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Let’s Be Frank

Rob Tisinai

November 14th, 2010

Just once I’d love our anti-gay religious opponents to speak with total clarity. I believe it would sound like this:

  1. We fight the homosexual agenda to keep people from falling into the clutches of the Enemy and spending eternity in Hell.
  2. We believe gay teens who kill themselves do so because they believe they can’t change their orientation.
  3. However, even if it were proved that our work against the homosexual agenda does lead to gay teen suicide, we would be wrong to stop.
  4. Stopping our work would mean far many more people succumbing to the homosexual agenda and going to Hell.
  5. So if our performance of God’s work does lead gay teens to suicide — which we heartily deny — then so be it. We are ready to sacrifice these 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds in our efforts to bring souls to God.

I believe that’s a fair summation of their position. Would they actually disagree with a single statement above? And then we could have a real conversation about bullying.

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Tim Stewart
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

Another frank admission might be:

“We believe a handful of references to homosexuality in a 3000 year old text, most of them not really even referring to consenting, loving same sex relationships between two adults, to be more relevant to today’s society than piles of modern anthropological, social and medical science showing it to be a perfectly normal, healthy variation in human sexuality.”

Ben in Oakland
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

Tim: “We believe a handful of references to homosexuality in a 3000 year old text” should read:

“We WANT to believe a handful of references to WHAT MAY BE, IN A VAGUE, GENERAL SORT OF A WAY, homosexuality, AT LEAST AS IT MIGHT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN UNDERSTOOD BY AN INSULAR PEOPLE 3000 YEARS AND 8000 MILES AWAY…”

etc. etc. etc.

Tom
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

That’s the mindset exactly.
They “know” that billions of people will not be “saved” anyway — so, the suicide victims might as well do it now.
And they know that if they don’t try to bring sinners to christ by *any means possible*, that their own salvation and eternity will be in jeopardy. So, better that than a few already hell-bound kids.

They “know” that if they show any level whatsoever of tolerance, acceptance, or lenience that it would literally endanger their own eternity.
Also, they believe they will get extra rewards in eternity the more souls they can reel in.

This quote applies nicely to these folks:
“What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” – Martin Luther, Table Talk (pub. 1569)

Bob Barnes
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

They would never agree to clarity in the first place.

Tim
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

“And then we could have a real conversation about bullying.”

I’m not sure we could. Because where do you go with that conversation when issues of Faith (be definition, having no evidence) are being held in higher regard than the physical, palpable damage here and now? There is no logic or reason that will get through to someone who believes the above, because it’s a position NOT based on logic or reason.

Soren456
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

What parts of those five points are negotiable?

None of them, as far as I can tell. So how would you have a discussion if the concept of change is not on the table?

You cannot talk to people to whom the possibility of error is an impossibility.

Rob Tisinai
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

Let me clarify. I’m not saying we could have a real conversation with the Far Right about bullying. I mean the rest of the country could have a more frank conversation after being horrified at what the Far Right truly believes.

We’ll never win the 30-40% of the population who oppose in the extreme. But making them own up to that extremism will push the middle of the road to us.

TJ
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

Let he without sin cast the first stone.
That poor whore at the well would have been killed by these crazy people and they would have hung Jesus on the cross
themselves. Live and let live. It’s a shame that the people that tell other people they are going to Hell are most likely the first in line and don’t even realize it. We were warned that this day would come when the devil and the Antichrist will use select verses from the bible against the true followers of God and Jesus. Have fun destroying each other all you cattle of the Devil. As the true God would never condemn anyone he has created for loving someone with all thier heart.

T.J.
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

Rob, you are right on. It should also be pointed out, that these people believe that the “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), so they logically conclude that the suicide is an outgrowth of their sinful lifestyle. When people think theologically without examining the real world, they are unable to see the error in their thinking. You’re right, Rob, the 30-40% will not be convinced (at least in this generation)…we have to aim for the middle 15 to 20 percent who haven’t made up their minds yet and with whose support we would have a victorious majority.

Victor
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

I think you missed the mark.

People of this ilk are so insecure and so frightened of uncertainty they will turn to anything for stability, even turn to bronze-age cults and those whose interpretations of the aforementioned doctrine provide a clear, easy-to-follow guide for what is right and what is wrong.

It matters less (not at all?) whether what they are told is right or wrong than it is to have something they can point to which says what is right and wrong. So the conversation would sound something like this: “Homosexuality is evil. It says so right here. You can either agree with me or burn in hell. There is nothing more to discuss, because facts, research, reason are irrelevant. All that matters is that I have certainty. If you have to suffer for that certainty, that’s your problem.”

WMDKitty
November 14th, 2010 | LINK

@Victor — and a good number of them fear their own homosexual urges or attractions. All that steamy rhetoric about “shoving it down [their] throats” doesn’t do them any favors, either.

BobbiCW
November 15th, 2010 | LINK

I get the feeling that some of these folks believe that the more souls they “save”, the higher their position in heaven will be. So if they lose some potential converts through suicide it’s no skin off their noses since their intentions were “good”. Sort of an updated “better dead than Red” thing.

Priya Lynn
November 15th, 2010 | LINK

“We believe gay teens who kill themselves do so because they believe they can’t change their orientation.”.

I think very few really believe that, they just think they have to say it or it’ll hurt their campaign against gays.

Tom said “And they know that if they don’t try to bring sinners to christ by *any means possible*, that their own salvation and eternity will be in jeopardy.”.

Really? I though only Mormons and/or Jehovah’s witnessess believed that. Why would more typical christians believe that?

Timothy Kincaid
November 15th, 2010 | LINK

Priya,

I’m with you in that I think that the “because they can’t change” argument is less what Candy Cushman etc. really believe and more of a desperate effort to come up with something that points the finger of blame at anyone or anything other than themselves. More of a talking point (and a truly cynical and heartless one at that).

Thorne Cassidy
November 15th, 2010 | LINK

Not only is this blog post excellent, but so are the comments. Trying to understand the mindset of the opposition is critical. However we are unlikely to sway too many in the short term. (I grew up as a bible-thumping prodigy and fervent believer–it took years and was a very painful transition–I literally had to let go of my best friend, loving father, and a sacred text that I could always point to as true) When experience, whether it be religious/mystical or not, comes up against reason–reason almost always loses because we trust our experiences more. Anecdotaly, I would say that half of our critics don’t really believe what they profess–but the other half does. This pragmatic approach will let society at large see who they really are.

BlackDog
November 16th, 2010 | LINK

Personally I think the only reason so many Christians go on and on about how anything to do with Teh Gay is so bad, is because they’re not gay (or admitting it to themselves, or openly gay, at least) so they figure it’s a safe “sin” to point to and go “Bad.”

Nevermind that homosexuality is only specifically a sin according to certain interpretations of certain verses. It’s just easier to shit all over other people’s lives and rights than to examine themselves and consider the right or wrong of their own actions and “lifestyles.”

It must be nice to have all those easy answers and trite dogmas. Life has never given me the choice to take the easy route that way.

JimInMa
November 16th, 2010 | LINK

Hmmm – if that sums up their arguments, then I suggest they must now prove the existence of Hell and God. And if they can do such, they must prove the relationship between God and Hell. Otherwise they’re just flapping their gums for no reason other than hatred.
There, wasn’t that simple?

Dave H
November 17th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with all of your “clarity points” above, but you left out two very significant ones.

6. We fight the homosexual agenda because it’s how we make money. Lots of money. Promoting fear and hatred of teh gheys is still a highly effective tool for raising funds, from poor gullible churchgoers to major religious institutions. It pays our salaries and allows us to have fun riding around the country in a bus, holding “Love Won Out” workshops and doing “research” at leather festivals, which sure beats working for a living.

7. We fight the homosexual agenda because it brings us name recognition and the opportunity to appear in major media outlets. When the time comes that we can no longer earn a paycheck by bashing homosexuals, we’ll be able to land our next cushy hatemongering gig.

Seriously – Maggie Gallagher, Peter LaBarbara, Elaine Donnelly, Tony Perkins et al would be total everyday nobodies if it weren’t for their hatred and oppression campaigns against us. If you could get them to be truthful for a moment, I’ll bet most of them really couldn’t care less about what we do, but they know a goose that lays golden eggs when they see it. (With the possible exception of Peter LaBarbara – he would probably continue to go to leather festivals anyway, he would just have to come up with another guise to sell to his wife.)

Tom
November 21st, 2010 | LINK

@Priya Lynn — I’m sorry, I didn’t really phrase that the way I meant, nor did I mean to imply that all xian denominations preached that.

When I was inside the fundamentalist church (left it 30 years ago), they taught that, say, if you had the opportunity to witness to someone about Jesus, but you didn’t, and that person ended up dying and thusly going to hell, you have to account for it on the judgement day.
They taught that some xians would receive more “crowns” in heaven than others, based on this “salvation plus works” doctrine.

The churches I experienced fell into the category of “non-denominational charismatic Baptists” with the tangy flavors of Pentecostalism and Dominionism stirred in. And, of course, they all had their own internal differences on specifics;

The anti-gay activists, as we know, come from many different faiths, some of them diametrically opposed in doctrine, who technically consider each other to be heretics if they weren’t so focused on their one point of agreement — homosexuality.

Robert Goodman
November 22nd, 2010 | LINK

There is something deeper. If they would be honest, their core assumption is this: “we want to perserve patriachy; and we see homosexuality as a threat to that.”

Brian
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

If that’s what you think your religious opponents would say, I wonder about two things 1) the kinds of religious people you have encountered or 2) if you really believe that is what religious people would say. You must know that is one big strawman. Otherwise, it really looks like the two “sides” don’t understand each other very well.

I am a devout Catholic. I am also attracted to other men. Same-sex attraction is a disorder from the teleology of man, from his nature and from his end – but it is NOT itself a sin. Let’s go through what is ACTUALLY on the mind of a religious believer:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

No hatred, no animosity, but compassion and love and concern.

That said, from reason and from Revelation, we can show that homosexual *acts* are sinful, but people are free to be sinful.People do not have to pay any attention to the Church, and the Church has no interest influencing the State except when it overreaches and abuses its power. Hence, the gay “marriage” issue. Marriage is an institution that pre-existed the State, it has no business whatsoever meddling with it anymore than it has any business in changing the sum 2 + 2 to equal 5. Well, no, it’s 4, and marriage is between a man and a woman, and the State cannot change this by superficial fiat. It is inadequate in law.

But yes, there is a genuine concern for our homosexual brothers and sisters to be damned. We simply don’t want this to happen. I imagine many of you don’t see this as a real danger, but it is, and many of us are trying to prevent it.

Priya Lynn
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

Brian there’s no such thing as being “damned”. Take your fantasies elsewhere.

Brian
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, unfortunately, there is a such a thing, but I would not expect for you to believe it, anyway. I wouldn’t be chaste unless I knew it were true, and it is.

Rob Tisinai
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

So Brian, which of the five statements in the post do think Tony Perkins or Bryan Fischer would disagree with?

Jayhuck
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

Brian,

You said:

“Same-sex attraction is a disorder from the teleology of man, from his nature and from his end – but it is NOT itself a sin.”

I respect your right to your beliefs, but you do realize that not everyone believes as you do, correct? I mean despite the fact that there are people among your own faith who would disagree with you, there are millions, if not billions, of people of other faiths who may or may not agree as well.

All I”m saying is don’t write things like this as if they are a fact. They may be for you in your belief system, but that doesn’t mean they hold true for the rest of the world

Jayhuck
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

Brian,

I should have added this to my post above:

The other point I was trying to make is, if you want people to respect your beliefs, you might want to try respecting the beliefs of others. Treat others as you would want to be treated :)

Jayhuck
November 25th, 2010 | LINK

Brian,

You said: “Marriage is an institution that pre-existed the State, it has no business whatsoever meddling with it anymore than it has any business in changing the sum 2 + 2 to equal 5.”

Sometimes I agree with you. I think the State should get out of the marriage business altogether! There should be no state sanctioned straight or gay marriage. But as long as the SECULAR, I emphasize that word, State is sanctioning straight marriage, than it must sanction same-sex marriage as well.

Brian
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

Rob,

I do not know either of those two men. In any case, unless I missed something, the post was not limited to those two men.

Jayhuck,

Yes, I have respect for the beliefs of others. Man has an innate sense of the eternal, and man’s attempts at apprehending it are beautifully expressed through the world’s religions. This is why, unlike shrill atheists, I have respect for the beliefs of others, even if they contradict mine. Incidentally, this respect is also articulated in the Catechism. However, I also have a respect for the Truth, which we can discern through reason because the Truth is rational. So while others may have different beliefs on sexuality, we can objectively reason that same-sex attraction is disordered since it is an “offense” to the telos of man.

Now, modern popular thinking often finds the above to be unintelligible. In modern popular thinking, there is only the will of the individual, and there are only disputes when the will of one interferes with with the will of another. Notice, there is no regard for reason or Truth. You perceive people like me to be violating the will (or “freedom”) of others, but this is not so. Hetero or homosexual, every person has the right to marry, but marriage is defined, and definitions, well, by definition, discriminate. For the same reason a heterosexual man cannot marry more than one woman, I cannot marry another man. The right to marriage is extended to both of us, but it has attached to it conditions which do discriminate what a marriage is and what a marriage isn’t. It is inadequate in law to meddle with this universal, and this is my true intention – to protect marriage, not to infringe on the will of others. Marriage has been under consistent attack since the passing of laws permitting no-fault divorce. A recent study by Pew Research Center shows that 4 in 10 Americans think marriage is irrelevant and obsolete. Children are being born out of wedlock and into single-parent house-broken homes; adultery and divorce are devastating families; many are marrying very old or not at all; and the populations of countries all over the world are on the decline because couples are not having as many children as they used to.

I agree with you that the State simply should not be involved. The State, when it gets involved in matters it shouldn’t, creates needless divisions among its people.

Anyway, back to my original point. The blog post is juvenile, a caricature.

Priya Lynn
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

Brian, for thousands of years people have posited supernatural explanations for how the world works and again and again and again we’ve found that there are natural explanations for what we thought was done by gods. There is no evidence to support your beliefs and as such there is no way you can honestly assert your beliefs are true.

Brian said “Man has an innate sense of the eternal, and man’s attempts at apprehending it are beautifully expressed through the world’s religions.”.

Wow, are you ever out of touch with reality. The religions of the world call for unbelievers to be put to death, demand the unequal treatment or murder of gays and you see this as “beautiful” – wow!

Brian said “This is why, unlike shrill atheists, I have respect for the beliefs of others, even if they contradict mine.”.

If you had respect for other’s beliefs you wouldn’t be here trying to convince us that its good to deny gays the right of marriage. You most certainly have no respect for anyone’s beliefs other than your own.

Brian said “I also have a respect for the Truth, which we can discern through reason because the Truth is rational…we can objectively reason that same-sex attraction is disordered since it is an “offense” to the telos of man.”.

Any time someone capitalizes the “Truth” you can be sure they’re talking about anything but the truth. The truth is that the essence of morality is “Do whatever you want but harm no one”. As same sex attraction harms no one and brings people together in love to care for each other it is an offense to no one and is not in anyway disordered.

In modern popular thinking, there is only the will of the individual, and there are only disputes when the will of one interferes with with the will of another. Notice, there is no regard for reason or Truth.”.

Reason shows us that the truth is that it is moral to do whatever you want as long as you harm no one. Your believing something for which there is no evidence shows you have no regard for reason or truth.

Brian said “You perceive people like me to be violating the will (or “freedom”) of others, but this is not so.”.

When you oppose others marrying the one they love most you are most certainly violating their will and freedom.

Brian said “Hetero or homosexual, every person has the right to marry, but marriage is defined, and definitions, well, by definition, discriminate. For the same reason a heterosexual man cannot marry more than one woman, I cannot marry another man. The right to marriage is extended to both of us, but it has attached to it conditions which do discriminate what a marriage is and what a marriage isn’t. It is inadequate in law to meddle with this universal, and this is my true intention – to protect marriage, not to infringe on the will of others.”

You are not protecting marriage, you’re attacking it, trying to prevent marriages. No one is trying to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, there is nothing to protect heterosexual marriage from.

The right to marry means nothing if it does not include the right to marry the person of your choice. You as a man have the right to marry Alice, but I as a woman do not. That’s sex discrimination. Morality and justice demand that I have the same rights as you.

You’re saying that it would be fair to deny Republicans the right to vote for republican candidates because everyone would have the equal right to vote democrat – your logic is absurd.

Brian said “I agree with you that the State simply should not be involved. The State, when it gets involved in matters it shouldn’t, creates needless divisions among its people.”.

You’re attempting to create the ultimate division between people, you’re attempting to forcibly divorce loving gay couples, that is most certainly a needless division.

Jayhuck
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

Brian,

You said: So while others may have different beliefs on sexuality, we can objectively reason that same-sex attraction is disordered since it is an “offense” to the telos of man.

No we cannot Brian because it has been objectively reasoned that homosexuality is not disordered, so it appears that objectivity is relative – interesting :)

For the record, a man can marry another man by religion in almost all states, and in several of those states it is recognized as well.

It most certainly has to do with you treading on the rights of others and attempting to use “objectivity” to rationalize a reason to legislate your own personal beliefs on others. Trying to pass prejudice off as objectivity and reason is an old and dangerous game. That sort of thinking was used to deny African Americans rights as well.

I should tell you I have a few gay friends, men, in Midwestern states where same sex marriage isn’t recognized who married gay women for tax and health ins benefits but they lead their own separate romantic and sexual lives. Is this the kind of set up you want?

Rob Tisinai
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

Okay, Brian, then which of the five statements do you personally disagree with?

And keep in mind that your original post does not contradict any of those statements.

Ray
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

“Brian” declared:

Same-sex attraction is a disorder from the teleology of man, from his nature and from his end – but it is NOT itself a sin.

I was just going to say how “Catholic” this sounds but Brian confirmed it and he’s very “into” the whole religious explanation of same-sex attraction and explains it with a tone that declares his belief like he just dug up hard scientific evidence in an rocky dry riverbed in Ethiopia.

Using religious jabberwocky to explain homosexuality nets nonsense, Brian. I look forward to your scholarly, peer reviewed evidence. Paul Cameron has a pay-as-you-publish “scientific” journal. I’m sure he’ll accommodate your views.

Timothy Kincaid
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

This is why, unlike shrill atheists, I have respect for the beliefs of others, even if they contradict mine.

What a beautiful sentence, perfectly self-righteous and entirely unaware that its language contradicted its argument.

So while others may have different beliefs on sexuality, we can objectively reason that same-sex attraction is disordered since it is an “offense” to the telos of man.

How very amusing. Arguing that one can “objectively reason” by appealing to the teachings of one’s church and declaring that they define the meaning of humanity.

And don’t you love it when people capitalize “Truth” as though it just makes it more true? My “Truth” is objective because I subjectively say it is so.

Brian is, nevertheless, clearly an intelligent man. What a pity that he is leaping through hoops to try and convince himself that his religious beliefs are objective and universally true and that the only reason that other don’t see the obvious is because they are products of modern thinking rather than ancient belief.

I am a Christian. But I certainly hope that my expression of my faith is not so arrogant and certain as is Brian’s.

Emily K
November 26th, 2010 | LINK

I have a difficult time understanding why people like Brian come to this website. If they are so certain of their “T”ruth, why do they need to convince others of it? Don’t they know that they’re NOT going to convince the readers of THIS blog of their [absolute infallible] “T”ruth? Is it all about the martyr act, as with past commenters? Do they just come here to get dumped on so they can achieve beatification by heated argument?

Honestly I don’t see the point.

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