103 responses

  1. FriendOfJonathan
    July 20, 2009

    AJD

    You are painting a distorted picture through semantic games.

    “They aren’t “pseudo-Christian homophobes.” I don’t mean to paint all Christians as homophobic, but they’re acting on the Christian religion’s nearly 2,000-year history”

    A faith is NOT defined by it’s history, as you try to do above, but by it’s core beliefs.

    The core beliefs of Christianity do NOT included condemnation of homosexuality. Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality, and very vocal about injustice.

    The history you wrote of, which represents a narrow slice of the lives and faith of Christians, some 700 years out of 2000, reflects only the abuse and distortion of Christ’s teaching, hence my use of the term “pseudo”. When you buy into that false teaching, allowing homophobes like Mr. Brown to redefine Christianity as a weapon of violence, you actually assist the homophobes.

    The fact is that all components of human society – all religions, all creeds, all ideologies, all philosophies, all systems of business and government, have their own history of violence, persecution, destruction, and prejudice. Christianity is not unique in that regard. The fact that a faith, any faith, including Christianity, has included within its members those who committed crimes against others, speaks only about the nature of human beings in general, for every segment of human society has had within it people who acted to harm others. The fact that a faith, any faith, including Christianity, has been used to excuse, cover, even justify harm, speaks only to the inventiveness of some human beings to make excuses for hurting others, for again, every field of endeavor humans have come up with, has been abused and used to excuse violence, discrimination, and destruction.

    At least be honest and admit that science and philosophy have equally been abused to create excuses for abusing and discriminating against GLBTQ people, among others.

    Yes, some of the most visible elements of Christianity, primarily the authoritative elements in Catholicism, and later some protestant denominations, have used their religion as an excuse for abusing GLBTQ people. Yet all along, there were segments of Christian society that did not embrace homophobia and ‘homosexuality is sin’ theology. And today, some of the most committed homophobes I know, are atheists – committed to pushing anti-gay theology as the strawman justification for pushing their anti-Christian prejudice.

    The issue is not Christian teaching, for Christ’s core, explicit teachings condemn prejudice of any kind, including prejudice against homosexuals.

    The issue, the wrongness, is lust for power over others, something that has led various humans to violate the principles of every religion, every political system, every philosophy, and every other ideal, art, invention in human history. And, AJD, that hunger to assert authority over other humans beings is something that non-Christians, and atheists, are just as prone to, even today. No group of humans is free of it.

    If you condemn Christians, en masse, for the sake of those who have used their faith to dominate others, you must condemn every other group of people as well – no group’s history is free of acts of domination and coercion.

  2. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    Mr. Brown,

    “The burden of proof is on your side, since we are and have always been a totally non-violent people. ”

    Bearing false witness and giving false testmony are condemned in the Bible, repeatedly, explicitly.

    Anti-gay theology IS verbal violence, Mr. Brown. The reality is that people who believe anti-gay theology inflict serious physical harm, as an expression of that theology, the theology you teach, day in and day out.

    I notice that you have not disputed the quotes here that you have objected to employment equality for GLBTQ people. I expect that you would object strenuously if you were denied any civil right because of your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, or any other trait.

    If you object to be discriminated against, for any reason, but advocate discrimination against homosexuals, then you are in deliberate violation of Christ’s command ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.

    Your prejudice against GLBTQ people is a deliberate rejection of Christ, just as any racist’s prejudice, or any anti-Semite’s prejudice, or the actions of anyone who harms another, is a deliberate, willful act of disobediance.

    Your prayers might be more usefully directed at the log in your own eye, rather than the splinter you imagine you see in the eyes, and lives, of GLBTQ people.

    Frankly, you and your peers would be better off concentrating on purging your own lives of sin and imperfection, rather than obsessing with and judging the lives of others.

    Until you are sinless, Mr. Brown, mind your own business.

  3. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    “One thing it does mean is no near nakedness in public, and no suck your pals tongue out kissing and groping. BE Gentlemen . . .A quick peck kiss in public is fine, mouth to mouth reuscitation is not, groping is not.”
    and “Just do as str8 people do, and you will do so much to gain the support of the middle ground people.”

    Steve – you do realize that your first statemente conflicts with the second. Right?

    There are hets who are groping, grabbing, swapping swit, swabbing tonsils, you name it, in public, 24/7/365, for millenia. The mass media is inundated, 24/7/365, year after year, with images of hetersexual physical, carnal intimacy, and not just as expressions of love. Het foreplay is or has been used to sell every commodity imaginable, from cigarettes and cell phones, to septic tanks and automobile oil.

    Same-sex PDA’s at Pride are nothing in comparison to constant disply of het PDA’s at any public high school, or Mardi Gras, or bus station, on TV, or church parking lot, rock concert, movie theatre.

    Just FYI, of course.

  4. Timothy (TRiG)
    July 21, 2009

    FriendOfJonathan,

    I don’t know what right you feel you have to define who is and who is not a Christian. I’m an atheist. I have no such right. For me, as an atheist, to tell someone who calls himself a Christian that he actually is not one, would be an astonishing act of hubris.

    So, to my mind, anyone who thinks of him-/herself as a Christian, is a Christian.

    And, by that definition, we can probably agree that the vast majority of Christians have a theological disagreement with homosexuality, and very many are homophobic.

    TRiG.

  5. The Lauderdale
    July 21, 2009

    TRiG,
    Speaking as someone who is neither atheist nor Christian, where does FriendOfJonathan say how to define who is or is not a Christian? As far as I could see, (s)he was talking about how to define what Christianity itself is or is not.

  6. Alex
    July 21, 2009

    Dr. Brown,

    You said: “The problem is that gay activists with a political agenda will be making a very public statement in the heart of our city at Pride Charlotte.”

    No, the problem is that you see the free expression of an opposing viewpoint in “your” city as a problem.

    And when you claim, “…we are and have always been a totally non-violent people,” I sincerely hope you’re referring only to your church and not Christians in general. Think what you will about the LGBT community; at least the murder, torture, and imprisonment of countless people has never been part of OUR agenda. http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2002/10/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by.php

    Christians have a long and well-documented history of violence toward homosexuals. I hope you can understand why we’re a bit distrustful.

  7. Toryn
    July 21, 2009

    I invite all LGBT and allied people to Pride Charlotte on Saturday, July 25th. While there is no march or parade, we do offer 2 stages of great entertainment and vendors representing everything from financial services to the arts, and of course, plenty of rainbow merchandise for sale!

    The venue itself, Gateway Village, as well as the city streets that are part of the festival, will be fully monitored by police and security. Our goal is for everyone to have a safe and fun Pride, without being discouraged or harassed by anyone. The police and security are aware of the protest, and have been planning accordingly.

    As Steve Smith commented above, the best strategy really is to ignore the protesters. We encourage our attendees to do that.

    I look forward to seeing the community come out to support Pride Charlotte this weekend!

    Toryn
    Pride Charlotte

  8. Roger
    July 21, 2009

    Mr. Brown´s statements make it startling obvious, what the game is, and do not be fooled, this shades of “chritians” are ALWAYS playing games, in order to gain power and money. The Master plan here is clearly defined in a few phrases:
    “the police are fully aware of this, as we met together and laid out our plans clearly” and “If there are ugly confrontations, they will not be initiated by us or conducted by us”.

    Tha plan here is a bait game, they mass harass the GLBTQ participants, expecting a reaction that they will use endlessly as a weapon agains us. Just remember the “foam-cross-lady from california”… that´s the spirit.

    Their language is absurdly loaded. Mr. Brown can shout “god forbid” as much as he wants, but the evidence is there for all to see VERBAL ABUSE IS STILL ABUSE, and SPIRITUAL ABUSE IS EVEN WORSE.

    The Charlotte Pride organizers need to reverse the trend orienting all participants to not give in to the provocations, if possible to have gestures of kindness back at then (again the hot dogs come to mind, but flowers will have a nice effect too) and have it taped so WE CAN USE IT for our PR efforts in the future. Confront the christofacists with sweetness and they will be at a loss, because they are thrilled with the prospect of a war, their rethoric shows how much they treasure abusing, controling and opressing in the name of God, (hardly a new trend, but still shamefull all the same)as a desguise to their own petty wordly dreams of dominance and power hunger.

  9. Priya Lynn
    July 21, 2009

    Mr. Brown said “Priya, I have been totally consistent in my use of language in dealing with the GLBT community for the last five years”.

    I never said you weren’t. What I said is that you use two different tones depending on who your audience is. When you deal with the gay community you try to sugar coat your hate and when you talk to the anti-gay Christians your language is full of violent overtones and war rhetoric. You admit as much on your own website where you try to defend your use of violent language by stating that Jesus did the same thing. This isn’t something from 10 years ago, its what you are doing this very day and have done consistently going back in time.
    You are not a decent person, you seek a violent confrontation which you’ll then disingenously claim was all the gays fault.

  10. AJD
    July 21, 2009

    The Lauderdale: FriendOfJonathan defines certain people as Christians and others as pseudo-Christians based on their beliefs about gay people. In reality, a Christian is anyone who calls himself such.

    And I agree with TRiG: The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world are homophobic, and Christianity has been homophobic for the overwhelming majority of its history. It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality; Paul did, and not in a nice way, as did the Old Testament. You can argue about what those passages “really” say, but they have consistently been interpreted by practitioners of Abrahamic religions as prohibiting gay sex. All the Abrahamic religions have a history of sexual repression, which is why Jews and Muslims practice circumcision and why women are regarded more as property than as people.

    You can choose to interpret the Bible any way you want, but there will always be people who interpret it the other way.

  11. ncrev
    July 21, 2009

    I hope that the gay-affirming faith communities in Charlotte are planning to turn out members to Pride, as well. For too long, folks like Brown have tried to make the story “Christians vs. gays” when there are now many affirming congregations in the area. Not all Christians side with Brown, thank God.

  12. TJMcFisty
    July 21, 2009

    I 100% disagree with AJD and TRiG. It does matter that Jesus didn’t address homosexuality since it’s the religion/faith named after him–remember?

    Jesus wouldn’t stand for the kind of behavior Wood et al are advocating to their followers at all. If it was a Usury Pride Parade (in/near a church), given past performance, then yeah, probably have a big problem with it.

    FriendofJonathan has every right to throw a little judge down on people believing they’re acting in Christ’s name when they’re clearly not. Hell, I ain’t a Christian at all, but I sure know ‘em when I see/hear ‘em. These guys ain’t it–just wearing the clothes of one.

  13. Penguinsaur
    July 21, 2009

    “Same-sex PDA’s at Pride are nothing in comparison to constant disply of het PDA’s at any public high school, or Mardi Gras, or bus station, on TV, or church parking lot, rock concert, movie theatre.”

    Yeah but We’ve all seen it before, a straight couple can be dry humping on a park bench and no one cares, but if two men kiss in public their being ‘lewd’ and ‘forcing their lifestyle’ on everyone. And of course if anyone does anything the least bit perverted the bigots are gonna snap a picture and parade it sround as an example of everyone there.

  14. Ken R
    July 21, 2009

    AJD Said: It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality; Paul did, and not in a nice way, as did the Old Testament.

    And they have raised up Paul as some co-redeemer and bow to his writings more often than they have Jesus’ words. Paul was but a man. A sinner like the rest of us. Yet they follow him more often than Christ. So the name Paulists do fit them quite nicely.

    Many within conservative Christianity have divorced and remarried despite Jesus himself saying it is adulterous (except in the case when one partner is unfaithful to the other). How can they justify it? How can some justify the Prosperity Gospel? How can some justify their fight to protect the unborn but demand the death penalty all in the name of an eye for an eye? How can they say to the GLBT community we love you but fight against us every step of the way when we fight for our equal rights?

    It is written that you shall know them by their fruits. And from what I have seen and read over the last 3 years their “fruits” have spoiled and rotted. Its time for them to replace the fruit.

  15. Peter
    July 21, 2009

    Great piece, Jim. For people looking for more info on Engle, PFAW did a report on his Prop 8 work last year:
    http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_prop_8_call_to_extremism
    and follows him on Right Wing Watch: http://rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/lou-engle

  16. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    Trig,

    I would appreciate if you and AJD refrain from posting false claims about the contents of my posts. If you noticed, false claims were a dominant part of Mr. Brown’s replies, and your use of them was uncomfortable similar.

    Trig, I did not define who is, or who is not, a Christian. I wrote: “A faith is NOT defined by it’s history, as you try to do above, but by it’s core beliefs”, which is a very different thing. I stated that a faith is defined by its beliefs.

    The trouble with your statement ‘anyone who thinks of him-/herself as a Christian, is a Christian’ is that it is nonsense. Words have meanings, Trig, and for a word to apply to someone, the meaning must match. Christian means follower of Christ, and while that is a broad category, it is not an amorphous anything goes definition. There is a lengthy, documented set of ideas that Christianity is based on: the teaching of Jesus Christ. Beliefs that contradict those teachings, which includes ‘homosexuality is sin’ are not, by definition, Christian teaching.

    The fact that some people who call themselves Christians believe “homosexuality is sin’ is as irrelevant to the nature of Christianity as the fact that some of them have Ford pickup trucks. No sane person would look at the parking lot of a Baptist congregation and define Christianity by the cars parked there, yet so many opponents of Christianity define the faith itself by the actions or thoughts of some of its followers.

    This is worth arguing and correcting you about, because the more the myth ‘Christianity is anti-gay’ is perpetuated and bought into, the harder it is for GLBTQ people, and progressive, non-homophobic people of faith to reduce anti-gay prejudice in this country. Because the lie ‘God hates gays’ is used by professional homophobes, it is crucial to refute that lie, disprove and reject it at every reasonable opportunity.

    Personally, I am not willing to surrender Christianity to the homophobes just so that atheists can have a strawman to complain about.

    It is also important because Christ’s teachings contain explicit statements that negate the claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Jesus gave a clear test for accurate teaching versus false teaching, and the claim ‘homosexuality is sin’ fails that test. When people, including non-Christians, buy into the fundamentalist theology, you make it more difficult to use what Christ actually said to change the minds of Christians who are also homophobes.

    Additionally, even by your false definition, your ‘vast majority of Christians’ demonstrably false. While poll after poll reports that 80% of more of Americans consider themselves Christians, support for GLBTQ civil equality is nearly evenly split. And there are plenty of non-Christian homophobes in the U.S, including atheist homophobes. So, that near fifty percent of Americans who do support civil equality for GLBTQ people (to varying degrees admittedly) – are mostly Christians.

  17. Alan
    July 21, 2009

    Not sure I agree with TRiG that the “vast” majority of Christians are against gays. A simple majority, I could believe. But I think I would have noticed if a “vast” majority of Christians were anti-gay. Despite the fact that I attended a number of different churches in a number of different denominations, I rarely heard anti-gay sentiments, something I would have expected if the “vast” majority were anti-gay.

  18. Priya Lynn
    July 21, 2009

    Alan, I’m no fan of Christians, but I’d agree with you, I suspect that its not the “vast” majority of Christians who are against gays, but perhaps a simple majority. I’d also say that for that majority opposition to gays is one of their core beliefs regardless of Jesus’s muteness on the matter. Christians believe a variety of things that weren’t stated by Jesus or even in the bible, like “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

  19. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    AJD, you falsely claimed “FriendOfJonathan defines certain people as Christians and others as pseudo-Christians based on their beliefs about gay people. In reality, a Christian is anyone who calls himself such.”

    Not only is that NOT what I wrote, your second statement is fallacious as well.

    The really interesting thing to me is that both of you completely neglected the meat and substance of my posts, in order to make false, fallacious statements instead. I realize that many atheists, non-Christians have a strong need to falsely portray Christianity as defined by and intrinsically homophobic, but that is just as deceitful and vile a portrayal as any claim coming from Paul Cameron or Focus on the Family.

    When you lie about Christians, it makes it difficult to criticize homophobes for telling lies about GLBTQ people. The posts by both of you are strikingly similar to the rhetoric that comes from anti-gay clergy.

    Which reinforces my prior point that both of you have ignored – the core challenge, the heart of the matter, is not the interpretation of religious texts, but some people’s hunger to have power over others. In my opinion, the two of you seek to exert power over people of faith, and so employ religious prejudice, just as homophobic clergy seek to exert power over people, and so employ anti-gay prejudice.

    Now, AJD, making false claims about my posts does not lend credibility to your subsequent claims.
    “The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world are homophobic, and Christianity has been homophobic for the overwhelming majority of its history.” Neither of these statements are fact, AJD. At best they are prejudicial opinion, an opinion that contradicts the evidence. Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity. Judaism’s history regarding homosexuality is even more nuanced and convoluted, and Islam’s history harder to tease out.

    “It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality;”

    It absolutely does matter to people who care about accuracy, because Christianity holds Jesus Christ as the highest authority to ever manifest in physical form. Paul’s writing are not equal in weight, particularly since he occasionally contradicts Jesus. It may not matter to you, if your goal is simply to manufacture an excuse for anti-Christian prejudice, just as the truth about sexual orientation doesn’t matter to Paul Cameron and his peers. In fact, many a homophobe has flatly said “it doesn’t matter” to testimony from GLBTQ people, as you have done here about Christianity. That terrible parallel should make you think.

    As for sexual repression, the truth of the matter is that most cultures, Christian or not, Abrahamic or not, have repressed women at some point in history. The reality is that the efforts in Europe and the America’s to advance equality for women, has come primarily from people of faith. The reality is that most of the effort for racial civil equality has come from people of faith, and most of the effort for sexual orientation civil equality has also come from people of faith.

    It would be greatly appreciated, AJD, and a sign of integrity, if fundamentalist atheists would stop trying to exaggerate the negative element of Christian history, and stop trying to pretend that every other element of human existence has the same problems and abuses. Your efforts are really no different from that of the homophobe who points to the misdeeds of some gay men to validate ugly and vicious claims about all GLBTQ people.

  20. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    If folk continue to alienate progressive Christians, particularly GLBTQ Christians, we will lose the one resource capable of actually changing the minds of fundamentalists Christians.

    Athiests, agnostics, etc. are not going to convince ANY fundamentalist to reject God on their say-so, but, a progressive Christian has a good chance of getting such a person to reconsider, study and examine the Scripture used to fabricate ‘homosexuality is sin’ – and consistently, when non-authority figure Christians make such an effort –

    they ultimately reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ as a fraud. I have personally seen it happen many times, many, many time.

    Priya, it is not accurate to define what Christians believe by the visible and vocal 1% you see on TV. From my experience, not even homophobic people who call themselves Christians actually believe, much less live, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. It is nothing more than a trite, canned rebuttal created solely to shut down discussion.

    I would also remind the non-Christians here, particularly those who are GLBTQ folk as well, that just as GLBTQ people do not like it when homophobes define us for us, or define us by some outrageous example, it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.

    GLBTQ people get rightfully angry when Cameron or his peers distort research, text, testimony to make his prejudice, we should avoid mimicking his behavior when talking about faith and religion.

  21. Priya Lynn
    July 21, 2009

    Friend of Jonathon said “Which reinforces my prior point that both of you have ignored – the core challenge, the heart of the matter, is not the interpretation of religious texts, but some people’s hunger to have power over others. In my opinion, the two of you seek to exert power over people of faith, and so employ religious prejudice, just as homophobic clergy seek to exert power over people, and so employ anti-gay prejudice.”

    Certainly for myself and I suspect for those two there is no desire to exert power over religious people. None of us are trying to deny them the right to marry, the right to not be fired or evicted for being religious, or any other right at all so you’re way off the mark there.

    Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

    That’s most certainly not the case. From the time the first Roman emperor converted to Christianity in roughly 300 AD Christians began persecuting and executing gays. From the very beginning of Christianity the Christian writings were anti-gay and even before that the foundations of Christianity preached death to gays.

    Friend of Jonathon said “Priya, it is not accurate to define what Christians believe by the visible and vocal 1% you see on TV. From my experience, not even homophobic people who call themselves Christians actually believe, much less live, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’”.

    LOL, oh, I’d agree that few Chjristinas live that statement, but in my experience virtually every one claims to believe it. Do you have any proof that its only the “visible and vocal 1% you see on TV” who make that statement? Your wish that that be true doesn’t make it true.

  22. Marcus French
    July 21, 2009
  23. Christopher Waldrop
    July 21, 2009

    Friend of Jonathan said,

    I would also remind the non-Christians here, particularly those who are GLBTQ folk as well, that just as GLBTQ people do not like it when homophobes define us for us, or define us by some outrageous example, it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.

    And as I’ve said repeatedly, there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community. I’m sure there are tolerant Christians, but why are they either so powerless or so often silent, particularly when it comes to GLBT rights?

    I don’t want to define all Christians by those examples, but it’s extremely rare that I’ll meet someone who says “I’m a Christian” who is also tolerant of GLBT people–unless they happen to be a GLBT person.

  24. Jon
    July 21, 2009

    “I suspect that its not the “vast” majority of Christians who are against gays, but perhaps a simple majority. I’d also say that for that majority opposition to gays is one of their core beliefs regardless of Jesus’s muteness on the matter.”

    I really don’t believe this is true. If you talked to most of the Christians attending religious services on any weekend, visiting all of the Catholic and Methodist and Lutheran and UCC and Episcopal and Presbyterian churches along with the churches that are hostile to us (many of the Baptists and the Pentecostals and the fundamentalists), I think you would find that most of those people (all of whom would consider themselves Christians) don’t think much about glbt people one way or the other. I suspect the majority would favor protection against job and housing discrimination and would favor hate crimes laws, while they might also be uncomfortable at the thought of same-sex marriage. It’s a mistake to think that one vocal subgroup speaks for all Christians — fundamentalists speak only for themselves, and we buy into their argument when we accept that they are speaking on behalf of all or even a majority of Christians.

  25. Timothy Kincaid
    July 21, 2009

    Christopher

    And as I’ve said repeatedly, there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community. I’m sure there are tolerant Christians, but why are they either so powerless or so often silent, particularly when it comes to GLBT rights?

    Perhaps you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

    Just last week the Episcopal Church voted to allow bishops to bless gay marriages and decided to start collecting liturgy so as to select nationwide language used for such blessings.

    And you may have forgotten that Prop 8 was opposed by all six CA Episcopal Bishops, both No. and So. CA United Methodists, the United Church of Christ and litereally hundreds of other churches.

    It can be easy some times to read anti-gay rantings and see our enemies without noticing our friends. After all, the enemies are more dangerous and thus require more attention.

    But our friends are there, are visible, and are taking ever stronger steps of support.

    I’ve noticed that just within the last year or so, whenever a local ordinance or gay issue comes up, there is a local clergyman supporting us in the press. It used to just be gay folk v. the preachers, but recently it is almost without exception a Christian minister supporting our rights.

    I challenge you: over the next week or two follow all of the local stories about gay issues. See if I’m right.

  26. Timothy Kincaid
    July 21, 2009

    Jon

    It’s a mistake to think that one vocal subgroup speaks for all Christians — fundamentalists speak only for themselves, and we buy into their argument when we accept that they are speaking on behalf of all or even a majority of Christians.

    I ran into this figure today:

    About one-quarter of America’s adults are evangelical Christians, and about two-thirds of them are seen as forming the conservative base of the Christian right.

    In other words, about 17% of Americans are trying to speak for the 80% that consider themselves Christian.

  27. Alex
    July 21, 2009

    And what’s worse is that those 17% think they know what’s best for all 100% of us.

  28. Jon
    July 21, 2009

    They speak of the “homosexual agenda”. Am I missing something? If gays have an agenda, I’ve never seen it. If you just read this article it sounds more like Brown and Engle are the ones with the agenda. I’ve never met any gay people who were trying to recruit anyone but I’ve met plenty of Christians who were.

  29. Richard W. Fitch
    July 21, 2009

    Jon – The notion of “the homosexual agenda” comes from a book published in the 70′s or 80′s called “After the Ball”. I’ve forgotten all the details, and I’m sure others on this blog can fill in the correct details. It posed a marketing type stragety to make the LGBT community more acceptable to mainstream America. The book and the premise have been widely debunked but anti-gay forces still parade this around as something covertly followed by ALL the ‘homos’ around the world.

  30. Penguinsaur
    July 21, 2009

    “it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.”

    What about the anti-gay organizations with 100+ million budgets funded almost entirely by christians?

  31. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    “there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community.”

    Then you are not paying attention.

    Before Stonewall, there was a gathering of heterosexual, Christian ministers to strategize about how to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

    The largest GLBTQ institution, worldwide, for years, was the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a GLBTQ denomination, that continuously supported GLBTQ candidates, services, and civil equality.

    There are GLBTQ advocacy groups representing every major denomination of Christianity, and Christians like Bishop Spong, Robinson, Troy Perry, who are recognized across the U.S. and Europe.

    Just because you do not see, doesn’t mean much, frankly. I have friends, het Christian friends, in several denominations who have staked their friendships, relationships and careers, in order to fight for inclusiveness and change in their congregations and denominations. And the fact is that change is taking place among most of the leading Christian denominations – and not because of the foot-stamping of people who oppose Christianity itself.

    The overt anti-Christian prejudice manifest here is just as despicable as homophobia.

  32. FriendOfJonathan
    July 21, 2009

    Penguinsaur

    You wrote: “What about the anti-gay organizations with 100+ million budgets funded almost entirely by christians?”

    Do you know how many times some homophobe has replied to a point I have made in defense of GLBTQ people, by saying ‘What about the sex clubs that cater exclusively to gay men’ or something equally degrading.

    Maybe the reason the quest for our civil rights is bogging down is that too many GLBTQ people are becoming as overtly abusive and prejudiced about Christians, as some Christians are about homosexuals.

    Priya

    “Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

    That’s most certainly not the case.”

    Actually, it is the case. Your supporting statements were inaccurate. You might read John Boswell’s works to begin to get a better understanding of how complex and organic the history of anti-gay prejudice in Christianity really is. The history of Christianity is complex, and much more nuanced that fundamentalists would have everyone else believe.

    I used the word dominate on purpose, because anti-gay theology developed over many centuries, started as a minority opinion, becoming noticeable about 1300 years ago, and becoming dominant some 700 years ago. The passages that fundamentalist Christians use now to bash GLBTQ people, were interpreted very differently through the first 7 centuries of Christian history, and much of the worst of anti-gay theology was developed as part of the protestant revolution, when the puritanical anti-sex theology blossomed.

    Regarding ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, you stated: “but in my experience virtually every one claims to believe it. ”

    Claim and belief are two very different things. Ironically, although you provide no evidence for your claims, you ask for it from me.

    First off, Priya, you cannot begin to ascertain what people truly believe, compared with what they claim, until you know and respect their context enough to recognize cognitive dissonances between what they claim, and what they do, feel, defend. My statement is based on more than two decades of arguing with fundamentalist Christians about theology and homosexuality. One clear proof that they do not believe ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, is that they do not accept its implications when THEY are the one sinning.

    It bears repeating, Priya, that just as it is inexcusable and reprehensible when homophobes attempt to define the lives, character, values and testimony of GLBTQ people for us, it is equally inexcusable and reprehensible when non-Christians attempt to define the live, character, values and testimony of Christians.

    Additionally, the overt anti-Christian prejudice verbalized here, while somewhat understandable, absolutely shuts down any possibility of reaching heterosexual Christians who have been raised to believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ but are willing to examine and reconsider it.

    To be blunt, no atheist is ever going to convince Christians in general, fundamentalist or otherwise, to reject God with any argument based on history, or science, or philosophy, just as no fundamentalist Christian is ever going to convince homosexuals in general to reject their true sexual orientation.

    The oft-articulated atheist dream of a Christian free world is as impossible, and evil, as the fundamentalist Christian dream of a homosexual free world.

    So, achieving full civil equality for GLBTQ people does pretty much require convincing millions of heterosexual Christians to re-examine dogma they have not questioned, providing them with reasoned information that acknowledges the context of spirituality they live their lives in. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to do so, but, we will get no where simply dismissing or denouncing Christianity itself.

    As sick and tired as GLBTQ people get of being maligned by homophobes, progressive Christians, including me, are just as sick and tired of being judged by the actions and theology of those homophobes.

    The fact of the matter is that I no longer can direct ‘on the fence’ heterosexual Christians to this blog as a resource (and many others) because of the overt anti-Christian prejudice that is so prevalent here.

    And that’s a real shame, because a lot of useful information has accumulated here, but I cannot risk having a productive dialogue ruined by some chance piece of anti-Christian verbal abuse.

    One last reminder – one only has to read the comments on a few GLBTQ blogs to get a sense of how offended GLBTQ people, in general, get when our lives are dismissed to simplistic cartoons created only to bolster negative stereotypes. Doing it back to Christians, is counter-productive.

  33. Christopher Waldrop
    July 22, 2009

    Timothy and FriendofJonathan, I appreciate you pointing out that there are large and visible groups as well as individuals who fight for GLBT rights. Even though I’m not a Christian myself, I work very hard not to practice the prejudice that I preach against. I agree that it’s unfair to paint all Christians, or even all religious people, with the same brush.

    However I must take exception to this comment: “The overt anti-Christian prejudice manifest here is just as despicable as homophobia.”

    I don’t see an “overt anti-Christian prejudice” here. I see many people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia. The fact that BTB, among other sites, criticizes people who wrap their homophobia in their faith is not an attack on Christians in general. Unfortunately people like Phelps, Cameron, and others have treated it as such, claiming that, whenever they’re attacked, it’s their faith that’s being attacked. No one here, as far as I know, advocates taking away anyone’s right to practice whatever faith they choose. The problem is when someone seeks to impose their faith on others.

  34. Penguinsaur
    July 22, 2009

    “Do you know how many times some homophobe has replied to a point I have made in defense of GLBTQ people, by saying ‘What about the sex clubs that cater exclusively to gay men’ or something equally degrading.”

    Their are sex clubs with $130 million budgets? Focus on the Family exists and I dont think its ‘prejudice’ to acknowledge where their money comes from. if that millionaire sex club actually existed and was funded almost entirely by gays I wouldnt claim someone was a bigot for acknowledging that fact.

  35. Penguinsaur
    July 22, 2009

    “So, that near fifty percent of Americans who do support civil equality for GLBTQ people (to varying degrees admittedly) – are mostly Christians.”

    Iowa is the 26th most religious state in the US, and they only allow gay marriage by court descision. Every other state to do so has been in the bottom 10. I know I’ll probably just be called Anti-Christian, but the numbers are still there:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx#2

  36. Priya Lynn
    July 22, 2009

    Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

    I said “That’s most certainly not the case.”

    Friend of Jonathon said “Actually, it is the case. Your supporting statements were inaccurate.”.

    No, its you who’s making stuff up. In 390, the first law banning same-sex love was enacted in Rome, making it punishable by death.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride

    As you can see as soon as Christians gained the power to do so they began persecuting gays.

    Friend of Jonathon said “Claim and belief are two very different things.”.

    Yes, they certainly are. The Christians I’ve known claim to believe many things which I doubt they sincerely do. Nevertheless, such “beliefs” are at the heart of what they claim their religion is about – like “Love the sinner, hate the sin”

    Friend of Jonathon said “To be blunt, no atheist is ever going to convince Christians in general, fundamentalist or otherwise, to reject God with any argument based on history, or science, or philosophy”.

    False. You need to read some blogs like Pharyngula. I regularly encounter former Christians there who say the discussions on the absurdity of religion eventually caused them to realize it wasn’t true.

    Friend of Jonathon said “The oft-articulated atheist dream of a Christian free world is as impossible, and evil, as the fundamentalist Christian dream of a homosexual free world.”.

    Nonsense. Some atheists desire to convince all Christians to willingly become atheists. Many Christians want to force gays to become heterosexual. The latter is evil, the former most certainly not. At the turn of the 20th century virtually everone on the planet was religous. At this point in time there are roughly 1 billion atheists on this planet, about 17% of the population. Atheism is growing and as people become better educated and economically secure the are dropping religion

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html

    The death of religion won’t happen in my lifetime, but it is an inevitable trend.

  37. Richard W. Fitch
    July 22, 2009

    Adding to FriendOfJonathan’s comment’s: A year ago when Sally Kern was making headlines with her vitriol, I decided to do some research of my own. I had heard of Boswell’s book but never read it. Fortuitously I found a copy at Half-Price Books that I could digest and underline at my leisure. In scanning the bibliography, I came across a very intriguing title. “The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology” by Mark Jordan [ISBN: 0226410390]. It is a rather small book, scholarly verging on boorish, but clearly establishes that the concept of Sodomy as we now know it was not developed until the 11th century. Even the term itself was simply a way of linking to the concepts of ‘blasphemy’. Back to Boswell’s work, there is strong evidence that the early Christian communities had well recognized rites for same-sex marriage and even a pair of partnered men who were elevated to sainthood {someone have the names?}. Even more to the point is the fact that much of the furor we see today was only started by conservative religionists in the mid-19th century when the work of Darwin and the new science of Biblical textual and historical criticism began to challenge the “proofs” given in scriptures. Remember it took 350 years for the RC Church to admit that Galileo’s science was correct despite the testimony of the Books of Moses.

  38. Priya Lynn
    July 22, 2009

    Richard, I am well familiar with Boswell. If the concept of sodomy was not developed until the 11th century, how do you explain the 390 AD Roman law banning it and making it punishable by death? You and Friend of Jonathon are awfully eager to hide from the sordid truth.

  39. Priya Lynn
    July 22, 2009

    Another source shows the first instituion of the death penalty for sodomy to be 324 AD under Emperor Constantius:

    http://atheisme.ca/repertoire/lauritsen_john/religious_roots_of_the_taboo_en.html

    The fact is that Christians were persecuting gays almost from the moment of their gaining the power to do so. Those guilty of the crime of same sex love were burnt alive.

  40. Ben in Oakland
    July 22, 2009

    Sergius and Bacchus. they have a rather well known church in Istanbul I hope to be visitinig. Patron saints of ‘mo’s everywhere.

  41. Emily K
    July 22, 2009

    I can’t imagine my being forced not to be Jewish. But a lot of people – my great-relatives included – were, in Russia.

    I’m fine if a virtually religion-free world is “the trend,” but I hope that it won’t give rise to yet another wave of persecution or ostracism of Jewish people.

  42. Priya Lynn
    July 22, 2009

    I share your hope Emily.

  43. Penguinsaur
    July 22, 2009

    “I’m fine if a virtually religion-free world is “the trend,” but I hope that it won’t give rise to yet another wave of persecution or ostracism of Jewish people.”

    Historically trying to suppress religion has just made people cling to it more fervently, athiests who want to take that route are just poor strategizers. Education destroys religion far more effectively than oppresion.

  44. Timothy Kincaid
    July 22, 2009

    Christopher

    I don’t see an “overt anti-Christian prejudice” here. I see many people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia.

    Actually, we have very little instance on this site of people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia. It happens, but not very often at all.

    On the other hand, as even a quick glace can tell you, we have a number of very devoted evangelical athiests who use every opportunity to preach their beliefs about religion. They are particularly fervent in their denunciation of Christianity.

    In fact, they are often rude, defamatory, hateful, factually ill-informed and fond of the sort of language one would call “homophobic” if directed towards gay people.

    Personally, I find evangelical atheists to be as obnoxious and annoying as evangelical Christians. I’m not overly fond of those who are absolutely certain that they are right about issues which they cannot possibly know and who insist that I’m at fault for not agreeing with them.

    For example, I would find the statement, “A planet converted to Christianity won’t happen in my lifetime, but it is an inevitable trend” to be boorish and offensive. It isn’t any more pleasant in its current variation.

  45. Richard W. Fitch
    July 25, 2009

    The most recent postings (7/25 6:30PM) at Pride Charlotte indicate that the day was very successful and peaceful, i.e., the Red Shirts were there but their impact was negligible.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pridecharlotte?ref=nf

  46. Progay
    July 29, 2009

    JUST BAN RELIGION IN ALL ITS FORMS – LIKE SMOKING AND DRINKING IT HAS BECOME A BAD HABIT AND A THREAT TO HUMAN KIND

  47. A Son Of Thunder
    December 14, 2009

    With the comments you have put on this site you are dealing with a Spirit that you cant come up agianst and you are in danger of hell fire itself if you dont repent of your wicked ways. God will show his judgement on you.

  48. Priya Lynn
    December 14, 2009

    Son of thunder, the voices in your head don’t concern me in the slightest.

  49. Ben in Oakland
    December 14, 2009

    Did god tell you this personally, or did oyu make it up all by yourself?

  50. GMRinSAN
    December 14, 2009

    Son of Thunder:

    Fine, let God judge. Since you’re not God, you tend to your own sins and mind your own business and stay out of everyone else’s. Or, are you claiming to be without sin?

    See, that was easy. Simple rules for simple folk to follow.

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