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Posts for March, 2014

Gay GOP woman of faith

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2014

Ashley Rooney, an executive assistant at Log Cabin Republicans, wrote an opinion piece for TownHall arguing that Republican Party holds a place of promise for gay and lesbian people of faith.

The article itself is mostly twaddle, a sort of blind stabbing at “liberals” and “the left” and and extolling of the theoretical virtues of the Republican Party.

But, nevertheless, the message – if heard by the right ears – is an important one. Too often people on both sides of the political divide assume that orientation dictates ones political ideology. And too often both sides of the political divide assume that matters of faith do the same. Rooney argues that this need not be the case.

Similarly, LGBT Republicans need to expose the inaccuracy of the liberal claim that the LGBT community is “overwhelmingly” Democrat. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2012, one in four LGBT people consider themselves to be conservative or very conservative, and a deeper look into these numbers reveals that the demographic breakdown of LGBT voter preferences is similar to that of the overall population.

Relatedly, we need to stop assuming that being a person of faith and being a supporter of LGBT equality are mutually exclusive. The left’s smears against religious Americans as anti-LGBT not only outcast LGBT people of faith but also ignore the reality that many religious communities are increasingly supportive of LGBT equality. A 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey found that a majority of white mainline Protestants, 62 percent of Catholics, and over one in four white evangelical Protestants support marriage equality. A strong majority in every major religious group favors protections from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are a growing number of religious groups dedicated to advancing LGBT equality.

Now I know that the first reaction of many will be to think, “but she’s wrong, Republicans are vile and any gay person so registered is delusional and self-loathing.” And undoubtedly some will find it impossible to skip an opportunity to weigh in on their own political leanings.

But setting aside Rooney’s partisanship and the perhaps idealistic rose-glassed view of her political affiliation, there is value in her statement. Primarily because it is something that flies in the face of the assumptions of a certain target audience.

Which makes where I read this all the more important. Rooney’s TownHall opinion piece was picked up by the Christian Post.

The Christian Post has, to the best of my recollection, only ever presented one variation of gay person before: the kind that advances an anti-gay crusade. They’ve had “former homosexuals” declare that no one is born gay. They’ve had bitter and emotionally stunted gay people rant on about the horrors of the “homosexual lifestyle”. They’ve presented the wacky two or three that buddy up with NOM to argue that gay marriage will be the end of the world as we know it.

But I don’t recall ever seeing a gay person on the Christian Post insisting that gay people should live openly and honestly, irrespective of their political leanings. Nor have I seen there an appeal to readers to find commonality or recognize support for gay people from within their own community.

I don’t know that this is a major capitulation on the part of the Christian Post. Nor will it likely change the minds of those who pretend that gay people either don’t exist or are demon possessed or are out to destroy America and civilization. But it might jar some who have simply accepted the easy stereotypes about gay people being “them” and perhaps plant the seeds of thought.

And it will, without doubt, piss off the LaBarberas and Stavers and Donahues who assume that all people of faith should and will rally around them and their campaign for bigotry. And that, if nothing else, is always a good thing.

Inconvenient Scripture

Timothy Kincaid

February 14th, 2014

In something out of Kansas called The Rolla Daily News, Jim Brock rants about the proposed pro-discrimination bill. He doesn’t think it’s very Christian:

I guess some members of the Kansas House never read Matthew 25:40-45: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

The holy words of Bible can be so inconvenient, especially when they don’t come from Exodus or Leviticus.

Osteen’s take on homosexuality

Timothy Kincaid

January 14th, 2014

I’ve discussed before the odd place that Joel Osteen, pastor of the country’s largest church, has staked out on the issue of homosexuality. It’s not one that many people like. It doesn’t play well into the good guy / bad guy dichotomy that is demanded by the Culture War.

And yet again he has been asked his opinion, and again he has given his answer. (Edge)

“What are your views on homosexuality?” King asked Osteen.

“The same that they’ve been. I believe that scripture says that it’s a sin but I always follow that up by saying you know what, we’re not against anybody,” Osteen replied.

King asked about his theory of the cause of homosexuality. “How can it be if we don’t know what causes it? You don’t know why you’re a heterosexual.”

“There’s a lot of things Larry that I don’t understand- so I just don’t want to preach on it, preach about it,” Osteen replied.

And that’s about as qualified an answer as you can get. He believes that the scripture says its and sin but he has no clue why or what that means.

So he goes with what I thin is a pretty good policy. If you don’t understand something, it’s probably best not to preach about it.

Identifying your (dwindling) opposition

Timothy Kincaid

January 4th, 2013

On NomBlog, the National Organization for Marriage describes a letter issued in opposition to equality as “An extraordinary show of support for true marriage by a wide spectrum of faith communities in Illinois”. But that letter illustrates just how narrow that spectrum has become.

There are a variety of signatories on the bottom, but the logos atop the letter tell the story.

Our denominational opposition in Illinois consists of:

* Catholic Conference of Illinois
* Anglican Church in North America
* The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
* The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
* The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

That may seem like a “wide spectrum” at first glance, and quite diverse, but when you look closer it reveals how few denominations have signed on to oppose civil marriage in the state. Our opponents are the Catholic hierarchy (lay Catholics support equality), Mormons, Muslims, and two Protestant denominations: the churches that left the Episcopal Church when she became pro-gay, and the smaller of the two major Lutheran churches (the other blesses same-sex unions).

It can no longer be said that the battle over civil marriage is between the gay community and people of faith. Far too many in the religious community have either disengaged or defected to our side.

- TK