How to pervert the legitimate fight against homophobia

My regular readers know that I speak out for the right of Gay people to marry their loved ones. I do think that a lifelong committed relationship between two persons of the same sex does NOT stand in conflict with Christ’s central teaching.

Gay couple

That said, I accept the fact that many Conservatives sincerely disagree even if I think they’re misguided.

Consequently, I cannot go along with the aggressive propaganda of liberal activists who all too often present ALL Conservatives rejecting Gay marriage as heartless bigots supporting the discriminations and even capital punishment of homosexuals.

A recent post of progressive Christian John Shore nicely illustrates this worrisome state of affairs.

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Challenging the evil empire of anti-gay Christians, and the resurfacing of old fundie fears

dearjohn [This is the latest in a series in which each Wednesday I answer a question or two asked to me by members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for Christian mothers of LGBT kids. (The first such post was Combatting the Downward Pull of Christian Negativity; the second Pastor tells mom her lesbian teen can’t be a Christian.) If you are interested in joining Serendipitydodah for Moms, email lizdyer55@gmail.com. If you’d like me to answer any questions/concerns you might have, email me at john@johnshore.com]

Dear John,

How do you think affirming Christians should deal with Christians who still think same-sex relationships are sinful? Should we treat their belief with tolerance and respect or respectfully confront them? I’m specifically thinking about those who feel compelled to speak out, promote, teach and proclaim that all same-sex relationships are sinful and that the only marriage blessed by God is between a man and a woman. Signed, Stay silent or speak up?

It’s been my experience that Christians who feel, as you well put it, “compelled to speak out, promote, teach and proclaim that all same-sex relationships are sinful” come in two varieties: Crazy, and Gets Paid to Promulgate Anti-Gay Christianity. It’s also been my experience that reasoning with either is a waste of time. As a rule the lay Christian who is “compelled to speak out” against homosexuality is too angry (and, frankly, too fearful of the power of his or her own sexuality) to listen to reason; the pastor, radio host, “ministry” leader or author whose bank account is tied to his perpetuation of the toxic nonsense that being gay is a sin–the professional gay-basher, in other words–has already sold his conscience for cash—and in the bargain of course also traded away his moral compass.

Treat a person from either group with tolerance and respect; vigorously refute them; insist you’ll sleep on their front lawn until they change their minds …  in the end, I have found, nothing will have changed beyond that you will have lost time that you could have spent doing something a lot more productive (such as … well, writing public letters like this to people like me, joining your local PFLAG chapter, organizing a markedly Christian presence at pro-LGBT events, helping your church to become LGBT-affirming, making sure your local schools are implementing and executing anti-bullying programs, voting for pro-LGBT initiatives, being active online—buy, frankly, my book UNFAIR and give it to anyone on the fence—etc., etc.).  But you see what I mean: you don’t take down an evil empire by arguing with one of its foot soldiers.

Dear John,

Coming from a conservative Christian background can be very difficult when you find out one or more of your kids is LGBT! As a mom who completely accepts and affirms my gay son I still have times when I worry that I might be wrong—that somehow my love for my son has misled me. What advise do you have for a parent like me? Signed, Dealing with doubts

The next time you find yourself doubting the truth that God finds homosexuality no more inherently sinful than heterosexuality, stop to examine what’s happening in your life at that moment. I guarantee you that something in the outside world will have triggered that doubt in you. When threatened we all tend to revert. Stress, tension, being worried, being fearful, being challenged … such feelings often trigger the old toxic tapes to start playing in our heads–the tapes that were recorded for us, not by us. The tapes that tell us to be afraid, that the worst is true, that God is judging us, that absolute damnation is one errant step away . . . that being gay really is a sin. The next time you find yourself reverting to the fears and paradigms instilled in you as a child, trust that’s simply an instinctive reaction to something real in your life that is genuinely concerning you.

Finding whatever it is that has triggered in you the playing of your old toxic tapes won’t be particularly difficult; once you understand that those old thoughts really are a stress response to something real and present happening in your life, you’ll pretty quickly be able to identify what that something is. And once you’ve identified what caused you to doubt the veracity of what you know to be true, those doubts will vanish, because you’ll see that in and of themselves they were not real, but only a secondary reaction to something that is real. Then you can address that real thing that’s really happening, instead of having to swat away the old demons that came flying back at you from a time when you were taught terrible things about God and Christianity that simply aren’t true.

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My response and interaction with other bloggers follow.

My comments are black whereas those of other persons are colored.

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Dear John,

first of all, let me say I really liked what you wrote about self-doubt’s dependency on one’s emotional state. We should only change our mind when new evidence comes in and not just because of one’s feelings.

As far as the alleged sinfulness of homosexuality is concerned, I’m entirely on your side . I’m also disgusted by the fact that so many Conservative Evangelicals focus so much on this issue while neglecting problems of social justice .

Gay partnerships are loving, faithful and committed, but can it lead to marriage?

Still, I find you wrote some pretty worrisome and almost outrageous sentences.

First of all, it isn’t true that Christians considering homosexuality as morally wrong are “anti-gay”. If someone views taking drug as a sin, it just doesn’t follow that he is “anti-junkies”. As I was an atheist in my teenage years, I viewed homosexuality as a deviant behavior out of ignorance but I was not anti-homosexual.

Likewise, it’s just false to state that Christians speaking out against homosexuality are EITHER “Crazy” OR “Gets Paid to Promulgate Anti-Gay Christianity”. Plenty might be sincerely convinced it is wrong even if they love homosexuals as people. Indeed, I know quite a few such Christians in Continental Europe.

So I think that the use of such an aggressive rhetoric is putting off many of your Conservative readers you could have touched through a more loving and moderate tone.

And I know Conservatives who have become homophobic due to people disapproving of homosexuality getting fired.

So I think that your strategy is really counter-productive and should be modified.

Progressively and fraternally yours.

Is it? Or is the topics John covers finally giving people a chance to think about this, to discuss what is happening and to shed light at how bad homophobia actually is? Trust me, its worse than many realize. In the US, there are several states, including the one I live in, where it is quite legal to deny housing or employment to people, just because of sexual orientation. There are hundreds of churches in my county. Two are LGBT affirming. Many counties have none. We had our state legislature remove funding from two state colleges because of a couple of gay friendly books.

Yet my adopted home town hosts an annual Pride rally. The state capital also has one. Its getting better here, but in a place where bi-racial couples are still looked down on, and a black man reaching into his car to get out his registration for a basic traffic stop, gets shot by a white state trooper, we have a long way to go.

it isn’t true that Christians considering homosexuality as morally wrong are “anti-gay”

If someone believes being gay is morally wrong, then it follows that they believe being gay is a choice. Who could be considered morally wrong for being born with green eyes or left-handed? Taking drugs is a choice; being gay is not. Taking drugs is illegal; being gay is not (unless you happen to live in one of the many states where you can be discriminated against for being gay).

Plenty might be sincerely convinced it is wrong even if they love homosexuals as people

Please. Not the old “hate the sin, love the sinner” tune again. That record’s broken.

putting off many of your Conservative readers

I’d have to ask John: how many of your readers are conservative?

I know Conservatives who have become homophobic due to people disapproving of homosexuality getting fired.

Why aren’t they gay-affirming due to gay people being fired for being gay?

your strategy is really counter-productive and should be modified

Oh yes, let’s play nice. Let’s play nice with the people who believe gays should be put to death, who are going to hell, who are child molesters, who are the worst kinds of perverts. Yeah, that’ll work.

Children take part in anti-gay protests in Uganda in 2011

Hello Barbara, thanks for your answer!

Conservative Christians don’t believe that having sexual desires towards persons of the same sex is wrong in and of itself but that it is wicked to act on this desire by e.g. kissing such an individual.
In other words they say: “Yeah he’s attracted towards men as I’m attracted towards females and that’s not wrong. BUT he must never act accordingly.”
Do I believe this principle is sound?
Absolutely not. I think that a life-long marriage is one of the most beautiful things one can experience during this life time.
What’s more I also believe that God does not forbid us things arbitrarily.
Consequently, I wholeheartedly affirm the right of Gay people to marry their loved ones.

YET it is also completely false to say that Conservative Christians (in general) believe that Gays are wicked human beings for being born that way.

What is more, how many percent of Conservative Christians think that homosexuals are child molesters and the worst kinds of perverts who should be put to death?

In French-speaking and German-speaking Europe they represent perhaps 0.001% of all Conservative believers.
How many proportion do they form in America? Sincerely?

There are many Conservative Christians who passionately oppose the discrimination of Gay people. But if they read such kinds of texts they feel they’re being UNFAIRly treated. They inevitably consider all of this as ignoble propaganda.

And this naturally diminishes their willingness to step in when Gay folks are being maltreated.

Friendly greetings.

BarbaraR

If you believe this, you must not read this blog often and see what I see. The vitriolic and hate-filled comments I and the other mods delete completely belie this notion.

There are many Conservative Christians who passionately oppose the discrimination of Gay people.

This poll just came out.

http://www.pewforum.org/2014/0…

From this poll:
White evangelical Protestants express the strongest support for allowing businesses to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings (71%).

How many proportion do they form in America? Sincerely?

There are to the best of my knowledge no statistics on this. However, they pop up with appalling regularity. Here are a few examples of pastors calling for the death of gay people. As pastors go, so goes the flock.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

http://www.christianpost.com/n…

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/p…

While it would be all sparkly unicorns and fluffy bunnies to think conservative evangelicals oppose discrimination against gays, I am not seeing evidence for it.

Lotharson

Hi! I agree there are horrible fag-bashing bigots in the States:

But everything in America seems to be far more extreme than in Europe.

Still, there are lots of Conservatives disapproving of homosexuality who do oppose the misdeeds you evoked.

You and I probably agree it is wrong to bully Muslims having a peaceful interpretation of Islam due to the existence of many terrorists.

So why should it be any different when Conservative Christians are concerned?

Cheers.

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I think that John Shore has probably good motives. But I fear he might currently be driven by hatred to some extent.

Other progressive Christians share my concern.

Popular blogger Tim Chastain (Jesus Without Baggages) recently told me what follows:

“I think I know what you mean, but I see Jesus’ instruction to love others as a more valid way of relating to the Father and to other people than following religious rules. In my opinion, properly grasping the principle of loving others does NOT lead to self justification of sinful behavior but to humility and true repentance.

The love of self I often speak of is not selfish love but an absence of self-hate that many of us feel when we think the Father is an angry, vindictive God. When we realize how the Father loves us, we are free to love ourselves in a healthy way and are released to love others in the same way.”

My goal is not to bash Shore and to present him as an evil human being. No, I aim at showing that progressive Christians can also fall prey to hate and that “Christianity with humanity” (the name of Shore’s ministry) also involves loving our enemies as ourselves.

Consequently we ought to be fair, just and act lovingly towards Conservative believers opposing Gay marriage, even if it strongly irritates us.

But on the other hand I also expect Conservative Christians to refrain from overgeneralizations concerning “Progressives”.

Could we learn to interact lovingly with those we disagree?

Persecuted persecutors?

Progressive Christian writer and missiologists Benjamin L. Corey wrote a very interesting post on the recent reactions of some Conservative Christians in America, to which I responded.

 

So Listen– It’s Not Religious Discrimination Just Because You Can’t Discriminate.

Earlier this week, the President signed an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. In a supposed civilized society with a separation of church and state, such a measure should be welcomed by all because anti-discrimination policies protect the rights of everyone.

For me, anti-discrimination laws transcend theology and personal opinion. I acknowledge that while I am a Christian, I am also a Christian who lives and who does commerce in a culture that is diverse– making certain rules for playing necessary. For starters, I don’t want a potential employer to be able to fire me simply because I am a Christian. Being a Christian is completely irrelevant to my ability to do a specific job and to be disqualified from employment on that basis, would be completely unfair. Anti-discrimination laws protect my right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” by ensuring my religious orientation cannot be used as a way to shut me out from competing in the public sector.

Regardless of my theology on human sexuality, I see anti-discrimination policies for the LGBT community the same way I see them for myself– they too have a right to compete in the public sector and have the right to hold jobs they are qualified for without an aspect of their identity disqualify them from working. It’s a little something we call…. fair.

You can’t fire me because I’m an Anabaptist, and I can’t fire you because of the gender you’re attracted to.

Really simple stuff that we should all say “this is fair and good for society” regardless of our particular theology on any given subject.

However, the new anti-discrimination policy for government contractors isn’t exactly being celebrated in our Christian community. Instead, many are crying that the sky is falling, that our religious liberties are under attack– you know, more “help, help, I’m being oppressed!” Monty Python type stuff.

 Here’s what Michael Brown called the move by the White House:

“This was an outrageous act of discrimination against religion in the name of anti-discrimination—an act of bullying people of faith in the name of the prevention of bullying.”

So yeah, apparently we’re being “bullied” because in exchange for accepting government funds we have to agree not to fire people for being gay.

Poor us.

So listen– I think we as Christians need to set something straight before we go any further:

It’s not discrimination when we are prevented from doing the discriminating. It’s not persecution when we are prevented from doing the persecuting. It’s not bullying when we’re told that we can’t bully others.

It’s not any of those things.

In fact, we should actually be embarrassed that we even have to be told that it’s wrong to fire someone for these reasons. Your place of business is NOT the same thing as your church– if you want to accept government funds, you’ll have to play by a set of rules that keeps it fair for everyone. Both for you, and everyone else.

I’ve discussed the issue of the persecution complex here in the West, and nearly every time, some folks write to me and tell me how wrong I am– that yes, Christians are under attack and being persecuted. Whenever that happens and I ask for specific examples, I am almost always listed out examples of how we’re not allowed to persecute others.

But this isn’t persecution– it’s not even close.

I can’t help but think how self centered we’re going to look when we get to heaven and go through the awkward introductions in the persecuted section:

“Hi, my name is Peter. They crucified me on a cross upside down.”

“Hi, my name is Stephen. They smashed my head in with rocks.”

“Hi, my name is Polycarp. They tried to burn me at the stake but I didn’t catch on fire so they stabbed me to death”.

“Hi, my name is William Tyndale. They chocked me to death at the stake and then burned by body.”

“Hi, my name is Michael Brown. They told me that if I wanted my business to be able to accept government funds that I couldn’t fire people simply because of their sexual orientation.”

You see? It doesn’t actually line up with the experiences of the Christians who have come before us– Christians who actually were bullied and persecuted.

Let’s be honest: I think we’re going to look a little silly in eternity if we keep up this persecution and “I’m being bullied” stuff. For those of us poised to lead the next generation of Jesus followers into a better cultural expression of Christianity, one of the first things we need to do is to stop pretending we’re victims. It’s not attractive. It’s not helping. It’s not even true.

One doesn’t become the victim of bullying when they’re told that they can’t make others the victim of bullying. That doesn’t even make sense.

Instead, let us embrace the fact that we actually do live in a country where we are both free to practice our religion but also where there are certain rules in the public sector that keep things fair for everyone, and that these foundational rules are actually good and right.

Here was my answer.

 

This was really a great post Ben!

On my blog I’ve dealt a lot with the topic of homosexuality, arguing it is not sinful, illustrating that its rejection is utterly groundless and calling up Conservative Christians to apply the Golden Rule towards Gay people. .

You’re entirely right it’s utterly wrong and disgusting to feel discriminated because you no longer have the right to socially or economically discriminate people on grounds of their sexual orientation. Actually I think that all Continental European Conservatives who oppose Gay marriage wholeheartedly agree with that very principle (and most of them are not particularly religious).

BUT I think that the liberal (or political correct) lobby runs off the rails when it starts using propaganda and political pressure for changing the mind of people concerning homosexuality.

This is what the French government attempted to do and instead of increasing the acceptance of Gays and Lesbians, it raised resentment against them.

Some of my Conservative readers called my attention to the fact that people are being fired JUST because they are morally opposed to homosexuality, and I find that extremely misguided, wrong and egregious for many reasons I have outlined here.

People who fell victims of such punishment are likely to develop a real HATRED towards homosexuals which wasn’t there as they still had their livelihood.

When looking at the American culture war, I realize I am very often much closer to Liberal than to Conservative positions, but I can’t completely side with the formers because they often act in an unjust and unproductive manner.
I think the situation would be much better if BOTH liberals and conservatives were to let go of their deep-seated moral indignation and realize their opponents might be neither crazy, ignorant nor evil.

 

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

 

Fostering Justice on the battle fields of the Culture War

Crude recently wrote a response to my last posts warning against Christians passionately hating homosexuals.

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“I like Lothar Lorraine. Truly I do – he’s a pleasant guy to talk to even if I disagree with him. He’s welcome here, he’s welcomed me at his blog, and until relatively recently most of my interactions with him have been civil, even when we disagree.

Except lately, if you’ve been following the conversations – previously linked – I’ve been spending most of my time yelling angrily, at least as much as you can do typing into a computer and still maintaining decent-enough grammar. I’ve been pissed off, not so much at Lothar as at his links of choice, and really, the “progressive” response to them.

Honest to God? I don’t like yelling in Lothar’s general vicinity. He’s nice. I can talk with him. At the same time, all the niceness in the world isn’t going to make me give an inch to dishonest hate speech directed anywhere, but particularly in my direction.

I’m talking real hate speech, by the by. Not, ‘You noticed that group X is responsible for more crimes than group Y by every available measure, that’s horrible of you’ styled bull, but full blown ‘This group of people is responsible for heinous acts and you should hate them all and fight them because this is WAR’ hate speech. “Whip up an angry mob to attack some people based on next to no evidence” hate speech.

So why has it kept happening lately? I have a hunch. Little more than that right now, but it’s worth airing.

I think there is a somewhat common breed of Christian who, while intellectually rather orthodox and conservative, is nevertheless on the more soft-spoken and diplomatic side. They are not fire and brimstone. They pride themselves on being open-minded, on ‘agreeing to disagree’, on setting themselves apart from the more fervent culture-war social conservatives who at times seem as if they are locked in a neverending battle against Islam, New Atheism, Liberals, the Gay Agenda, and more.And one way they send up the signal that they’re different from THOSE Christians is by conceding the intelligence and morality of their opponents, and openly, even eagerly, admitting to flaws.

Even flaws that aren’t really flaws, that are blown out of proportion, or that largely exist in the minds of people who hate them.

So if someone angrily demands that they apologize for, say… ‘Christianity’s legacy of anti-science and bigotry and racism and homophobia and misogyny’, they’re going to typically, without reflection, say “Oh, yes, some Christians – nay, many – have been guilty of that. But many nowadays have come to regret that past and…” And on and on it goes. They get to show how open-minded and humble they are, their opponents get a concession to a million and one imaginary evils at the hands of Christians, and everyone is happy.

I am not one of these Christians. I do not grant the wickedness of Christians, even Christian groups I am not a part of, purely to score humility points. If I’ve investigated the issue and come to the conclusion that the accusations are fundamentally wrong or warped, I will say as much. And when I see what comes across as a calculated bit of hate speech to try and demonize Christians, I’m going to start yelling, loudly, about the flaws I see, demand evidence, and point out when it either fails to be forthcoming, or is weak beyond excuse.

I suspect that may be the problem here. I can’t read Lothar’s mind, but I think he may have heard ‘Conservative Christians HATE gays and want to kill them’ so many times – and other Christians may have granted this without argument so many times – that he brings this up, and (while admitting that not every conservative Christian is like this) expresses an interest in having my agree that this sort of thing is bad, so we can continue the conversation civilly. And then I explode and I’m off yelling and challenging people to, you know, provide some goddamn evidence of these claims and pointing it out for the hate speech that it is, and he’s wondering what he did wrong.

Well, HE didn’t do anything wrong, most likely. He simply was played – he bought a line offered up by a nasty little culture, perpetuated by weak-willed Christians more interested in being humble than being honest, and he’s run into a guy who’s not going to let it slide so easily, and who actually gets pretty pissed off when the accusation comes up. I’ll cop to real evils, real mistakes, and I’ll point out the context and the situation those mistakes took place in. I will not cop to progressive monster-fantasies that they conjure up in large part to let themselves sleep easier at night when they hear about the latest abuses their more fascist leadership is diving into.

Perhaps that will set the record straight. Or perhaps not. But there is my attempt for the moment. “

 

First of all, I’m thankful to Crude for all his kind words about me. I’m also grateful he emphasized many important points EVERY culture warrior (both on the left and on the right) ought to respect if he or she is sincerely pursuing justice.

 

Many self-proclaimed “progressives” are just serving the Zeitgeist and will uncritically accept any kind of arguments which promote their views and give them the feeling of belonging to the “forces of Good”.

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For me, being a progressive means challenging all kinds of dogmas hindering human well-being. It goes hand in hand with a huge responsibility and entails earnestly seeking to understand your opponents before bedeviling them.

 

Having often talked with Conservative Evangelicals about homosexuality (both in the real world and on the Internet), I know that there is a truly hateful minority among them.

If you don’t believe me, go to any Conservative Evangelical forum with a fundamentalist trend, be always nice and respectful but tell them that you’re a queer atheist. Wait on their reactions and start measuring how well they satisfy the Golden Rule.

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I don’t know well John Shore, but I linked his post because his description fits all too well what is going on in the right-wing part of Evangelicalism. I largely  support his notion of “Christianity with humanity” even if I find he is not as objective as he thinks.

 

AGAIN, I defend the right of Conservative Christians to disapprove of homosexuality and defend their position without having to fear any professional repercussion. And I clearly recognize there are MANY Conservative Evangelicals who oppose homophobia.

 

Still, it would be unhealthy to deny there is also a deep-seated hatred in some corners of Evangelicalism. Progressive Evangelical theologian Randal Rauser gives us nice examples here: [1], [2], [3].

 

When atheists make claims about past Christian misdeeds I know to be factually wrong, I won’t accept this just for trying to be viewed as one of “these cool Christians”.

But I must also clearly face the truth that there are real atrocities committed by followers of Christ, both in the past and the present.

 

Homophobia, Conservaphobia and legitimate criticism

I have no big problem with people respectfully disagreeing with each other abouthomosexuality.

I know there are Christian Conservatives who consider a homosexual relationship sinful but DO really love gay people as their fellow humans.

As I made it clear, I’m against any kind of discrimination due to their honest moral conviction.

What infuriates me are the Conservatives who passionately hate homosexuals and dehumanize them.

So I think that the following logo was a welcome move:

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Given that, it is only fair that progressive Christians such as Michelle provided such an answer:

 

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This is how I want societal debates to be carried out.

 

 

A disheartening state of affairs: homosexual-hating Christians.

My heart is grieving when I’m reading such things about the situation in Uganda and other African countries.

 

Why the surprise at learning how much evangelicals hate gay people?

There’s been a lot of chatter around the Internet lately from Christians who, thanks to the World Vision debacle, have been surprised to learn just how deeply the evangelical right despises gay people.

How can that possibly be a surprise to anyone? Where in “You’re going to hell because God deplores you!” does anyone see even a hint of affection or respect?

The evangelical right’s attitude toward gay people has always been about pure hatred. The Bible’s just an excuse (and a shallow one at that) for that hatred.

The difference between the Westboro Baptist hate-mongers and the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant body in the United States) has never been a difference of substance; it’s only been a difference in style.

Why does anyone think that so many of us out here have been fighting so hard for so long to bring a new and freaking better Christianity into the world? LGBT people get beaten. They get killed. They get spat upon. They get run over. They get doused with gasoline and lit on fire. They get bullied so ferociously that they kill themselves rather than suffer another moment of it.

Those things don’t happen sometimes. They don’t happen every once in a while. They happen all the time, all over the world. And it’s all perpetrated in the name of Christianity. If you believe that the Bible teaches God condemns to hell all “unrepentant” gay people, then why wouldn’t you pound to death every gay person you saw? Doing so would be doing God’s work, by extending God’s will into the world. That’s what Christians are supposed to do.

We need a new Christianity. And we need it now. (I defined one, by the way. This shit’s not complicated.) And I think one of the first things we also need to do is be very clear about the fact that no one who believes that God finds gay people morally reprehensible is, in fact, a Christian.

They’re just not, okay? Saying “I’m a Christian, and gay people are going to hell” is like saying, “I’m a feminist, and women should remain pregnant and obey their husbands,” or “I’m not a racist, and white people should own black people.” One automatically cancels out the other.

No one gets to declare that they follow the Prince of Peace while at the same time declaring that gay people deserve to be burned alive forever. I don’t care who you are, or how respectable you pretend to be: that pig doesn’t fly. Ignorant bigotry is ignorant bigotry, whether it’s wearing a tie or not. I know it. You know it. And God sure as hell knows it.

To quote Jesus (quoting Isaiah):

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

To which Jesus then adds his own words:

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.

This is a war, folks. It’s always been a war. It was a war when the evangelicals said the Bible supports slavery. It was a war when they said the Bible supports denying women the vote. And it’s a war when they say the Bible condemns homosexuality.

In a war people choose sides. They have to, because they realize that not doing so will only cause more death and suffering.

If you’re a Christian who is just now realizing that you are part of the problem if you don’t refute the Christian right with anywhere near the vigor with which they so horrendously persecute gay people, then hallelujah for World Vision’s ignorant cowardice.

The middle ground is where people fall and die. Stop standing there. Come to our side. Join us in fighting the good fight. We who know that the Bible does not condemn gay people will win this fight, because God is always on the side of what is right and just.

The sooner you join the winning team, the better for all. And most certainly the better for you, should you have to, say, answer to God tomorrow for why you waited.

And make a NALT video already.

I don’t hate Conservative Evangelicals. I don’t feel (in general) that I am a better person than them. But I am so worn down after seeing what they are doing in Christ’s name.

John Shore is right that if you believe that God is going to eternally torture most homosexuals, why should we not as well tolerate and even support violence against them?
I am disgusted by the Conservative evangelical attitude towards homosexuals and how they fail to consider Jesus priorities.

I want them to repent and sincerely begin to try loving their gay neighbors.

I pray for all Gays, Christians and non-Christians, who are being persecuted for the way they were born. May the Father equip you with courage.

And I pray that God’s love will be poured down into the hearts of their oppressors.

 

Crude’s concern: progressive Christians and firing political opponents

GayMarriage

As a progressive Christian, I have repeatedly argued that homosexuality is NOT a sinful lifestyle and that committed gay couples should be welcomed into the Church. This has clearly infuriated many of my Conservative readers who feel that they are being bullied into accepting gay marriage.

Crude wrote:

“I have seen the “progressives” defend laws that force Christians to take part in gay weddings – knowing full well that these Christians will be targeted by activists and forced to compromise their principles. They do it with glee, smiling happily and feeling all warm at the thought that somewhere out there a person who disapproves of gay marriage is going to have their feet put to the fire, and that if they don’t do as they’re fucking told, the government will step in and punish them severely. I see these “progressives” cheering when someone is fired from their job when they’re outed as having supported Proposition 8 in California, or if they disapprove of gay marriage. I do not consider these minor issues. These are situations where government – the men with guns and the power to take your property, your children, your livelihood – are being used as the tool of choice to advance a political agenda that ultimately comes down to requiring people to give their active blessing to any and all sexual acts deemed ‘good’ by the morality police. The “progressive” Christians know this. They embrace it. They say “Civil Rights!” and that’s all that needs to be said, as far as they’re concerned, no matter how goddamn inane it is to try and extend civil rights to a sexual act….”

 

Common ground between Conservative and progressive Christians

 

He further wrote

“But I will say one thing. Lothar has written critically about France’s historical attempts to purge the German language from their country, in the interests of having a nice, unified french-speaking nation. He has called this cultural genocide. But the fact is, cultural genocide is exactly what he ultimately endorses with regards to conservative Christians, more or less across the board. I say it with a heavy heart – it is hard to criticize someone who has been consistently considerate with me like this. But the idea of having common ground with “progressives” now truly appears to me as little more than the grounds for a work of fiction, one that is particularly fantastical – and it was that hope for common ground that drove a lot of my silence and hesitancy previously. The hope is gone.”

 

But Conservative and progressive Christians do have a strong common ground. We all believe that every good law should serve the well being and flourishing of mankind, an aspect which stands at the very center of Jesus ethical teaching, as I once argued.

GoldenRule

We might disagree about how this plays out (and whether some dogmas widely regarded as sacred are conductive to the blooming of our kind) but we certainly hold fast to the same principle.

Furthermore, we also believe that the main goal of our existence is to become increasingly better persons, to grow in our capacity to give and receive love and to fulfill the Golden Rule. Given this, it is extremely depressing to see people in BOTH camps resorting to a hateful rhetoric rather than trying to understand each others and having a constructive dialog.

It is never right to be  aggressive towards nice and respectful opponents.

 

With this all in mind, I’m going explain why progressive Christians ought to actively oppose firing people on the only ground of their being against Gay marriage.

 

The lovelessness of political liberalism

First of all, it is an extraordinarily unloving and disproportionate punishment for this alleged “offense”. Most people don’t do this because they are mean but because they are sincerely convinced it is wrong.

Even as I was a secular Frenchman, I was against a gay lifestyle because I had many prejudices, projected my own heterosexual disgust onto the objective reality and (more importantly) hadn’t read the story and suffering of committed and decent homosexuals. But I never had any evil intention.

 

Now let us suppose that John is a middle-class American worker who is sincerely convinced that practiced homosexuality is wrong yet also oppose violence and oppression against homosexuals. Let us now suppose it became known he refused to participating in a gay wedding in his enterprise and was consequently fired.
He did not manage to find a new job and livelihood and one year later he live in a poor apartment and his family has no longer access to any good healthcare.

Could you really look him and his children in the eyes and say: “You got what you deserve!” ?

 

Promotion of homophobia

In a previous post, I argued that by systematically refusing to recognize the reality of anti-white racism (and confusing criticism of multi-culturalism with incitement to racial hatred), the French political establishment fosters the racism of white people by making them resentful.

I think that bullying people (or even worse firing them) because they oppose homosexual marriage has pretty much the same effect: it increases homophobia instead of promoting tolerance towards gay people. This can also be observed in France where governmental pressure for defending gay marriage has led to an increased homophobia which is all too visible in many French forums, chats and social medias.

To reuse my example above, how would John now struggling with poverty react if he received a petition asking him to step in on behalf of persecuted Gay people in Uganda?

It is not implausible at all he would react by screaming “I don’t give a fuck about them!” whereas he would have been touched and supported them before getting fired.

 

Striving for a just and moral society

File:Brendan Eich Mozilla Foundation official photo.jpg

(Brendan Eich: former president of Mozilla fired for his past opposition to gay marriage)

 

Consequently, I exhort all my progressive Christian readers to speak out against the firing of opponents to Gay marriage and any other political persecution.

It is worth noting I am far from being the only progressive Christian with such an opinion.

Sheila, one of my regular commentators, wrote:

“I understand Crude’s frustration, however. I think it is wrong to go after someone’s livelihood because that person disagrees with your point of view. What’s not being reported enough about the Mozilla kerfuffle is the fact that the IRS leaked his tax return. That’s a clear violation of the law, but no one will be held accountable. (IMHO)

I am in favor of gay marriage. But I visited Chik-Fil-A on “CFA Day” because it is wrong to try to destroy a man’s business over his personal political views. If someone on the Right tried to destroy Starbucks, I’d waste my money on its overpriced coffee to show my support for its right to support gay marriage.

No one on either the Right or the Left ought to be targeted for total destruction because of a personal opinion.

This nation is about freedom. It gets messy when diametrically opposed civil liberties clash. But no one should seek the destruction of, or the power of the government against, another person based on political views. It’s abhorrent.

I am sure others will come out too.

 

Distinguishing between mere criticism and bullying

 

That said, I want all my conservative readers to know that I will keep arguing in favor of gay marriage in the months (and probably years, if not centuries) to follow. But I will try to do this in a respectful way, trying to guess how I would react if my ideas were criticized in a similar way.

Falling infinitely short of perfection, it is inevitable I will make mistakes and write things I will regret shortly thereafter (a problem which is gravely compounded by my own impulsive nature).

 

Therefore I’d be glad if one could then send me an email at: lotharson57@gmail.com_ (the final _ stands here for avoiding my email to get massively spammed as this recently occurred).

Who is my gay neighbor?

Progressive Evangelical theologian Randal Rauser wrote a new great post about Conservative Christians and their attitude towards the persecution of homosexuals.

Should conservative Christians care about the persecution of Uganda’s homosexuals? I certainly thought so. But it looks like not everybody agrees as I faced some strong criticism in the discussion thread to my article on the topic. (You can skim the discussion thread to find it, if you like.) The hostility, so far as I could see, was shaped to a significant degree by an endless succession of clips of gay pride parades on the evening news.

I have to tell you that the gay people I’ve met are so much more boring than this.

They’re also far more noble than that. (The evangelicals I know are also far more noble than that which one finds in the evening news. But that’s a different topic.)

So how are homosexuals nobler? Consider a couple examples.

In 2000 I was living in London, England. There I was sitting on the Tube. The car was crowded. A couple poofs were sitting nearby. I judged them. Poofs. Yck.

Then the subway stopped. Folks got off and others got on. Among the new passengers was a little old lady. I looked at her and never thought twice.  I had a seat and she didn’t. That’s just the way things are. Too bad for her.

But maybe not…

And then one of the “poofs” jumped out of his seat and offered it to the elderly lady. In a moment I saw that I was the priest shuffling busily by and the gay man I had dismissed with my cavalier, self-righteousness gaze was the Good Samaritan.

Ouch.

Fast-forward five years.

We’re at Buddy Wonton Chinese Restaurant in Edmonton. The family is sitting by a large picture window about to have our meal when a drunk man — presumably homeless — stumbles up to the window and starts staring at my plate of food. I tolerate this for about thirty seconds … and then I wave my hand for him to move on. A switch flips in the man and he starts screaming at me. “I’m going to f*$#^ kill you!” he screams.’

I don’t feel threatened. But I also don’t feel an inclination to go out and confront this man. So I tell the poor Chinese busboy to do so. He turns ashen white and turns to the door to go out and face the wrath of the angry homeless man.

There are a couple of lesbians nearby. I hadn’t paid them any heed prior to this moment. But suddenly one of the ladies, a solid gal with a brushcut, jumps up and follows the poor, terrified Chinese busboy outside. She walks up to the homeless man and gives him a piece of her mind. She tells him what time it is. She tells him to move on. She’s got confidence and courage. Eventually he lowers his head and shuffles on. I am left to enjoy my meal with my family. She walks back inside and joins her consort. I eat my meal and say nothing.

Shame on me. I inadvertently instigated the confrontation with the homeless man. And I left it to the lesbian stranger to defend my honor.

If anything, I am the one that needs forgiveness.”

I once rewrote a parable of Jesus in a way very similar to these real stories.

I made the same experience. Even as I was an atheist, I had prejudices against gay people and viewed them as perverted. Getting to know them personally and hearing their testimonies utterly changed my attitude.

I was especially moved by the life stories of Christian homosexuals who struggled very hard to get rid of their “sinful” sexual orientation, prayed, fasted, took a lot of drugs without any success.

The terrible suffering they went though before accepting their homosexual nature deeply touched me.

All the time I hear fundamentalists telling me that some people might have a pedophilic nature but this gives them no excuse for acting according to it.

This is obviously true, but they forget the main difference: it has never been proven that committed lifelong homosexual relationships are harmful in any way.

So following the teaching of Jesus, we ought to welcome them into the Church.

Bild