“Sinful” homosexuality and the Golden Rule

GalactingExplorer gave us a nice summary of how the principle “hating the sin while loving the sinner” can be perceived by homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals who are confronted by Conservative Christians.

“I feel like something needs to be said about hate-speech. I don’t mean Westboro Baptist Church picket signs or the crazed ramblings of TV show hosts trying to blame natural disasters on a small minority of the U.S. population. I’m talking about the polite words, the “loving” phrases that may Christians use that they may not realize are extremely hurtful and cruel to the recipients. I want to talk about all the ugly messages and meanings that are often conveyed through this speech that many probably aren’t even aware of.

Let me be clear that the purpose of writing this is not that I can’t handle hearing anything negative or that I’m trying to avoid getting my feelings hurt. Although I think those are valid reasons to avoid offensive language, this isn’t just about me. I can handle a little rudeness. My real interest is being able to clear the way for a more open dialogue between Christians and members of the LGBT community. This dialogue will not be possible until people on both sides learn how their language is impacting their fellow human beings. I want a conversation that inspires understanding, good-will and trust. Instead, so many conversations breed defensiveness, hurt, and anger. If you are a Christian and you are really interested in being welcoming and accessible to your gay, bi, or trans peers, please listen. This is for you.

Note: in this installment I am focusing on the LGB of LGBT . There will likely be other articles in which I will spend more time addressing more trans-specific issues.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” This phrase has long since worn out its welcome in the LGB community, but it is still commonly used by Christians hoping to voice their objections to homosexuality in a loving, non-threatening way. It seems the most popular go-to phrase for religious people to make their convictions known without lumping themselves into the group of hate-mongers. “I cannot betray what I believe, but that does not mean I am unloving about it.” But to someone like me, “love the sinner, hate the sin” is the opposite of loving. If good will and dialogue is to open between LGB folks and Christians, and especially for those that straddle both groups, this phrase needs to be permanently retired. Here’s why.

1) However kindly and respectfully you treat us, I promise you, there is someone else who has used that exact phrasing as a shield behind which to bludgeon us. It is more common than you might think. As a result, it’s hardly surprising that many of us have a reflexive recoil reaction to those words. However, if the sentiment itself were a good one, then a few extremists misusing it shouldn’t be reason enough to abandon it. Unfortunately the sentiment is not good. It is toxic.

2) The word “hate” is loaded with negative meaning. LGB folks are at high risk of hate-crimes, hate-speech, and hate-group fueled harassment. We are told that “God hates fags” and were possible treated with hatred by our families, friends, or communities. And you want to introduce the word “hate” into a conversation about us that is supposed to be loving? It doesn’t matter that your hate is directed at our “sin”. We can all agree to hate evil acts, but remember, many of us may not believe that our orientation is evil. You are targeting an important and meaningful part of our identities and telling us that you hate it. Imagine being told by a supposed friend or colleague “I hate Christianity.” Does it make you feel startled, uncomfortable, defensive, and uneasy? Yeah, we feel the same way when you do that to us. Hate never feels loving.

3) Why don’t you start hating your own sins instead of mine? I know, I know. Every time I bring this up, most Christians will insist that they do hate their own sins and will hurry to assure me that they are an imperfect sinner too, and they have sins that they struggle with. But that’s generally where the conversation ends. They may pay lip-service to the idea of treating all faults equally, but in honestly, they generally have no desire to talk in depth about these alleged sins. Indeed, I generally don’t want to hear about your pet sins because I recognize that it is personal and it is not my place to force you to face whatever private demons you have in your life. I would appreciate the same respect in return. Saying “I’m a sinner too” does not give you free pass to be everyone else’s personal sin police. Instead of focusing on homosexuality as the #1 sin that needs to be hated vocally, why don’t you spend that time hating your own sins in private? Start with the sins of judging and pride (and if those accusations make you feel defensive because you don’t feel you are guilty of them, now you know how it feels when Christians accuse me of sins that I do not believe are wrong.)

4) These words make a major assumption that the LGB person you are talking to is actually engaging in homoerotic activities. This is not necessarily true, and it is insulting and degrading to reduce a person soley to a stereotype of their assumed sexual habits. I had people telling me how they loved me but hated my sin long before I ever engaged in some form of homosexual activity. So that begs the question: is it just being attracted to someone of the same sex that is the sin? Is it loving them? Kissing? Just existing as a gay person? Or do you honestly assume that when I say “I’m gay” I am having sex every night? Regardless, inferring and judging my actions based on my orientation is pretty much as insulting and ignorant as meeting a Hispanic person and asking them which part of Mexico they’re from.

5) We really don’t need to know whether or not you approve of our identity or relationships. It baffles me why people feel the need to comment on some personal part of my life uninvited, even in a “loving” manner. Trust me, I am aware that there are plenty of people who believe that homosexual acts are a sin. I’ve heard it before. Not a single gay person can really get away from it in this country. So why do you feel the need to tell me “I love you, but I really don’t agree with what you are/do?” I do not immediately feel the need to de-convert Christians when I find out they are religious. I don’t make disparaging comments to my friends about their husbands or wives simply because I do not approve. I would never tell someone “well, I think blacks are inferior, but I still like you.” So why has it become socially acceptable for Christians to single us out for disapproval? It is disrespectful and uncalled for. We don’t need your opinions on our lives, we just want your respect. And respect, by the way, is worth a hell of a lot more than passive-aggressive “loving”.

I know that Christians have a need to be a little defensive around the topic of homosexuality since there are many loud voices in the religious community that have sullied Christian beliefs with hate. Many Christians just want a way to state their beliefs while simultaneously distancing themselves from these extremists. But if there is to be healing and unity, LGB people need Christians to back away from the dogma a bit. How about you set the doctrine aside and just focus on love and respect? I promise, it will be a lot more fruitful than “loving the sinner and hating the sin.” And didn’t Jesus say that you will know what is good by their fruits?”

 

Homophobia, tolerance and progressive Christianity

I largely agree with this and feel ashamed I had lots of prejudices against gay people in the past (even as I was an atheist). This stemmed from the fact I did not know one personally.

Now I have a question to all my fellow Christians.

How would you react if an anti-theist went to you and told you:

“Look, I love you very much as a person but I hate your god virus called Christianity. While I cannot pray, I really hope you will be cured very soon”  ?

I would feel very offended and would want to see strong evidence that my progressive Christianity is a harmful delusion.

If Conservative Christians want to assert that homosexuality can be likened to pedophilia, they have a heavy burden of proof.

As far I can tell, they have lamentably failed in that respect if one considers lifelong committed gay relationships.

Now I would be thankful if everyone participating in this discussion will treat his or her opponents with respect.

I hope there will be a vivid conversation but I don’t want my blog to turn into a battlefield.

38 thoughts on ““Sinful” homosexuality and the Golden Rule

  1. Thank you for speaking up about this. I hope that people will read this with an open mind and choose to encourage actual loving in their relationships with gay people rather than hate with a sugar coating. Honestly, I believe that so many hurtful things happen because of ignorance… many Christians just don’t realize what their words are really saying to us. I can do my best to educate, but it will be impossible to change minds if my audience isn’t also willing to empathize. This is, sadly, something I see all to little of for LGBT people. More often than not, a respectful conversation to “please stop saying/doing these things; they are hurtful and disrespectful” results in the response “get over it. You’re so easily offended. You’re just trying to oppress/destroy Christianity. These things don’t hurt you; they’re good for you.” And these sorts of sentiments are classic lines of abusers of all sorts and it scares me.

    The strange thing is, many of the Christians that I knew that were the most cruel to me could be so kind and empathetic to others. If someone in the congregation or family came to them and said “I’m hurting. I’m being treated wrongfully. I need help,” I saw so much love and support. When I came forward with the same pleas, I got “if you’re hurting it’s your fault” or “you are shaming us” or “stop complaining; this is what you deserve.” I can only assume that these Christians, even if they did not realize it, did not view gay people as quite as human as straight people.These experiences leave me with little hope for swaying minds.

    However, I have also seen some hearts soften and some people honestly listen to my words and say “okay… if that hurts you, then I won’t do it anymore” and those moments give me hope. They may be the minority, but they are worth the effort I put into writing and also verbally sharing these things. I want the dehumanization to stop. I really do. It has cost too many lives and that is something that I hope we can all find tragic.

    • Galactic,

      Thanks for this wonderful article; you covered so much ground and provided a number of fresh insights. I wish all Christians could read this.

      There were many highlights, but one of my favorites was:

      Instead of focusing on homosexuality as the #1 sin that needs to be hated vocally, why don’t you spend that time hating your own sins in private? Start with the sins of judging and pride (and if those accusations make you feel defensive because you don’t feel you are guilty of them, now you know how it feels when Christians accuse me of sins that I do not believe are wrong.)

      • I agree. When you don’t believe being gay is a sin, it’s frustrating to hear someone rail against being gay being sinful. Who gets to decide what is sin? As O’Reilly said, the anti-gay marriage activists have to do more than thump the Bible. I’d say that goes for simply being gay as well. Christians interchange the word “orientation” with “choice”, and that’s where the problem begins. They just can’t accept it that God has created a diversity in humanity.

  2. Now I have a question to all my fellow Christians.

    How would you react if an anti-theist went to you and told you:

    “Look, I love you very much as a person but I hate your god virus called Christianity. While I cannot pray, I really hope you will be cured very soon” ?

    I would feel very offended and would want to see strong evidence that my progressive Christianity is a harmful delusion.

    The problem there is that your problem is heavily, heavily ginned up according to your choice of words.

    What if someone said that they think you were wrong about Christianity? What if they said they considered it immoral or counterproductive to believe in God? I cannot believe you’d be ‘very offended’, because I’ve seen how you react to such claims – you’re pretty calm about it all.

    The problem with Boghossian is he ramps up ‘mind virus’ talk based on utter misrepresentations of Christianity and faith, he talks about how he wants religious belief literally treated as a mental disease, the sort of thing you can force someone to seek help to ‘cure’. Now, if someone is taking that line with homosexuality, you have a point – but that is expressly not who you’re dealing with in the OP. You’re dealing with people who simply regard sodomy as sinful, and hope people give up their sins.

    Let’s use another comparison: do you think a capitalist should be OUTRAGED when faced by a Christian who declares greed to be sinful and urges them to share more of their wealth? Or do you think frantic raving about how they’re being persecuted *merely because a Christian regards that specific behavior as sinful* would be rather nuts?

    If Conservative Christians want to assert that homosexuality can be likened to pedophilia, they have a heavy burden of proof.

    They sure do. Then again if they want to assert same-sex sexual behavior is immoral or sinful, they’ve got a burden of proof they can meet easily both in terms of Christianity and natural law. Now, maybe they’ll fail to convince everyone around them of this – but so what? If lack of universal agreement was a sign someone was wrong, then LGBT ‘rights’ activists would have to concede they’re likely wrong immediately.

    As far I can tell, they have lamentably failed in that respect if one considers lifelong committed gay relationships.

    Two problems.

    First? It is absolutely misleading to represent ‘gay relationships’ as ‘lifelong commited gay (and let’s include) monogamous relationships’, and it’s likewise misleading to pretend that those are the relationships LGBT groups will rally defense for. Go take a look at what happened during the height of the AIDS crisis when attempts were made to shut down bath houses in San Fran for public health reasons. That’s one example of what LGBT culture – and there is such a thing – deals with.

    Second, such relationships are inaccurate, and in large part irrelevant. I have zero problem with a ‘lifelong relationship’ between two men where they love one another, care for each other, etc. I do not care about one elderly man feeding another elderly man soup as he succumbs to old age – there is literally nothing sinful going on there.

    It’s the sodomy. And, as I keep pointing out, this applies to heterosexuals as well. Rather like a man who loves his mistress, takes care of her, sponsors her education, tours the world with her helping needy orphans learn how to read is doing a whole lot of good things, but that hasn’t gone a single step towards justifying ‘man having sex with his mistress’ as non-sinful.

    And this quote from the OP gets to the heart of the matter:

    We don’t need your opinions on our lives, we just want your respect.

    Notice the contradiction. No need for our opinions, except for the respect. Unconditionally. And if you so much as mention in an interview that you disapprove of such things, if you fail to celebrate someone’s gay “marriage”, then for many people you are suspect and should be fired, persecuted, and made to genuflect towards the latest inane social justice idol they’ve erected. Quote the bible? Well, that’s hate speech and should be disallowed.

    All this said, I think social conservatives have made all manner of mistakes on this topic. But what is being asked for here is for Christians to be quiet about any voicing of disapproval of ‘lifestyle choices’ that are morally wrong, and to by default grant respect to people who approve of such things or even engage in them. If anyone wants to back away from dogma, let the LGBT activists finally concede that no, not all sexual preferences or behaviors – even if they’re between mutually consenting adults – are automatically right and good and pure. There are grounds to object to them. There are grounds for a gay person to choose to resist those desires.

    Many would sooner choke than concede that.

    • The problem there is that your problem is heavily, heavily ginned up according to your choice of words.

      ….

      The problem with Boghossian is he ramps up ‘mind virus’ talk based on utter misrepresentations of Christianity and faith, he talks about how he wants religious belief literally treated as a mental disease, the sort of thing you can force someone to seek help to ‘cure’. Now, if someone is taking that line with homosexuality, you have a point – but that is expressly not who you’re dealing with in the OP. You’re dealing with people who simply regard sodomy as sinful, and hope people give up their sins.

      The behaviour of conservative christians doesn´t become different from what Boghossian is proposing just because you can use christianese words like “sinful” to describe it.

      If anyone wants to back away from dogma, let the LGBT activists finally concede that no, not all sexual preferences or behaviors – even if they’re between mutually consenting adults – are automatically right and good and pure. There are grounds to object to them. There are grounds for a gay person to choose to resist those desires.

      Many would sooner choke than concede that.

      Sure, two married catholics having sex doesn´t automatically make this sex “right and good and pure”. What´s so hard to concede about that?

      • Andy,

        The behaviour of conservative christians doesn´t become different from what Boghossian is proposing just because you can use christianese words like “sinful” to describe it.

        Sure it does. For one thing, Christians aren’t pretending that the sinfulness of same-sex sexual behavior is some kind of empirical ‘mind virus’ detached from moral judgment. They don’t define ‘same-sex sexual behavior’ as ‘holding hands in public’ (akin to how Boghossian redefines ‘faith’ to mean something utterly unlike what it is, and what Christians have held it to be.)

        Sure, two married catholics having sex doesn´t automatically make this sex “right and good and pure”. What´s so hard to concede about that?

        Not a thing. Why would it be automatically made ‘right and good and pure’?

        I’m sorry, did you expect me to behave like the crazier LGBT commandos? If so – swing and a miss.

        In theory, “natural law” should mean “an ethical belief or system of beliefs supposed to be inherent in human nature and discoverable by reason rather than revelation”, so you claim that you can easily meet this burden of proof with reasonable arguments that do not depend on revelation. Where are these reasonable arguments which demonstrate that same-sex sexual behaviour is immoral and which do not depend on revelation?

        ‘Aquinas’ by Edward Feser is a good place to start for a recent amateur-friendly introduction to said arguments and reasoning. You’ll be hard-pressed to find appeals to revelation as the point of justification there.

        Galacticexplorre,

        Yes. I do request unconditional respect. That is what I expect from any human being to another.

        I highly doubt it. Do you respect the Westboro Baptist Church members? If you can point out reasons why you don’t respect them, then congratulations – you’ve found out that your unconditional respect is quite conditional after all.

        But you have stated clearly here that you have no intent of offering respect since you state that it would be bad to ” by default grant respect to people who approve of such things or even engage in them”.

        Why should you respect my sodomy if I choose to engage in it, even while you have what certainly seems like ample reason to regard it as sinful? And why should I respect yours in turn?

        When I encounter an unapologetic thief, should I treat him with respect and NOT as… well, an unapologetic thief?

        Notice that I’m not singling out homosexuals whatsoever. In fact, I think they get a bad rap, and have been abused in the past – often by secular sources, though nowadays history is being rewritten to treat any and all mistreatment of homosexuals as someone originating in Christian teaching. Despite, you know, widespread and nigh universal disapproval of same-sex sexual behavior (among other kinds) from one culture to another.

        It is sad that followers of Jesus are so opposed to respecting humans beings.

        No, it’s not – and please, spare me this namby pamby talk. Do you quiver and sob when LGBT activists scream, red-faced, “YOU BIGOT!!!” at people like Phil Robertson? Do you object strongly when people show a lack of respect to Westboro Baptist sorts – as I argue is entirely fair to do?

        When someone is fired from their job when it’s discovered that they disapprove of homosexuality, do you talk about how important it is to respect them? When a gay activist asks a Christian baker to make a wedding cake for their gay “marriage”, knowing they’re making them act against their moral principles, intending to sue and badger them if they fail to comply, is that “respect”?

        If so, galaxy – I won’t no part of your respect. It’s a sham.

        I have nothing more to say to you except that I am very grateful that your method of treating LGBT people is on the decline.

        My method of treating LGBT people is to, like Pope Francis, respect them – and to differentiate between LGBT activists, and the people with same-sex attraction who they have abused and exploited. I likewise oppose social conservatives who mistreat people, including gays.

        Right now, there is an emotionally-driven rush to treat LGBT people like faberge eggs who will quite literally die of a broken heart if the world does not approve of their every consensual sexual act. This won’t last. It may take ten years. It may take a thousand. But eventually people are going to get tired of having to walk on eggshells and never, ever, ever say anything that may give offense to LGBT activists and the politically wound up – and they are going to start talking bluntly.

        And if you’re an atheist materialist? Then you have yourself a worldview where you know that, eventually, the subjective moral calculus of the world will shift anew, and what you call ‘respect’ will be called ‘abuse’ in the future – since it’s not as if the world is on some insurmountable teleological march towards ‘the Good’. The Good doesn’t exist, there.

      • Sure it does. For one thing, Christians aren’t pretending that the sinfulness of same-sex sexual behavior is some kind of empirical ‘mind virus’ detached from moral judgment. They don’t define ‘same-sex sexual behavior’ as ‘holding hands in public’ (akin to how Boghossian redefines ‘faith’ to mean something utterly unlike what it is, and what Christians have held it to be.)

        No difference in practice.

        Not a thing. Why would it be automatically made ‘right and good and pure’?

        Erm… I guess you misread what I wrote, here it is again with emphasis:
        “Sure, two married catholics having sex DOESN´T automatically make this sex “right and good and pure”. What´s so hard to concede about that?”

        ‘Aquinas’ by Edward Feser is a good place to start for a recent amateur-friendly introduction to said arguments and reasoning. You’ll be hard-pressed to find appeals to revelation as the point of justification there.

        If those alleged arguments exist, it is certainly strange that conservative Christians never use them in public debate. Could you provide a sketch of one of those arguments and explain why they are never used in public debates?

      • Andy,

        No difference in practice.

        Plenty of difference in practice. Faith is not ‘pretending to know what you do not know’ or ‘believing something without evidence’. Boom, Bog’s down and bloodied.

        Erm… I guess you misread what I wrote, here it is again with emphasis:
        “Sure, two married catholics having sex DOESN´T automatically make this sex “right and good and pure”. What´s so hard to concede about that?”

        I didn’t misread. I concede it. Two married catholics having sex does not automatically make their sex ‘right and good and pure’. Arguments, rationales, etc must be marshaled.

        Once again: did you expect me to react to this in a mirror image of how the crazier LGBT commandos do?

        If those alleged arguments exist, it is certainly strange that conservative Christians never use them in public debate. Could you provide a sketch of one of those arguments and explain why they are never used in public debates?

        Who says they’re ‘never used in public debates’? Plenty of people argue natural law in public debate – it’s relatively common around Catholics who discuss such things, really.

        Now, you personally may not encounter them as much. I have no idea who you’re listening to, how biased your selection sample is, or otherwise. The fact that people tend not to enjoy metaphysics/philosophy heavy arguments may play a role too – those tend not to be soundbite friendly.

      • Plenty of difference in practice. Faith is not ‘pretending to know what you do not know’ or ‘believing something without evidence’. Boom, Bog’s down and bloodied.

        What faith does or doesn´t mean to people is theory, what is practice is whether what Boghossian proposes would be as abusive as the treatment that homosexuals at the moment have to endure or not.

        I didn’t misread. I concede it. Two married catholics having sex does not automatically make their sex ‘right and good and pure’. Arguments, rationales, etc must be marshaled.

        So what´s so hard to concede about that? Who says that all consensual sex is “right and good and pure”?

        Who says they’re ‘never used in public debates’? Plenty of people argue natural law in public debate – it’s relatively common around Catholics who discuss such things, really.

        Yet you are unable or unwilling to sketch one of those alleged arguments so I´ll call a bluff on that.

    • Oh also,

      Then again if they want to assert same-sex sexual behavior is immoral or sinful, they’ve got a burden of proof they can meet easily both in terms of Christianity and natural law.

      In theory, “natural law” should mean “an ethical belief or system of beliefs supposed to be inherent in human nature and discoverable by reason rather than revelation”, so you claim that you can easily meet this burden of proof with reasonable arguments that do not depend on revelation. Where are these reasonable arguments which demonstrate that same-sex sexual behaviour is immoral and which do not depend on revelation?

    • Yes. I do request unconditional respect. That is what I expect from any human being to another. But you have stated clearly here that you have no intent of offering respect since you state that it would be bad to ” by default grant respect to people who approve of such things or even engage in them”. It is sad that followers of Jesus are so opposed to respecting humans beings. I have nothing more to say to you except that I am very grateful that your method of treating LGBT people is on the decline. The world will be a better place when more people will start respecting others.

    • I don’t consider “hate speech” telling to a homosexual you disprove of his behavior if you use moderate words.

      But I believe that (in an open society) it goes hand in hand with a huge burden of proof.

      If I say to a capitalist that his behavior is sinful without any evidence I am being irrational even if it would not be hate speech.

      Incidentally I do believe we have good grounds for thinking that wild capitalism is harmful🙂

      Lovely greetings.

  3. Well, I cannot reply to Crude directly, so I will say it here:

    Yes, I do respect members of WBC, unapologetic thieves, etc. Because they are human beings. Does that mean I approve of what they are doing? Of course not. But they still deserve respect as a human being, which is something Crude explicitly stated LGBT people should not be given. Perhaps that was not intentional, but that is what was said.

    Now, perhaps Christians would say “well, that’s what I meant. I can respect a person, but not their actions.” Fine. But then again, I direct you to my entire post above to explain how this particular way that you choose to “disrespect” my actions is also very disrespectful and hurtful to me as a person. If you said something offhandedly to a friend and they said “Wow… that was really hurtful,” would you immediately tell them “oh stop being so sensitive” or would you actually stop for a second and consider whether your words were poorly chosen and let them explain why it hurt them? I would hope the latter, so I ask you to offer me the same respect. Remember, my “sin” is harming no one except myself. Please don’t try to “save me from myself”. For one, I’ve already heard all of the arguments for/against homosexuality, and so has probably every other homosexual in the world since religious people generally can’t stop talking about it. Secondly, most religious attempts to “save” us tends to cause more harm than good. For every success story of a homosexual turning away from his/her ways, there are generally many stories of failure, heartbreak, and suicide. Somewhere around 30-40% of gay youth try to kill themselves. That doesn’t look like “good fruit” to me.

    And finally, no, I am not an atheistic materialist. I have no idea where that came from. ….???

    • And, in addition, it’s very telling that you are upset that someone would be in legal trouble for blatant discrimination. You claim that you oppose social conservatives that have abused gay people, but yet you support legal discrimination against gay people? You realize that religion is a federally protected class in all states in the U.S., while sexuality is only protected in 21 and gender identity in 16. That means that a person cannot be legally denied a wedding cake because they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or any other religion, but in most states, I can be refused this service legally. And you’re angry that this discrimination happened in a state where sexuality was protected and thus the law was being broken? Just consider yourself lucky that you can’t be evicted from your home, fired from your job, or thrown out of a place of business for being a Christian. Because all of those things are perfectly legal to do to me as a lesbian. So, if you feel discrimination should be a protected practice, please try to repeal YOUR rights before you attack my much more limited ones.

    • Yes, I do respect members of WBC, unapologetic thieves, etc. Because they are human beings. Does that mean I approve of what they are doing? Of course not. But they still deserve respect as a human being, which is something Crude explicitly stated LGBT people should not be given. Perhaps that was not intentional, but that is what was said.

      I said I would not give unconditional respect. I also said, flatly, that like Pope Francis I believe in giving people with same-sex attraction, etc, respect. The problem is you’ve defined ‘respect’ as ‘keeping my mouth shut about immoral acts and behaviors’ and ‘praising relationships, including gay “marriage”‘. Sorry – no dice. Like I said, if that’s what your ‘respect’ amounts to, then it’s a sham and I want no part in it.

      But then again, I direct you to my entire post above to explain how this particular way that you choose to “disrespect” my actions is also very disrespectful and hurtful to me as a person.

      And there it is. You’ll brook no criticism of certain behaviors, because you say it’s disrespectful and hurtful. Your version of ‘respect’ is ‘complete surrender.’ I happen to find being called a bigot disrespectful and hurtful, among other things. I find it disrespectful and hurtful when men and women are threatened with being fired from their jobs for refusing to applaud same-sex sexual behavior and relationships. The world keeps on turning.

      If you said something offhandedly to a friend and they said “Wow… that was really hurtful,” would you immediately tell them “oh stop being so sensitive” or would you actually stop for a second and consider whether your words were poorly chosen and let them explain why it hurt them?

      The problem is, you’re not ending it there. Stopping for a second and considering whether the words were chosen poorly, letting them explain, comes with an unspoken additional twist: ‘And then you have to agree and stop.’ What if I stop, consider, listen to their side… and find their concerns misplaced, or ultimately unconvincing? Or are we getting simply as far as ‘Well, no, I said I’m offended. That means you have to stop saying what I dislike.’?

      Remember, my “sin” is harming no one except myself. Please don’t try to “save me from myself”. For one, I’ve already heard all of the arguments for/against homosexuality, and so has probably every other homosexual in the world since religious people generally can’t stop talking about it.

      A) No, that’s not true. Those sins do harm others, particularly when it becomes a public matter – which is exactly what it is at this point.

      B) Many -religious- people can’t articulate natural law arguments. Why in the world should anyone assume LGBT people – who come complete with a social and cultural network meant to shield them from ever dwelling on such possibilities – have heard it all before?

      Secondly, most religious attempts to “save” us tends to cause more harm than good. For every success story of a homosexual turning away from his/her ways, there are generally many stories of failure, heartbreak, and suicide. Somewhere around 30-40% of gay youth try to kill themselves.

      How do you know 30-40% ‘try to kill themselves’ because of trying to simply NOT engage in such sexual acts? This isn’t about ‘turning gays straight’. It’s about ‘not having anal sex’. Take a good look at the number of alcoholics who fall off the wagon, or the number of people who engage in such substance abuse who commit suicide. Does that mean we should stop discouraging those actions? After all, they’re only harming themselves.

      • A) No, that’s not true. Those sins do harm others

        Be specific. What harm is being done?

        How do you know 30-40% ‘try to kill themselves’ because of trying to simply NOT engage in such sexual acts?

        Just to mention two studies that have been done, quote:
        “They found that kids who, by Ryan’s measure, experienced high levels of rejection were nearly 8.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide. They were nearly six times more likely to report high levels of depression and almost 3.5 times more likely to use illegal drugs or engage in unprotected sex. That was compared with adolescents whose families may have felt uncomfortable with a gay kid, but were neutral or only mildly rejecting.”
        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98782569

        Quote:
        “Methods. We used data from wave 1 (2001–2002) and wave 2 (2004–2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N = 34 653), a longitudinal, nationally representative study of noninstitutionalized US adults.

        Results. Psychiatric disorders defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, increased significantly between waves 1 and 2 among LGB respondents living in states that banned gay marriage for the following outcomes: any mood disorder (36.6% increase), generalized anxiety disorder (248.2% increase), any alcohol use disorder (41.9% increase), and psychiatric comorbidity (36.3% increase). These psychiatric disorders did not increase significantly among LGB respondents living in states without constitutional amendments. Additionally, we found no evidence for increases of the same magnitude among heterosexuals living in states with constitutional amendments.”
        http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2009.168815

        This isn’t about ‘turning gays straight’. It’s about ‘not having anal sex’.

        So oral sex is ok then?

      • Clearly, you didn’t consider my article very thoroughly because I already stated above that reducing someone to a stereotyped sexual act is dehumanizing. I don’t have anal sex. I’m a lesbian. Not all LGBT people have anal sex. Many people who say “I’m gay” are told “I hate your sin” before they ever have sex, as I said above.

        We know that the majority of kids that try to kill themselves do so because of homophobia and internalized shame/self-loathing that they get from their communities. We know this because that is what the survivors tell us. Also, places where homosexuality is not so stigmatized have lower suicide rates.

        You believe that homosexuals have never heard that homosexuality is unnatural? I… okay, I am surprised at this, but let me assure you, that is not true. I have never met a single homosexual person who has not heard that line many, many, many times. I don’t know what country you are from, but in my country (USA) over 70% of the people are Christian. Sooo… no, there is really no way that we could shelter ourselves from hearing about how homosexuality is bad unless we formed gay monasteries. Indeed, many of us were raised with anti-gay ideas long before we knew we were gay, which gave us lots of time to internalize that we are inherently disordered, broken, and have no chance to live a happy or fulfilled life. Now we go back to the 30-40% attempted suicide rate.

        By the way, I never said respect means praising same sex behaviors. If you started “praising” my behaviors, I think I’d be a little weirded out. But yes, sometimes respect involves refraining from un-called-for criticism. I would never say to someone “ugh, your husband/wife is so ugly” or “geez, why did you marry that person… he/she’s awful!” or “I know you didn’t ask, but the thought of you and your husband/wife in bed is really gross to me.” If I said any of those things, that person would be right to think that I am being incredibly disrespectful. They can and should call me out on it and tell me “that is uncalled for. You can have your opinions but you should keep them to yourself because they are extremely hurtful and I didn’t ask for your opinion!” This is because, in any social situation, it is generally accepted that a certain amount of self-censorship is good and appropriate and failing to do so is rude and hurtful and disrespectful. This is nothing new. I am arguing that giving unwarranted and un-asked-for criticisms of a gay person’s bedroom life (which you know nothing about, I might add) is also inappropriate. You keep trying to act like this sort of censorship is unprecedented and horrible, but it’s not. We live with it every day. If you wouldn’t say any of the above things that I stated and would consider such things to be abhorrent and cruel, then you already engage in this sort of censorship. Now, you can disagree with me on where to draw the line, of course. Every society draws the lines in different places and they are constantly evolving. I am presenting here, however, and argument that your sorts of criticisms are both harmful and ineffective at changing hearts/minds. You can disagree with me if you like. But remember that you have never been on the receiving end of these things (presumably) so do take my words seriously, at least.

      • Andy,

        Be specific. What harm is being done?

        Let’s see. Start with these:

        A) Normalization of immoral sex acts which promotes and encourages said sex acts among others.

        B) Normalization of immoral relationships – hetero and homosexual both – which further weakens traditional and ideal relationships in a social and political sense.

        This isn’t anything close to an exhaustive list, but it’s two immediate and relevant ones.

        We’re not talking about keeping people from busting into the private lives of citizens and discovering what they’re doing, which would be its own brand of absurdity. We’re talking about very public normalization of various sex acts and relationships. Social and cultural influence matters, and that alone is reason enough to speak about and criticize problems, even if they happen in the bedroom.

        And frankly, the very definition of ‘harm’ is going to come into play here. The common, unreflective view is that ‘harm’ means ‘losing a limb, losing an eye, self-reports of pain’, etc. I don’t think that view suffices.

        Just to mention two studies that have been done, quote:

        Completely irrelevant: I asked for evidence that they are trying to kill themselves simply due to trying not to engage in such and such sex acts, not vague and loose correlations between an increased amount of disorders and states which have barred gay marriage without any causal indications to speak of.

        So oral sex is ok then?

        Are you slow or something? Don’t waste my time with questions you know the answer to.

        Galactic,

        Clearly, you didn’t consider my article very thoroughly because I already stated above that reducing someone to a stereotyped sexual act is dehumanizing. I don’t have anal sex. I’m a lesbian. Not all LGBT people have anal sex. Many people who say “I’m gay” are told “I hate your sin” before they ever have sex, as I said above.

        Clearly you didn’t read my responses, since at no point did I ‘reduce someone to a stereotyped sex act’. The point is that the sex acts are the very things which are problematic. Not ‘holding hands with someone special to you while you walk through the park’. Not ‘loving someone’.

        It’s the sex and the sex acts, and ‘anal sex’ just happens to be a good and standard example – which, I’ve stressed, is not limited to homosexuals.

        We know that the majority of kids that try to kill themselves do so because of homophobia and internalized shame/self-loathing that they get from their communities. We know this because that is what the survivors tell us.

        And you know what? I’m not in favor of gay bashing, harassment of gays, bullying or otherwise. If people are engaged in that, then I deplore it and fight it. But – and this is important – if arguing that various sex acts are immoral and should not be engaged in itself suffices to drive some people to suicide (something which I highly doubt, and which you’ve provided no evidence for), that’s not an argument to never, ever discuss sexual morality. That is evidence that some people are mentally unwell, period. If it turned out that regarding Justin Bieber’s music as ‘not good’ sufficed to drive a lot of ‘Beliebers’ to suicide, that wouldn’t be an argument for the immorality of expressing candid dislike of Bieber’s music. It would be an argument that many fans of Justin Bieber are, as a matter of fact, mentally ill and in need of help.

        You believe that homosexuals have never heard that homosexuality is unnatural? I… okay, I am surprised at this, but let me assure you, that is not true.

        No, I believe that most people, period, haven’t heard of natural law nor do they understand it, and that plenty think that such a view is immediately shot down by the existence of seagulls engaged in lesbian sexual relations. And let me assure you, my own experience is that most people – homosexual or not – don’t even understand Christian teaching, and are under the belief that ‘being homosexual’ is a sin in and of itself, such that even a celibate gay is just by the nature of their being same-sex attracted a horrible person. So please, don’t tell me that every single gay person has heard every single argument against such and such sex acts and they don’t believe it so we should stop talking about it. That’s just another way of saying ‘I don’t like what you say, don’t say it.’ Thank you, but no, I’m not going to accept that line.

        If you wouldn’t say any of the above things that I stated and would consider such things to be abhorrent and cruel, then you already engage in this sort of censorship.

        You’re comparing public discussion about morality with unprovoked mockery for the sake of cruelty. It doesn’t work.

        No, I am not advocating barging into some gay person’s life and publicly lecturing them about the ills of anal sex. But having a public conversation about the morality of various sex acts and relationships, dealing with abstract individuals, or dealing with individuals who make their lives very public? Sure, I see no problem discussing such things. Likewise, I have no problem with someone declining to attend a same-sex wedding on the grounds they morally disapprove, and if the couple is heartbroken and in tears because they can’t cope with any amount of public rejection of their sexual choices, then that indicates a need for them to accept some criticism. The likes of which, by the way, Christians receive in disturbing abundance culturally on a day to day basis.

        Now, let’s turn this around. Do you think it’s acceptable to fire a person on the grounds that it becomes known that they think same-sex sexual acts are immoral, or that they oppose gay marriage?

        I am presenting here, however, and argument that your sorts of criticisms are both harmful and ineffective at changing hearts/minds.

        I’ve seen little evidence that you even understand what ‘my sort of criticisms’ are, or for that matter that such things are ineffective. There are celibate gays, both now and historically. There are people with same-sex attraction who clearly think that such acts are wrong and immoral. Clearly some hearts and minds were changed in those cases.

        You can disagree with me if you like. But remember that you have never been on the receiving end of these things (presumably) so do take my words seriously, at least.

        And what if I have been? What makes you think my sexual likes and tastes are A) wholly moral in either a Christian or natural law sense, or B) I’ve never seen said likes and preferences mocked? Hell, what makes you think I’m heterosexual, as opposed to homosexual or bisexual or whatever other categories are being invented nowadays? The assumption that if I had anything but the most idyllic desires that I’d be switching sides on this issue automatically and playing cheerleader for the LGBT activists?

        Maybe I recognize that whatever desires I have are not automatically baptized as ‘good’ or at least ‘not immoral’ based simply on the fact that it’s a subjective like or I’d derive some manner of pleasure from engaging in it. Maybe I think there are other standards that should be adhered to and in play. Maybe I *agree* with others that such desires are immoral and are to be controlled and resisted for the sake of my health – spiritual and not – among other things, including cultural concerns.

      • Let’s see. Start with these:

        A) Normalization of immoral sex acts which promotes and encourages said sex acts among others.

        Seriously? I´m not that old, but I did experience a cultural shift towards greater tolerance of LGBT people compared to when I was a teenager, and this cultural shift did not “encourage” me to do anything I didn´t want to do before. I presume your experiences differ or you are aware of evidence that what you describe here is actually a real phenomenon, or why do you bring this up?

        B) Normalization of immoral relationships – hetero and homosexual both – which further weakens traditional and ideal relationships in a social and political sense.

        I´ll grant you for the sake of the argument that same-sex relationships are indeed immoral and that traditionally married couples are “ideal”. So we have an empirical claim, you say that these ideal relationships are “weakened”, which, if true, should lead to effects like higher divorce rates (for example). Do you have any evidence for that? Or do you at least have an argument for why these consequences should even be considered to be plausible? This seems to be completely ridiculous on the face of it – I have never seen anyone with an attitute along the line of “now that gays can get married, I should divorce my wife!”, I presume you have.

        This isn’t anything close to an exhaustive list, but it’s two immediate and relevant ones.

        “Immediate” even… Interesting. If those are “immediate”, then you should certainly have empirical evidence to support your claims instead of merely asserting them. Where is the evidence?

        We’re talking about very public normalization of various sex acts and relationships.

        Then present the evidence that more people than before are now engaging in these “various sex acts and relationships” instead of the alternative explanation that the proportion of people who engage in those “various sex acts and relationships” is exactly the same as before, they just no longer have to feel guilty about it (which would make this “normalization” a positive consequence even IF one would grant you that those acts / relationships are indeed immoral).
        .

        Completely irrelevant: I asked for evidence that they are trying to kill themselves simply due to trying not to engage in such and such sex acts, not vague and loose correlations between an increased amount of disorders and states which have barred gay marriage without any causal indications to speak of.

        .-D. Lets see… So you propose that the reason, or at least the main reason, for why homosexuals kill themselves is that they are “trying not to engage in such and such sex acts”. And further, you genuinely believe that evidence that demonstrates:
        a) rejection by parents is a *very* strong predictor of depression, substance abuse, suicide attempts etc. among homosexual teenagers and
        b) rejection by society, in the form of constitutional amendments against gay marriage, is also significantly correlated with these phenomena, does NOT disprove your idea. Which means you have to invent some kind of ad hoc hypothesis along the line of “gay teenagers that a) live in states with more negative attitudes towards homosexuality and / or have b) parents who reject them because of their homosexuality, are naturally more likely to “try not to engage in such and such sex acts”, which causes their higher suicide, substance abuse etc. rates, and which has nothing to do with a+b”.
        Are you sure you have thought this through?

        Are you slow or something? Don’t waste my time with questions you know the answer to.

        I´m pretty sure you think that oral sex is wrong as well, but I asked you a similar question before, and you only answered something vague about “natural law”.

      • Andy,

        Seriously? I´m not that old, but I did experience a cultural shift towards greater tolerance of LGBT people compared to when I was a teenager, and this cultural shift did not “encourage” me to do anything I didn´t want to do before.

        I have zero problem with tolerance of ‘LGBT people’. The problem is tolerance of various sex acts and relationships, of which LGBT relationships are one. Pardon me if I find your anecdote unpersuasive on this issue.

        I presume your experiences differ or you are aware of evidence that what you describe here is actually a real phenomenon, or why do you bring this up?

        I can point out various sexual and social trends, from birth rate issues to sexual practices to otherewise, that have changed. You can stonewall me and insist that those had absolutely positively nothing to do with LGBT issues, because social science claims are incredibly hard to justify in a causal sense. But there can’t really be any denial that there has been a major shift in the area of sexual behaviors and public acceptance of said behaviors. Take a good look at the president of France for one great example of what’s now tolerated.

        I´ll grant you for the sake of the argument that same-sex relationships are indeed immoral and that traditionally married couples are “ideal”. So we have an empirical claim, you say that these ideal relationships are “weakened”, which, if true, should lead to effects like higher divorce rates (for example). Do you have any evidence for that?

        Marriages are down, childbearing is down – in some areas, to a point of disaster – divorce rates are up, etc. Do you want me to bring in stats? These aren’t exactly hard to find.

        This seems to be completely ridiculous on the face of it – I have never seen anyone with an attitute along the line of “now that gays can get married, I should divorce my wife!”, I presume you have.

        What you’re telling me is that social tolerance and acceptance of sexual relationships outside of marriage, etc, should have no effect on… the prevalence of sexual relationships outside of marriage, etc. That is what’s completely ridiculous. Are you under the impression that people are robots programmed by fate, and that they get married and have children regardless of the cultural forces at work? Seriously?

        “Immediate” even… Interesting. If those are “immediate”, then you should certainly have empirical evidence to support your claims instead of merely asserting them. Where is the evidence?

        What kind of weird logic are you using that the word ‘immediate’ means ’empirical evidence’? These are social science claims, and I am entirely aware of the rabbit hole you’re trying to force me down. Not interested.

        If you’re simply asking for statistical evidence of increased problems on these fronts, you need only look at everything from divorce rates to illegitimacy rates to otherwise. And by the by? I’m not saying ‘teh gheys caused all this!’ Same-sex relationships and the like are only one of a number of problems and cultural influences. But they ARE a problem and an influence.

        they just no longer have to feel guilty about it (which would make this “normalization” a positive consequence even IF one would grant you that those acts / relationships are indeed immoral).

        No, it… actually wouldn’t. Sorry, I’m not party to this modern bizarro logic that makes it so people’s self-esteem is the most important thing in the world and that if you’re a raging coprophiliac then what’s really important is you don’t feel BAD about yourself.

        And further, you genuinely believe that evidence that demonstrates:

        I’m not asking for ‘parents to reject their children’. If a child has a sexual desire to play with feces, I don’t think parents should cast them out and declare them to be horrible individuals. Nor do I think society should reject them.

        You seem to be under the impression that I think gays should be bullied for being gay, called names, etc. No, I don’t. Which is why I’m not defending that, and why giving me statistics that at best establish a loose correlation between ‘states with gay marriage outlawed’ and such rates does nothing to speak to MY claim – which is that a desire to NOT have (for example) anal sex and making attempts to NOT have anal sex leads to suicide. That is insane.

        You’re using an invalid comparison and working in logic that amounts to ‘a person attempting to control their sexual desires will kill themselves’. Let me ask you this one, Andy – do you think a man who is ugly and/or offputting should get a lesser sentence if he commits an act of rape? Would you accept ‘I wanted to have sex, no one would have it with me, so I was desperate’ is an acceptable defense? Or do you think self-control is paramount in his case?

        Are YOU sure you thought this through?

        I´m pretty sure you think that oral sex is wrong as well, but I asked you a similar question before, and you only answered something vague about “natural law”.

        Yes, oral sex is wrong as well according to these arguments. I’ve answered this before. I use anal sex as an example because it’s the most convenient one – and if my arguments were only successful against anal sex, that’d still result in quite a move even if I needed more arguments against oral sex.

        By the way? Before anyone plays this game – I don’t find either things ‘icky’. And you don’t have to find them ‘icky’ to see the problems.

      • I have zero problem with tolerance of ‘LGBT people’. The problem is tolerance of various sex acts and relationships, of which LGBT relationships are one.

        Substitute “LGBT people” with “Catholics” and “various sex acts and relationships” with “Catholic sacraments” – would that sound like a “tolerant” position to you?

        Pardon me if I find your anecdote unpersuasive on this issue.

        I can only speak from personal experience since I am not aware of any evidence that ould either support or refute your claim, and it seems you are not aware of any either.

        I can point out various sexual and social trends, from birth rate issues to sexual practices to otherewise, that have changed.

        Really? That would be news to me. Afaict, there is no evidence that these social trends have anything to do with LGBT rights (since the trends predate the stonewall riots, it would also a priori be rather unlikely that LGBT issues are a significant factor here) and wrt sexual *practices* – I am not aware of any evidence whatsoever that there are any trends that have changed compared to the 1940s-1950s (data from earlier times is basically non-existent), except for practices that are coupled to modern technology (e.g. sexting) of course.

        You can stonewall me and insist that those had absolutely positively nothing to do with LGBT issues, because social science claims are incredibly hard to justify in a causal sense.

        “Hard” yes, impossible to *prove* with absolute certainty, also yes. That doesn´t change the fact that there is plenty of data available to potentially support or refute your ideas. It is rather straightforward for example to see if a certain trend is not a direct correlation but rather only a consequence of confounding variables (the number of atomic power plants and divorce rates are negatively correlated for example, and demonstrating that this statistical relationship is caused by confounding variables (like availability of birth control for example) and that the *independent* correlation of the number of atomic power plants and divorce rates is non-existent, is absolutely trivial). If your claims were correct, you could provide empirical support with the available data.

        But there can’t really be any denial that there has been a major shift in the area of sexual behaviors and public acceptance of said behaviors.

        Changes in public acceptance – certainly, changes in *behaviours*, I very strongly doubt it and the evidence seems to point to the contrary. Everything from anal to watersports was done in the 1940s as well and there is no evidence that more people do it now compared to back then afaict.

        Marriages are down, childbearing is down – in some areas, to a point of disaster – divorce rates are up, etc. Do you want me to bring in stats? These aren’t exactly hard to find.

        Indeed, and the strongest predictors of the average number of children per woman are child mortality rates, wealth and access to affordable birth control, there is zero evidence that anything related to LGBT issues has any significant independent correlation with this. For divorce rates it is similar, no evidence whatsoever that any LGBT issue has any significant independent correlation whatsoever.

        What you’re telling me is that social tolerance and acceptance of sexual relationships outside of marriage, etc, should have no effect on… the prevalence of sexual relationships outside of marriage, etc. That is what’s completely ridiculous. Are you under the impression that people are robots programmed by fate, and that they get married and have children regardless of the cultural forces at work?

        I was talking about LGBT issues. And based on my personal experiences, I don´t see how LGBT issues affect this in any way. I am straight, happily monogamous and I´d love to have at least two children – why should any of that change due to any LGBT issue? Why should I be any more or less happy with *my own* relationships based on whether gay people can get married or not? I´ll happily grant you that social attitudes towards marriage have changed in a way that many do not see a need to get a marriage licence before starting a family and that premarital sex is by the vast majority no longer considered to be “sinful” and so on and so forth – but I don´t see how LGBT issues have anything whatsoever to do with that.

        What kind of weird logic are you using that the word ‘immediate’ means ‘empirical evidence’? These are social science claims, and I am entirely aware of the rabbit hole you’re trying to force me down. Not interested.

        What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence – that is true in the social sciences as well. I´m not asking you for six-sigma results, I´m asking for the kind of evidence that is accepted standard in the social sciences. If the “immediate consequences” you are talking about are impossible to study with the methods available to social scientists, then these “immediate consequences” are either negligible or imaginary.

        And by the by? I’m not saying ‘teh gheys caused all this!’ Same-sex relationships and the like are only one of a number of problems and cultural influences. But they ARE a problem and an influence.

        If they actually were a problem and an influence, there is no plausible reason whatsoever for why social scientists are not able to find evidence for that. And further, you don´t even have an argument for why the existence of this alleged influence should even just considered to be plausible – again, why should I feel any different at all about *my own* relationships as a straight dude based on whether gays can get married or not?

        No, it… actually wouldn’t. Sorry, I’m not party to this modern bizarro logic that makes it so people’s self-esteem is the most important thing in the world and that if you’re a raging coprophiliac then what’s really important is you don’t feel BAD about yourself.

        If it is either a) a “raging coprophiliac” (what would a “non-raging coprophiliac” be?😀 ) who suffers from all kinds of mental health problems and is an alcoholic to cope with that or b) a “raging coprophiliac” who is not self-loathing / not depressed / not an alcoholic / whatever – I´d say b is preferable.

        I’m not asking for ‘parents to reject their children’. If a child has a sexual desire to play with feces, I don’t think parents should cast them out and declare them to be horrible individuals. Nor do I think society should reject them.

        Again, substitute “gay” by “christian” – if a teenager with atheist parents “finds Jesus”, and his parents react by telling him something along the line “we still love you BUT – your beliefs are intrinsically stupid and by all means fight as hard as you can against your unnatural beliefs and don´t act them out by praying or receiving the sacraments”. Methinks that hypothetical kid would feel exactly as much rejected as if the parents would have skipped the “we love you BUT…” part completely.

        Which is why I’m not defending that, and why giving me statistics that at best establish a loose correlation between ‘states with gay marriage outlawed’ and such rates does nothing to speak to MY claim – which is that a desire to NOT have (for example) anal sex and making attempts to NOT have anal sex leads to suicide. That is insane.

        Where is the logic in that? How can you defend this claim without a ridiculous ad hoc hypothesis that states that this “desire to not have anal sex (for example)” affects LGBT teenagers significantly more if they a) live in states with more negative attitudes towards homosexuality and / or b) live with parents that reject them for being gay, but a+b are NOT two of the underlying reasons for that and it is by mere chance that this “desire” is enriched among gay teenagers affected by a+b?

        You’re using an invalid comparison and working in logic that amounts to ‘a person attempting to control their sexual desires will kill themselves’.

        Now you lost me completely, because YOU just said: “does nothing to speak to *MY CLAIM* [my emphasis] – which is that a desire to NOT have (for example) anal sex and making attempts to NOT have anal sex leads to suicide” – so why are you calling this my logic? I didn´t claim this, you did.

        Let me ask you this one, Andy – do you think a man who is ugly and/or offputting should get a lesser sentence if he commits an act of rape? Would you accept ‘I wanted to have sex, no one would have it with me, so I was desperate’ is an acceptable defense?

        Again, you lost me, see above.

        Yes, oral sex is wrong as well according to these arguments. I’ve answered this before.

        I honestly have no clue what your position is, because you didn´t actually provide these arguments. I had a hunch as to what your position is, which was “sex that cannot lead to procreation and that is not between a married heterosexual couple is wrong” – but this hunch was wrong, you said that this is NOT what you believe. So far, you said very little about what kind of sex you consider to be morally acceptable and virtually nothing about the reasons for why you consider any specific practice morally acceptable or not.

      • Substitute “LGBT people” with “Catholics” and “various sex acts and relationships” with “Catholic sacraments” – would that sound like a “tolerant” position to you?

        Oh for Christ’s sake – are you serious with replies like these? If I was sitting here talking about how child rape by pedophiles was immoral (and before anyone thin-skinned freaks here, I am not saying this is morally equivalent to same-sex acts), you could say ‘Replace pedophile with girl scouts and child rape with selling cookies. Doesn’t sound so reasonable NOW, does it Mister Man?’ and I could say no it doesn’t, and the move is inane.

        And for the record, protestants and others argue about the immorality of Catholic sacraments and the like quite often – including people whining about an all-male priesthood. We don’t respond with hysterics. Apparently, that’s the big sin of the Catholics and Christians generally – we don’t lose our minds enough in conversation. We don’t have tremendously thin skin to the point where we can’t even take criticism.

        We should take a page out of the crazier LGBT advocates’ books.

        I can only speak from personal experience since I am not aware of any evidence that ould either support or refute your claim, and it seems you are not aware of any either.

        I have plenty of evidence supporting my claim. Are you really asking me to give you evidence of social trends towards everything from divorce rates and marriage rates or out of wedlock births and more? C’mon.

        Really? That would be news to me.

        Prepared to be shocked by the above charts and graphs then.

        Afaict, there is no evidence that these social trends have anything to do with LGBT rights (since the trends predate the stonewall riots, it would also a priori be rather unlikely that LGBT issues are a significant factor here) and wrt sexual *practices* – I am not aware of any evidence whatsoever that there are any trends that have changed compared to the 1940s-1950s (data from earlier times is basically non-existent)

        Like I said, I’m not taking the inane position that ‘Things have gotten worse because gays!’ I’m pointing out that LGBT issues are just one more front in a wide-spanning list of cultural changes, it’s one more abuse, one more negative list of changes to the culture and society, and one more thing to fight. The fact that a problem is multifaceted does not mean that none of those individual facets exist.

        If your claims were correct, you could provide empirical support with the available data.

        Empirical -support- is easy. But I know better than to believe that a claim about culture and society is something that can be demonstrated empirically, precisely because of that litany of confounding factors, value appraisals, and otherwise. What I’m arguing is pretty straightforward – if the ideal societal situation with regards to family and relationships is X, then tolerance for !X adds further support for !X. It’s pretty easy. You’re sitting there with hands on hips demanding I give you a complete causal demonstration that ‘tolerating !X leads to the normalization and thus the spread of !X’, and I know better than to even try to give an exhaustive causal demonstration.

        The best reply you have to me is ‘Well okay there are negative trends, but these trends were on the rise before LGBT rights really took off as a movement’, which would refute me if I were trying to lay the blame for cultural decay on this front entirely at the feet of LGBT people. I’m not. That political movement – not the people, but the movement – is just one more problem. At that point you’re reduced, again, to telling me that tolerance for !X doesn’t encourage the spread of !X. How about you support that claim?

        Changes in public acceptance – certainly, changes in *behaviours*, I very strongly doubt it and the evidence seems to point to the contrary.

        Funny how I can sling statistics at you about divorce and otherwise, I can point to a French president who doesn’t even bother marrying the woman he’s nailing as of late (apparently with good reason!), but the one area you’re sure there’s been no change in happens to be the areas for which you admit you have zero statistical data.

        Indeed, and the strongest predictors of the average number of children per woman are child mortality rates, wealth and access to affordable birth control, there is zero evidence that anything related to LGBT issues has any significant independent correlation with this. For divorce rates it is similar, no evidence whatsoever that any LGBT issue has any significant independent correlation whatsoever.

        There is plenty of evidence – the problem is you’re playing the usual game where the only thing that counts as ‘evidence’ would be some idealized community that was culturally ideal before artificially introducing ‘LGBT rights!’ and ‘LGBT rights!’ alone into it, and then conducting various surveys and seeing what happens. Yes, I think it’s pretty obvious that an attitude of ‘you can’t really make any wrong decisions in the bedroom’ and ‘whatever relationship makes you immediately happy is a good relationship if both parties consent’ does feed into these things. You’re convinced it doesn’t. Feel free to provide evidence for your own claim too.

        I´ll happily grant you that social attitudes towards marriage have changed in a way that many do not see a need to get a marriage licence before starting a family and that premarital sex is by the vast majority no longer considered to be “sinful” and so on and so forth – but I don´t see how LGBT issues have anything whatsoever to do with that.

        Because, as I keep saying, it’s not the ultimate source of all problems, but it’s one more brick in the damn wall.

        What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence – that is true in the social sciences as well. I´m not asking you for six-sigma results, I´m asking for the kind of evidence that is accepted standard in the social sciences. If the “immediate consequences” you are talking about are impossible to study with the methods available to social scientists, then these “immediate consequences” are either negligible or imaginary.

        Baloney. The evidence is there, and obvious. I’m making some pretty basic and broad claims about human behavior and cultural influences that in large part boil down to ‘increased tolerance for behavior X, if behavior X is at all pleasurable and accessible, will result in more of behavior X’. The immediate consequences are pretty damn easy to see and reason about – if you want to deny that, go right ahead. I’m not interested in playing the game of trying to convince someone who will embrace absurdity to avoid a reasonable conclusion.

        If they actually were a problem and an influence, there is no plausible reason whatsoever for why social scientists are not able to find evidence for that.

        How about ‘every time a social scientist comes out with a study that runs contrary to the LGBT mandated view, the scientist is quickly villified’? How about the fact that I’m talking about a cultural trend that, while fundamentally resting on claims that are goddamn self-evident, is inextricably wrapped up in cultural noise that doesn’t make it easy to isolate?

        Tell me why I have to produce a ‘social scientist study’ to back up the claim that increased tolerance for – even celebration of – sexual relationships that are barren, often temporary, etc, does not suffice to increase tolerance for such relationships in general regardless of whether they’re LGBT or not?

        again, why should I feel any different at all about *my own* relationships as a straight dude based on whether gays can get married or not?

        It’s not a question of ‘should’ but ‘would’.

        If it is either a) a “raging coprophiliac” (what would a “non-raging coprophiliac” be?😀 ) who suffers from all kinds of mental health problems and is an alcoholic to cope with that or b) a “raging coprophiliac” who is not self-loathing / not depressed / not an alcoholic / whatever – I´d say b is preferable.

        And if the price of b is having to pretend that the raging coprophiliac is not doing something that should be discouraged and that he should turn his back on, it’s too high of a price. And if in the course of pursuing b you discourage more results of c) where coprophiliacs resist and possibly even get over their urges, you’re doing a substantial amount of harm to people.

        Again, substitute “gay” by “christian”

        Substitute ‘loves child porn’ for ‘gay’. Let me guess – well, if it’s a choice between a depressed lover of child porn and a well-adjusted one..!

        Again, instead of A or B, the ideal to shoot for is C. I humbly suggest that a mature and mentally healthy person should be entirely capable of accepting that they have urges, sexual and otherwise, that they should control and resist without descending into suicide and self-loathing – and if they do not, then that’s not evidence that discouraging such behavior is mean, but evidence that we’re dealing with mentally unwell people.

        Where is the logic in that?

        Because I’m not urging that parents “reject their children for being gay”? Once again, if someone is driven to depression and suicide merely by the fact that gay marriage is illegal in their state, the evidence is that they are actually kind of nuts and need help. Which brings up one of the problems of social science surveys – if it was found that harsh laws against rape in India led to widespread depression among men, the proper response wouldn’t be ‘Wow, we better scale back those laws a little bit’ but ‘How do we help these people cope with what is a just law?’

        so why are you calling this my logic?

        I’m pointing out the uselessness of your cited ‘data’ with regards to my claim. Your belief that you think it DOES affect my claim is your logic, which is flawed.

        I had a hunch as to what your position is, which was “sex that cannot lead to procreation and that is not between a married heterosexual couple is wrong” – but this hunch was wrong, you said that this is NOT what you believe.

        Because not every act of sex has to lead to offspring on pain of it being immoral or something equally bizarre.

        So far, you said very little about what kind of sex you consider to be morally acceptable and virtually nothing about the reasons for why you consider any specific practice morally acceptable or not.

        Right on back to natural law, the directedness of our sexuality and its proper function, etc. Now you can reject natural law – I’m sure you do – and all of the arguments if you wish, but the fact remains that those arguments are not based on revelation, but on a metaphysical system that’s pretty straightforward and reasonable on the surface, and I believe upon further examination.

      • Oh for Christ’s sake – are you serious with replies like these?

        Yup.

        If I was sitting here talking about how child rape by pedophiles was immoral (and before anyone thin-skinned freaks here, I am not saying this is morally equivalent to same-sex acts), you could say ‘Replace pedophile with girl scouts and child rape with selling cookies. Doesn’t sound so reasonable NOW, does it Mister Man?’ and I could say no it doesn’t, and the move is inane.

        Yup. That would be inane. Has nothing to do with what I said though. You said “I have zero problem with tolerance of ‘LGBT people’. The problem is tolerance of various sex acts and relationships, of which LGBT relationships are one.” – and I pointed out that this is exactly as “tolerant” as tolerating people believing in Catholic doctrines, but not tolerating people practicing their Catholic faith. In other words – its not “tolerance” at all. And if you think that homosexuality should not be tolerates – cool, but then don´t pretend that you “tolerate” homosexuals, because you don´t. That you think that Catholicism is morally completely acceptable while same-sex sexual behaviour is not is a completely different issue.

        We don’t respond with hysterics. Apparently, that’s the big sin of the Catholics and Christians generally – we don’t lose our minds enough in conversation.

        Erm… I think neither my comment nor your reply was “hysterical”, but if anything, my comment was much more calm than your reply to it.

        I have plenty of evidence supporting my claim. Are you really asking me to give you evidence of social trends towards everything from divorce rates and marriage rates or out of wedlock births and more? C’mon.

        😀. Look up a timeline of important events in the history of LGBT rights, or check statistics reflecting public acceptance of homosexuality over time – do that, and then look up the years these events correspond to in the chart you linked to. If anything, these statistics demonstrate that LGBT issues are completely irrelevant for these trends, significant increases in public acceptance of homosexuality and significant changes wrt LGBT rights came long after these trends started. And again, to support your claims you would need to demonstrate that there is any independent correlation of anything related to LGBT issues with these trends – and there is none.

        Like I said, I’m not taking the inane position that ‘Things have gotten worse because gays!’ I’m pointing out that LGBT issues are just one more front in a wide-spanning list of cultural changes, it’s one more abuse, one more negative list of changes to the culture and society, and one more thing to fight. The fact that a problem is multifaceted does not mean that none of those individual facets exist.

        So you do not actually believe that LGBT issues had any influence on these trends you talk about – at least I cannot parse the first sentence here in any other way. Which means that you are not opposed to cultural and legal changes wrt LGBT issues because of the allleged harm they do, but rather because you consider it to be intrinsicall morally wrong, even if they actually caused no measurable harm at all.
        Btw, I can´t help a little Schadenfreude here – you have already lost this fight.

        What I’m arguing is pretty straightforward – if the ideal societal situation with regards to family and relationships is X, then tolerance for !X adds further support for !X. It’s pretty easy.

        Yup, all of us straight people that want to have a traditional family will obviously magically turn gay as soon as gays can get married – easy as pie.

        You’re sitting there with hands on hips demanding I give you a complete causal demonstration that ‘tolerating !X leads to the normalization and thus the spread of !X’, and I know better than to even try to give an exhaustive causal demonstration.

        “The spread of !x”? FFS, you really do believe that straight people magically turn gay as soon as gays can get married, or what the hell is “spread of !x” supposed to be?
        Also, I´m not asking for a “exhaustive causal demonstration” – I´m asking for evidence. And nothing you presented so far supports the notion that LGBT issues have ANY causal relationship with the trends you point out.

        The best reply you have to me is ‘Well okay there are negative trends, but these trends were on the rise before LGBT rights really took off as a movement’, which would refute me if I were trying to lay the blame for cultural decay on this front entirely at the feet of LGBT people. I’m not.

        Alright, then stop pretending that you have any evidence that LGBT issues have anything whatsoever to do with these trends, you don´t.

        That political movement – not the people, but the movement – is just one more problem. At that point you’re reduced, again, to telling me that tolerance for !X doesn’t encourage the spread of !X. How about you support that claim?

        Support that claim? Sure – substitute “X” with “Caucasian” or “heterosexual”, and then think really hard for a few seconds.

        Funny how I can sling statistics at you about divorce and otherwise, I can point to a French president who doesn’t even bother marrying the woman he’s nailing as of late (apparently with good reason!), but the one area you’re sure there’s been no change in happens to be the areas for which you admit you have zero statistical data.

        There is data back to the 1940s, and no evidence of any changes.

        There is plenty of evidence – the problem is you’re playing the usual game where the only thing that counts as ‘evidence’ would be some idealized community that was culturally ideal before artificially introducing ‘LGBT rights!’ and ‘LGBT rights!’ alone into it

        Bullshit. You don´t need some “idealized community”, you need some statistics background.
        Look up how partial correlations are done:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_correlation
        then check the relevant statistics, all of which are freely available, and show me any *independent* correlation of *anything* related to LGBT issues with the trends you point out.

        The immediate consequences are pretty damn easy to see and reason about – if you want to deny that, go right ahead. I’m not interested in playing the game of trying to convince someone who will embrace absurdity to avoid a reasonable conclusion.

        Right back at you.

        How about ‘every time a social scientist comes out with a study that runs contrary to the LGBT mandated view, the scientist is quickly villified’?

        Ah, now we start with the conspiracy theories – but very funny that you say that right after “I’m not interested in playing the game of trying to convince someone who will embrace absurdity to avoid a reasonable conclusion”😀

        How about the fact that I’m talking about a cultural trend that, while fundamentally resting on claims that are goddamn self-evident, is inextricably wrapped up in cultural noise that doesn’t make it easy to isolate?

        Partial correlations. Look it up.

        Tell me why I have to produce a ‘social scientist study’ to back up the claim that increased tolerance for – even celebration of – sexual relationships that are barren, often temporary, etc, does not suffice to increase tolerance for such relationships in general regardless of whether they’re LGBT or not?

        Dude, we are living in the 21st century, sexual relationships between unmarried people were 100% accepted before I was even born – long before LGBT issues were on anyone´s radar.

        It’s not a question of ‘should’ but ‘would’.

        Alright, so why would I feel any different about my own relationships based on whatever happens wrt LGBT issues?

        Substitute ‘loves child porn’ for ‘gay’. Let me guess – well, if it’s a choice between a depressed lover of child porn and a well-adjusted one..!

        In Berlin, they are running a new program where pedophiles can go to receive free and anonymous counceling, where they get advice how to adapt their behaviour in a way to minimize the risks of acting out their sexuality. They can also get a chemical castration, if they want – which many pedophiles apparently do want because they are terrified by the thought of losing control and destroying the life of a child.
        Now, pray tell – what the fuck does this have to do with a loving homosexual couple who have sex?

        Once again, if someone is driven to depression and suicide merely by the fact that gay marriage is illegal in their state, the evidence is that they are actually kind of nuts and need help.

        Absolutely! And for some magical reason, this affects gay teenagers in states with more negative attitudes towards homosexuality and / or with parents that reject them for being gay MUCH more than their peers. Makes total sense.

        Because not every act of sex has to lead to offspring on pain of it being immoral or something equally bizarre.

        Here is everything I know about what kind of sex you consider to be morally acceptable:
        – Oral and anal are always wrong, no exceptions.
        – Sex only for procreation would be “bizarre”.
        – This has nothing to do with revelation because yadda yadda yadda natural law yadda yadda.

        Right on back to natural law, the directedness of our sexuality and its proper function, etc. Now you can reject natural law – I’m sure you do – and all of the arguments if you wish, but the fact remains that those arguments are not based on revelation, but on a metaphysical system that’s pretty straightforward and reasonable on the surface, and I believe upon further examination.

        How am I supposed to know whether I reject your “natural law” or any arguments in this context? You said nothing whatsoever about what this “natural law” is even supposed to be and didn´t present even a sketch of an argument for this “natural law”, whatever it is supposed to be.

  4. Crude: You said

    “We’re not talking about keeping people from busting into the private lives of citizens and discovering what they’re doing, which would be its own brand of absurdity”

    That’s exactly what was happening in gay bars. That’s why the Stonewall riots occurred. Also, in Lawrence v TX, the anti-sodomy law was on the books until SCOTUS struck it down. The police could actually arrest consenting adults who engaged in sodomy. It was its own brand of absurdity. It’s also a snapshot of what it was like to be gay during the times laws such as that were on the books.

    You emphatically claim that sodomy & oral sex are inherently evil. That will come as a surprise to the many Christians (such as myself) who believe the Bible when it says the marriage bed is undefiled. Intrusion into any bed, whether married or not, between consenting adults, is not the purvue of any person.

    We all, gay or straight, don’t want to listen to your pontificating.

    • Sheila,

      That’s exactly what was happening in gay bars. That’s why the Stonewall riots occurred. Also, in Lawrence v TX, the anti-sodomy law was on the books until SCOTUS struck it down.

      Yep. And guess what? I think those were bad laws and bad moves.

      Those also came from an era where ‘secular science’ flatly regarded same-sex sexual desire as a mental illness, and even secular forces regarded such things as immoral and indecent. The soviet union didn’t decriminalize homosexuality until its -fall-. That should indicate something to you.

      You emphatically claim that sodomy & oral sex are inherently evil. That will come as a surprise to the many Christians (such as myself) who believe the Bible when it says the marriage bed is undefiled.

      Yes, I know – there’s a single vague line about how the marriage bed is undefiled, ergo there’s nothing wrong with watersports and coprophilia.

      Have you ever considered the possibility that you’re wrong? Have you considered the OTHER passages of the bible? The history of Christian thought on this matter?

      Intrusion into any bed, whether married or not, between consenting adults, is not the purvue of any person.

      Who’s intruding? I don’t support laws against sodomy. I think they’re unenforceable and a bad, intrusive idea besides, and sexual sins aren’t the only area where I think that. But you know what? That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss sexual morality, and it doesn

      We all, gay or straight, don’t want to listen to your pontificating.

      Unfortunate, but I don’t care. Especially since so far your response about how I’m wrong comes down to ‘bad things happened’ (that I think were bad as well) and ‘totally weak bible quote’.

  5. I find that many Christians will say that my views on homosexuality are hurtful to them. Challenging their prejudices seems to be more painful for them than the torture and murder of gay people in Africa or Russia.
    Others will say that my sin is hurting God.
    Far from hurting God I find that my activism is supported by God.
    These kinds of statements are dishonest.
    They are a tactic to stifle any discussion od the issue.
    They should be ignored.

    • I never accused you of sinning at all. But you sure like to say others are sinning. I merely pointed out the irony of your statement, because what you decried used to be a common practice. You see attacks where there aren’t any. I personally don’t care what you think. Your opinions have no influence on my life at all.

      • Sheila,
        I think that you must have misunderstood my comment.
        I am gay myself and also a Christian.
        My comment was a reflection on how some people react to gay people in the Church.

        • Yes, this is the “bashing” to which I referred. I have had so many gays in my life, both friends and family, and my reactions to the blog post here show that I get too emotional when discussing the issue of gay rights. It angers me that so many do not take the time to listen to gays, and understand that gays are equally American citizens here in the USA; they work hard, pay taxes, and strive to be good citizens. Sorry for my previous unnecessary hostility.

          • Sheila,
            Thank you for your kind words.
            I understand your emotional reactions.
            Sometimes its difficult to be objective.
            Especially when something bad happens like your vandals.
            But its good to know that you support gay rights.

      • I am gay myself and also a Christian.
        My comment was a reflection on how some people react to gay people in the Church.

        And, by the way?

        I agree that a lot of people behave poorly towards gay Christians. They think ‘same sex attracted’ means ‘sexually active’. They can be rude, they can be jerks, and I’m not endorsing any of that.

        But at the end of the day there really is a sexual morality – one that heterosexuals (to put a label on it) violate quite often and flagrantly as well. And it has to be discussed. Also what has to be discussed is subcultures within communities, as awkward as that may be – again, something which isn’t exclusive to what passes for the LGBT community.

    • I find that many Christians will say that my views on homosexuality are hurtful to them. Challenging their prejudices seems to be more painful for them than the torture and murder of gay people in Africa or Russia.

      No, believe it or not, I’m against the torture and murder of gay people ANYwhere. Nor do I think it’s right to bully them, mistreat them, etc.

      But ‘speaking frankly about sexual morality, heterosexual and homosexual’ is not ‘mistreatment’.

      Others will say that my sin is hurting God.
      Far from hurting God I find that my activism is supported by God.

      Who said your sin is ‘hurting God’?

      And fine, you find that your activism is supported by God. What is your activism? Because that’s pretty important when it comes to discussing what God does or doesn’t ‘support’.

      • God is by His Divine Nature Impassible and Immutable. Thus nothing hurts Him. Our sins hurt ourselves. Maybe you are thinking your sins hurt the Incarnate Jesus in His Human Nature? Well Jesus freely takes all sin on himself to remedy the problems of Sin. But it’s not just the sexual sins gay or straight that hurt him.

        What you think there are no Virgins in Hell right now? There are 6 other deadly sins other then mere lust.

  6. “Instead of focusing on homosexuality as the #1 sin that needs to be hated vocally, why don’t you spend that time hating your own sins in private?”

    If a significant number of Christians do that (and FWIW I haven’t come across any who gave the impression of thinking that anal sex — not homosexuality, as Crude has already pointed out — is the worst sin, or who have been particularly vocal about the matter), that’s probably got something to do with the fact that most sins don’t have such powerful and uncompromising lobbies supporting them. If I express support for teetotalism, I’m not going to see the Campaign for Real Ale issuing a press release calling for my resignation. If I say that people shouldn’t have sex before they’re married, I might get a few funny looks, but I won’t lose any friends over it. If I refuse to hire out a double-bedded hotel room for a man and a woman who’s married to somebody else, I won’t get taken to court for it.

    “These words make a major assumption that the LGB person you are talking to is actually engaging in homoerotic activities.”

    Well if they aren’t, I can’t see what the sin would be, and nor could most mainstream denominations.

    “This is not necessarily true, and it is insulting and degrading to reduce a person soley to a stereotype of their assumed sexual habits.”

    I agree, but it’s a practice encouraged by the gay rights lobby at least as much as by Christians. Just look at all the people who are apparently unable to tell the difference between disapproving of an action and hating a person.

    “How about you set the doctrine aside and just focus on love and respect? I promise, it will be a lot more fruitful than “loving the sinner and hating the sin.” And didn’t Jesus say that you will know what is good by their fruits?””

    Jesus also wasn’t shy of calling out sinful behaviour. I’m not sure how that fits in with your little peroration here.

  7. >“Look, I love you very much as a person but I hate your god virus called Christianity. While I cannot pray, I really hope you will be cured very soon” ?

    I would feel very offended and would want to see strong evidence that my progressive Christianity is a harmful delusion.

    I reply: I see no reason to be offended. Rather I would need a good philosophical argument for Atheism & good philosophical
    defeaters for the arguments for Classic Theism & Catholic Christianity. I would need further proof memes exist and that a virus meme is the root of my belief in Classic Theism & Catholic Christianity. Also I would need a good rational argument that being liberated from this meme is a good thing.

    OTOH Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Benedict once said a male prostitute who starts using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS might be
    showing the awaking of a moral conscience and concern for others.

    Note he was not saying “Gay sex is good, Condoms should be used regularly & Prostitution is Good & he supports the distribution of condoms”.

    Intellectually I would have to conclude the Atheist who said this to me really does love me. Since the definition of love is to will good for somebody. He is
    willing for me what he believes to be good.

    As long as I am not forced at gun point to comply I have no problem with it.

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