the sweeping generalizations.  P. Rick is in favor of a theocracy as evidenced by his statement that “What is not legal in God’s eyes should not be legal in man’s eyes.”  Human dignity regarding LGBT people is disregarded throughout the sermon as the vocal inflections imply sarcasm: “People who say they are gay” and an elongation of the word “ho-mo-sex-u-al” with a drawl.  Keep in mind, Californians, because of you, “we’re going down the toilet.”

Outside of Matt and myself, Pastor Rick knows all he knows about gay people from his 2, count them, 2 college friends who are gay.  Here’s what Pastor Rick knows:  gay people are not happy, they are afraid of disease, and afraid that their partner will leave them because “that’s the nature of this kind of relationship”; they live in fear.  When Matt pointed out that these were “sweeping generalizations” P. Rick pointed to his 2 college friends as evidence that this was not a generalization.  Hint, P. Rick: drawing a conclusion about an entire group of people based on your experience with just 2 of them is generalizing.  Perhaps these college friends are just losers. 

There is much more in the sermon, but I want to take a look at the interaction that took place today, in P. Rick’s blog.  In the comments section of his blog, I pointed out the inconsistency regarding his “sweeping generalizations” as well as the religious and political conservative’s opinion that LGBT people should be denied Civil marriage.  I asked how he can deny gay and lesbian people the opportunity to commit to each other in a monogamous relationship, then turn around and ridicule them for being promiscuous.  It’s clear to me that people, gay and straight, have looked to their religious leaders for guidance and received bad advice.  When your pastor stands in the pulpit and says that gay men have sex with hundreds of other men in their life time, the young gay man sitting in the pew hears this is what is expected of him because of the way God created him.  Gay people hear that their relationships are worthless, not valid to be considered for marriage, and often fulfill that expectation. 

At this point, something seems to snap.  Pastor Rick is suddenly complaining that we’ve taken the time to respond and engage in discussion.  In what appears to be anger, he states “You guys knocked on MY door. YOU initiated this. You are the ones that conspired together to make comments on my church website.”  I apologized and assured Pastor Rick that he had not been “targeted” and that there was no conspiracy.  Here’s the final paragraph of my last comment:

You, Bro. Rick, have a degree in psychology. You are probably aware that not only the American Psychological Association, but other professional organizations believe that a homosexual orientation is naturally occurring and unchangeable. How is it justifiable to deny people CIVIL rights based on your religious beliefs when the science says this is natural for some people?

Perhaps that is what ended the discussion.  However, I noticed something about all of my comments; most of them were ignored. There was no acknowledgement that he did indeed make generalizations based on stereotypes or limited exposure to LGBTpeople.  There was no response to my appeal to his psychology degree and the scientific evidence of which, as a psych major, he would surely be aware of.  There was no hint that he understands a marriage license issued by the state government is not the same as a religious ceremony conducted by a minister in a church.  Instead, we get a mantra of “it’s a sin” because God says it is, and a list of buzzwords typically used by fundamentalists to degrade LGBT people:  lifestyle, alternative choice, and claims that orientation is changeable, yet groups like Exodus can not provide valid and reliable studies to demonstrate this. 

Finally, Pastor Rick explodes with this:

You are using a common intimidation argument by GLBTgroups. Civil rights are reserved for groups of people based on race, gender, disabilities & age, but not sexual orientation. While there have been some gains by GLBTgroups in this arena, you aren’t guaranteed civil rights based on your sexual preferences. So don’t go there.

Matt,

 

To all, since this is my website, I get the last word. Comments are now turned off on this post.

 

 

 

My thanks to Wendy at bridgeout for the idea of using the church sign generator to create this pic. 

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God “Rains” Down His Wrath on the Anti-LGBT Crowd

June 18, 2008

I haven’t seen it. Maybe it’s out there and I haven’t looked hard enough.  I even thought about writing it myself.  I had misgivings about it, so I ran it past a friend of mine who just graduated seminary and got ordained.  She confirmed what I thought, and so I chose not to write it.  It would be taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes, even tragedies, and would discredit your reputation, she said.  

It’s the flooding in the mid-west and the article that I’m imagining is one in which a rabid gay activist charges that this disaster is divine retribution for anti-gay hate crimes.   A connection could be made, in much the same way that Christian leaders have blamed gay folks for natural disasters, as well as acts of terrorism. 

Hate crimes against gays and lesbians have doubled in Michigan.  Flooding has occurred in parts of Michigan.  Could there be a connection?  I so wanted to write a ranting blog entry blaming hostile bigoted fundamentalists for causing God’s wrath to literally rain down on Michigan and the mid-west.  I just couldn’t do it, not even as satire.  I couldn’t make myself write that entry because I know that it’s wrong to take advantage of suffering people and use them for political gain.  I would be stooping to the level of those I oppose. 

The odd thing is that although there are a lot of strong, even militant, gay activists writing online, I haven’t seen any of them take this opportunity to swipe at their opponents. No one has jumped at this chance to blame christians who support anti-gay marriage amendments, or conservative political leaders who resist enacting hate crime laws to protect LGBT people.  No one seems to be willing to say that this devastation is God’s response to the intolerance, bigotry, or prejudice that we have allowed in this country. 

Why do you suppose that is? 

Maybe it’s because we understand that a loving God doesn’t send natural disasters as punishment.  Maybe it’s because thinking people know that invoking God’s judgment to support one’s own political agenda is unethical.  Maybe, having been on the receiving end of such treatment, even the most militant of gay activists have enough compassion to bypass this chance to beat up on the fundamentalists and their political cronies.

To all the folks in the mid-west, I wish you well.  I wish you a speedy recovery from this disaster.  I wish you all the assistance that this country can send to you.  By all means, please forgive me if this little blog entry sounds like a way to use your misery for personal gain. 

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Bible Predicts Gays and Lesbians Will Take Over the Church

June 11, 2008

“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  That is the big fear of many fundamentalist christians, isn’t it?  This scripture verse from Matthew 18:18 teaches them that whatever they permit to happen here on earth, God will permit to happen in heaven.  All I can say is “Praise God!”  I was afraid there’d be no internet, no Starbucks, and no cell phones in heaven. 

 

But Donny wasn’t talking about those things; he was talking about the biggest threat the church faces today: gay people.  Donny came to Soulforce, where I am a moderator, and joined in the discussions on our forums in a polite enough manner.  He made it clear that he thinks homosexuality is a sin.  We heard the same platitudes that we hear from others who wish to rationalize their hatred:  “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “I am a sinner too.”  I always brace myself when I hear certain phrases coming out of christians‘ mouths.  “Now don’t be offended, I’m just speaking the truth in love”  is usually the preface for a big insult or condemnation.  Donny’s “hate the sin, love the sinner” entrance line was the prelude to 37 public posts and a number of private messages to me, that can best be described as crazy-making. 

 

 I sat down with some of those posts and private messages that I had printed up and tried to make some sense of them, find a recurring theme, anything that gave me a clearer idea of what Donny was saying and why.  I found that Donny, and others like him, have a lot of fear going on in their heads.  The fear causes them to engage in inappropriate behaviors to justify their behaviors and rationalize their poor treatment of people who differ from themselves. 

 

One of the big fears appears to be change.  Donny often referred to the neologism being promoted by Soulforce.  I had to look it up.  Neologism often refers to newly coined words or phrases, but can mean new doctrine or new interpretation of sacred writings.  With this neologism that Soulforce is promoting, Donny sensed an attack.  He believes that Soulforce and other gay organizations are attempting to force the church to change the faith that was “delivered only once to the saints.” 

 

Gay christians, their organizations including Soulforce, do believe that recent theological study reveals a neologism:  Homosexuality as we understand it today based on scientific, medical, psychological, biological research, is not condemned by the Bible.  New interpretations of doctrine do not immediately indicate heresy, as many fundamentalists would have us think.  Consider that at some point doctrines concerning abolition of slavery, the sinfulness of racism, equality for women, and approval of divorce were all neologisms.  In our history, christians have supported slavery, racism, subjugation of women, prohibition of divorce by quoting the Bible and proclaiming all of these things to be God’s will.  In short, we like to think God is on our side so we use the Bible to support our prejudices. 

 

An early private message from Donny, in response to my request for him to adhere to our guidelines, revealed that he wanted to use proof-texting to denounce our stand about homosexuality.  Proof-texting involves using a verse or two as stand alone proof that the Bible supports or doesn’t support an issue.  It is always taken out of context, and therefor may or may not be referring to the issue being debated.  Later, when I bring up the issue of proof-texting on the public board, Donny claims that context is everything!  The contradictions began flowing after that.

 

Another tactic that is often used by the religious right is the “slippery slope” argument.  Slippery slope is a logical fallacy.  It is not a valid technique for proving a point.  Slippery slope says if A happens then B, or C, or D will happen, very often skipping over any of those intermediate steps, the debater will simply jump from A to D.  Donny’s favorite slippery slope was stating that if gays are allowed to marry, people will marry their pets.  Proof of this, for Donny, came in a claim that animal brothels exist in Europe.  He even defended his use of the slippery slope argument, apologized for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, then stated that ‘slippery slope’ is still a reality, which reasserted his original insult. 

 

Other logical fallacies committed by Donny in this exchange included ad ignorantiam, spotlight fallacy, begging the question, and burden of proof.  Donny claimed that because the Bible does not speak of loving homosexual relationships, nor does it mention same-sex marriage, that it must then condemn all such things.  That is ad ignorantiam.  A good example is the fact that the Bible also does not mention cats.  Following Donny’s logic, it is important to rid the world of all cats.  Donny offers up Pride parades and the outrageous behavior displayed at such events, generalizing that all gays and lesbians must behave this way (Spotlight fallacy.) 

When Donny appeals to scripture, his reasoning is somewhat circular, thus begging the question.  He even offered several purposes for the existence of the New Testament:  to define the Christian life and to defend against false teachings about it that entered into the Gospel and Apostolic community of believers; to combat false teachings creeping into the Church; in fact ALL of the New Testament was written to explain the way the believers in Christ should behave;  the New Testament was literally written to define what is and what isn’t Christian culture and community.  There is a sense of circular arguing in which we ask why we should base our societal standards on a first century writing and the answer seems to be because the Bible says we should. 

 

In all of this discussion, Donny made accusatory statements and wild exaggerations and failed to offer proof for any of them, thus committing the “burden of proof” fallacy. 

  •  I’ll take this experience as great enlightenment and validation about the Gay Agenda and its relentless attack on the Church and its people.
  • There have already been Churches burned to the ground for their “holding fast to that which is true.”
  • Anything goes is a reality for many people in the sexual abandon realm.
  • A billion-plus[sic] Christians have problems with supporting homosexuality and all that comes with it.
  • Christians are being outlawed and hated for their Biblically[sic] accurate stand in opposition to approving homosexuality. It is the Christians being threatened.

 

 As I write this entry, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of rhetoric that Donny was able to spew forth on our Soulforce forums.  The accusations, the innuendo, the contradictions, the projection, and the hysteria is appalling.  Donny doesn’t believe christians should accept as valid principles that all the major medical, scientific and psychological organizations that proclaim homosexual orientation as normal as heterosexual orientation, and that orientation is unchangeable.  He believes that gay and lesbian people wish to destroy the christian church.  He even believes that the Bible predicts gays and lesbians will overrun the churches.  Donny does not believe that gays and lesbians can be christians. He has implied that all homosexuals are promiscuous.  He claims that he does not care what secularists do, and even states “I do not care about legalized gay marriage as it is not a Christian concept and does not concern the Church at all, except for things to avoid doing”  but later says “Marriage is a man and a woman. And in Christian truth, that is immutable. It is through gay activism of gay rights that you find this gay cause of gay marriage. Marriage shouldn’t be redefined as same-gender. Call it something else but “marriage” is not available.”  His arguments against gay and lesbian people included discussions of anti-discrimination laws, and hate crime bills. All of which seems to boil down to one thing:  fear, which is where we started this entry.

 

Well, I have a fear.  I am afraid that Donny’s most hateful opinions are exactly what religious right leaders are thinking but won’t say publicly. I am afraid that their projection of violence won’t be seen by our society.  Remember that religious leaders blamed 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina on LGBT people.  Donny claimed that LGBT people are burning christian churches to the ground, but the only news stories I found about burned out churches were attributed to racism and bigotry. Many churches have experienced vandalism caused by their support of LGBT people and issues.  I fear that Pastors will continue to speak lies about homosexuals, granting their congregants tacit approval to commit physical violence against gays and lesbians. 

 

Most of all, I fear calling myself a Christian.  That title is now so corrupt that I can not use it to describe my relationship with God.  And I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I belong to the same club as Donny. 

 

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For Kyle

May 15, 2008

Recently, I engaged in some discussion on a blog that is less than gay-friendly.  In the interest of being polite, instead of calling them homophobic, I’ll just say that these good people are worried that some folks they don’t like, just might end up sitting beside them in heaven.  This particular blog and most of its readers are doing their best to make sure none of the “wrong kind” of people slip into not only heaven, but churches here on earth as well.  After I stated that I believed being gay is not a sin, and not addressed in the Bible, one commenter had some questions for me.  Here is Kyle’s essay question for me, and I will attempt to address it, as best I can, following the quote:

Keltic,

What academic research claims that your lifestyle is not sin?  Do you honestly believe that gay male sex is physically compatible?  You really think God would create your system to accept this lifestyle?

Look at your body which was brilliantly created by the creator.  Look at the natural purpose of each system in perfect harmony.  There is no way from physical evidence that you can say that homosexuality is correct.  None!  The male and female anatomy is perfectly fitting, with mutual pleasure, and purpose beyond mere pleasure.

Gay male sex introduces the body to disease and illness because the system which was designed for the removal of such is being damaged and results in fissures opening up the body to microbial[sic].

As for your desires and same sex attraction I am sorry that is how sin manifested itself in your life.  And guess what your [sic] not a victim because many people have suffered from SSA but that never gave them a license to engage in such.  Rather, like ALL sin in our nature some went to the cross of Christ and laid everything down at the feet of the cross.  Surrendering everything and repenting resulting in the healing process regardless of the manner by which sin manifested.  What do I mean by this.  Your SSA you felt at whatever age is no different than any other desire to sin.  Sin is sin and without the cross you are dead in it.  Why should you have the luxury of claiming yourself saved and gay while others had to repent of EVERYTHING?  Do you understand what I’m saying?  Why should the alcoholic, the murderer, the abortionist, the liar, the thief, the adulterer, the fornicator, the porn addict, the boaster, the arrogant, the idolater, the pagan, etc, etc have to repent but you do not? What is so special and holy about homosexuality that you put it on an untouchable pedestal while Christ died for every other sin “except” homosexuality?  you think WE are close minded. No my friend it is you who are close minded to the truth.  Who are you to tell God that just because you “feel” a certain way that it is OK.  I have a lot of “feelings” too but I am not about to engage in them.  There is this girl at work in which I have certain “feelings” which come about but I wont [sic] engage in them.  I have a lot of “feelings” my friend.  My flesh is so corrupt and wicked that if I wasn’t saved and I didn’t have the Holy Ghost restrainer within me I would be quite a wicked individual.  Thank God however I am saved.  I look forward to the day when I am given a new body fashioned like the Lord and Savior and will never “feel” or desire any sin.  What an awesome day that will be.

Kyle

Well, let’s be kind and not mention the run-ons, fragments, and lack of punctuation.  Kyle’s passion more than makes up for his lack of writing skills.  So let’s just concern ourselves with his concepts.

Academic research that claims my homosexuality is not sin: 

McNeill, John, The Church and the Homosexual 4th ed., (Boston: 1993, 1st ed. 1976)

Scroggs, Robin.  The New Testament and Homosexuality.  Philadelphia:  Augsburg Fortress Press, 1983.

These are but two sources, but one that might help you understand is a website, A Letter to Louise.  This open letter was written to a woman who believed her gay brother was doomed to hell by God because of his orientation.  It explains things in much less academic terms. 

“Do you honestly believe that gay male sex is physically compatible? You really think God would create your system to accept this lifestyle?”  Oh, dear, I’ve got several questions of my own for this one.  For instance, physically compatible with what?  Why, Kyle, are you only concerned with gay male sex, and not female lesbian sex?  And as far as what God was thinking when he made gay people, I’ll ask God when I get to heaven. 

I think Kyle is addressing the notion that a penis is supposed to be inserted into a vagina.  This is a weak argument.  Physical intimacy among the heterosexuals is comprised of quite a variety of activities.  For straight people, I’m certain that there isn’t just one sexual position and a sole sexual activity.  Kyle, are you a breast man?  Leave those alone, those are created to give nutrition to babies.  Do you like oral sex?  No! No! NO!  there is no way procreation can be achieved by doing THAT.  I’ve even heard that some straight people are doing what the gays like to do:  take it up the butt.  I’m assuming from your questions, that this too is wrong. 

Now, as for your assertion that “Gay male sex introduces the body to disease and illness.”  Heterosexual sex does the same thing.  AIDS is not a gay plague, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes and the like know no gender or orientation.  Medical studies that say gay men have shorter lifespans and experience more illness, including MRSA, have been proven to be flawed, thus not reflecting the reality of the health of homosexual men.  Again, for some reason, women are ignored.  Let me add here, that women experience fissures or tearing as a result of vaginal intercourse.

And since I’m addressing this part of the comments, microbial is an adjective.  What was the word you meant to use after “microbial.”

 

I do not suffer withSame Sex Attraction, I enjoy it because it is natural for me.  I resent the implication that you think I have not “been to the cross.”  I am a Christian, I have made a public statement of faith.  Living as God made me, a gay man, is honoring to God.  Trying to live as a straight man would be living a lie, and as such, would be sin in God’s eyes.  It’s not a feeling, it is the truth that God has revealed to many, not just me.  The six verses that some Christians use to clobber homosexuals have been proven to be speaking about other issues.  The Levitical code was for a certain time and place, which becomes clear when we see Christians wearing poly-cotton blends (forbidden in Leviticus 19:19)  or eating shrimp (forbidden in Leviticus 11:11) and when they don’t stone their sassy children (commanded in Leviticus 20:9).  Sodom and Gomorrah was condemned by God long before the men of town came to rape (that’s right, rape, not have sex) the strangers that were staying with Lot.  In Romans 1, Paul is setting up the intended readers, he’s allowing them to feel smug and self-righteous because they don’t do as those idolaters he describes.  The letter continues in chapter 2, (chapter and verse were assigned randomly in 1205 by Stephen Langton) to say that we have no excuse when we judge others:

For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:1a-5, English Standard Version)

And Kyle, if you’re thinking impure thoughts about that young woman at work, Jesus has something to say about that: 

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 English Standard Version

I’m troubled by your final sentences, Kyle.  “I look forward to the day when I am given a new body fashioned like the Lord and Savior and will never “feel” or desire any sin. What an awesome day that will be.”  How very sad for you that you want a body that feels nothing, you look forward to feeling nothing, and assume that Jesus felt nothing.  I don’t believe it for one moment.  Jesus felt and continues to feel our pain, the pain that is heaped upon us by well-meaning, but misdirected Christians who judge others.  Jesus feels the pain of the outcasts, the disenfranchised, the people who are standing at the door of the church asking to be ushered in, while people like you, Kyle, continue to slam the door in their faces. 

Loving the person that I love, honoring him in our sacred commitment to each other, and simply being attracted to people of the same gender is not a sin.  In your list of sins, each vice results in harm to someone, either one’s self or another.  My love harms no one. 

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:16-21 English Standard Version

 What is it that you fear, Kyle?  Could it be that you fear allowing homosexuals to be part of the family of God that you and others will lose their place of honor in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Do you agree that calling me a phoney and a hypocrite was hateful?  How do those words, spoken by the owner of the gcmwatchblog align with the verse in red above?  I asked if gcmwatch would feed me if I was poor, or visit me if I was in jail, and the response was “If you requested it.”  THAT is nowhere to be found in the Bible.  What version of Christianity are you following over there?  You and so many others like you, live in fear of a God that will strike you down for committing the slightest sin.  You live in fear that you will forget to do something, or accidentally commit a sin and neglect to fall on your knees to repent.  You throw God’s grace right back in his face, then look around to find someone whose sin is worse than yours, and heap even more burdens upon them.  You are a modern day Pharisee. 

I’ve been delivered from that kind of thinking.  Praise God and Amen.