Somehow it appears that I’ve gotten into a blog battle with anti-gay theologian Dr. Robert Gagnon. The amusement with which I’ve approached his often-wacky proclamations has not sat well with the good doctor and he’s seen fit to fling back adjectives and hyperbole in response.
And, like so very many of the anti-gays, he doesn’t read carefully, makes wild assumptions, and lashes out indiscriminately. It almost makes you wonder if Gagnon had the same Junior High writing class as Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, and James Hartline.
In Box Turtle Kincaid Peddles Distorted Orthodoxy Test While Promoting Immorality, Gagnon takes great offense over my commentary questioning his propensity to finding words on a page that appear not have been written there. In fact, he felt compelled to answer in two volumes.
Part 1: The Problem with the Call for Retranslating the Heidelberg Catechism (“PDF version with proper pagination and format”, 5 pages) deals with the issue of a Catechism which some in the church wish to have revised back to its original wording. Because the additions (in 1962, I believe) condemn “homosexual perversion”, Gagnon isn’t about to let it go without a whine.
His reasons, while way too lengthy and numerous to discuss, are worth reading if you appreciate pomposity and self importance. Some are quite comical. For example: “Changing any text in the PCUSA Book of Confessions is a time-consuming (and costly) process” and the only reason for revisiting the translation is “a less-than-fully-honest homosexualist agenda”. And, my favorite, the reasons the German Catechism didn’t have “homosexual perversion” in it originally was because “it would scandalize children.”
But for pure comedy sake, Part 1 doesn’t even hold a candle to Part 2: Jesus’ Distance Healing of an Official’s “Boy” and Kincaid’s Bogus Charge of My “Unorthodox Approach to Doctrine”.
In this 19 page rant, Gagnon repeats all the reasons why it is simply impossible that the “homosexualists” could possibly have a correct understanding of the story about Jesus healing the servant (or slave) of the Roman Centurion. And to do so Gagnon lays out again his supposition that the Roman Centurion was neither Roman nor Centurion and the story is about a Jewish civic official and his son.
As in my original post, i do not make any assumptions about the historicity of the Biblical tale (a fact which avoided Gagnon’s notice). I have no notion as to whether the individual under discussion was Jewish or Roman, civic or military, or whether the suffering one was a slave, a lover, or a son. I even allow for the possibility that the tale is allegorical in nature and does not seek to accurately record a historical occurance.
But I do know at least a bit about the two warring schools of thought in Christianity. And I know that Gagnon pitches his tent with those who see Scripture in terms of sin, condemnation, judgment and wrath.
And I also know that the others in that camp are not much impressed by claims that the words of the Bible are in error. I’ve sat through too many sermons which included statements like, “Jesus told the woman at the well to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell her sin sometimes, or only when she wanted, but the word of God says SIN NO MORE. Can I get an amen?”
If the Bible says that Jesus healed the servant of a Roman Centurion, then by golly He did. The Bible said it, they believe it, and that settles it.
So I repeat what I said back in June:
I think that Gagnon is taking steps that ultimately will not prove to be beneficial to those who seek to use him as an anti-gay source. His desire to read what isn’t there and to ignore what is present will not sit well with those who insist on a literalist interpretation of Scripture.
I don’t much care whether Gagnon lists 12 reasons why he thinks Jesus wouldn’t be running with the homosexualists (or homosexualistarians or any other sneer word he wants to create). And while I find his assumptions to be laughable, I’m not going to spend time trying to refute him.
Instead I’ll just provide you with just one of Gagnon’s many wacky statements, one which I think tells us what he’s all about. Although Gagnon seems to conflate Jim and me into one, he does find on the site those whom he seems to consider to be his intellectual equals, those with whom he finds common cause, allies and buddies one might say:
Actually his treatment of me, disrespectful and distorted as it is, is one of Kincaid’s “kinder and gentler” moments. Elsewhere (here I peruse only a few of his articles) we encounter such descriptions as “paranoid,” “incoherent,” “nutbaggery,” “frothing lunacy,” “lunatic ranting,” and “despicable coward.” He calls Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth “Porno Pete” and Matt Barber, Director for Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, as “Bam Bam.”
Sally Kern. Orson Scott Card. Matt “Bam Bam” Barber (his boxing name). Peter La Barbera.
And Robert Gagnon.
(and just where did they all go to grammar school?)
Gagnon Rants On And On
My Very Favorite Gagnonism
Robert Gagnon and the Grand Box Turtle Whirl of Immorality
Clarifying Robert Gagnon’s Tortured Logic
Gagnon Employs Tortured Logic
Robert Gagnon’s Unorthodox Approach to Doctrine