The Church and Homosexuality: No Sacred Cows

“Theology, not morality, is the first business on the church's agenda of reform, and the church, not society, is the first target of divine criticism”   Michael Scott Horton


This post is a series of comments that touch on the issue of homosexuality and the church. By the end of the post, I think I will manage to upset just about everyone.


Good Christians support traditional marriage? Really?

I believe the church has communicated the definition of marriage in a most unbiblical fashion. How many times have you heard Christians say that marriage is between one man and one woman? Is this true?

In fact, a true Biblical understanding of marriage goes far beyond a definition of the gender of the individuals. In many Christian wedding ceremonies there is the lighting of two candles and then those two candles lighting one candle meaning that the two shall become as one. How does that happen? The union is completed with the help of the Holy Spirit, which resides in the hearts of the believers.

But, is this the case for those outside the faith? Although many weddings may occur in a church, many of the participants are not Christians in the evangelical sense of the word. God is not central to the marriage and the spiritual union, held together by the Spirit, does not occur as it would for Christians.

None other than CS Lewis recognized this fact. In his book, Mere Christianity, Book 3 Chapter 6 Link 



Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question — how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.


A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.


There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”


So, here is a question. What exactly are we promoting in society when we give the perception that marriage is simply a contract between one man and one woman? Do we truly think that we are promoting a Godly view of marriage or have we cheapened it by our simplistic slogans?

Since Christians seem to be confused about the marriage issue, is it any wonder that those outside the church see things differently? Here is a harder question. The state of North Carolina (and others) gives rights to a partnership between an unmarried man and woman that has lasted for 7 years. There is no church involvement in this statute. What is the difference between that and recognizing, in a similar way, a partnership between two men? What I want here is a Biblical reason why one of these is wrong and one of these is acceptable to Christians? By acceptable, I mean that there do not seem to be Christians protesting unmarried partnerships between a man and woman so there must be some justification of this within churches. Why? Is one sin better than another? 


The problem with the “blame the parents that their child is gay” approach.

As many of you know, my daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of three. One of the most hurtful comments I received during that time was someone asking me what I may have done during the pregnancy that caused the tumor. Was she aware that parents always blame themselves when something happens to their children? Although I didn’t “do” anything, at least as far as I know, I always worried that I didn’t exercise more or get more rest, and on and on. That busybody had precious little concern for my pain and actually caused me to feel needlessly guilty as I dealt with my daughter’s life threatening illness.

Many people have said similar things to parents of gays. This is not only cruel but exhibits a stupidity about the complexities of sexual orientation. I think it runs even deeper into sin. What such an accuser is saying is “My kid is not gay so I did it right and you did it wrong.” In some subliminal sense it is a morally superior self “pat on the back.” It is also a way of communicating that some sins are worse than other sins. Warning to such people: “You best start looking at the log in your eye for both you and your kids.”

We should be supportive of parents who are struggling to accept their children. These children need to be loved and cared for even if they are not toeing the evangelical line. This is no different than being nice to Uncle Bernie who has divorced Aunt Sally to marry Bertha. Heck, there is a 50% divorce rate in the churches so this has become acceptable to cultured Christians. Such folks get to stay in the churches without much repentance being required. (Side note: I am not pointing fingers at those whose spouses have left them or abused them. I am talking about the serial marriages that I saw in mega Baptist churches in Dallas).

One woman commented the other day that she has a brother who is gay and that her children adore him. She truly loves him, and so do her kids. That is how it should be. But, there seems to be a stigma attached to truly caring for a person who has a different orientation.



Many in the Christian community have never been friends with people who define themselves as GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered)

I had a good friend for 2 years (we were neighbors and continue to exchange Christmas cards) and an uncle who are gay. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of dining with some Christian women. Several of them also had friends and neighbors who are gay. All of them expressed how much they enjoyed these folks.

Some Christians hide behind their churches, attempting to avoid people who are different. Little do they understand that there are people in their churches who are successfully hiding a number of issues, including same sex orientation.

Here is a question. How welcome do you think a gay person would be of he decided to attend a service at your church? Would you spend time talking with him and invite him to lunch with your Sunday school class? Would you give him a call and have a friendly lunch? If not, why not? In fact, have you ever spent time with a person who is gay? If not, why not?



The genetic question and SoulForce

I find it interesting that some Christians fear the possibility that gay sexual orientation will be found to be genetic. Frankly, it doesn’t change anything for those who adhere to Christian teaching.

About 5 years ago I visited Wheaton College and was present when Soul Force came to protest at the school. Here is how they define themselves. Link 

We recognize that oppression is most often rooted in religious belief and ideologies of power in which women, people of color and non-gender conforming (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) people are subjugated and subjected to the violence of exclusion. You will find us most often in dialogue with religious leaders, denominations and institutions who discriminate in polity, policy or practice. We are committed to decriminalization of sexual minorities by all church and state sanctioned organizations worldwide.”


Wheaton, instead of closing down for the day as Liberty University did in the same situation, embraced the opportunity for dialogue, allowing them to visit classes, the cafeteria and then had a debate between professors and students at the school and members of SoulForce. It was a gracious atmosphere and a standing room only event. My hat's off to Wheaton for its response in this matter.

At the end of a debate, they chose about 10 questions from those submitted by the audience. My question, directed at a member of SoulForce, was selected.

“Many claim that same sex orientation is genetic. Does genetic mean that it is desirable? Many diseases are genetic: sickle cell anemia, cancer, schizophrenia, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and some say even substance abuse has a genetic root. Please explain why a genetic causation would mean that homosexuality is positive.”


I forget the name of the man who answered but I know he was a graduate of Wheaton and was involved in a seminary in San Francisco. He did not appear comfortable with the question. He said that he did not feel that he could address the question since conclusive genetic evidence was not yet available. However, in his initial comments during the debate, he alluded to genetic causation.



Another question for SoulForce and some questions for me.

Later I bumped into a small group of folks from SoulForce. I found them engaging and willing to dialogue. My next question was a bit more difficult and they were kind enough to engage. One of the young women was involved in a committed, long-term relationship. She movingly expressed her deep and abiding love for her partner. She told me that she believed the Bible in all aspects except for the passages on homosexuality, which she believed were misinterpreted.

I asked her if she was sure that the passages on homosexual acts were the only ones with which she disagreed. When she reiterated in the affirmative, I queried, “Do you and the members of your church believe in abstaining from sex prior to marriage?” She was quite uncomfortable and agreed that most GLBT Christians do not adhere to that as well.

But, she countered with the fact that most heterosexual Christians mouth those verses but do not follow them as well. She went onto to point out the divorce rate in the church, accurately pointing out the hypocrisy of some of the Christians attack homosexual behavior.

I told her that she was absolutely, 100% correct about the hypocrisy of many in the church. I also asked her to forgive me for not starting my question with an acknowledgment of the failure of the church in these areas. The church must openly and honestly deal with our own issues as we seek to engage those who think differently. Our hypocrisy speaks loud and clear.

Wade Burleson wrote a deeply moving post about his own encounter with SoulForce. It is must reading. Here is a link to Miliitant Homosexuals: Loving Them to Christ Without Lambasting Then at Church.



Is it fair to condemn homosexuals to a life of celibacy?

Once again, this is an in-house debate. I do not, and cannot, expect that those who do not accept my view of Scripture to comply with it. In fact, without the conviction of Biblical truth and the help of the Holy Sprit, I think it would be pretty darn near impossible.

However, what do we, in the church, do with what we read in the Bible? I think we are not doing a good job at defining to the world and to the membership what life is all about.

Years ago, I dealt with the possibility of the death of my daughter. It caused me to look at the issue of fairness and the purpose of my life. Somehow, in this American culture, we are encouraged to go for the brass ring. We should be rich, happy, and fulfilled.

However, there was this thing called the Fall. Consequently, life is often filled with both pain and sorrow. Look at the lives of the saints in Hebrews 11. All of them suffered hardships. Is this fair of God to let His people go through such trials? How about Job? It appears that suffering is a given for most of God’s beloved.

What, in the eyes of God, is life all about? The Westminster Catechism states, “ What is the chief end of man?
 Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”


Man’s chief end is not to be happy, to have wealth or to even have lots of friends. Man’s chief end, in this life, is to seek after God. And, as one who has confronted terrible pain in her own life, I can say that pain causes one to seek God for the things this life cannot give.


No, it is not fair that my friend’s daughter is confined to a wheelchair. It is not fair that a beautiful, talented woman has never found a man to marry. It is not fair that people are born with genetic flaws which will cause them to have any number of diseases. It is not fair that children are born into abusive homes or into families who are impoverished.


Life is hard for most people and the only consolation we have is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins and the hope of ultimate joy for eternity. This life will always disappoint us and the church must stop presenting Jesus as the ultimate sugar daddy who exists to make us happy. We cheapen the Gospel with such promises.


Instead, the church should be the Fellowship of the Wounded who love and care for one another until that day we go home.


Finally, we need to educate ourselves about the issues surrounding homosexuality 

There are a lot of people who think that all one has to do is to accept Jesus and that He will “make” a person become heterosexual. There are far too many people out there who think that God instantly will make things “all better.” He doesn’t. Think of the Apostle Paul who suffered with his unidentified “thorn in his side.”

There are ministries, which work with GLBT people, but it is important to note that many people who claim to be “ex gay” have struggled, fallen and many have returned to the gay lifestyle. Some have successfully changed their orientation but many have not. The church is called to stand alongside these brothers and sisters, offering grace, encouragement, support and understanding.

Exodus International is a Christian group, which is dedicated to helping those who wish to leave their current lifestyles as GLBT. Here is link.

There is another website called Beyond ExGay. This site shares stories of those who tried to become “exgay” through churches and failed. They have rejected the faith and have returned to their former lifestyles. Their stories are sad yet they are helpful in understanding their struggles through their eyes. Here is a link to one such story. 

I hope the questions that I raised will spur many of our readers to consider how we should minister to those who consider themselves GLBT. The questions are many and the answers are not easy. I pray for the grace of God in our lives as we minister to and form friendships with those who are GLBT. And may we confront the hypocrisy in our churches before we point out the sins of the world.


Lydia's Corner: 1 Samuel 29:1-31:13 John 11:55-12:19 Psalm 118:1-18 Proverbs 15:24-26


The Church and Homosexuality: No Sacred Cows — 182 Comments

  1. Dee,

    An amazing quote from C.S. Lewis. I have read “Mere Christianity,” but missed the signifcance of the words you have highlighted in Chapter 6. The issue of the difference between a marriage of Christians and a marriage governed by the state are, just as Lewis said, sharp. And his argument for the separation of “church and state” is Baptist theology at its best, though Lewis would probably be mortified being identified with Baptists. Lewis’ words are as powerful and applicable today for us evangelicals in the U.S. as they for Christians in Europe were when he wrote them from his home in Great Britain. Thanks for an excellent post!


  2. Oh gosh – by no means have all of the people who’ve written about their lives on the Beyond Ex-Gay site “left the faith.! (Some of the were/are not Christian – like the Mormons who used to be in a mixed-orientation marriage.)

    I think that for a lot of people – and not just LGBT folks – there’s a need to step outside what might well have been what I will term “toxic faith” and (like others who have experienced abuse in various churches of varying denominations) have some time away… in order to find out who they are, in order to examine what they believe and to think freely (many for the first time, ever), and… perhaps journey back into faith, as God so leads.

    One of the big problems with Exodus – other than having wedded itself to politics for the past 10+ years – is its insistence that people somehow “journey toward heterosexuality” (aka “healing,” in their terms). Alan Chambers 9the pres.) has stated that saying that one is gay but celibate is wrong – because the “gay” part is wrong.

    Back when I supported an Exodus-affiliated ministry, it *was* OK to acknowledge that one was gay *although they didn’t like the word) – i.e., that one’s sexual orientation is toward those of the same sex/gender rather than the opposite sex/gender

    There is a big difference between orientation per se and sexual behavior – and unfortunately, these words are often used in a very loaded fashion. I would recommend going to Wendy Gritter’s blog (link is in comments on the previous post on homosexuality) and taking some time to read her essays on these matters. She is very thoughtful, kind and careful in her use of language. (she is also very very honest and forthright about the pain experienced by many partners in mixed-orientation marriages, and I have a lot of respect for her for telling it like it is in a compassionate way.)

    Sometimes I think we all need to drop the loaded words and phrases (“militant homosexuals,” for example; also the “hate the sin, love the sinner” mantra that people hear all the time but that is all too seldom adhered too), take a deep breath, and then – be willing to listen – and listen, and listen some more, before ever uttering a word, let alone a Bible passage.

    I have this sneaking feeling that Jesus listened a lot – and of course, he has the advantage of being God and knowing peoples’ minds and hearts. We can only guess… and we do not know the depths of anyone’s soul – even our own – as God does.

    I think it’s also important to step back from the Scriptures that are generally used to “clobber” LGBT folks and spend some time allowing ourselves to look at different translations, words in Greek – and at differing interpretations. I’m not saying that to try to win anyone over to any pov so much as I am saying ti because i think we are *all* too comfortable with/habituated to X interpretation(s) without having really looked at passages in context and in varying translations. God is big; we are small – and we often get all kinds of things wrong.

    Maybe we (I) am getting something wrong right now, as I type. But I hope and pray that I am open to God’s Holy Spirit – and to people (of all faiths). That passage about “entertain[ing] angels unaware” comes to mind – with the primary meaning of “angel” being “messenger of God.” Does God speak to us through the other ordinary human beings we encounter?

    I believe he does.

    Just sayin’ … and just thinking aloud, to a degree.

  3. One other note on Exodus International: in the early-mid 1990s, they were adamant about refusing to conflate their views with political platforms and campaigns. But over time, they changed and started citing political/election stuff (on a national level) and I think that was/is a bad idea (or compromise, which I believe it is – a kind of selling out to the more vocal political elements within US-based evangelical churches and within various Exodus-affiliated ministries).

    I started to distrust them + affiliated ministries based on that change – long before my views on sexual orientation, sexual behavior etc. began to alter.


    As mentioned by another commenter in one of the posts below, here is a link to Wendy Gritter’s blog:

  4. Oh, and – re. marriage, I cannot think of a society or religion that does not have it, or that does not endorse it.

    Perhaps it’s time to start looking past ourselves? (To others, to see that there seem to be many common patterns in human societies that were/are likely part of basic ethics and conscience as given to us by God, regardless of professed religious beliefs or lack thereof?)

  5. Another distinction,

    I hear all the time (especially from atheists), that the Christian right has no right to push their religious views on the rest of the populace… separation of church and state and all that.

    The point they miss is that their needs to be a distinction between the organization of the church and her members acting as individual citizens. I have no problem with Christians trying to legislate marriage/divorce laws that are in line with their belief system … this is, lest we forget, a country where each citizen can vote in order to change the laws to reflect what they’d like. This is different from the church as an organization trying to bring pressure to bare on congress, legislators, etc. I think churches should be prohibited from supporting any political candidate, not only from the pulpit, but also by financial donation, advertising, etc. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to play in politics…period. The individual members however are a different thing altogether.

    The whole idea of homosexuality, is silly. Where are the church support groups for people struggling with, let’s say coveting their neighbor’s goods, maybe we should have one for people who can’t stop working on the Sabbath, certainly there are more of those, from a pure numbers perspective than homosexuals. It’s the same old lack of consistency, we create God, and in this case, the “importance” of not committing certain sins, based on our own ideas…not anything remotely derived from scripture.

  6. I think churches should be prohibited from supporting any political candidate, not only from the pulpit, but also by financial donation, advertising, etc. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to play in politics…period. The individual members however are a different thing altogether.
    yep! We don’t have a state church, though I am sure some people would love it if we did…

    Where are the church support groups for people struggling with, let’s say coveting their neighbor’s goods,…

    Excellent point. We (people) always seem to go after sexual indiscretions – perceived or real – with pitchforks and torches, but sins against what the KJV calls “charity” – how often does anything like that get flagged from the pulpit?!

  7. Karl

    I agree with your first paragraph.

    However, I do not think this particular issue is silly. I know you are not a believer. However, you do know that Christians believe that God created man and woman so that, within the marriage relationship, they would be a living picture of the Godhead. The Godhead embraces qualities that are both male and female. The Scripture is quite clear that marriage is between a man and a woman and God and no exceptions are given to that picture. To the contrary, warnings are given against same sex relations. Can’t get around it as much as I have tried.

    However, I give you props for pointing out our overemphasis on this issue as opposed to others and I think I have made that clear in my posts.

  8. Wade
    Thank you for the positive feedback. I still remember reading those words for the first time as a relatively new Christian. I grew up in a nominally religious home and was trying to figure out what the Bible said about marriage because I did not have that modeled for me at home.

    Lewis always said things that made sense to me. So, early on, I became aware that marriage was very, very different for Christians than for unbelievers. In fact, it rather irritates me when nonbelievers take vows in front of God during a marriage ceremony because I know they don’t have a relationship with Him.

    Funny how things haven’t changed much from WW2 Britain to the culture in America today. Lewis saw through the pseudoChristian culture of England.

    PS-Loved you article on John Wilkes Booth. Last summer, my husband and I visited the Dry Tortugas National Park off Key West. Dr Mudd was held prisoner there and was instrumental in helping the prisoners during an outbreak of typhoid (I think I have the disease correct). After a tour of the prison, we did some awesome snorkeling. Snorkeling in pristine waters combined with a history lesson-doesn’t get much better than that! Have you been out there?

  9. Re: Gay marriage and the separation of church and state:

    I believe that the New Covenant ideal is the separation of church and state, meaning basically what Karlton has stated –that religions, as institutions, should not be able to impose the moral imperatives of their religion on non adherents of that religion. (And I would add that, likewise, governments should neither require nor prohibit adherence to any particular religion.) As such, Christian churches have no business imposing the requirements of their faith on anyone outside that faith, whether those requirements be positive (worship, pray, give, love, etc.) or negative (don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t commit sexual sins, etc.)

    Governments can and do, however, have a responsibility and obligation to maintain civil order, by preventing its citizen’s from harming one another, and by promoting behaviors that strengthen the society and ensure the future security and prosperity of the governed. As such, government has an interest in the concept of marriage and family, as it is a foundational aspect of human society. Thus it is proper for governments to establish laws around what appropriately constitutes marriage, totally apart from any religious considerations.

    Historically, governments have recognized the unique societal nature and function of marriage by promoting and encouraging it as a societal good. A primary means by which governments promote or encourage marriage is by providing married citizens with special legal status and privileges not afforded to those who are not married (such as tax breaks, inheritance laws, bankruptcy laws, Social Security benefits, etc.).

    In general, the institution of marriage promotes stability and security in a society, and provides a structure and an opportunity for the propagation, health, and basic instruction of future citizens (taxpayers). That is, in purely biological, naturalistic, and secular terms, heterosexual marriage has historically provided a benefit to the government and its citizens that homosexual or other unions have not — a safe, stable, reliable and accessible means to ensure the continuation and health of the society and it’s government by creation of the next generation of citizens / taxpayers.

    I believe this provides a solid secular (non-religious) case for governments to make a legal distinction between traditional (heterosexual) marriage and other forms of interpersonal union. As such, I further believe it would be more fair and rational for a government to either (1) extend the legal privileges afforded to married people to all citizens, regardless of marital status, or (2) remove all special legal privileges around marriage, than it would be to extend the current legal benefits of heterosexual marriage to homosexual unions.

  10. Junkster
    Thank you for your excellent and well-thought out response.

    You said “Governments can and do, however, have a responsibility and obligation to maintain civil order, by preventing its citizen’s from harming one another, and by promoting behaviors that strengthen the society and ensure the future security and prosperity of the governed.”

    Governments change and pass laws all the time that might, from a Christian perspective, “harm” its citizens (Roe v Wade) or cause an instability to the family structure-cohabitation laws, divorce laws. Governments can, and do, change their moral and ethical belief structures since they are based on the majority rule which is pluralistic in perspective. Governments do not adhere to the authoritative values of Scripture. So, today, in New York, same sex marriage was approved.

    I believe that this will continue to be a trend and that most states will approve same sex marriages. So, it would seem, that government has made a decision that same sex marriages do not harm its’ citizenry.So,as Christians, how do we respond?

    One hundred years ago, Prohibition was made the law of the land and the law, while done from good motives to prevent alcoholism, was not supported from the get go and was the reason that Nascar got its start. Even Christians disagreed on abstention.

    I believe that, over time, we can only influence the long term moral structure of the church by changing lives with seriousness of the Gospel which, defines for Christians, the Scriptural admonitions of the faith. I think the church, as a whole, has not done its job well. Our own people can’t hold marriage together. Some stats seem to indicate that atheists have a better marriage record than Baptists. I think Christians have contributed as much to the breakdown of the American family as any secular group. Why do you think government will listen to us over any other group?

    I would love to see a longterm comparison of the length of marriage for gay couples as compared to Baptists. Hope someone is keeping track. i think the outcome may be embarrassing.

  11. “I believe that this will continue to be a trend and that most states will approve same sex marriages. So, it would seem, that government has made a decision that same sex marriages do not harm its’ citizenry.So,as Christians, how do we respond? ”

    So what about polygamy for Muslims and Mormons? How wlll states respond to those demands? Once we redefine marriage….

  12. Lydia

    I agree. However, do you think that Christians have redefined marriage by keeping the spiritual aspect out of it? And how do we keep people from pursuing their idea of marriage? I think we need to develop careful studies which show the secular problems which develop within certain definitions. The Christian view will not sell as the culture becomes less Christian and/or more independent. So, how do we do it?

  13. Lydia

    Let me expand a bit. What do we do with those who do not have the Holy Spirit convicting their hearts of God’s best for them? We can argue our case and utilize reason but how do we expect them to understand the world through God’s eyes? And how do we get them to live in the ways of God without the help of Jesus? Frankly, the church is not doing such a good job at living out what we want the rest of the world to follow. So, if we don’t do it with the advantage of the indwelling Spirit, how does the rest of the world?

    Please do not misunderstand. This is not to advocate for one position or another. I am just rethinking a few things. You are so good with Scripture and I respect your opinion so much. Perhaps you can help me with these questions. There is a reason we named our Bible reading after you:)

  14. Well, I am a bit conflicted from a NC point of view. Marriage is a picture of the unity of the Trinity YET we know that Paul said in the NC that being single is also very good to better serve Christ without the distractions and responsiblities of marriage. I think the NC is about making disciples not being fruitful and multiplying.

    I am not so sure we have to argue from a Christian worldview. I am sitting right now in St Pete surrounded by unbelievers or cultural christians who are lamenting (by the pool) the subject of the gay pride parade that took place today in downtown St. Petersburg. The after parade party has descended to the beach and it is quite the spectacle……hundreds and hundreds…..

    We had to take the kids inside.

    Even the agnostic neighbors in our building are upset.

  15. Dee

    In this post you used a term that I do not think has a definition: “gay lifestyle”. I believe that there are many, many definitions that people ascribe to that term, and the meaning is so fluid that use of the term is inappropriate, because it has essentially lost the ability to communicate anything but a bias by most who use it.

    Before the explosion of HIV/AIDS among homosexual men, there were a number of different life-styles among homosexuals. These included couples of long-standing exclusivity and couples of long-standing relationship with some degree of openness to other relationships; those relationships are very much like similar heterosexual relationships. Other gay men were a part of the gay bar scene, much like heterosexual singles, out to find a relationship or a one-nighter, and often not sure about which. The most notorious “gay lifestyle” was the bath house culture, essentially an anything goes with whomever was there. The bath house culture is essentially gone, killed by HIV/AIDS. The gay bar scene is much more restrained (as is the hetero singles bar scene), in both cases due to STDs.

    So then, what is the “gay lifestyle” and what does that term really mean?

  16. Lydia,

    “hundrend and hundrends” of what? Why did you need to being the kids inside? Why are the neighbors upset?

  17. “These included couples of long-standing exclusivity and couples of long-standing relationship with some degree of openness to other relationships; those relationships are very much like similar heterosexual relationships.”

    If those types had been the majority, there would not have been a crisis and we would not be having homosexual discussions. And with the crisis came the effect of millions funneled into a cure for Aids away from other diseases because of the homosexual lobby. Now Aids can be managed so the effect of the “lifestyle” is not so obvious anymore. I have a neighbor with aids who has managed it for many years thanks to drugs. And he is still not monogamous. strange.

    I was in San Fransico in the 80’s and witnessed a gay pride parade. I saw sex on the street. What I saw last night in St Pete was lewd public behavior so bad by hundreds, we had to take the kids in. The city usually only gives permits for loud parties until 11 pm. The gay pride people were given a special permit until 4 am. Unheard of!

    These are not “family” oriented events. They are events you remove your children from that are in public. I realize I will be accused of homophobia and worse but these people are in your face about it. And they dare you to challenge them.

    Basically, what you want is to paint people like me as mean fundies because we have a problem with the public behavior of homosexuals immersed in the lobby.

    A friend of mine owns a volvo dealership and volvo is a sponsor of a gay pride type banquets. He simply did not attend the banquet. Did not say a word against homosexuals or anything and they threatened to launch a boycott of his dealership unless he supported them by attending every year.

    That is how they operate and they have serious power.

  18. Karlton, I am not going there with you. Let’s save time: I am a mean fundy hateful Christian. Now, carry on. :o)

  19. numo: Have you read John Shore?
    He is a satirist, a Christian who has tackled GLBT issues with compassion.
    Funny stuff like this:

    “I’ve recently been invited to a couple of gay weddings. So — what with being Christian and all — I asked myself the famous, “What would Jesus do?” (Which I don’t too often ask myself, actually, since Jesus could, for instance, raise people from the dead and turn water into wine, whereas I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning and/or turn water into coffee…)

    He hits truth home with poignancy and really good writing. He’s currently collecting stories of gay and lesbian Christians and has a sub-section on his site, putting real people voices into what is often an abstract discussion for church-goers.

  20. Lydia,

    There are boors of every kind and sort, gay, straight, religious (protesting funerals, burning others’ holy books), union, anti-union, labor, management. Some do it out in public in ways that should not happen. I have witness heterosexual public sex too! Check out the beach at spring break. I think part of what you witnessed is an overreaction to feeling ostracized and closeted. In today’s paper, there was an article about young people talking on their phones during movies, and made the point that they do not think that this is in any way rude!

    Yes, there are some that are really out there. That is not a justification for discrimination against those who are not. Public lewdness, so long as it is gender and gender preference neutral, should result in action by the constabulary and the public, including the GLBT public, to get it stopped. There is an old saying: “Get a room” and it should be said by the organizers of such events to those who violate common courtesy.

  21. You will have to point out the heterosexual political lobby to me. I must have missed that one. :o)

  22. Lydia,

    I asked a reasonable question, since you weren’t specific and that’s the kind of response you give…I’m not certain that your self-description is accurate…but I can certainly think of a few other words that might describe your response.

  23. Arce

    Here is what I said. There are ministries, which work with GLBT people, but it is important to note that many people who claim to be “ex gay” have struggled, fallen and many have returned to the gay lifestyle.”

    In that sentence, I meant to convey that the persons returned to their former life as a practicing gay, whatever that might have been. In other words, let’s say I had been a nurse, working 60 hours a week in NYC. I quit and went on a trip around the country. I then decided to return to nursing and could have said I returned to my former nursing lifestyle which would mean working 60 hours a week and living in NYC.

    Here is quote from the formerexgay website
    “We believe that ex-gay experiences cause more harm than good. Certain people who currently identify as ex-gay say they are content as such. We don’t seek to invalidate their experience. For us such a lifestyle was not.”

  24. Lydia

    I sympathize with your experience. I was once in a similar situation. But, I also had a vacation ruined by stupidly planning a beach trip on a spring break weekend. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I would say that the behavior was similar between the gay beach celebration crowd and the spring break crowd. Both disgusted me.

    The law does precious little in these situations. So long as a person is not driving drunk or smashing up a hotel room, they allow much latitude else they would have to hire out large auditoriums to contain the lawbreakers.

  25. Lydia

    I agree that there are some gay pride groups which are horrendous. I think of those idiots who dress like nuns in SanFrancisco, invade churches and throw the Eucharist around.The famous party every year in San Francisco ( I forget the name) is an orgy of untold magnitude.

  26. Karlton said…
    In today’s paper, there was an article about young people talking on their phones during movies, and made the point that they do not think that this is in any way rude!

    I find that incredibly difficult to believe. I can’t remember the last time I saw a teenager talking on a phone — they text! 🙂

  27. Lydia,

    There is a large and rather effective anti-homosexual lobby in this country. It has succeeded in passing constitutional amendments to state constitutions banning gay marriage, postponed allowing gays to serve in the military for over a decade, and, in some states, kept gays from being able to adopt or be foster parents, on that basis alone. They have kept gender preference from being a protected class for hate crimes ( not speech, but violence).

    They also passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which is contrary to the constitution, but which bars any partner benefits that marriage provides under federal law and does not require that a marriage in one state be recognized in another, which applies to all other contracts.

    Rather large and effective lobby to deny people civil rights based on their gender preference.

  28. The difference between us, Arce, may be that you think two men having sex with one another can continue while claiming to be Born Again. It would be no different than me continuing in heterosexual adultery while claiming to be Born Again. If there is no conviction of sin then I would need to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.

    I realize I am not real popular here because I actually believe homosexuality is sinful and I long to see people saved from it instead of telling them lies that they can be saved and practice it. That would be no different than me telling a practicing adulterer they can be saved all the while.

    Whether we like it or not, scripture teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Even in the Greek. :o)

    Romans 1:

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

  29. I did not and have not so said. But I do not believe that that sin is any greater or less than any other. Some men lust for power and wealth, and some of those are pastors who preach against homosexuality. They need to remove the log from their own eyes and before preaching about the motes in others’ eyes. There are hungry children in this world, and Jesus said that if you don’t act to feed them, you won’t make it to heaven. And those with power and wealth could easily see to it that the hungry children are fed. They have a log in their eye, their wealth and power, that keeps them from seeing the need. Sin is a huge issue, and the extreme focus on one particular sin to the exclusion of others is a sin in and of itself. But pastors won’t last long in the pulpit preaching against wealth and power, adultery, lust (other than against Hooters and R rated movies and the homoerotic kind). Profiteering by drug companies results in deaths every day, but there is no preaching against that. And our crazy medical system (both before and after the recent reform efforts) keep too many from getting the treatment they need. And this so-called “Christian” country incarcerates a larger percentage of the population than any other in the world, and we do not have reentry programs, chaplaincy programs are being chopped, and the lack of medical care kills prisoners who were sentenced to terms of years. So, while homoerotic sex is a sin, I think the victims of it are those who participate in it, and there are other sins that God has specifically mentioned will KEEP PEOPLE OUT OF HEAVEN, and those are sins of omission, failure to care for the least of his children, the hungry, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, the powerless and the poor.

  30. Lydia,

    You are NOT a hateful “fundie” and popularity has little to do with anything. You are simply passionate about your Biblical beliefs and I respect that greatly! Whether I agree with you or whether or not I have the same view of the Bible as you do, is only incidental. That’s why I like TWW, it’s a free and open forum in the marketplace of ideas.

    I have not seen this kind of diversity and adult civility at any other blog. Most of them just preach to a certain choir (liberal, conservative, atheist, & what have you) and God help you if you disagree.

  31. Paraphrasing Arce:
    There is a large and rather effective pro-homosexual lobby in this country. It has succeeded in passing constitutional amendments to state constitutions supporting gay marriage, allowed gays to serve in the military for over a decade, and, in some states, allowed gays from being able to adopt or be foster parents, on that basis alone. They have promoted gender preference as a protected class for hate crimes (speech and violence).

    They also opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which is compatible with the constitution, and which bars any partner benefits that marriage provides under federal law and does not require that a marriage in one state be recognized in another, which it appropriate for the unique nature and role of marriage in society.

    Rather large and effective lobby to promote the notion that prople have civil rights based on their gender preference.

    See how that works?

    Sorry, Arce — I just get weary of the on-going attempts of the left to impose personal morality into what should be a purely secular matter.

  32. Junkster

    I was responding to Lydia’s statement that there is a powerful gay rights lobby and that she had not seen a counter to that. So I pointed out the effectiveness of the anti-gay lobby in this country, which includes a majority of state legislators in many states. And I do not care whether one is left or right, I do not appreciate people legislating against the civil rights of individual citizens and residents of this country. I believe there is a right to be left alone if one is not harming others or costing the public money to remedy the effects of one’s actions.

  33. Lydia

    I was so sad when I read your comment. I don’t think this blog would have drawn as much interest if you weren’t posting. Your stuff on women is without parallel. Your Biblical knowledge is extensive-far more than my own. We named the Bible reading after you.

    If you look at my opening statement on this matter, you will find that I tend very conservative within the church. When it comes to decisions outside the church, I tend towards Burleson’s position as written in his post today (this is not shameless self promotion-promise).

    I frankly am curious how self-described Christians view this issue when people treat each other respect. And I think this has happened in this instance. I was fearful when I did these posts knowing that there would be profound differences. That is why I stated my beliefs up front.

    Lydia, you are awesome! The only difference that I have with you in your last comment is that instead of saying homosexuality is sinful, I would say that acting on one’s homosexual impulse is sinful if one is an evangelical Christian. I cannot ignore Romans 1 either.

  34. Muff

    Thank you. You get it. I so want for us to discuss the issues and hear what one another is saying. Too many in the church close their ears. That is one of the reasons that I read atheist blogs, Mormon sites, liberal commentary, and the like. I want to see if I, as a professing Christians, can understand where they are coming from in their words, not what someone else tells me they believe.

    I also want to be challenged in my viewpoints. If I can’t stand up for my beliefs, then I need to do a self check and not run from the controversial. But, but better yet, I truly enjoy hearing how others come to their point of view.

    Finally, I want this to be a place that challenges the church when it deviates from its called mission. Way too many people, including myself, have been beat up by arrogant church leaders who believe they are truly anointed and use this belief to place burdens on the faithful.

    I really, really enjoy your comments. Long live the Muff!

  35. Arce

    You said it so well in your 3:15 comment. I wish I was half as erudite. You challenge me to do more whenever I read you.

  36. Thanks, Dee. i muIst be misunderstanding where people are coming from. I also agree with Wade but I bet if you asked him how he would vote on gay marriage issue if he were able, he might vote against it. And there is our dilemma as believers in this society. Voting against gay marriage does not mean one does not love the homosexual and wants them saved. I think that is the false dicthomy in this thread. That showing love to a homosexual means we must agree with their secular wants.

    Arce, What I do not understand about your comment is that it seems to be saying that anyone who has sinned cannot teach about sin. That means it is impossible for anyone to teach anything in the Word. And in fact, you ARE rating sin in your comment while you accuse others of doing the same by mentioning homosexuality instead of all the other sins…first?

    I think the problem is that for many, we see God take a stand on it early on in Genesis by wiping out a whole city where it was rampent. It is where we get the word: Sodomy. We know by Romans 1 that God did not change His mind just His methods with Jesus Christ.

    What I meant by the pro heterosexual lobby is we do not have a heterosexual lobby demanding federal funds to eradicate diseases caused by casual sex. We do not have the heterosexually active demanding special rights or special laws aganist those who speak out about casual sex being bad. what about crimes on prostitutes? Should they have special hate crimes legislation?

    You seem defensive that anyone says that homosexuality (practicing) is sinful. And you seem very concerned for “gender rights” which you also define as men with men which I find strange.

    And I am very confused by your victim language. Would I be a victim if I commit adultery?

  37. No, but your spouse or the spouse of your partner in adultery is a victim. I am not saying that homoerotic sex is less of a sin than anything else. I was just pointing out that there are many sins that have more victims and more significant victims than two consenting adults having sex. And that pastors should be preaching confession and repentance from all sins, not just their favorite sin du jour. If you look at our megas, where preaching against homosexuality if fierce, and check out the budget, there is no way to justify the salaries being paid to the leadership of those churches when there are hungry people in every part of the country. Read Matthew 25.

    The passage about Sodom is was mistranslated and probably does not refer to homoerotic sex. So the derivation of the word “sodomy” is an error. Aside, A friend who is gay said that he and his partner do not practice anal sex, but they have other means.

    HIV/AIDS has been rampant in Africa where homoerotic sex is rare, and is spreading rapidly among women in this country, particularly in minority communities. That it was first identified among gay men in this country is an anomaly, but it spread rapidly within that community and outside of it as well. For a variety of reasons, the lobbying effort to find treatments for the disease included gays but also much of the public health community, because it was recognized that the disease is not limited to the gay community. The disease apparently existed for some time in the heterosexual community in East and South Africa before coming to the west. It is wrong to describe it as a homosexual disease. I have a friend who lost a daughter and a grandchild to the disease due to a transfusion. He and his parents, including his pastor father, were shunned by the church when the child was diagnosed, and then the mother.

  38. “No, but your spouse or the spouse of your partner in adultery is a victim.”

    But you implied above that the male having homosexual sex was a victim. Can you explain?

    “The passage about Sodom is was mistranslated and probably does not refer to homoerotic sex.”

    Ok then what is it referring to? I assume you think Romans 1 is not referring to it either? And what do you say is homoerotic sex? Sodomy?

    Which brings us to the problem of communication that you seem to be defending homosexuality but claim you aren’t. Even implying the bible is not talking about homosexuality as we commonly define it, and the kind you mean (whatever that is) is actually, ok.

    Homo sex is rare in Africa? Where do you get that?

  39. From my missionary relatives who spent 20 plus years there during the early days of the HIV epidemic. And who were shot at, carjacked, etc., and still go back to Africa to minister.

    NO, I am not saying it is OK, but you have a totally biased and negative approach to it. IT IS SIN. But it is only one sin, and if there are victims of it, the victims are consenting. There are many sins that have innocent victims, by which I mean, those that are not consenting participants in the sin. Yes we must preach against all sin, but a pastor who preaches about the sin of those not in attendance in the congregation while ignoring the sin of those who sit in the church, is complicit in the sin of the congregants there.

  40. Arce, I have missionary relatives who lived in Africa for 20 years, too. They said homosexuality was a big problem…so big the WHO was constantly putting on big campaigns to use condoms with homosexual sex. In fact, they told of one WHO worker who ran around with condoms stapled to her straw hat going from village to village promoting condoms for homosexuals. And this was during that same time of the huge aids epidemic.

    And beastiality was not so rare there, either.

    “ut it is only one sin, and if there are victims of it, the victims are consenting’

    Ok, but you originally implied that homosexuals were victims. I am not sure how a “victim” consents in this scenerio.

  41. a kind of aside, can we (maybe) just look at Romans chs. 1 and 2 in context? Paul has a major point that he’s building toward, and it starts with gentiles/anyone who starts worshiping idols. The crescendo of that part of his sermon is (to me) like the opening of Beethoven’s 5th – overwhelmingly powerful.

    But – then comes Romans ch 2!!!

    I think we do a grave injustice to this segment of the Epistle to the Romans when we lift verses out of context, because there is *so* much more to what Paul is saying… no offense intended toward anyone.

    Lydia, lots of use like you and want you to keep commenting, but please – I do not think there is much, if any, attacking or defensiveness here. Please know that – on my part – I would like to have an ongoing dialogue with folks here, and I learn from everyone. This places is *not* like most forums/blogs/websites, as the quality of writing and commenting is very high and not nasty or snarky. (At least, that’s my take.)

    all the best!

  42. HIV II is primarily spread via heterosexual contact; there are lots and lots of reasons for its spread in sub-Saharan Africa that have nothing to do with homosexuals or sexual contact with gay or lesbian people, or people using IV drugs.

    There are a lot of aspects to this and I think they are pretty succinctly covered in documents like the following FAQ: where they also note that the virus appears to have mutated into a number of subtypes on the continent.

    I have also read some alarming things about AIDS in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, where there are a multitude of reasons for heterosexual transmission, but would need to dig up some docs on that.

    The bottom line, imo, is that HIV/AIDS is a threat to all human beings (potentially), and that nobody – regardless of sexual orientation – is immune.

    (There are so many children in southern Africa alone who have been orphaned due to AIDS… it is shocking and saddening and there isn’t really enough focus on this – i think – in the West.)

  43. Add to my last: there are cultural practices in some parts of Africa that more than likely add to the number of HIV/AIDS infections, as well as some sexual practices – and the latter are common everywhere, in the absence of condoms. (Here in the US, among male-female couples, and in all other parts of the world as well.)

    I think we really need to try and understand that it’s not about “exoticism” or perversion, but about a need for basic health care and education for all people. We are a phenomenally wealthy country in that respect and we don’t, I think, take time to think about that most of the time.

  44. Why do we care what another adult does in private with another consenting adult? Seriously, I’d be interested in knowing why any of us think this any of our business. Is it our business how heterosexual men and women conduct themselves in their bedrooms. Is it our place to judge what brings enjoyment between consenting adults? Just would like to know why it is even a topic for consideration, anymore than me having a discussion with my friends about my neighbor who, rumor has it, likes to eat their desert before the main meal at super time.

    Even if you think it is a “sin”, so what…why does that need to translate into an all out culture war…aren’t there more important things in this world to worry about than whether your neighbors sexual activities are pleasing to the almighty?

    Just to be specific, so if a man has anal sex with his girlfriend, that’s ok (or maybe not?), but if a man does the very same thing, using the very same bodily organs but attached to another man, this is wrong and is somehow our concern? I don’t think this is about sin at all…as I am certain that there are millions of more men having sex with their girlfriends (unmarried…sin, right?) then there are homosexual men having sex with other men. So why is everyone obsessed with stopping homosexuality, but boyfriend/girlfriend sex slides, for all intents and purposes, under the radar?

  45. ‘Why do we care what another adult does in private with another consenting adult?”

    They do not hold gay pride parades because they want it to be private thing. :o)

  46. Numo, How did I use Romans 1 “out of context”? Paul did not later speak that the unnatural acts (or other sins mentioned) were not considered sin.

    According to some of you, shutting down the bath houses in Frisco was a waste of time and unnecessary. Seems it was not really concentrated in the homosexual population at all???

    Of course the rapid spread in that pop was because of the random sex….here they have a park where they meet and many times do not even see their partner’s face. Many want to talk about monogamous partners but that is not the norm. If they wanted it to be a private thing, they would not have gay pride parades :0)

    Of course many non homosexuals were affected. Some were bisexual and I knew one very young hemophiliac who died of aids from a blood transfusion during those dark days.

  47. “I think we really need to try and understand that it’s not about “exoticism” or perversion, but about a need for basic health care and education for all people. We are a phenomenally wealthy country in that respect and we don’t, I think, take time to think about that most of the time.”

    I just do not get this type of thinking. Syphillis spread because of sexual perversion. Now there is a cure. If people were monogamous these would not be such huge problems and the innocents like the infected wife or yourng hemophiliac would not be innocent victims of others sin. instead we want a medical cure for our bad behavior instead of the real cure which is Jesus Christ. We want our badness to not be sin with consequences. (That is the royal “we” as in me, too)

  48. “The bottom line, imo, is that HIV/AIDS is a threat to all human beings (potentially), and that nobody – regardless of sexual orientation – is immune.”

    So, how would I get it if I do never receive a tainted blood transfusion and am in a monogamous marriage?

  49. Lydia,

    You do not know what the “norm” is. Gay people I know say the norm is a quiet relationship between two men (or two women) that are not terribly public about it, except among their family and gay friends. The others are considered gauche and there are pejorative terms in their community each for the other. Of course, those who are aggressively public and seeking attention get most of the media.

  50. BTW, it is not the attention seekers that want to be able to be married. All they want is sex and publicity.

  51. I think they hold gay pride parades in part as a violent reaction to other people going out of their way to make it impossible for them to enjoy the same benefits as same sex couples and from trying to use guilt and shame as tools to make them be silent and invisible members of our society, second class citizens…if that!

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Different topic, but I think captures the sentiment.

  52. Another thought….

    We devalue their life, we tell them they live life wrong, that their deepest urges and pleasures are an affront to the maker of the universe, that their transgressions doom each of them to a special place in hell’s furnace. How would you expect them to react when we as a society toss their most precious feelings and intimate desires into the trash?

  53. What Arce said.

    Lydia, I think you are making many assumptions about what I have been trying to say. I am getting the feeling that you are upset with me, although that may *not* be what you think or are trying to convey.

    I *do* think bathhouses etc. are *not* a good thing.

    It is easy enough to learn specifics about heterosexual transmission of AIDS, if you would like… I don’t know that getting into specifics about sexual practices (by straight people) or cultural practices (again, by straight people) is helpful in comments here – but info. can easily be found.

    and if someone forgot to stick a piece of medical equipment in the autoclave, and someone has an open wound, and that someone with the wound has the wound or cut touched by the thing that was not auotclaved… pretty easy (sadly) for this to happen, and it DID happen, and it is STILL happening, though it’s far less likely to happen in well-off, developed countries. Developing countries are another thing completely.

    and… if you are single and marry someone who is HIV+ due to infection by previous partners, and you have unprotected sex with that person (unprotected because they either do not know or have chosen not to tell you), then…

    As for Romans chs. 1 and 2, there is a whole sermon there. I will not exp0licate it here, but I am sure you can find plenty of good resources that look at the entire picture, not just at the 2 verses that refer to gay and lesbian sex.

    all the best,

  54. Re. the examples (possible transmission) I gave above, there are many, many more scenarios and they do not necessarily involve anal sex (by gay or straight people), though it *does* happen re. straight people and anal sex… especially in countries where people do not have easy access to condoms, have not had decent health education,e tc.

    The thing is, it happens a lot in *this country* because people ignore what health/sex ed they’ve had, or don’t bother to pull out the condoms, or… and I am talking about straight people. (Esp. teenagers.)

  55. One last comment (meant to include in my most recent): for a lot of people, “birth control” is still either withdrawal or else anal sex. That can be reinforced heavily by customs, religion, and many other factors – even when people might know that neither thing is the best option.

    The latter scenario unfortunately sets people up for HIV/AIDS via heterosexual intercourse.

  56. “As for Romans chs. 1 and 2, there is a whole sermon there. I will not exp0licate it here, but I am sure you can find plenty of good resources that look at the entire picture, not just at the 2 verses that refer to gay and lesbian sex.”

    That is a non answer to someone who has studied Romans for a long time. I understand the hermeneutics of Romans…what I asked is…. if anything Paul wrote after chapter 1 would negate homosexual (unnatural acts)practice as sin for today?

    What is so hard about that question?

    Ok, so if i do not work in the medical community, only get sterile instruments used on me and marry a virgin, how would I get AIDS?

    See, you have to admit that it is mostly transmitted through sex. But for some reason, you have a problem with that? Because it is not nice to claim that sex outside marriage is wrong? I do not get it.

    “Lydia, I think you are making many assumptions about what I have been trying to say. I am getting the feeling that you are upset with me, although that may *not* be what you think or are trying to convey.”

    Which is why I ask direct questions that you keep answering me to research as if I haven’t. :o)

    Why is it that you guys have a problem with homosexual practice being a sin? Is it because you think anyone who says taht is a mean fundy? Is it truth or not?

    No one will save a homosexual by telling them they can stay in homosexuality practices and be Born Again. That is a lie from the pit of hell. It would be like telling me I can stay in adultery with no conviction of sin and claim to be Born Again. The Holy Spirit would not be present.

    “6 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Hebrews 10.

  57. Syphillis spread because of sexual perversion.

    “sexual perversion”: are you referring to people having multiple partners? I am honestly not certain what you mean here when you use the word “perversion” and am wondering if you could clarify?

    Thanks in advance, Lydia!

  58. OK… I know of kids in Africa who have HIV+ status because their umbilical cord was cut with an unsterilized blade. (Obviously, there is great potential for the mothers to contract HIV in such a scenario, especially if they had any tearing or needed an episiotomy for some reason…)

    Romans ch. 1 & 2 are about far, far more than homosexual sexual acts, which is what i was trying to intimate in previous posts. if that was not communicated, it was not for lack of trying!

  59. I do not feel it’s going to be helpful to get into a big argument about Romans 1 and those specific verses.

    so I will bow out of that aspect of the discussion. 🙂

  60. NUmo
    Let me break in here. Syphillis was was described in detail in the late 1400s and was identified among the French troops. It is a disease that was spread by prostitutes and was seen in many upper class English “gentlemen” who used prostitutes as a sort of privilege. Syphillis, as well as most STDs are usually seen in people who have multiple partners.Thankfully we have treatments for these diseases. Like Aids, Syphillus was progressive causing terrible physical symptoms.

    Lydia is correct about promiscuity.In the US, Aids is primarily seen in homosexual males and drug addicts who use dirty needles. Yes, it is spreading to females and poor babies born to HIV infected mothers. For awhile, many gays supported the shutting down of the gay bath houses, which did promote anonymous sex. However, since the treatment for AIDS has prolonged life, there has been an unfortunate return to the bathhouses. Some, within this community, have also been forgoing the use of condoms, once again.

    Before everyone gets all bent out of shape, I am not saying for ALL gays, this is for some but it is an alarming trend. One has to wonder why such behavior is promoted within this group.

    Make no mistake about it, most STDs are seen in a more promiscuous crowd (once again, not all but a significant amount). What is so sad is that this sort of culture us becoming acceptable on college campuses with many young college kids becoming and spreading STDs. AS a public health nurse, we needed to learn about spread rates, etc. Frankly, this is the underbelly of our culture and it is very sad.

  61. Needle sticks (happened more than a little in US healthcare facilities in the early days of the AIDS epidemic).

    heterosexual women who have unprotected sex with bisexual partners. (Also happens a lot, disproportionately so in Hispanic and black communities, where most men are not going to be talking about being bi or having sex with men due to the in tense amount of shame associated with it.)

    As for syphilis, how about the wife who’s waiting at home for her soldier husband -0 and he gives her what used to be referred to as “the French pox”?

    Birth control, antibiotics – all are pretty recent inventions. it’s no wonder syphilis spread the way it did, and imo, it has nothing to do with sexual perversion…

    A lot of circumcisions and other genital cutting/mutilation (in various parts of the world)a re still performed by people who do not use sterilized blades, or even know that blades need to be sterilized.

    And so on.

  62. I forgot men in prison, in military combat situations (until recently with US forces) where men are the only available sexual partners, as well as cultures where men are actually very upfront about having sex with women and with other males (not necessarily people who are of the age of consent). Those societies are usually quite segregated by sex/gender, and there is often social acceptance/encouragement of adult men having male sexual partners.

    This list could just go on and on…

  63. Karl

    Christians have the responsibility to share the Gospel with the world. The world has the right to reject what is in the Bible. We have as much right to talk about the faith as they do not to listen or to promote their own lifestyles choices. This is a marketplace of ideas. In my perspective, I simply convey what I believe to be true and do so without coercion. I have as much right to express concern about the longterm consequences of various behaviors as they do in telling me to accept their point of view.

    Christians believe that, in the long run, following God’s mandates will result in a better life for all mankind. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t preach it. However, I do not believe in haranguing people so I learn when to back off.

    I can tell someone not to do something but I cannot make them stop doing it. That is the beauty of a free society. I am certainly glad someone told me about Jesus and so are many others.

    It’s like listening to you speak about atheism. I listen to your arguments and continue to believe but I do not feel offended by you sharing your rather dismal view of Christians. I actually learn from you as you write and am grateful for your perspective because I learn more specifically what atheists believe. I’m a big girl and I can take it.

  64. I am still not certain how “promiscuity” is being defined here – I mean, one can get any STD or HIV/AIDS if one has only ever had a single. solitary sexual partner – or one sexual encounter in their entire lives.

  65. Numo

    When I use it, I mean multiple partners and, in general, that is the case for most transmission of STDs. Yes, you have the one wife who is monogamous but her husband is running around but that still involves promiscuity on the part of the husband. Yes, a little baby gets Aids which is also contracted by a mother who usually has multiple partners.
    I remember sitting in public health lectures as they showed us how the spread of such disease occurs. It is, by and large, due to multiple partners. Even the SoulForce woman admitted it as such. And yes, I know the heterosexual population is promiscuous. That is where we see Syphilis, HPV, etc. In fact, many infertility problems are secondary to problems with STD s. That is one reason for the rise of infertility in the US

  66. Yes, promiscuous people are more likely to be infected with HIV, the same is true of ANY contagious disease, statistically, the more people you come in contact with, the more like to transmit the disease. But to assume that HIV is somehow God’s punishment for this particular transgression is absurd, even from an evangelical viewpoint.

    There is no rational reason to connect those dots. It’s a disease, plain and simple, not some punishment from an angry father figure.

    Pits of hell, hands of the living god, fearful expectation of judgement, is mine to avenge… have those words become so ingrained in your daily speech that you can no long hear how absolutely absurd they are. Boogeymen, ghosts, goblins, demons, angry gods, guilt, fear, punishment, eternal damnation…PLEASE, is it so hard to see the simple truth …. it’s nothing more than coercion, fear mongering and guilt tripping to get allegiances and desired behavior.

    When you consider that we still believe in such utter nonsense and treat our fellow mankind accordingly I guess maybe Dee is right…we haven’t evolved very far at all.

  67. I guess i wish we were not even using the term “promiscuous” here, if only because it implies that such people are somehow worse than the rest of us – regardless of who they are, what they did, and with whom. I am well aware that the disease 1st spread among gay men who (for the most part) had multiple partners, and also remember the panic that people felt due to bad media stories – that a person could get HIV/AIDS through saliva, tears, etc.

    Living right outside of D.c. and working in D.C. when the HIV/AIDS epidemic first hit, I can honestly say that a lot of IV drug users got hit, and they were mostly black and Hispanic. One person shares a needle, just once…

    I also recall when Magic Johnson announced his HIV+ status, which was shocking to many.

  68. Dee,

    I’m not sure what that last post was in response to. I don’t recall criticizing anyone for speaking on a topic. I believe I was just trying to ask the question .. why is it any of our business…I was not talking about preaching the gospel I was talking about the big uproar that Christians typically make about homosexuality and at the same time, pretty much look the other way, when it comes to other sex outside of marriage.

    How do you tell your story, or more appropriately evangelize without coercion. The entire gospel story is nothing more than one long emotional and guilt ridden plea to convert. You are a sinner, all men are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Jesus, God’s son came to this world and DIED on a CROSS to save YOU because he LOVES you. All you need to do is accept Him as your savior and you get to go to heaven and live with him forever. If you don’t however, you will be cast into a pit of fire to be tortured eternally with the devil and his angels. Your choice….yup, no coercion or emotional manipulation there….heck, maybe we can even get you to stand up in a church or assembly meeting, get you to admit you aren’t saved…ask if you really wouldn’t want to come to Jesus today and get forgiveness for all the things you’ve done wrong …then with the whole congregation staring at you….we can “ask” if you’d “like” to come forward and receive Jesus…He’s calling to you…(queue the organ music and laying on of hands)

    OMG, pardon the expression…tell me again how there is no emotional manipulation, guilt tripping or coercion going on…especially when more often than not, the “victim” of this dog and pony show is a young, impressionable teen who just wants to be loved and have some attention?

  69. I also remember the US church’s – my – response to HIV/AIDS patients, which was… [crickets], for the most part.

    From my pov, I think that sometimes God is too merciful, especially to those who reacted with fear and indifference to such great human need. Which is most people in the American church (not just evangelical), though definitely not all.

    However, I do think that illustrates Jesus’ statement about “sinners” getting into the Kingdom of God ahead of those who thought they were righteous – perhaps all too well.

  70. Lydia – I’m not sure we’re on the same wavelength here; my guess is that a convo in person would be a lot easier than attempting to do this via text-only. Dee said a bit earlier that she seems to run into trouble at times with expressing some of her feelings and ideas on a blog. I think it’s the same for me as well.

    Please do understand that just because I have differing views doesn’t mean that my views are necessarily diametrically opposed to yours, though it might seem so at times.

    also, I think there is some confusion here between what I have said about LGBT people (who are all individuals, just as straight people are) and some things that LGBT people (and straight people) might do in bed. One does not equal the other, any more than one’s choice of football team reveals everything there is to know about a person.

    And I agree with Karlton that HIV/AIDS is a disease – a devastating one – *not* God’s punishment or judgement on any particular group of people. To find a parallel, maybe we could go back to the lepers of the Middle Ages – outcast, shunned and judged by their peers.

  71. Karl

    Please be cautious when jumping to conclusions about me. I try very, very hard to make my points in a reasonable manner. Just like you should not judge a GLBT person in an all encompassing way, you shouldn’t judge all Christians in that way as well.

    Here is my point. I believe the homosexual act is sinful. However, I do not, and will not, and never have confronted a GLBT about their actions. My bottom is this. Unless a person has been saved by the grace of Christ and has the indwelling Holy Spirit as the comforter and convicter, there is no point. I believe that it is virtually impossible for someone who does not have the spirit of Christ indwelling to even begin to deal with this issue in a Biblical fashion.

    So, I tend to keep my mouth shut (something most people who come to this blog would find hard to believe) on extraneous matters and only focus on the main thing which is Jesus, for me. I try to be loving and kind and hope by my actions and attitude that a person would consider the words and life of my Savior. I am not in the business of changing a person’s life.

    I truly love people, all people, and enjoy getting to know them on their terms. In some instances, like on the ExChristian site, I had to learn how to do that within the context of blogging and I have improved in that sort of arena but have a long way to go.

    As for evolution, I have said I have no trouble with theistic evolution. However, some things change and others do not. The Bible clearly states that the world will pass away but God’s words will be with us always. So throughout time and eternity it is my goal to encourage the church to act like it follows Christ, Who is never changing, and not act like many American politicians and CEOs.

  72. Dee,

    The statement was not directed at you personally (I too have trouble communicating emotional intent on a blog :))

    However, after 25 odd years as a born-again christian I can tell you, that that type of “evangelism” is the predominant type, both in content and manner.

    Both yourself and other here have expressed an abhorrence to emotional manipulation when discussing various topics, so I think my statement and question is a valid one. How can any Christian say with a straight face, that they abhor manipulation or coercion and at the same time practice the typical evangelical push when it comes to “saving souls”.

    I know that not every Christian evangelizes in this way…or for that matter, evangelizes at all, but there are many who do.

    The difference between grouping all GBLT people into the same bucket and doing the same things for Christians is that GBLT folks don’t have a common set of beliefs, guidelines or principles that unify them, whereas Christians do…so to some extent it is valid.

    When I used the term “evolve” I was referring to the more generic meaning of simply “changing” not biological evolution per se.

  73. Karl

    Listen to the nightly news and talk shows. Everyone expresses strong opinions. Unfortunately it is part of the culture. You should see what I was called a few times over at ExChristians when I was truly trying to understand and was definitely not trying to proselytize. I do not believe in coercion but I am sure in my youth I was a bit strong.Ah, those heady days of black and white….

    Could you give me some real examples of evangelical “push”? I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

  74. Numo

    You mentioned the treatment of lepers. It was a primitive culture with no understanding of germs. Strangely, they hit on a solution, quite by accident, which was isolation of the infected. Leprosy is a communicable disease that is, most likely, although not definitively, spread but respiratory droplets. It is a terrible disease with severe debilitation although now it is curable via antibiotics.

    So, in that culture, even if they had learned the real reason for the disease, without a cure, they would have had to isolate those infected. Isolation, when no cure is forthcoming, is the best form of preventing the disease from spreading in a population. I am not saying they did it right, by stigmatizing those ill but isolation was the only remedy.

    Now imagine if a person who had a communicable disease said, “I don’t care, Im going to move along in public anyway, infecting people as I go along. Too bad, so sad.” There was an interesting case, couple years back,of a man who had a very rare form of TB who disobeyed his restrictions, got on an airline and put at risk everyone on that plane and in the airports. It was all over the news as they tried to track down those who were exposed to him.

    He was isolated as they studied his disease which turned out not to be as communicable as they thought. He was asked why he did it. He said he was not going to spend time in the country he was in and was determined to come back to the US to get treatment. He truly showed no remorse at exposing others to his disease. There are many who have come to the point, in this culture, where it truly is every man for himself and the greater good be damned.

  75. I understand about isolation, but… do you think there was much kindness in it?

    (extrapolate to the US church’s response to HIV/AIDS in the 80s-90s.)

    And yes, there are some people who are incredibly irresponsible, but that’s hardly limited to those with communicable diseases!

  76. Numo

    Definitely not kind but, in some ways, they did limit the spread. They thought it was due to sin and Jesus quashed that notion.

    “And yes, there are some people who are incredibly irresponsible, but that’s hardly limited to those with communicable diseases!” However, in this instance it could leave to death and impairment so it raises the issue for me a notch-just like those who drive drunk.

  77. Lydia: Was this St. Petersburg, Florida that this gay pride parade you refer to was held in? I grew up there.

  78. @ Dee: I was referring to the way “lepers” (who might have had other diseases, not just leprosy) were treated in medieval Europe. It was not kind; they were exiled from everything – including the church, unless a priest was willing to take the risk of spending time with them.

  79. “Now imagine if a person who had a communicable disease said, “I don’t care, Im going to move along in public anyway, infecting people as I go along. Too bad, so sad.” There was an interesting case, couple years back,of a man who had a very rare form of TB who disobeyed his restrictions, got on an airline and put at risk everyone on that plane and in the airports. It was all over the news as they tried to track down those who were exposed to him.

    “He was isolated as they studied his disease which turned out not to be as communicable as they thought. He was asked why he did it. He said he was not going to spend time in the country he was in and was determined to come back to the US to get treatment. He truly showed no remorse at exposing others to his disease. There are many who have come to the point, in this culture, where it truly is every man for himself and the greater good be damned.”

    I remember this case well. The man was from Atlanta, where I live, and it was a BIG story here because he was first quarantined here in ATL. He’d gone to Greece to get married. Right before he left, he learned that he’d tested positive for TB–and he went ahead and traveled to Greece for his wedding. He flew back to Canada and drove to the US border. The border agent checked, found the man’s name on a “do not admit” list . . . and he went ahead and let the guy into the country because, as the agent said later, “He didn’t look sick to me.” WHAT????

    I think he and his wife ended up getting a divorce.

  80. You know, if heterosexual couples would stop having kids we could eliminate this homosexual problem once and for all 🙂

  81. Numo
    Don’t get me wrong. I believe the way lepers were treated was heinous. No excuses. I only made a typical crass medical observation that, in their stupidity and sin, they happened upon part of the solution-isolation.

  82. Tina

    I think his attitude in this instance did not portend well for the marriage. He was his main concern! I saw him interviewed on TV before he became a pariah and thought he was extraordinarily self-centered.

  83. Tina
    The border agent’s response shows why we have border issues. Good night-now he’s a doctor?

  84. @ Dee: no, I get it from the solely clinical perspective; that’s what I thought you intended.

    But it does have implications re. how HIV/AIDS patients were treated (mostly shunned) by many, many Christians here in the US. (And perhaps elsewhere, now? I really don’t know.)

  85. All of the discussion above assumes that gay men only relate to each other sexually in one way. But just as heteros can enjoy their sexuality in multiple ways, the same applies to gay men, and not all gay couples engage in anal sex according to some of the survey literature out there..

  86. “But to assume that HIV is somehow God’s punishment for this particular transgression is absurd, even from an evangelical viewpoint.”

    Who said that? Any promiscuity can result in bad consequences. It is just the way things are. The same way eating at McDonalds everyday has consequences at some point.

  87. “I guess i wish we were not even using the term “promiscuous” here, if only because it implies that such people are somehow worse than the rest of us – regardless of who they are, what they did, and with whom.”

    Please call my sin, sin. Say what it is. The only way we can repent is if we face our sin for what it is. And we have to repent daily even for our thougts if we are not really committing outward obvious sins because we fight our flesh daily.

    Some of you are trying to lump the victims in with the transgressors and cook a sinless stew.

    And how does my sin make their sin less? If I take your view to it;s logical conclusion, no one can ever speak of what is sin nor point out sin and its consequences. I suppose that really is the goal. I was in the seeker world where that was the case. Sins were “mistakes” depending on who committed them.

    Hebrews 10 is reality and as believers we should take it seriously.

  88. “However, I do think that illustrates Jesus’ statement about “sinners” getting into the Kingdom of God ahead of those who thought they were righteous – perhaps all too well.”

    Many people mistake this. They think they STAYED that way as Born Again believers. But you are preaching a different Gospel from what I can see. You are attempting to paint those who dare speak of sin as Pharisees (they thought they were righteous)

    The Gospel is about changed hearts and hating our sin. However, if we change what is sin, we can get around that easily.

    Was Paul being a Pharisee when he advised the Corin church to kick out the guy who was practicing sin? He advised them to kick him out SO HE COULD BE SAVED. Evidently Paul believed that one who is truly Born Again would have godly sorrow for sin.

  89. Numg, You are also making assumptions about how ALL believers dealt with AIDS. You want to lump some of us in with those whom you describe.

    You really believe that because I believe mulitple sex partners was a big reason for the spread of AIDS, I would not care for someone with it? Big erroneous leap.

    I have a huge problem with Islam…yet Muslims lived in my home as a kid and were like family. I have a huge problem with the gangs and lifestyle of the inner city, yet spent a good deal of my life there ministering with my family. I have seen the consequences of not calling sin, sin. Of treating symptoms instead of the real disease.

  90. Lydia,

    While I disagree with you on some big issues, I applaud your approach to Scripture, and the fact that you have stuck with this debate almost alone. And I completely agree with your perspective that sugarcoating the God’s word in this area serves no one.

  91. “Lydia: Was this St. Petersburg, Florida that this gay pride parade you refer to was held in? I grew up there.”

    Tina, from what I gather there were several parades on June 25th in the Bay area including Tampa. I do know that aftr parade parties took place at St. Pete.

  92. I have no objection to naming sin sin. My objection is that the people who talk loudest about homo-eroticism are willfully practicing sin themselves. Greed, avarice, lust for power, omitting the part Jesus said in Matthew was necessary to be welcome into his kingdom. Jesus never mentioned homo-eroticism. Did mention adultery. Did mention hypocrisy. Did say you aren’t getting to heaven if you don’t clothe and feed the poor, tend the sick, visit those in prison, etc. There are more verses in the Bible against social injustice than any other topic. One look at a mega pastor lifestyle and there is no way to justify (there’s that root word!) that lifestyle with the mandate from the Lord. So we need to call sin sin and preaching about the sin of those not in the congregation on Sunday and NOT preaching about the sins of those sitting there is to aid and abet them continuing in those sins, and thus is sin itself.

  93. “Jesus never mentioned homo-eroticism”

    Arce, You cannot be serious. Jesus did not have to mention it specifically. He was speaking to JEWS who well knew God’s stand on homosexuality. they knew what the law taught about it.

    Lev 18 (The Message)

    22 “Don’t have sex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent.

    Lev 20

    13 “If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. They must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths

    The question of adultery was a bit more complicated since

  94. oops, hit send before done

    Adultery was more complicated since polygamy was allowed because of sin. A married man who had sex with an unmarried woman could marry her. There are other scenerios for heterosexual sexual sin but too many to get into here. (this is why most people miss the point of the adulterous woman brought before Jesus…where was the man?)

    jesus raised the bar from adultery being the sin to lust being the sin. (lust is a verb…something we actively “do”. It is not the same thing as being tempted)

  95. Arce andNumo,

    I get the feeling, it has not been declared, but by your teminology such as “perversion” and “homo eroticism” that you all think homosexual sex that is not anal.. is not sin. Is that correct?

    What exactly do you mean by “homo eroticism”?

  96. Lydia

    I really like your comment at 3:04. There are behaviors, as described in the Bible, which are considered sin. I wish I could get around it but I can’t.

    I also agree with you that, because you subscribe to a behavior as being sinful, that does not equate to being unloving or unkind or mean. You can love a person without accepting certain behaviors.

    Promiscuity has resulted in terrible STDs along with HIV. If people had been monogamous or not used illicit drugs and dirty needles, these diseases would not have occurred. And if anyone thinks that I am advocating not treating these disease, think again.

    The same goes for eating. God wants us to enjoy food, which can include the food at McDonalds. However, He does not want us to eat huge burgers and French Fries at every meal so that we become fat and malnourished. Gluttony, like promiscuity, is a problem for the health of individuals. I really think you did a great job by equating the two, I have never thought of it in that fashion before but it will become part of my arsenal.

  97. Numo
    That is true, in the past. But more and more churches are reaching out to those afflicted with Aids. My own church was one of the first in the country to set up a program to reach out to such persons in Africa.

  98. Lydia,

    No. You keep making assumptions about others that do not reflect the reality of their position. That is a tactic in debate that is improper but is used a great deal by those in politics (like calling Obama a socialist — he isn’t). And it is unbecoming in a Christian. Let people be who they really are and share what they really believe, instead of trying to tell them what they believe.

    I am sorry that you are so tied up about the sin of homo-eroticism. It is a sin, like all other sin. The problem is that many Christians have chosen to make a bigger issue out of that sin that others. My point is that we need to change the focus from condemnation of people to sharing God’s love for them with them.

    Most Christians are very hypocritical about sexual sin. We accommodate in our churches adulterers and singles living together without marriage and those who practice serial marriage, and do not preach against them, but let a gay person show up and we either show them the door or risk our church being disfellowshipped from the denomination. The overweight, big hair preacher is not really a caricature but a reality in many churches, and it is hypocritical for those to preach against sin unless they start by confessing, in each and every sermon, their own. We return adulterous pastors to the pulpit without confession, remorse and penance. Child sexual abuse and seduction of teenagers by church staff gets covered up by the leadership. We have SBC leadership backing a man who repeatedly lied about his upbringing, from the pulpit of many churches and other venues, and who has not confessed to lying nor apparently repented of it. The hypocrisy is rife. And then we expect to be able to witness about the life changing power of Christ. And all of these speak against gay men and women.

    And on top of that, we ignore the words of Christ who spoke against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and said that we must make taking care of the least among us a priority if we are to see heaven.

    I am sorry to say so, but most of our churches are dens of hypocrisy, so busily dealing with the sin of those not in the pew and ignoring the sin of those in the pew and the pulpit every week.

  99. “No. You keep making assumptions about others that do not reflect the reality of their position.”

    I am trying to understand. Where you seem to be making distinctions between homo erotic and monogamous homsexual partners as one is sin and the other isn’t. You don’t come right out and say it but you seem to imply things in a round about way. I am just trying to get at what you really believe about it so we can move on from there. So, in effect, I have no idea about your position on homosexuality in general.

    There is a Baptist church in my city that teaches homosexuality not wrong and has many homosexual couples who attend. I am trying to ascertain whether or not you believe like them.

    You have said thatcertain bible passages do not pertain to homosexual sex as is commonly defined leading me to believe you only have a problem with homosexual sodomy.

    None of these questions negate the fact that their are other sins. The topic became homosexuality. If Dee and Deb want, we have a thread on heterosexual adultery and casual sex. You will find my position will not change.

    “That is a tactic in debate that is improper but is used a great deal by those in politics (like calling Obama a socialist — he isn’t).”

    Well, he isn’t a free market guy, either. So what is he? Inquiring minds would like to know. :o)

    “nd it is unbecoming in a Christian”

    Now, that crack was exactly what you seem to have a problem with me about. You want to be able to say how a Christian should act but are offended when others do the same. Strange. I suppose it is ok when you say such thigns but not for others. I need the rule book.

    And you also do the same thing FOCUSING on your pet sins you keep mentioning over and over. Let’s take them all on, one at a time. My position will not change.

    “Let people be who they really are and share what they really believe, instead of trying to tell them what they believe.”

    How am I doing that? By quoting scripture? Giving my opinions? How have I told you what YOU or anyone else believe?

    What you are really asking is for me not to disagree or challenge positions.

  100. “I am sorry to say so, but most of our churches are dens of hypocrisy, so busily dealing with the sin of those not in the pew and ignoring the sin of those in the pew and the pulpit every week.”

    BTW: I am not the institutional church.

  101. Arce, thank you for your most recent. Lydia, Arce pretty much sums up my thoughts, both in this discussion and in light of my own beliefs about many things (though Arce and I have our differences, too).

    I wonder if it might be possible to declare a truce at this point? I am just not up for more attempts at trying to explain where I am coming from, and what I see in Scripture, since every time I do try, you tend to put it in the wrong light – not intentionally, but that is how what you say is coming across to me.

    It just seems futile to keep going around in the same circles.

    And as Arce said, I do not know of a single place in any of the Gospels where Jesus spoke specifically about homosexuality. Since there is nothing recorded in the canonical Gospels, I would rather just acknowledge that and move on in terms of trying to work out what the NT does say about sexual ethics and sexual moraity.

    I also would rather not be labeling others lest I find myself being called out as a whited sepulchre myself. (I am speaking solely of me, not of you or anyone else here. I am just sick of language that makes other people sinners at best, enemies at worst – while failing to acknowledge that we are all fallible, sinful creatures and that we might be very guilty of sin that is never called out from the pulpit… or only rarely, it seems, which is what Arce noted.)

    best to all,

  102. One thing I forgot: no, Lydia, I am not making a blanket judgement on how ALL Christians dealt with AIDS back in the 80s-90s, and I was pretty specific about that. (Using words like “many” and “most” or “Most of us.”)

    I do try to qualify thing; i hope everyone will understand that I was not saying all in the US are guilty or all here are guilty or whatever. In fact, I specifically said that I personally was guilty of fear, indifference and inaction at that time.

    Me, not you.

  103. Arce said:


    No. You keep making assumptions about others that do not reflect the reality of their position. That is a tactic in debate that is improper but is used a great deal by those in politics (like calling Obama a socialist — he isn’t). And it is unbecoming in a Christian. Let people be who they really are and share what they really believe, instead of trying to tell them what they believe.”

    I have to agree on this. I would ask again that you would read what we actually write instead of telling us what we said, because the 2 things are not convergent and I think it is unfair to do this.

    What often seems to happen is that when one (or more) of us tells you that we did NOT say X, you then claim that we are either attacking your words or won’t call sin sin or are willfully misunderstanding you.

    An example: your comment to me yesterday about bathhouses and whatnot. I *never* said that I thought they were good places and did not mean to imply that risky sexual behavior is anything commendable. But you chose to say that that is what I believe.

    Like I said a couple of comments back, I am tired of the circular arguments and ongoing attempts at clarification. It’s nothing personal – but it is kind of exhausting when attempting to reply to claims that I said Y when I said X, sometimes over and over.

  104. Numo,

    Welcome to the exasperated debaters society…similar to the dead poets society. 🙂

  105. Homo-eroticism is the making of a person of the same gender an object of erotic desire. Applies to all sexual activity between people of the same gender, including the perpetrator of homosexual rape.

    I used the term to include all homosexual acts.

    People take passages in the Bible out of context, use old and discredited translations and interpretations, and then use them against people — whether gay, female, etc. I will object whenever that occurs. My favorite among those are the headship and head covering passages, which are grossly misinterpreted. Head in the sense used there means source not boss. And I believe that Paul was dealing with a problem with the hair and head covering passage — taking an inappropriate issue in church to an extreme to show how ridiculous they were being. He is the same who said that circumcision is irrelevant to a Christian, so why a big deal about head and head covering.

    One of my core beliefs is soul freedom. That every individual has the freedom to believe or not, and must choose, and no one can compel another to believe or not.

    It has been my long belief that the church and the state need to separate the functions that are incorporated in what we call marriage. Religious commitments via the church and civil issues and rights via the state. As it stands now, now one is sure exactly what marriage means legally or religiously.

  106. @ Arce: I would not call a rapist (of women or men) someone who is experiencing “erotic desire” – it is a power thing, an attempt to humiliate and dominate. (Though I suppose there are people who find harming others in this way arousing.)

    As for the rest, yes.

    @ Karlton: yep! 🙂

  107. “And as Arce said, I do not know of a single place in any of the Gospels where Jesus spoke specifically about homosexuality. Since there is nothing recorded in the canonical Gospels, I would rather just acknowledge that and move on in terms of trying to work out what the NT does say about sexual ethics and sexual moraity.”

    Ok, I can only infer from this that you believe if it is not specifically said in the “Gospels” then it is not sin. Beastiality is not specifically mentioned in the Gospels, either. See the problem with that hermeneutic? Yet, beastiality is specifically mentioned in the Law as is homosexuality. But not mentioned again in the Gospels. Why?

    In the Gospels, Jesus was talking to JEWS. He came first for the Jew…remember? Jews did not need to be told homosexuality was sin. They knew the law said those caught in homosexuality were put to death. Same for beastiality.

    So far, neither one of you will come out and say practicing homosexuality is sin. You all dance around it and try to qualify it with terminology, etc. Why not just come out and say you believe that monogamous homosexual relationships are not sinful? If that is what you believe? We can disagree on that and be done with it.

    But there has been a lot of dancing around that as if you are uncomfortable saying it if it is what you believe. Perhaps it is because you cannot really back it up. You totally backed out of explaining why I was wrong about Romans 1 and where Paul negated the things he mentions there as sinful later on either in Romans or somewhere else.

    Homosexuals are not my enemies anymore than adulterers are not my enemies. Both are practicing sin and need a Savior. Or if they claim to be saved while practicing sin, they need Hebrews 10 and ALL of 1 John and repentance. Just as I did. Just as we all do when we “practice” sin while knowing the truth.

  108. <>

    I remember hearing that (the border agent’s response) and going, “AAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!”

  109. Just to be clear, I do not think homosexuals should be put to death as the OT law teaches. So please do not go there. I think they need the Gospel…the FULL Gospel.

    But I do not think homsexuality CEASED being sin in the New Covenant, either.

  110. “People take passages in the Bible out of context, use old and discredited translations and interpretations, and then use them against people — whether gay, female, etc. I will object whenever that occurs. ”

    You have not made the case here, for the above, when it comes to homosexuality. You “object” and accuse but fail to make a case at all.

    A case can be made for horrible translation/interpretation on the headcoverings passage in 1 Corin 11. A good case from the Greek. It is common sense in some respects because nature does NOT teach us that men have short hair. :o) We could spend hours on that one passage and the problems including “symbol of” is not even in the Greek but was added by translators.

    Where is the case that homosexual practices are not considered sin in either Covenant because of context or bad translations? If I am wrong, I would like to know why and how.

  111. “An example: your comment to me yesterday about bathhouses and whatnot. I *never* said that I thought they were good places and did not mean to imply that risky sexual behavior is anything commendable. But you chose to say that that is what I believe.”

    You were actually trying to make a case that AIDS was not transmitted mainly by homosexual promoscuity when it all started. You were giving all the other ways it was transmitted later but had a problem admitting what everyone during those days knew was a fact and how it got to be such a problem in the homosexual community.

    I used hyperbole to make the case that even HOMOSEXUALS were concerned enough to close the bath houses. You had a problem admitting what even the homosexuals admitted themselves.

    You guys are guilty of what you accuse me of,too. You try to connect dots to those who think homosexual behavior is sin to those who hate them. See, it works both ways. I am just more direct. I do not communicate in vague platitudes where people have to try and figure out what you mean or don’t mean.

    Just do me a favor. Do not tell homosexuals they can be saved and continue to practice sin. Being Born Again means we are “New Creatures” and we hate the sin we once loved. We are tempted to sin but are growing in Holiness fighting the flesh every day.

    To be fair, you would need to tell the greedy mega church preacher he can be saved and continue in his greedy sin, too.

  112. LYDIA,


  113. However, BEING a homosexual is not a sin. Acting out that preference to satisfy one’s sexual urge is.

  114. Lydia,

    I need an apology from you. I have NOT danced around anything. Go back and re-read my posts and apologize for mis-characterizing what I have written. Otherwise, I will have no choice but to not post here again to avoid scurrilous attacks from you. Your behavior is not the behavior of a Christian interested in dialog, but in slandering those who disagree on any point.

  115. If one is not practicingand makng it obvious in some way , are we sure they are homosexual. Why are they not considered single or celebate? How would we know unless they communicate a problem with same sex attraction?

    A heterosexual who does not have sex is called: single or celebate. Why the difference? I don’t get it.

    Arce, I will take your word for it in the all caps comment even though I think you communicate a different position with your other comments.

  116. LYDIA, GO BACK AND REREAD EVERY COMMENT I HAVE MADE ON THIS ISSUE. THERE IS NO, NOT ONE SCINTILLA, OF DOUBT AS TO WHAT I HAVE SAID. If you think this form of slander is cute, you need therapy, fast.

  117. Dee/Deb

    So long. I will not be here any more without an apology from Lydia. Either she is here or I but not both. I have never been treated so irresponsibly and slandered so with regard to what I have said on these matters.

  118. No Arce, you stay. This blog has attracted more and more doctrinal liberals anyway. I fit in less and less and am alone most of the time in my positions.

    No one wants to actually look at scripture and what it says but just to say it is out of context or the Gospels only count, etc.

    You make a vague statement about scripture context and translations but then do not back it up with the homosexual issue. Do you not realize what your statement implied? You make vague statements that seem to negate other statements. I seriously do not know your position. NOW, since the all caps comment I am thinking it is soemthing like:: Homosexuals are not in sin if they are just living together as a couple but do not have sex.

    Is that homosexuality or roommates? :o)

    Spiritual unity is about Word and going deep. We cannot make it say what we want but we can look at the entire pericope, The Greek or Hebrew word choices translators have made (or added), etc.

    It is not spiritual unity to agree on things that are not scriptural. And if we cannot agree that only the Gospels count but nothing else, then we have no foundation for unity.

    There are things worth splitting over. And dumbing down sin is one of them. I left the seeker world over the total corruption and dumbing down of sin.

    You want me to be tolerant but you are intolerant of my position.

    Basically, what you are saying to me is don’t challenge my comments when you think they are wrong. That is not blogging. I h ave asked you guys to make a biblical case and you refuse. If we are not going to the Word then what is the point. There are tons of resources to check the Hebrew or Greek and to really delve deeply.

    I am sorry I offended you. But I keep seeing the docrtrinal liberal view here with very little of the other side and decided to take this one on. I want to debate from scripture. Thinking homosexuality is a sin does not mean one hates them. Yet, that is the view I see here promoted over and over. Would it shock you to know I have sat by the bedside of a guy I worked with who had aids? Yet, I am not going to pretend that homosexuality is not sinful or that we need to not tell them it is sin. Monogamous marriage or celebacy is the only way for believers. We need to talk about that more.

  119. Lydia: You have every right to disagree with others politely (Just as everyone else here does, I think.)

    But I personally feel like you are trying to force your way of seeing things on everyone else who comments here.

    That does not make for peaceful discussion.

    I have written to the blog owners about the ongoing attacks in this particular thread.

    Perhaps it’s best if we don’t post on each others’ comments? At this point, it is the only solution that I can see, for myself, at least. It is definitely not about what we believe, it IS about treating other people as you (and I) would wish to be treated. About disagreeing in a respectful way.

    1 Cor ch. 13, anyone?

  120. Numo

    My issue is having my statements twisted to make them fit Lydia’s preconceived notions of what I mean, rather than taking what I say at face value, that is that what I said is exactly what I meant, and not some contrary thing that I would not say under any circumstances.

  121. yes – I have been experiencing much the same difficulty.

    Some months back I bought up the whole notion of agreeing to disagree, and I think it would help a lot. (Or not, depending.)

  122. Trouble is, I was agreeing that homoerotic sex is sin, and she keeps saying that I am saying something different than that.

  123. Lydia

    I think that Arce agrees with you on the Christian perspective of homosexuality. Here is his quote. “HOMOSEXUAL SEX IS SIN” Am I wrong?

    However, he might disagree with you on civil enforcement as opposed to church regulation. That is a different matter which involves differing perspective on the use of government to regulate social matters. I have to admit that I am struggling in this area myself. Over the past years, I have become less and less enamored of the political process and have found myself more interested in social reform via personal service. And this from a woman who a number of years ago gave money to Mike Huckabee. I participated in his fund raising in my area and have a picture of me with him and was a conservative’s conservative. i have worked on campaigns for Republicans and was very involved in other groups, even helping to arrange a state convention for Republican Women.

    As time has marched on, I have found myself becoming irritated at the political process and am in a period of flux as I wrestle with some issues. This year, I gave money to a wonderful Democrat that I know in a different state. He is a man of great integrity and personal strength. All this to say that, within the faith I am conservative and outside the faith I am but am becoming less loyal to certain branding.

    Arce believes quite strongly that many Christians emphasize certain sins over others. I tend to agree. Take Peter Lumpkins, his main deal is that alcohol should never, ever, ever be used by Christians. He wrote a whole flipping book on the subject. The world is mired in real sin and he goes nuts over Christians having a beer or a glass of wine.

    However, don’t forget that he strongly supports women in leadership in the church. I believe he has no difficulties with female pastors. This is one area in which you two are allies.

    Finally, do you really think I am liberal? I only want people to be able to express themselves on this blog. I think i made my position very clear in the first post on this matter. I knew that people would get upset about this because it is such a divisive issue.

    I think it was you, early on in this blog, that encouraged us not to delete negative comments that I found insulting to another commenter because you said it was important for others to see how supposed Christians treat each other. I call this the Lydia doctrine and I have stuck by it, even when I deeply disagreed with the content of some.

    In the end, I would rather have a free exchange of ideas then shutting down folks like so many churches do. I hope you know how much I appreciate you, always have.

    I will be glad to get off this topic.

  124. Arce

    I think people have a hard time with this issue more than many others, even abortion. I am not sure why that is. In fact, I didn’t really want to write about this subject but felt compelled to do so. I knew in my heart there would be serious disagreement. Why do you think this subject generates such feelings?

    I have known what you were saying from the start. What is so funny is that I don’t think Lydia is so far apart from you, especially within the church.I think that many people see the culture in America becoming coarser. We see Charlie Sheen becoming famous with his bizarre behavior and this is picked up by the media. The same media also seem to enjoy highlighting the more bizarre aspects of the kooky gay fringe-like the gay crossdressing nuns who invade Catholic churches and throw around the Eucharist.

    And the few times I have been around gay pride parades, i have seen the more radical element dancing around during the event, looking most bizarre. Their antics on the beach in St Petersburg to which Lydia was a witness was as sick as college students on spring break on a beach. Our society has coarsened.

    I sometimes wonder if this is kind of the last straw. We Christians have let many things slide in our witness to the world and the definition of marriage is one of them. We have cheapened it within the church and so the world sees nothing special about it.

    Please don’t go. I need you to help keep Karl in line.:) You are also the social conscience of this blog, always reminding us to sacrifice and live humbly. Do me a favor, next time I get the urge to write about this subject, will you remind me about all of this. You remind me of the “guy behind the curtain” who warned me NOT to have a nice debate in our Sunday school class about the age of the earth. That proved to be the beginning of the end for me at that church.

  125. Numo

    Funny thing about all of this is that we agree on more than we argue. I knew this would be a tough topic but felt I should go with it. The discussion, while somewhat heated, has brought out a fair number of thoughts that needed to be expressed. I have learned much from the discussion including learning that this sort of thing should not be discussed too often!

  126. Dee,

    Thanks for speaking up. I was getting very tired of agreeing that homosexual sex is sin, then having it twisted to say that I was not, and having to post over and over and over to get the point across. But it is sin not because of what happened in Lot’s hometown, nor because of the Jude passage. It is clear that Paul, in at least one instance was referring to it as sin. My major point was that as Christians we need to treat all sin as sin and not focus on one in particular. There are exceptions — the abuse of children, the abuse of power or authority to obtain sex, rape, murder, sins that deny the personhood of the victim. But it does no good to shout from the pulpit that gay sex is sin, when the pews are full of people who are adulterers, greedy, stealing through legal means from the poor, etc., and there are no gays there.

  127. Dee: thanks so much. I really appreciate your stepping in!

    And yes, I have no doubt that most all who comment here agree more often than not, though you certainly wouldn’t know if from this particular thread!

  128. Numo,

    Do you remember the recent topic where we discussed pedophiles in the church … how many times did I have to repeat that “I am not defending pedophiles”… had to have been at least 10 or more times in the same thread…yet every time I wrote something new, I was accused of either supporting their actions or of possibly being one myself.

    It is very exasperating when that happens. I’ve wondered whether there is anything that can be done to help alleviate the problem ..such as,

    1. Grouping all disclaimers at the top or bottom of a post
    2. Require posters to insert an actual “quotation” when they accuse someone of believing something.
    3. Use of more Germanic as opposed to Latin based words.
    4. Limiting posts to no more than 8-10 lines, so it easy to re-read and grasp.
    5. Numbering each statement for reference sake.

    Just a few thoughts 🙂

  129. Karl

    I just read the article.It was well written but it is written from a secular perspective. I get what he is saying. There is a person behind the changing medical, psychosocial, genetic theories of homosexuality. As a Christian, I believe that we must always try to see the person behind the agenda. So, when Charlie Sheen goes nuts, I need to see Charlie the way God sees him, not as a weird guy who makes amusing pronouncements about his “tiger blood.”

    The man who rote the article is not one who subscribes to a Christian worldview and I do not expect that he would be able to do so. However, as a Christian, I can look at him as a dearly loved child of God and respect him. We live in two worlds: the secular and the Christian and I see that the two sides are becoming increasingly well defined.

    Thanks for sharing.

  130. Karl
    I have no idea how to set up a blog in the way you suggest. We did try to sort the comments by thread but it became quite confusing to many.

  131. Some blogs seem to number the comments automatically. I do not know if the software you are using allows that. Otherwise, it is easy to highlight the commenter’s name and the time and insert that at the head of a response. Perhaps we should all adopt that approach.

  132. Wow what a can of worms this is. Strong opinions all over the landscape. It should come as no surprise to us that our country is deeply divided on this issue. Aparently the Church is too. More so than I would have thought.

    From reading the original posting it seems that one of the main points is not whether homosexuality is a “sin” but whether the government should be in the bussiness of defining “marriage”. I have been of the mindset that the word “marriage” is what the LGBT community is really after (as they already enjoy most of the legal rights and priviledges via civil unions in most states) because of the implied societal acceptance of their lifestyle the word would give them. To my mind this whole issue is a backdoor method of forced societal exceptance of a lifestyle that for much of human history has been viewed as deviant. Since it’s just the word they want I was of the mind to just do away with the word from a government perspective. Everyone is in a civil union from now on…there are no state sanctioned marriages…you want to be “married” go to a church after you legaly “register” your “union” with the state. This seemed to be an elegant compromise to my mind. I would still be “married”. The folks in my church would still be married and the LGBT community would have to knock off all the crap about being denied a supposedly fundamental “right”. The playing field would be leveled. That’s the way I thought until yesterday. Yesterday I read the best, NON RELIGIOUS, arguement I’ve ever seen in support of traditional marriage. Written by a Princeton professor: interviewed in the National Review here:
    the abstract printed in the Harvad Journal of Law and Public Policey here:

    This article shows in stark terms how our societal definition of marriage, even in the church, has evolved (devolved is a better term) over the last 50 years. I myself am guilty of thinking of marriage in these terms. I found it to be a wakeup call even more so than the latest attacks on traditional marriage over the past few years.

    Give it a read….I look forward to reading your thoughts.

  133. It is my fervent hope that Lydia does not feel set upon or exorciated for her Biblical beliefs. Such vilification will never come from my direction, because like Voltaire, I believe in the human freedom to weigh in on any topic whatsoever without fear of rancor from any quarter. I feel the same toward Arce’s well crafted comments and beliefs. I may or may not agree with said beliefs and propositions either in whole or in part, but I will defend vigorously the right of the signators to say them.

    Humans believe things passionately, it’s part of the human soul and spirit, and yes, part of their feelings too. A little more sensitivity in this area would go a long way in ensuring that TWW remains a beacon of free and open inquiry. When it comes right down to it, we all laugh the same laughs, cry the same tears, and bleed the same blood. What better banners to unite under rather than issues which will never have satisfactory resolution in all quarters?

  134. And Muff will be doing the speech writing for the upcoming Obama re-election campaign…way to go Toby!

  135. “traditional” marriage has been deteriorating over at least the last 100 years, and the GLBTs have had little or nothing to do with that. In the ’50s, divorce was a scandal, and no politician would succeed in running for office if divorced and remarried, and most divorced people avoided the church because of the opprobrium experienced there, at least as severe as many gays have experienced in more recent times. No fault divorce has meant that if one member of a couple wants out, there may be a delay, but stopping it is impossible.

    I do not see how any two people wanting to commit to each other for a lifetime has any effect on any one else’s marriage. The trouble is that heterosexual marriages have become just longer term shack up events, with serial marriages and divorces almost as fast as the ink dries on the marriage certificate. There is no scandal anymore.

  136. Ronald Reagan was the first of our presidents elected after a divorce and remarriage, and the social conservatives loved him. Perhaps it is the fault of the social conservatives that marriage has been demeaned???? totally tongue in cheek!!!

  137. I think that the idea of the article is just what Arce says…”traditional” marriage is already damaged, possibly beyond repair (barring of course a Divine intervention). We’ve already put most of the nails in that coffin and gay marriage is just one more.

    The other idea is that, regardless what they call it, LGBT folks can not be “married” under the proper definition of the word. They can call what they have “marriage” if they like but Marriage is about WAY more than “two people wanting to commit to each other for a lifetime”. Even they (the LGBT community) recognize the difference…hence the term same sex or gay marriage. They realize that what they have is different and can never be the same as the relationship between a heterosexual couple. Hence the need for the descriptors “same sex” or “gay”. Like I said earlier they can have the word marriage but, as the article argues quite clearly and compellingly, they can never have a Marriage.

    Now onto the greater question which is does this (gay marriage) cause any harm and what should be the attitude of a Christian with regards to the issue. Well I posit that gay marriage does do harm because it is just one more thing that breaks down what has, throughout much of our history, been the stabilizing force in our society, one man and one woman wedded for the purpose of mutual benefit and the raising of children……BUT…. it does no more (or less) harm than a 50% divorce rate, or vast numbers of children being born out of wedlock and growing up fatherless, or the sexual revolution. It is just, yet another, destabilizing force that will be at work in the world my children inherit, and for that reason I care deeply and I oppose it. As much for the fact that I am a father as the fact that I am a Christian. My Christianity governs my ideas on the morality of the issue…..this issue goes beyond morality in my opinion.

    I doubt anyone here would not agree that a stable society is important to our freedoms or that stable societies are very dependent on stable faimilies. Thousands of years of human history have taught us that the MOST stable type of family is the one man, one woman model. Kinda funny…. that model just happens to be the one that God came up with in the first place….we might even have to reach the conclusion that He knew what He was doing and as usual (given our sinful nature) we’re screwing it up.

  138. Regarding Muff’s most recent comment: a hearty “amen” from my corner!

    Lydia… I do hope you will keep commenting here. And I want to say that I was not intending to be dodgy, though sometimes I *did* want to avoid a head-on collision in the comments!

    I am not certain what else to say, except that I hope I have not given offense to anyone here. It was not my intent.

  139. Karlton,

    Alas, I have given up altogether on politics. Helen Keller made this pithy observation long ago. I finally let it sink in:

    “…Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee…”

  140. Jerry,

    I disagree…

    I think a strong and healthy family relationship with parent(s) who are emotionally and financially stable is the corner stone of a family, regardless of the legal/social status of the parents or make up of the family. Marriage is a social institution. Every society has had a version of it, many religions have a version of it. Many countries have a legal version of it. It has social and legal benefits, however, it does NOT define the relationship of the family, the quality of the family, or anything about the family other than their legal or social or religious title. i think MANY confuse the title with the relationship.

    Many couples are “married” but any “relationships” within that family are non existant. They died a slow painful death a long time ago. Many couples in that situation will still refuse to get a divorce (for religious reasons), because it’s the concept of being “married” that’s important….NO IT ISN’T!

    The children in those families aren’t learning how “important” marriage is, they are only learning to live with constant bickering, fighting and arguing. They have no model for building relationships and social contracts, except bad ones. It is not marriage that is the foundation of our society, it is emotionally mature relationships and how they are built that is the cornerstone, and the composition of those families and relationships is entirely beside the point

  141. Karl I would expect nothing less from you than the modern secular view of marriage (little m as opposed to Marriage, big M…i.e. the real kind). Whether you like it or not the traditional definition predates your more modern view by a millinia or two….it’s what you might call time tested. If you like I can supply the references for numerous scientific studies of things like kids academic performance, crime rates, incidence of mental health issues, etc. all of which show that children from traditional married family homes do better in life than children raised in “alternate” circumstances. Sorry it’s simply a fact that kids do better with a married Mom and Dad. Your logic is somewhat flawed. It seems to be that “not all marriages are good therefore marriage itself is not important, ergo any “type” of relationship is an acceptable substitute. Sorry that doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  142. Jerry,

    By all means provide a reference to those studies, I’ll be happy to research them. I NEVER made the equation that because a”some marriages aren’t good…therefore marriage is not important”, this is the same type of reasoning used by another blog member on this thread earlier. If you are going to debate on something at least understand what I wrote and do not put words into my mouth just so you can have something easy to criticize.

    Also, your comment “Sorry it’s simply a face…”, is not accurate, period. I’m sure it gives you great comfort to believe it is, but it isn’t. I will provide you with one reference and leave it up to you to research further.
    Dr. Anne-Marie Ambert, of The Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa, Canada says: “…there are no large-scale studies of the life of…” same-sex couples with children.” Dr. Anne-Marie Ambert, “Same-sex couples and same-sex-parent families: Relationships, parenting, and issues of marriage,” The Vanier Institute of the Family

    This is just an example, and I am glad to entertain other studies which indicate a different result, but to say “Sorry, it’s a fact” to such a complex issue, when even the experts admit there is insufficient data, is just the type of thinking that will keep us from ever learning the truth of the situation and from ever changing, even if we do find a better way.

    To clarify my first post, which really shouldn’t be necessary, I was saying that being married, simply for the sake of being married is NOT what benefits the children. What benefits children is to be raised by loving parent(s) in a household with emotionally healthy, mature, loving relationships. The title “marriage” isn’t what’s important.

  143. Jerry

    I totally agree with you that the Biblical form of marriage is what God has intended for this world. However, that marriage is not being practiced by those outside the faith. The two shall become one, the Holy Sprit which sanctifies and strengthens, etc. is not part of the marriage of those outside the faith. Christians have cheapened the definition of the term and we reap what we have sown. Firstly, 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce and that is with the help of God. Secondly, how in the world do we expect those outside of the faith to toe our line? They don’t believe it and we don’t model it.

    I want to protect marriage-real Christian marriage. I don’t think that I can expect those outside the faith to practice a pretend Christian marriage. In fact, I cringe at weddings when I see couples getting married in church and making vows to God when they don’t believe but find it “nice” and traditional.

    What I want is to get away from calling what transpires outside of the church “marriage.” It is simply a contractual obligation to fulfill certain promises to protect those who enter this agreement. I prefer to call it a civil union, with protections from the state, just like the state protects any legal contract.

    Then, I want to see churches step up to the plate and truly offer a real Marriage ceremony which clearly recognizes what the Bible has to say about marriage. I think the church must stop marrying couples who are clueless about the real obligations involved. We must transform society, not with cheap imitations, but with profound examples. Perhaps if Christians demonstrated what they actually believed instead of playing games, the world might actually see the real value of marriage.

  144. Karl
    I understand what you are saying. However, let me tell you,from personal experience, both as a public health nurse and as a long time volunteer with children in low income settings, poverty is far more than being on Welfare. I will never forget the boy who grabbed my hand and touched my wedding ring. He asked me what it was. I realized that in his short life, he had rarely encountered a long term marriage. I explained that I was married. He asked where my husband was. I told him that my husband was working so that I could be there, helping him with his homework.

    Poverty is a result of teens producing babies with no commitment of the parents to provide nurture and stability.The “father” are rarely around and when they are, many of them are playing video games and acting like the teens that they are.

    Week after week, I have seen teens becoming pregnant, giving birth, and bringing kids “home” to poverty that runs far deeper that money. So, you can show me studies-most studies are often conflicting anyway-and I can show you these kids. There is something wrong with a society that does not define, carefully, the expectations of family and caring for those you bring into this world.

    I have done my own thing-encouraging education and encouraging girls to stay away from boys. As the song by Beyonce says “If you like it you better put a ring on it.”

  145. Dee, I know that the 50% of the marriages of those call themselves Christians end in divorce. But I am not certain that they all are. Again, I would point out that Jesus said that not everyone who calls him Lord will be admitted to heaven. So I suspect that many of those are social Christians.

    I was married to one who, when we committed to each other, claimed to be. But she was not. I am not sure that I was living out my faith at the time, for that matter. After we parted, I underwent a reformation, and spent some time in prayer about my life and my future. I prayed honestly that God would show me what I should do about relationships with the other sex and that I would live a celibate life.

    I put out a fleece with things that, were it be His will to marry again, would be there, things about the person, their faith, and that, without knowing about that fleece, she would propose. Five weeks later, Meg walked into the Sunday School class I was in. Our first date was 20 days after that, and she proposed 6 days later! That was almost 33 years ago.

    It is hard to be married. It takes a lot of work to have a successful marriage, especially of two independent people, and one must be prepared to ignore things, apologize and repent of some things, and serve the interests and needs of the partner and the partnership. I do not know how people succeed without Christ being an active participant in the relationship. A wise man told me: “Put God first, your spouse second, any children you have third, and yourself last.” Also: “Love your in-laws, send your mother-in-law flowers on your wife’s birthday, and treat them as you would your own parents.” One of the keys to a good marriage is good relationships with your partner’s family.

  146. Dee I agree with you that us Christians are not being the “living example” of proper marriages to the world. Whether we are even capable of providing that example (being flawed, sinful but forgiven, beings) is another debate entirely. I also, until recently was of the same mindset as you. Let’s get the state out of this marriage business. The thing is Marriage predates Christianity. It’s been around for millinia and has been found to be the optimal way for structuring society. It’s societie’s foundation. Whether a married man and woman are aithiest like our friend Karl is imaterial, that model is the optimal way to structure a family. That those two people are missing out on the blessings of a Christian marriage a tradgedy but I think it is outside the scope of the issue.

  147. Jerry & Dee,

    Dee, I was not talking about poverty at all…not sure where that came from. I was talking about the difference between thinking it is the “state” of being married that makes a difference versus loving caring parents of either sex (or a single parent), that makes the difference in a child’s life. I maintain it is not the concept of simply being “married”, but rather what is important is that a child have a loving, caring guardian that is emotionally stable and mature.

    Non-Christians can and do have loving, incredibly intimate, tender and stable marriages for just as many years as any Christian couple (I’m sure this may come as a a shock, but I thought you should know :)).

    Like everything else, faith and religion are powerless and empty outside of the power that the individual practicing them gives them…in other words…there is no magic, no supernatural force, nothing but what you can convince yourself exists. This is why marriages both inside and outside of the church or religion have the same effect on children, have the same difficulties and the same successes.

    The reason so many Christians stay married when the marriage has obviously failed is that, like Jerry, they seem to believe that marriage at all costs is somehow better for the children than honestly acknowledging that two people have simply grown apart, a bad decision was made initially, or one or both partners are simply not compatible. No one dismisses a marriage with children lightly, but I’d rather be honest with my spouse and if things couldn’t be worked out with reasonable effort, I still think, painful as it might be, that in the long run it would be better for the children. At least they’ll see honesty and difficult decision making in process…they hopefully will be able to then develop individual relationships with their parents as they grow older and not be subject to constant bickering, fighting and being made to feel like they must “choose” a side.

    I’d much rather see a child have two loving mothers or two loving fathers, than to grow up in a house with a male and female who fight and argue constantly!

    Will that child have a more difficult time in school or with friends because they have lesbian mothers or gay fathers…probably, but that IS NOT the fault of the mothers, fathers or children….it is the fault of others in our society who treat them as second-class people.

  148. @ Dee: I think deeply religious people – of all faiths – would have trouble with their marriages being spoken of as “civil contracts.”

    Just sayin’…. 🙂

  149. and… what Karlton said above re. deep commitment, in marriage and outside of it. I have known unmarried people who were/are very responsible parents and partners. They might as well be married – and some could be, since they are straight and could get married any time they choose.

    But for various reasons, they have not so chosen. However, I have no doubt that their kids are doing as well as any who grown up in families where the parents are married – and far better than many whose folks are married but have serious problems.

    i do hear you about kids and poverty, but…. I wonder if teen marriage and the kinds of shotgun weddings that used to happen a lot when I was younger are any better for the kids?

  150. No one is suggesting that a couple could also have a wedding event in church and enter into the mutual oaths and commitments before God and the assembly. In fact, it would seem that the church could then require, as part of that process, a commitment to bring marital difficulties before the church rather than a divorce court.

  151. @ Arce: and who would be qualified to counsel them? (After reading all that Dee & Deb have had to say about how many church people treat women in abusive marriages, I’m not inclined to think that it would have a snowball’s chance in hell of leading to anything but people meddling and interfering and passing judgment and…)

    Really…. this could lead to what happens in the Roman Catholic Church, with annulments, exclusion of divorced people from the sacraments, etc.

  152. I have known people who’ve gotten annulments and that whole process is *very* political…. not to mention deeply intrusive, often abused, etc.

  153. Ok Karl let’s put it this way. Name a past society, empire, civilization, country, whatever…that allowed same sex marriage. Even the Greeks and the Romans, who openly embraced homosexuality, only recognized marriages between one man and one woman. That’s because stable societies depend on the raising of stable kids and kids (generally) NEED, DO BEST, THRIVE BETTER, ETC. with a MOMMY and a DADDY who are married. The ancient peoples knew this. It’s only in our modern arrogance that we think we can redifine this societal norm without any damaging effect. This same sex marriage thing is a realatively new invention and it will damage our society BUT (like I said before) it is no more or less damaging than high divorce rates or any of the other inumerable ills that have befallen the institution of marriage in the past 100 years. I suspect and hope that some time in the future our country will reach a tipping point and sanity will prevail and there will be a move to reverse these distructive trends. Until then I’ll continue to fight the good fight with my voice and my vote and I’m sure you’ll continue to do the same. We’ll just have to agree to disagree in the meantime.

  154. e2c

    You apparently have not read the entire post. I am not talking about Christian Marriage as a civil contract. I take CS Lewis’ approach. I don’t care what the state requires in terms a civil contract, I believe that the church must address the issue of marriage within the church and make it a true Christian marriage, NOT a civil union.

  155. Jerry,

    Well, as typically happens around here, you offer references, then when I graciously ask you to provide them for my review…instead I get the burden of proof thrust on my shoulders…so, here we go:

    There were same sex unions among peers among the Ancient Greeks. Numerous examples of these are found in Ancient Greek writings. Aristotle praised a same sex couple (Philolaus and Dioclese) who lived their whole lives together and maintained a household together until their deaths when they were buried side by side. Lucian describes a debate in which a proponent of same-sex relationships describes them as being more stable than heterosexual relationships and goes on to express the hope that he will be buried with his lover after they have passed their lives together. Famous Greek couples in same sex relationships include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. However in none of these same sex unions is the Greek word for “marriage” ever mentioned. The Romans appear to have been the first to perform same sex marriages.

    The first recorded mention of the performance of gay marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire. At least two of the Roman Emperors were in gay unions. The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. Nero “married a man named Sporus in a very public ceremony… with all the solemnities of matrimony, and lived with him as his spouse” A friend gave the “bride” away “as required by law.” The marriage was celebrated separately in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies. The emperor Elagabalus married an athlete named Hierocles in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.

    But, never let it be said that human happiness isn’t under the watchful eye of Christendom…
    Same-sex marriage was outlawed on December 16, 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law specifically outlaws marriages between men and reads as follows:

    When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion [quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam], what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment. (Theodosian Code 9.7.3)

    (in other words…put to death)….not to worry, maybe they’ll find hapiness in the afterlife..or wasn’t that the intent?

    All of this of course, really isn’t that important…there is an easier argument. You maintain that it’s a “time proven” method, simply because that’s how it was done in the past…so should it continue ad infinitum.

    I maintain, that “because we’ve always done it that way”, is a poor excuse for not finding a new, better way and learning more about the human condition and psyche as we go. Just because people decided this was the best way (and I suspect it was “best” because it made it easy to legislate and had nothing to do with improving society) 2000 years ago, has no implications on society today which is radically different almost to the point of being unrecognizable compared to ancient cultures.

    I’m sure medics were bleeding sick patients for many years…sure glad we didn’t decide that MUST be the best way because they’ve been doing it for so long 🙂

  156. @ Dee: it’s numo – I signed in under another name that I use on forums (e2c). Not sure how that happened!

  157. Karl
    Science changes, knowlege changes, beliefs change, in fact just about everything in the world changes. People don’t…there is nothing new under the sun. People may believe that they evolve but that is a delusion. Human nature….screwed up and sinful…defined by Masloves heirachy of needs….those things never change. Mankind can travel to the stars and we will still act like men. We will lie, cheat, steal and kill.

    However there are things that are constant. There are things that are proven to work and no matter how much we try to change them we’ll never be able to successfully modify them. Mainly because it’s in the Creator’s design for them to work that way. I know that’s something you can’t buy into but there it is.

    Consider this. If changing the traditional model of marriage really worked we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It would have changed already. Someone else would have come up with the same idea and changed it already. Same sex “marriage” would be common and accepted. At least as common as the occurance of homosexuality itself (which noone can seem to come up with a number on). But alas, it’s not and the reason it’s not is that it has no biological or societal positives. You don’t really believe that it took mankind until the late 20th and early 21st centuries to “evolve” to the point where we find this is a good idea. If that’s the case you’re a really arogant dude. I’ll grant you it took us a while to figure out how to build an airplane but we had the whole baby making, family, society thing figured out pretty quickly.

    BTW Nero fiddled while Rome burned 🙂 (he would have hardly been considered as a mainstream Roman) in addition to the fact that he was most likely insane. As were many of their Emperors but I am glad you mentioned Rome. I was not aware that same sex marriages were legal in the Roman Empire but thanks for proving my point. Help me out here. Where is the Roman Empire today? All I can find is a city by that name on the map. Could it be that the decadence and deviance of that society contributed to it’s fall? Are we, the USA repeating the mistakes of the past? Could it be that when the basic institutions of a society are changed, destroyed or breakdown that the society itself follows suit? This is why, Dee, I don’t feel we can take the C.S. Lewis approach (as much as I admire the man). If we like the society we live in, which I do, and we want it to be there for our kids, which I do also, then we must stand up for these issues.

  158. Yes, there were decadent elements (and people) in Roman society, but I think you will find that among the wealthy, who were a small minority.

    About Rome’s fall: there are so many reasons – and the eastern half of the empire *didn’t* officially “fall” until 1453 (invasion of Constantinople, though it should be noted that the city was looted and sacked by Western “Christians” during the Fourth Crusade, in 1202).

  159. I’m not trying blame the fall of Rome solely on decadence. I’ve studied it too and know there were many reasons. What I am trying to say is that when the guiding “morals” or “fundmental principles” that a society if founded on fail then the society does to. I see what’s become of marriage in our country as a disease that will adversly affect us. Gay marriage is a symtom of that disease. That disease unless treated will contribute to our failure. Maybe not in my lifetime or even my children’s but at some point it will fail and I feel that the weakening of traditional families will be one of the reasons. Gay marriage just carries us farther down that path. For that reason I feel it’s important to fight it in whatever legal way I can and not just take the C.S. Lewis approach.

  160. “People don’t change…there is nothing new under the sun.”

    We no longer believe slavery is acceptable – we have changed both our moral compass on the issue as well as our actions.

    For much of the time that you claim marriage was the bedrock of our society, those marriages were pre-arranged. the evidence suggests that ancient societies in the West were carved in such a way so as to nurture a system of legacy, define rules for allotting property and to guard against bloody battles. Marriage at that time was an institution that was meant to take care of these issues, the participants had no say in the matter. But we no longer either view that as morally and ethically correct and we have stopped doing it.

    This next one is long, but I hope you will take the time to read through it, I found many interesting facts and things I was not aware of. The topic is the treatment and objectification of women. While the problem is certainly still with us, we are at least now aware of the issue, realize that it is something we won’t tolerate and are working towards better education and protection…it may take several more generations, but I believe at tsome point wife abuse and battering will have gone the way of slavery.

    753 B.C. – During the reign of Romulus in Rome, wife beating is accepted and condoned under The Laws of Chastisement. Under these laws, the husband has absolute rights to physically discipline his wife. Since by law, a husband is held liable for crimes committed by his wife, this law was designed to protect the husband from harm caused by the wife’s actions.

    202 B.C. – At the end of the Punic Wars, the family structure changes giving women more freedoms, including property rights and the right to sue their husbands for unjustified beatings.

    300 A.D. – The Church fathers re-establish the husband’s patriarchal authority and the patriarchal values of Roman and Jewish law. The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, has his wife burned alive when she is no longer of use to him

    Middle Ages (900-1300) – In Europe, squires and noblemen beat their wives as regularly as they beat their serfs; the peasants faithfully followed their lords’ example. The Church sanctions the subjection of women. Priests advise abused wives to win their husbands’ good will through increased devotion and obedience. The habit of looking upon women as a species apart, without the same feelings and capacity for suffering which men possess, becomes inbred during the Middle Ages. In a Medieval theological manual, a man is given permission to “castigate his wife and beat her for correction

    1400’s – The Christian church vacillates between support of wife beating and encouraging husbands to be more compassionate and using moderation in their punishments of their wives. A medieval Christian scholar, Friar Cherbubino of Siena, writes Rules of Marriage, in support of wife beating

    1405 – Christine de Pizan writes in The Book of the City of Ladies about women’s basic humanity and better education and treatment in marriage for women. She accuses men of cruelty and beating their wives.

    1427 – Bernard of Siena suggests that his male parishioners “exercise a little restraint and treat their wives with as much mercy as they would their hens and pigs.

    1500’s – Lord Hale, an English Jurist, sets the tradition of non-recognition of marital rape. He states that when women married, they “gave themselves to their husbands” in contract, and could not withdraw that consent until they divorced. “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent a [sic] contract with wife hath given herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.”

    Abbe de Brantome raises the question, “but however great the authority of the husband may be, what sense is there for him to be allowed to kill his wife?”

    Late 1500’s – During the reign of Ivan the Terrible in Russia, the State Church sanctions the oppression of women by issuing a Household Ordinance that describes when and how a man might most effectively beat his wife. He is allowed to kill a wife or serf for disciplinary purposes. A half a century later, many Russian women fight back. When they kill their husbands for all the injustices they have been forced to endure, their punishment is to be buried alive with only their heads above the ground, and left to die. It is not against the law for a husband to kill his wife

    1792 – n A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft seeks changes in the education for women and kinder treatment by husbands and lovers.

    1824 – A decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court in Bradley v. State 2 Miss. (Walker) 156 (1824), allows a husband to administer only “moderate chastisement in cases of emergency. . .

    1829 – In England, a husband’s absolute power of chastisement is abolished.

    1845 – Sweden passes an Inheritance Law that gives women and men equal inheritance rights

    1857 – A Massachusetts court is the first to recognize the spousal rape exemption. The court in Commonwealth v. Fogerty, relies solely on Lord Hale’s staement (1500’s) in recognizing in dictum that marriage to the victim was a defense to rape.

    1861 – John Stuart Mill writes The Subjection of Women, but waits 8 years to publish it because he did not think the public was ready to accept his essay. He pleads for Parliament to reform the divorce laws to allow women to divorce on the grounds of violence and cruelty.

    1866 – The Amerian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is formed. It predates the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, established in 1875. Both predate any organization aimed at preventing cruelty to women

    1868 – The Treaty of 1868 is negotiated between General Sherman and the Navajos. General Sherman insists that the Navajos select male leaders, thereby stripping women of their ability to participate in decision making. The alien law destroys traditional relationships and concentrates power in the hands of male leaders. “Anglo” paternalism and patriarchy are introduced to Navajo men who learn several “traditions” including robbing women of economic and political power, and wife-beating.

    1878 – Francis Power Cobbe publishes Wife Torture in England. She denounces the treatment of wives in Liverpool’s “Kicking District.” She documents 6,000 of the most brutal assaults on women over a 3 year period who had been maimed, blinded, trampled, burned and murdered. Cobbe presents a theory that abuse continues because of the belief that a man’s wife is his property. Her concerns are moved forward by male parliamentarians and the Matrimonial Causes Act is passed. The Act allows victims of violence to obtain a legal separation from the husband; entitles them custody of the children; and to retain earnings and property secured during the separation. Such a separation order can only be obtained if the husband has been convicted of aggravated assault and the court considers her in grave danger.

    1890 – North Carolina Supreme Court removes the last of the restrictions on a husband’s liability and prohibits a husband from committing even a slight assault upon his wife

    Late 1800’s – With Queen Victoria’s ascension to the English throne, lawmakers begin enacting reforms regarding women. Wives can no longer be kept under lock and key, life threatening beatings are considered grounds for divorce, and wives and daughters can not longer be sold into prostitution

    1911 – The first family court is created in Buffalo, NY. In 1914, the first adult psychiatric clinic is directly linked to a court in Chicago. Professionals believe that domestic relations courts will better solve family problems in a setting of discussion and reconciliation engineered by social service intervention. This is the beginning of the systematic offical diversion and exclusion of violence against wives from the criminal justice system.

    1919 – Swedish women obtain the right to vote

    1921 – In Sweden, marriage legislation gives women legal independence and equal rights as parents

    1924 – A French court rules that a husband does not have the right to beat his wife. Prior to this, the Napoleonic Code is dominant, suggesting that “Women, like walnut trees, should be beaten every day.”

    1930’s – Psychoanalysis develps a myth of female masochism into its conception of the normal female psychology. It is argued that women derive sexual gratification from the violence they experience.

    1936 – n Russia, the reforms established by the Bolsheviks begin to crumble. The concept of marriage as a contract between two free and equal people is challenged and reversed. The Communist Party conducts a vigorous campaign to remind women of their place in the home, and the restoration of the “traditional family.”

    1940’s – After Mao Tse-Tung’s Revolutionary Army has rid the villages of North China of enemy control, political workers call the women to the village square to testify to the crimes that had been committed against them. The women speak of their oppression, of being sold as concubines, of being raped and of being beaten. From these “speak bitterness” meetings, local women’s associations are formed. In Women’s Fate, Claudia Dreifus calls these meetings “the first consciousness-raising groups, the first known attempts to convert womenkind’s private laments into public acts…”

    1945 – A California statute states, “Any husband who willfully inflicts upon his wife corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, and any person who willfully inflicts upon any child any cruel and inhumane corporal punishments or injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years or in the county jail for not more than 1 year.” A San Jose Superior Court Judge, Eugene Premo, dismisses murder charges against a husband accused of murdering his wife. The judge rules that the California wife-abuse law discriminates on the basis of sex by only making mention of husbands, and is unconstitutional

    1962 – In New York, domestic violence cases are transferred from Criminal Court to Family Court where only civil procedures apply. The husband never faces the harsher penalties he would suffer if found guilty in Criminal Court for assaulting a stranger.

    1965 – Congress passes laws prohibiting discrimination against women in employment and requiring equal pay for equal work. The traditional marriage contract, however, remains legally intact in America

    1966 – Beating, as cruel and inhumane treatment, becomes grounds for divorce in New York, but the plaintiff must establish that a “sufficient” number of beatings have taken place.

    1967 – The state of Maine opens one of the first shelters in the United States

    1969 – California adopts a no-fault divorce law by which either partner can request and obtain a divorce without fear of being contested by the other party.

    Late 1960’s – The killing of a wife, sister, or mother by a man upholding his “male honor” is made a serious offense in Italy.

    Early 1970’s – Feminism develps into two major branches, a women’s rights feminism like NOW, and a women’s liberation movement exemplified by socialist feminist and radical feminist groups. The women’s liberation movement, by claiming that what goes on in the privacy of people’s homes is deeply political, sets the stage for the battered women’s movement. The emerging movement details the conditions of daily life that allow women to call themselves battered. Women’s hotlines and crisis centers provide a context for battered women to speak out and seek help. The feminist movement emphasizes egalitarianism and participatory oranizational models. In feminist shelters, women create a new morality that is in direct contrast to the competitive, male-dominated organizations and bureaucracies surrounding them. Women are inspired and sustained by their relationshps with others, by knowing that their work is crucial and by the feminist process within the shelters. As shelters grow, structural questions arise. Some choose to work collectively, others organize around a hierarchial structure, while still others adopt modified collectives or hierarchies. As more and more shelters and programs receive welfare or Title XX monies, staff workers slowly start to call battered women “clients.” Greater attention is given to individual counseling for women and less on group sharing, peer support and teaching battered women to advocate for one another. Social change is discouraged, and Title XX funding can be used only for services, not community education. Clashes between the movement and funding agencies which want programs to respond like other service organizations, sap much energy for serveral years.

    In Chicago, like many other cities, married battered women who leave their husbands are denied welfare due to their husbands’ income

    NOW organizes more than 300 local and state rape task forces

    Chicago Women Against Rape forms

    Scotland and Iran make wife-beating illegal.

    1970’s – The Richmond, CA police department is the first in the nation to make domestic crisis intervention training part of its in-service training, and the first to train all of its police officers. This program operates without federal or state funding. In contrast, Oakland police department has only four officers who are trained to “man family crisis cars” and beome more psychologically sensitive to domestic violence

    The family crisis intervention unit of Hayward, CA Police Department hires mental health professionals to accompany them on family crisis calls and to provide onging family counseling. The program, Project Outreach, uses unmarked police cars and operates from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Fridays through Sundays. By 1976 all officers have been trained in domestic violence. Repeat calls decreased by 27% and total calls by 22%.

    In Tokyo, Japan a group of feminists is on the alert for situations where women are victimized by men. They march into the offices of the perpetrators wearing pink hemets, carrying placards that read “We will not condone the tyranny of the husband.” If the man is there, they will shout at him through bullhorns for all to hear. If he is not there, they will demand that the company executives justify why they hired such a “heel.” The group believes that the tactics work because the men loose face.

    1970 – The index of the Journal of Marriage and the Family includes a reference to “violence.” None existed from 1939 to present

    1972 – In June, the first emergency rape crisis line opens in Washington, D.C.

    1974 – Eisaku Sato, former prime minister of Japan, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Prior to his nomination, Sato’s wife accused him publicly of beating her. Sato’s popularity soars after his wife reveals that “Yes, he’s a good husband, he only beats me once a week.” Apparently, the committee did not consider wife-beating a breach of peace.

    1976 – Nebraska makes marital rape a crime

    1977 – Washington State Supreme Court makes a landmark decision in State v. Wanrow declaring that a woman defendant’s right to equal protection under the law in a murder trial was violated by instructions that require a woman’s conduct be measured against that of a reasonable man finding himself in the same circumstances. The use of commensurate force and the perception of an imminent danger might be different for a woman, who is entitled to have the jury consider her actions in that light. Thus the reasonable woman standard. This is the beginning of the battered women’s syndrome defense

    In California, the Domestic Violence Center Act (SB 91, Presley) passes which will provide safe houses for battered women at the local level with funds from marriage license fees.

    1984 – People v. Liberta, New York. An ex-husband convicted of (non-marital) rape asserts a violation of his right to Equal Protection, i.e. if his wife had not obtained a restraining order, thereby causing a separation, his rape of her would not have been a crime. The appellate court agreed with him and struck down the marital rape exemption in the state statute

    1985 – The National Assault Prevention Center is formed by Sally Cooper, which helps children deal with different forms of abuse

    In California, AB 573 (Klehs) passes. It requires law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence calls to give the survivor a written notice with the telephone number of the local shelters, community services and information on criminal and civil legal options.

    In California, SB 1058 (Lockyer) is passed creating mandatory jail time of at least 48 hours for persons who violate domestic violence restraining orders

    1989 – Brooklyn Supreme Court justice Edward Pincus sentences Chinese immigrant Dong Lu Chen to 5 years probation for using a claw hammer to smash the skull of his wife. Pincus concludes, that traditional Chinese values about adultery and loss of manhood drove Chen to kill his wife. Pincus justifies Chen’s probationary sentence by stating that Chen was just as much a victim as his wife due to extenuating circumstances. The Chen decision sent a message to battered immigrant women that they had no recourse against domestic violence.

    1990 – The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) begins to recognize domestic violence as grounds for asylum in the U.S. A judge rules that the wife and children of a prominent Jordanian may be given asylum in the U.S. and that the batterer be excluded from entering the U.S. The judge’s belief that the batter would carry out his threats to kill them, his influence in Jordan and the threats of abuse justified the asylum.

    1992 – The American Medical Association releases guidelines suggesting that doctors screen women for signs of domestic violence

    1993 – In California, AB 187 (Solis) makes all forms of rape, including spousal rape, essentially the same crime.

    In California, AB 1652 (Speier) requires health practitioners to report domestic violence to law enforcement.

    1994 – Congress passes the Violence Against Women Act, part of the federal Crime Victims Act, which funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, allows women to seek civil rights remedies for gender-related crimes, and provides training to increase police and court officials’ sensitivity. 2 It creates for the first time a federal right to sue the assailant for gender-based violence and provides that states and American Indian nations give full faith and credit to each other’s restraining orders.

    1996 – There are over 1,200 battered women’s shelters across the United States sponsored by approximately 1,800 domestic violence agencies.

    1996 – To date, only 11 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia have completely repudiated the marital rape exemption. Seven states (Lousiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah) recognize marital rape exemption unless the parties are separated. Illinois and Mississippi retain total exemptions for marital rape. In California, a husband can be prosecuted for aggravated or first degree rape, but still retains immunity from prosectuion for “lesser” attacks

  161. @ Dee: I don’t fully agree with Lewis’ position, though I’m not feeling too articulate tonight (had big-time dental work done earlier today and am a bit fuzzy-headed due to pain meds).

    When you said (bolding mine)

    “But, is this the case for those outside the faith? Although many weddings may occur in a church, many of the participants are not Christians in the evangelical sense of the word. God is not central to the marriage and the spiritual union, held together by the Spirit, does not occur as it would for Christians.”

    I am somewhat confused. I think there are plenty of “evangelicals” who are pretty nominal Christians, and many from other parts of the faith (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic) who are as devout as one could wish (as well as many who aren’t). I mean… marriage is a sacrament for some! ( )

    I have to wonder how Lewis might have written up this radio piece *after* he was married… there is a factoid bouncing around in my head that makes me think he changed his views, but do you think I can pin that down?! (I’d need to do some reading to find it again, but where to start….) At any rate, while I don’t personally believe that marriage is a sacrament, I do think it is an extremely serious commitment – but y’know, I was really struck by the seriousness of the emphasis on covenant (both God’s with us and in marriage) that came through in the wedding text that some jewish friends of mine chose. I felt like their readings (etc.) were much more on the money than anything I had ever heard used in a church wedding.

    Do you believe that God is in some way present for all people who truly make a serious commitment to their spouse in marriage, regardless of their beliefs? I think this is an interesting question, given that what seems to be under discussion here re. “Christian marriage” is a kind of exceptionalism (if I’m reading the post and comments correctly) and I am uncomfortable with that.

    Also… if you ever go to a wedding – any kind of wedding – in Canada, you’ll see certain legal formalities as part of the wedding. (I believe that’s called the signing of the register, but maybe BeneD or one of the other Canadians who visits this blog can explain it… I have seen it in process, but it’s been a while and the details are anything but clear at the moment, with my fuzz-brain.)

  162. Oops! Should be “wedding texts,” not “text.” Some of the material was fairly standard for a Reform wedding, some of it was written for the occasion, and of course, there were biblical passages as well.

  163. Karl….man I don’t know what to say….do you have a job? I’m not sure what any of that proves or how it’s germain to the conversation but you’re obviously a wikipedia master. I head nod and slightly bow in your general direction.

  164. Dear Brothers,
    I am a pastor Holace from Kenya. I am in charge of three churches and an orphanage taking care of children who are orphans.
    I have gone through your web site and get it interesting. I will like to know much about you and seek for possibility of partnering with you. To make our region move from survival to prosperity.
    I will be happy if you respond to my mail in the fashuionable soon.
    And most welcome Kenya.
    yours pastor Holace