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Conservative Christian Furious That God Loves Gays

Jim Burroway

September 10th, 2009

Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved EveA coalition of churches in Dallas/Ft. Worth have gotten together and erected gay-affirming billboards along I-30, the heavily-traveled freeway which connects the two neighboring cities’ downtown:

Rev. Jon Haack, with Promise Metropolitan Community Church, said, “If we go back to the gospel readings, we don’t find anything within those texts that discriminate or exclude against gay and lesbian people. Gay and lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people are part of God’s creation too.”

David loved Jonathan more than women

That’s not sitting well with conservative Christians in the area. They’re making their displeasure known in hateful emails being sent to the billboards sponsors. The gay affirming churches are up against a very entrenched culture. The only opposing pastor that Dallas’ CBS 11 interviewed responded by comparing LGBT people to adulterers, wife beaters and  murderers:

Pastor Sam Dennis, of Parkway Hills Baptist Church in Plano, says Christians shouldn’t hate gays. He disagrees however with the billboards’ use of scripture to back a pro-gay message. “I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that it’s alright to live in a gay lifestyle. Just like I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that’s it’s alright to live in an adulterous relationship or as a wife abuser or as a murderer.”

How anyone can claim to not hate gays and in the same breath compare them to murderers is beyond me. Do they really hope to lure LGBT people to their way of thinking that way?

Comments

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GreenEyedLilo
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

“Waaa, don’t those f**s and d***s know that’s *my* book, that can only be interpreted *my* way?”

Wait’ll he finds out that the Ruth/Naomi and David/Jonathan stories have been used in same-sex weddings, in churches and by pastors and everything.

Gene Touchet
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Of course, Mr. Dennis can’t find anything in the scriptures which says one “cannot” live a gay lifestyle. (The OT Leviticus canard deals with temple prostitution–not socially integrated gay couples.)

Brian
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

All in all it seems like this is an example of poor messaging on both sides. Of all the many good arguments against discriminating against gay and lesbian people in the bible claiming that Ruth and David were gay doesn’t seem to me to be the best to go with.

On the other hand the pastor’s response that always equates homosexuality with sins that obviously have serious harmful repercussions to other people is just insulting as well.

Emily K
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

I agree with Brian; although the Tanakh weaves wonderful tales that really must be read in Hebrew to appreciate all the tongue-in-cheek placed in them, I stop short of imposing any one sexual orientation on any one character – especially since such concepts didn’t exist then.

The book of Ruth is a wonderful book however, not because it “proves” there’s gayness in the scriptures but because of its strong “it takes a village” message about the family unit. Naomi becomes a “second mother” to Ruth’s child at the end of the book. It blows the “traditional Biblical family = mom and dad and 2.5 kids AND THAT’S IT” idea out of the water. It demonstrates the diversity of the family unit; something I believe is just as important to the cause for equality as “proving” there were “gay couples” in the scriptures.

AJD
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Dennis isn’t trying to win the hearts and minds of GLBT people. He’s trying to preserve homophobia.

My thinking has always been that regardless of what the Bible “really” says about homosexuality, standard church practice has been to treat us like crap for nearly 2,000 years. That’s a long line of tradition to try and counteract, and besides, if it’s all open to interpretation, then one can just as easily find justification for anti-gay bigotry as one can find justification for pro-gay sentiment.

Instead of trying to change Christians, I think our best bet is to try and convince them to keep their beliefs in their church, learn to compartmentalize the secular and the spiritual and accept that their view isn’t inherently right for everyone and also try and erect legal barriers to further attempts to erode the wall of separation between church and state.

John Ozed
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

How can we be wife beaters and adulterers? I thought only people with the right to marry can be labeled as such.I always thought that was part of the opposite sex marriage world. Murder of course knows no sexual orientation.

David Malcolm
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

I once wrote a paper in college arguing that Jonathan was gay and David was an opportunistic bisexual (far more likely from David!) that said I still wouldn’t say I believe it enough to put it on a billboard. And Ruth and Naomi is an even further stretch.

I realize that they’re trying to put a biblical face to gay people, but ugh… I don’t think this is the best way to do it. I think you’d be better to just have passages like 1st Cor 13, or perhaps the passage in Isaiah that talks about eunuchs… not that people are gonna understand that, but whatever.

All in all, sounds more like an attempt to be offensive than anything.

Lisa Gibbs
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Good for Rev. Jon Haack, with Promise Metropolitan Community Church. It can’t be easy making your church and beliefs an object for the one most bigoted group of Americans as a target of the most hateful attention in the most discriminating and reprehensible way. I applaud Rev. Jon Haack for his courage and support!

Penguinsaur
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

How anyone can claim to not hate gays and in the same breath compare them to murderers is beyond me. Do they really hope to lure LGBT people to their way of thinking that way?

Nope, they’re just reassuring anyone who might feel guilty about beating up one of those fags that its okay because they’re no better than murderers. I feel the exact same way about this guy as I do about Aryan Nations and Christian Identity preachers, they’re bigots. Claiming to be in the service of a bigoted god doesnt change that.

Rebecca
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Wait’ll he finds out that the Ruth/Naomi and David/Jonathan stories have been used in same-sex weddings, in churches and by pastors and everything.

Wait ’til he finds out that the Ruth/Naomi text is used in opposite weddings!

KZ
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

“I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that’s it’s alright to live in an adulterous relationship…”

May be Mark Sanford and Michael Duvall could find some passages in the Bible for Pastor Dennis. They sure thought adultery was ok.

Timothy Kincaid
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t know how many weddings I’ve sat through in which the bride and groom beamed at each other while someone sang, “Wherever thou goest, I will go; wherever thou lodgest, I will lodge”, never realizing that this was said by one woman to another.

Scripture is surprisingly lacking in romantic opposite-sex stories. When it comes to opposite-sex tales in the Bible, there’s a lot of deception, ownership, prostitution, cheating, and jealously between wives. There’s even sexuality in the Song of Songs. But there just isn’t much of that romantic type love that goes so well with the modern concept of marriage.

So it’s not too surprising that they have to turn to same-sex declarations of love and commitment.

Frankly, the David and Jonathan story (whether or not either of them was same-sex attracted) is perhaps one of the most romantic tales in Scripture. Love, the prince’s defiance of the king, secret pacts, pledges of devotion, tragic death in battle, and the mourning of the one left. It would make good Shakespear.

----
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Claiming certain bible characters are gay is like arguing whether Batman and Robin are gay.

Alex
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

“Scripture is surprisingly lacking in romantic opposite-sex stories. When it comes to opposite-sex tales in the Bible, there’s a lot of deception, ownership, prostitution, cheating, and jealously between wives. There’s even sexuality in the Song of Songs. But there just isn’t much of that romantic type love that goes so well with the modern concept of marriage.”

Why is that surprising? The notion of romantic or courtly love as we understand it today didn’t exist until the Middle Ages, long after the Bible was written.

mikeksf
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Why not expand this conversation to include Mr. Dennis? Why not express love for him and contempt for his obviously hate filled lifestyle? http://www.parkwayhills.org

Jarred
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

“Why is that surprising? The notion of romantic or courtly love as we understand it today didn’t exist until the Middle Ages, long after the Bible was written.”

And let’s not forget that Paul didn’t have a very high opinion of marriage. In 1 Corinthians, he basically says that the only reason for two people to get married is because they can’t control their hormones.

Notice how that particular passage about/Biblical model of marriage never gets brought up during a wedding ceremony? Or when “pro-family” people are discussing how holy marriages are?

elaygee
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

The only hope is that the “religious” bigots are dying out. Their grandchildren have no quarrel with Gayness and they will be remembered as religious klansmen.

paul j stein
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

The only use most churches have for Gays is to keep the weddings, baptisms, funerals flowing with the talents of Gay/Lesbian FLORISTS, DESIGNERS,WEDDING PLANNERS,HAIRSTYLISTS, COMPOSERS, MUSICIANS, ACCOMPANISTS, CLERGYMEN/WOMEN. Pimp us in public, hate us in private.

Timothy Kincaid
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

The Dove has long been a symbol of Christianity. It symbolized God’s promise to Noah to never again judge the earth so harshly, it symbolized the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism, and it is an international religious and secular symbol of peace.

So perhaps it is fitting that on September 25-26 Rev. Sam Davis will be leading his church on a trip to shoot doves from the sky.

Richard W. Fitch
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

@Jarred: You are half right about Paul’s words here. When you look at the whole passage[I Cor. 7:1-39], he says “If you are married, stay married. If you are a slave, stay a slave. If you are uncircumcised, stay that way. … In whatever condition you were when called (converted to The Way), there remain with God”. The overarching context and presuppositions of Paul’s words colour the whole meaning. Paul, like Jesus, did not expect the world as they knew it to last more than a few years before The Kingdom of God would transform everything they had known. I could continue these comments for several thousand paragraphs – it is a two-semester, 4-hour course in some seminaries. Let me just suggest two books which I have found very illuminating. Both are by Bart D. Ehrman, Chairman, Dept of Religious Studies, UNC at Chapel Hill. 1) Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium -and- 2) Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene – The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. As to the story of Ruth and Naomi, {Emily, please feel free to clarify or correct} it was included in Tanakh during a time of Hebrew xenophobia with the ‘twist at the end’ that King David was actually a descendant of ‘an outsider’. It was by adopting the kinsmen of Naomi that Ruth’s progeny entered the royal line. When we examine any text only from the perspective of our own cultural, we completely miss many of the original intentions of the author. For me, in the final analysis, it is impossible to defend same-sex committed relationships thru any specific ‘cherry picked’ Bible verses. Only the wider embracing concepts of respect, integrity, devotion and love which are the foundation of any marriage need be drawn to validate any committed relationship/marriage.

CPT_Doom
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

I actually agree with the good reverend that the Bible clearly condemns adultery. Which begs the question whether Mr. Dennis voted for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole or John McCain, or whether he believes these men should have been limited to “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” in their relationships with their second “wives” (the Bible being pretty clear on the validity of divorce).

Regan DuCasse
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Shooting DOVES?! OMG…that’s SO offensive to me.
That’s like shooting EAGLES!

And we know what a symbol the eagle is to our country.

Thanks for the tip, Tim.
Appalling!

Alan
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry AJD, but I don’t think it’s going to help to tell Christians to “to keep their beliefs in their church” and to ” compartmentalize the secular and the spiritual”

First, there are pro-gay Christians and I assume you don’t want them to keep those beliefs to themselves?

And second, churches (even the fundies) do a fair amount of charitable work— contrary to what you apparently believe the primary reason the Christian church wasn’t founded to bash gays. I’m assuming you don’t want them to close down the soup kitchen? Or stop fighting for universal health care?

Bill S
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

According to the Bible, adultry and divorce are wrong, but raping female servants because your wife can’t get pregnant is hunky-dory.
Yet people still can’t admit that maybe…just maybe…the Bible might be a man-made book.

Richard W. Fitch
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

@Emily: Somewhere in my studies I read that the main reason the story of Ruth and Naomi got included in Tanakh was to validate Ruth as a member of the Hebrew people. It was written at a time which was very xenophobic. The history of lineages shows that King David was one of her progeny which meant that he was actually the descendent of an outsider!

Paul
September 10th, 2009 | LINK

“Family Values” California state assemblyman representing Orange County, Republican Michael D. Duvall, resigns for apparently not cheating on his wife. Well you have to take his word for it, or maybe believe that hypocrisy has been bred in. In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme religious right (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away rights of those they just hate) and that’s who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, “We Ain’t Coming Out”. He is just another name that can be added to the list of Republican 2009 summer of love: Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), SC Board of Ed Chair, Kristin Maguire.

The Lauderdale
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

@Richard W. Fitch:
I’ve seen that same explanation elsewhere. Of course Ruth’s words to Naomi are terribly romantic, but they *can* be interpreted otherwise, and in light of the fact that Naomi is Ruth’s mother-in-law and that their chief project in the narrative is finding Ruth a man, it is harder to support a lesbian interpretation. Not impossible (even if they did love each other intimately, what else would they do in light of cultural expectations?) but there’s just too much going on in the narrative for me to say, “Yeah. That’s It.”

Jonathan and David seems more clear-cut to me. David is probably bisexual, Jonathan may be bi or he may be gay, however meaningful these labels would have been in that time – whatever the language to describe them, it is obvious to me that they both love each other romantically, and that there is at least one sexual encounter between them.

So, IMO, billboard 1 stretches it, but billboard 2 comments directly from the text and without seeming out of context or incorrect.

sinner
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

It is sad that folks have to use the wrongs of others to justify their own wrongs the only teachings in the bible in regards to homosexuality is its an abomination to God. We can twist the scriptures to fit our view , but that does not do any thing to turn a wrong into a right it is just a twisted version of Gods perfect instuction.and it becomes real evident when we read post claiming that because there are sinners in heterosexual relationships that is ok to sin and be in a homosexual relationship. If they understood that loving your brother does not mean to encourage them to sin, or to misguide them as to what sin is. The gay preacher that are claiming to be serving God are lieing and we are warnned that this was comming in the book of jude. be Glad that God sent His son Jesus to save sinners,but that does not mean that you continue to live for sin once you have accepted Jesus as your savior .

----
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

sinner:

It’s obvious you haven’t read the bible in its entirety. You’re probably just repeating what your preacher and/or Christian peers say about it. Do you HONESTLY think a book full of contradictions, unjust laws, propaganda, and flat-out lies comes from an all-knowing, loving God?

Priya Lynn
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

Sinner said “We can twist the scriptures to fit our view , but that does not do any thing to turn a wrong into a right”.

Sinner there is nothing wrong with that which harms no one. Trying to interfere in such relationships harms people and is the only actual wrong here.

Mykelb
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

Keep your mysticism, mythology and unproven god in your own home and keep it out of secular life. Religion has no place in public life. Even Thomas Jefferson thought so “I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

Timothy Kincaid
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

Paul,

In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme religious right (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away rights of those they just hate) and that’s who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win.

That may not be true in all parts of the country, but it certainly is true in California. We have gerrymandered our districts so that they are safe seats for both Republicans and Democrats and in the process ensured that only the extremes are represented in Sacramento.

Candidates are recruited from the far left and far right and elections are pretty much determined in the primaries when the fringes are much more likely to dominate. Most “average Californians” are moderate and would be hard pressed to find an elected official who represents their views.

Timothy Kincaid
September 11th, 2009 | LINK

sinner,

We can twist the scriptures to fit our view…

Yes, and you’ve done an admirable job of that.

and it becomes real evident when we read post claiming that because there are sinners in heterosexual relationships that is ok to sin and be in a homosexual relationship

You didn’t read that here. Those here who are Christian don’t see a committed same-sex relationship to be sinful and thus don’t need some “ok to sin”. That exists solely in your head.

So my advice to you is to go have a shrimp cocktail in your poly-cotton blend and spend some time contemplating the mystery of just what is an abomination to God.

non-metaphysical stephen
September 13th, 2009 | LINK

Something I rarely see used as an argument is that Leviticus and Deuteronomy don’t mention lesbianism at all. At. All. Women are forbidden from sleeping with animals, but now with each other.

There’s no Hebrew scripture condemning lesbianism. Therefore, the Hebrew scriptures cannot be said to condemn homosexuality itself. (Unless you want to claim that they didn’t understand women’s sexuality–which then undermines the belief that the scriptures were inspired by God and not simply written by humans.)

(And that one verse in Paul about women is vague enough that it might not refer to lesbianism either….)

a questionable interpretation of Matthew 8:5-13? « Political Jesus: Journeys In Nonresistant Love
October 11th, 2009 | LINK

[...] campaign to start a conversation on the Christian position on homosexuality.  It has stirred some controversy, but there has not been any really debate about the queer interpretation of this [...]

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