Monday, December 28, 2009

THE UNMET NEEDS AND ANXIETIES OF THE STRIDENT HOMOPHOBE

Sigmund Freud gave this statement regarding religious people whom he felt were suffering from a mass neurosis. He said: "Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one." That is, true believers can become insulated from the realities of their own lives to the degree that they are spared the necessary introspection and grappling with their own anxieties borne of unmet needs as well as the rigors of life.

I'm not a very religious person, but I am a spiritual one to the degree that I trust God over and above seen circumstances; I have the faith in Jesus' teachings, life, work, ministry, and His very Person to help me navigate through life. Therefore, even as a Christian, I do agree with Freud's assessment of "religion" as usually practiced in the institutional Church, as I do with Karl Marx' assertion that religion is the opiate of the masses.

We have certainly seen religion being used as a justification to deprive Gay people of their civil rights, and we have even seen those civil rights rescinded based on the prejudices of true believers and their gullible followers, both of whom, by definition, are neurotic because they seek to impose their own prejudices based on their own unmet needs and anxieties onto the electoral, rather than the Judicial, marketplace that they hope will justify the discrimination, the oppression, and the civil rights of others.

Regarding the origin of neurosis, Arthur Janov writes:

This separation of oneself from one's needs and feelings is an instinctive maneuver in order to shut off excessive pain. We call it the split. The organism splits in order to protect its continuity. This does not mean that unfulfilled needs disappear, however. On the contrary, they continue throughout life exerting a force, channeling interests, and producing motivation toward the satisfaction of those needs. But because of their pain, the needs have been suppressed in the consciousness, and so the individual must pursue substitute gratifications. He must, in short, pursue the satisfaction of his needs symbolically. Because he was not allowed to express himself, he may be compelled to try to get others to listen and understand later in life....

Neurosis is symbolic behavior in defense against excessive psychobiologic pain. Neurosis is self-perpetuating because symbolic satisfactions cannot fulfill real needs. In order for real needs to be satisfied, they must be felt and experienced. Unfortunately, pain has caused those needs to be buried. When they are buried, the organism goes into a continuous state of emergency alert. That alert state is tension. It propels the infant, and later the adult, toward the satisfaction of need in any way possible...The organism continues to live at any cost, and that cost is usually neurosis — shutting down unmet bodily needs and feelings because the pain is too great to withstand.


[For the full article, see here.]

When clergy and others seek to deprive dignity and civil rights to Gay people, that should be a red flag that these clergy are suffering from the pain and anxiety of unmet needs that occurred in their childhood and/or in their adulthood, that they feel require substitute gratifications for them that, unfortunately, takes the form of homophobia!

This anxiety and pain of their unmet needs are so great that any attempt is used by them to mitigate that suffering, so they resort to deflecting that pain onto others. As Carl Jung once observed: "The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers."

So, strident homophobia must be seen as a red flag to all of us who seek to understand why those who claim to represent the Prince of Peace are so intent on bearing false witness against others (a violation of one of the Ten Commandments); are so intent on invoking some arcane verses of the Bible, the likes of which no rational person would seek to impose on contemporary society (e.g., stoning to death those who work on the Sabbath); resort to irrational attempts at justification for their homophobia, such as "preserving marriage" when no one who is rational can believe that same-sex marriage could or would in any way threaten or damage anyone's heterosexual marriage.

So the substitute gratifications needed and used by the homophobe because of his/her unmet or unfulfilled needs can be seen to prompt the irrationality of homophobia! The unmet or unfulfilled needs of the homophobe creates tremendous anxiety within him or her and he/she feels he/she must assuage that anxiety by condemning in others (often in the name of "love," of course) what may well be suppressed in him/herself, be it his/her own sexuality and/or other crucial needs not met at some point in his/her life; perhaps even in infancy.

It must be reiterated that sexually and emotionally healthy people don't seek to deprive Gay people (or anyone else) of their dignity and civil rights! Rather than externalize their likely lack of sexual and emotional health, it would be far better for them and for civil society for them to examine their own psyches and see what core needs of theirs have gone unmet; what gratifications they desired or currently desire can be met without their resorting to causing the suffering of their fellow Gay human beings and their families.

As I commented elsewhere: "People who hate, and who seek to deny dignity and civil rights to their fellow Gay citizens, show themselves to have psychological/sexual issues that make it necessary to relieve their anxiety that the very existence of Gay people provoke in them. It is the strident homophobes who hurt our society, and not Gay people who want and certainly deserve the same rights and privileges that heterosexuals enjoy under our Constitution."
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WE MUST PUBLICLY EXAMINE THE PSYCHES OF STRIDENT HOMOPHOBES

Sexuality is such a primal urge, that it manifests its energy in a variety of ways; not only in sexual activity. That energy that is part and parcel of one's sexuality, especially when feared for all sorts of ostensibly "moral" reasons, or the fear that one's currently repressed sexual complexities will come to consciousness, can be, and frequently is, directed to the perceived source(s) of anxiety provoked by that threat, an anxiety that the homophobic individual can find to be almost unendurable.

In order to deal with...anxiety, [Sigmund] Freud believed that defense mechanisms helped shield the ego from the conflicts created by the id [our unconscious, tempestuous, drives], superego [the seat of our conscience], and reality. (See here.)

One of the major defense mechanisms that one can use to minimize his/her anxiety provoked by that threatening stimulus, in this case of his/her sexual issues and/or repression that is provoked by LGBT people, is "displacement."

DISPLACEMENT: If you have ever had a bad day at work, then gone home and taken out your frustration on family and friends, you have experienced the ego defense mechanism of displacement. Displacement involves taking out our frustrations, feelings, and impulses on people or objects that are less threatening. Displaced aggression is a common example of this defense mechanism. Rather than express our anger in ways that could lead to negative consequences (like arguing with our boss), we instead express our anger towards a person or object that poses no threat (such as our spouses, children, or pets). (See here.)

In the case of homophobic people, Gay people are the precise threat because they bring to the homophobe's consciousness his/her sexual issues, largely because of the unfortunate equation that Gay=Sex. So, when vulnerable people are brought face to face with Gay people or the issue of equality for Gay people, that threat can be of enormous proportions triggering an anxiety of enormous proportions.

Rather than seeing Gay people as posing no threat, as the defense mechanism of "displacement" posits, Gay people pose an enormous threat to the sexually vulnerable. Otherwise, why would strident homophobes be so insistent in making a veritable career out of defaming Gay people and doing everything in their power to prevent and/or rescind Gay people's civil rights?

After all, if one is sexually intact, he/she might just not believe that Gay people deserve equal rights and move on with his/her life; might well be amenable to rational discourse regarding the fact that Gay people are romantically/sexually in love with their partners every bit as much as are heterosexual couples.

However, when one is stridently homophobic, not only does rationality play no part in being able to change their minds, but that person often resorts to irrational rhetoric ("traditional family values," "for the good of the children," etc.) to lessen his/her anxiety about his/her own sexuality that is brought to consciousness by the very existence of Gay people.

Hence, it should be no surprise when "evangelical Christians" are loath to condemn Ugandan legislation that would go so far as to imprison and even execute Gay people, and only regrettably do so when embarrassed in the public arena.

Probably, if the truth be known, these "evangelical Christians" are quite sympathetic to the criminalizing of Gay people, and would not be all that offended by their imprisonment and, perhaps, even their execution. That's how much anxiety in their psyches that is provoked by the very existence of Gay people as the latter provoke the sexual issues that the homophobes have likely repressed for so long.

It must be underscored that sexually healthy people do not obsess or condemn others' sexuality! Why would they?

There is nothing abnormal or immoral about being Gay! Being Gay doesn't do anything to hurt heterosexuals or anyone else! Many studies have shown that the specter of pedophilia is far more a heterosexual issue than it is a Gay issue! Children raised with two Gay parents do as well as children raised by two heterosexual parents; likely do better than raised in a single parent household!

So, the fight for LGBT equality must be brought home to the homophobe's psyche from which it emanates!

We must counter strident homophobia by asking such questions as: What are you so fearful of? Why do you evidence lack of sexual intactness by having to bear false witness against Gay people? What sexual issues are you repressing or suppressing so that you seek to deprive fellow human beings of equal rights based solely on their sexuality?

What I am suggesting is that rather than play "defense" in the fight for LGBT equality, we take the "offense" and question and seek to analyze the emotional/sexual repressions and issues that seemingly coerce strident homophobes to make a veritable career out of irrationally maligning their fellow human beings based solely on their sexuality and gender expression.

Ultimately, the issue of LGBT equality rests in the political-legal arenas, but the strident homophobia that seeks to prevent a constitutionally protected outcome for Gay people rests in the warped psyches of the sexually repressed homophobes who, by their bearing false witness and their resorting to irrational arguments to justify their homophobia, show themselves to have frail, if not warped, psyches worthy of public examination and analysis.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

THE DESPICABLE THREATS OF WASHINGTON, D.C.'S CATHOLIC CHARITIES

This brief video, which I urge you to watch in its entirety, speaks for itself regarding the trashing of the Gospel by prejudiced, even hateful, people who will throw the most vulnerable in our society out in the cold to get even for same-sex marriage being affirmed for Washington, D.C.

Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C. shows itself to be nothing short of despicable by threatening to engage in practices diametrically opposed to Jesus' teachings. Therefore, children, poor families, and the most vulnerable people in Washington, D.C. will literally be consigned to the harsh elements of the streets, without needed goods and services, because of the rabid homophobia emanating from both Catholic Charities and from the Vatican.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

AN EXAMPLE OF "THUG CHRISTIANITY"

Here we have self-proclaimed representatives of Jesus, praying to God to prevent universal health care and to oppress minority groups, in this case Gay and poor people. The teachings of Jesus are lost on them, and I can only conclude that they are more moved by the demonic than they are by God!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

GLBT PEOPLE AND THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE

I wrote the following article several years ago, and I think it's appropriate to reprint it here and now, particularly given the set-backs on same-sex marriage, and the horrors going on in Uganda and in Rwanda regarding the punishment and likely executions of Gay people; a lot of the oppression of LGBT people is falsely and hypocritically said to be based on the Bible (as if that should even matter in civil society):

There is nothing in Scripture that prohibits full acceptance of GLBT people, and ordaining their unions as sacraments in the Church. Since the Bible is used to justify homophobia, I want to deal with this issue from a biblical perspective, fully recognizing, as with the civil rights issue for Afro-Americans, that the battle, though partly political, is primarily religious
and will eventually prevail on that ground.

It is inappropriate to translate many ancient customs to contemporary times. For example, we don't discriminate against
women wearing slacks; this practice was quite unusual, and considered as "cross-dressing," as recently as 50 years ago.

Jesus as human was the consequence of fornication and whoredom, and He had in His lineage a murderer. The prophet Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute. (Hosea 1:2) The prophet Isaiah was told by God to walk around naked for three years. (Isaiah 20:3) Can you imagine what the Church world, the Vatican, and we ourselves would make of all these events today?

The Vatican decreed that homosexual relations were "intrinsically evil." Nowhere in Scripture are monogamous
homosexual relations condemned. Jesus specifically condemned divorce and remarriage, calling it adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32) Yet, there are ministries to divorced Catholics in the Church. However, Jesus never spoke about homosexuality; homosexuality isn't even mentioned in the Ten Commandments, although bearing false witness is, yet the Church has demonized it.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are viewed as easy and safe targets to persecute! What the Catholic Church and much of the church world have done, enmeshing their prejudices on selected parts of the Bible, is help further exacerbate a climate of hate throughout the world against these already persecuted minorities. Scripture must always trump "natural law" and tradition, if Christians are to live up to the commandments Jesus taught: to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All people are our neighbors, who must be embraced, not merely tolerated or, worse, demonized.

I am ashamed and angered at what the Vatican and much of the rest of the organized Church have done in oppressing GLBT people, as they seemingly utilize their view of "sin," born of cultural and personal prejudices to, in effect, tell GLBT people that they have no place in the Church. Rather than take the lead in living the law of love, much of the organized Church world has become culpable in the demonization of GLBT people.

In a society living on the edge, where people were to "be fruitful and multiply," homosexual relations, regardless of motive, were condemned. However, if we bring back that condemnation then, to be consistent, we would have to stone to death those caught in adultery, stone to death recalcitrant children, and even offer our virgin daughters to a howling mob to protect strange visitors, if need be.

The Church is obligated to come down on the side of love, mercy, compassion, grace, and inclusiveness, rather than on the side of being judgmental and excluding GLBT people and their relationships from full fellowship in the Church. The misuse of the Bible as a hammer to oppress others is diametrically opposed to Jesus’ life, ministry, and commandments to us to love and embrace each other.

The Gay Scapegoat is a convenient and safe target to persecute from both outside and within the Church! His or her very existence is condemned deep within the psyche of many, given the self-righteous legalists and perfectionists in our midst, many of whom have ascended to leadership positions within much of the organized Church, and whose utterances against GLBT people are diametrically opposed to the biblical mandates to love others and seek to remove yokes of bondage put upon others by the modern-day Pharaohs and Pharisees who seem to monopolize the media and pulpits throughout America and the rest of the world.

The legalists, who have always been in the Church, are still trying to vitiate the grace (unmerited favor) of God by substituting in its place their own idols of self-righteousness, laws, and assorted do's and don'ts that have had the impact of having many GLBT people living lives filled with self-loathing, guilt, and self-condemnation. These legalists have caused untold suffering to people who have been viewed as "safe" targets to persecute. It's the legalists, not members of the GLBT communities who put their trust in God over and above their trust in others and life-circumstances, who are out of the will of God and misuse the Bible to oppress others to our collective shame! They must be withstood to their faces! (Galatians 2:11)

What many GLBT people don't realize is that their being excluded from much of the Church and from mainstream society serves a vital psychological and social function. First of all, hate is a great energizer! It enables one to feel superior to another and thereby feel more affirmed in a world that he or she seeks to twist to be in accordance with his or her own perceived self-interests. Moreover, marginalizing and demonizing certain groups of people amplifies in-group cohesion, and the embracing of established ways of doing things that are, again, perceived to be in the in-group's self-interest.

Emile Durkheim, a famous nineteenth century sociologist, said that when you have a threatening "out-group," the "in-group" unites to protect itself against it. There are people who have a vested interest in creating out-groups, because by so doing they cement in-group solidarity, even based on such banal slogans as "family values," "recapturing the soul of America," and “preserving the sanctity of marriage." The in-group, safely representing between ninety and ninety-eight percent of the population, can share emotions and fellowship being bonded by this one, and perhaps only, common bond: their stated sexual orientation.

Creating out-groups becomes for many within the in-group their god, and many are unwitting worshippers of this god which they created out of their psychological and social self-interests and perceived needs. Most people who marginalize and demonize gay people are xenophobic in that they reject people with whom they feel they cannot relate, as they don't see gay (or Black, or Mexican, or immigrant, etc.) people as their brothers and sisters.

Those who refer to the Bible to worship their god of exclusiveness misread Scripture to fit their own prejudices. These
people listen to "lying prophets," as they did with the issues of slavery, segregation, and the subjugation of women, who
bring themselves and their followers to ruin and perhaps spiritual death. (1Kings 13) Many GLBT people have either
committed suicide, or commit suicide on the installment plan through guilt, self-condemnation, alcohol and drugs, due to
those who do precisely what Jesus told Christians not to do. It should come as no surprise that gay youth suicide is estimated to be significantly higher than non-gay youth suicide!

Once it is recognized that stereotyping, marginalizing, demonizing, and excluding people and groups is non-biblical, but
serves a very useful social function by creating greater solidarity among the in-group, and serves the psychological function of falsely-based self-affirmation, Christians will be likely to finally heed the counsel of God. No person or ideology is to supplant the God of inclusiveness, unconditional love, and salvation to those whom He has, by His unmerited favor, chosen out of the world, before the worlds were formed (Ephesians 1:4), to be His own possession.

One even can't appeal to tradition to justify exclusion of gays and their marital unions.

In a fascinating book entitled, Same-Sex Unions In Premodern Europe, by the historian John Boswell (Vintage Books,
Random House, 1995), he delineates how some same sex unions were even blessed by clergy in the Church. There are many same sex unions that are delineated in this book, but I'll just quote one passage to give you a flavor of the topic.

"…the church of Saint John of the Latin Gate, in which some Portuguese some years before had entered into a strange
'brotherhood'. Two males married each other at Mass, with the same ceremonies we use for our marriages, taking
Communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together. Roman experts said
that since sex between male and female could be legitimate only within marriage, it had seemed equally fair to them to
authorize these ceremonies and mysteries of the church." (p. 265)

The context of prohibition against homosexual behavior in the Old Testament was that people were to be fruitful and
multiply; the Messiah would come through the fruit of procreation, though be born of a virgin. In the New Testament, the
context of prohibition is against any behavior that supplants God as an object of worship.

The Apostle Paul was most likely addressing male cult prostitution and sexual intercourse as homage to various pagan
deities that existed in the Roman world at that time. There is no evidence to indicate that he was referring to loving,
monogamous relationships between people of the same sex or that he was even referring to, or cognizant of, sexual
orientation. (As is well known, there is no word in any of the biblical manuscripts that can be translated “homosexual” as
the word wasn’t coined until the late nineteenth century.) Moreover, even in the Old Testament, the sin of Sodom was
not homosexuality but idolatry, mistreatment of others, and inhospitality.

In our era, we don't see the importance of hospitality. However, in the harsh environments that existed in the ancient world, hospitality was essential, as it could be a matter of life and death, and if it was denied, it was a grievous matter.

Moreover, when Sodom is discussed in Scripture, homosexuality is never mentioned as its sin. Here is the evidence of that fact, for which I'm indebted to the web site christianlesbians.com:

Old Testament References The Sins of Sodom Mentioned
Deuteronomy 29:17-26 Idolatry and images to false gods.
Deuteronomy 32:32-38 Idolatry.
Isaiah 1:9-23 Murder, greed, theft, rebellion, covetousness.
Isaiah 3:8-15 Mistreating the poor.
Isaiah 3:11-19 Arrogance.
Jeremiah 23:10-14 Adultery, lying by priests and prophets.
Jeremiah 49:16-18 Pride of the heart.
Jeremiah 50:2-40 Idolatry and pride.
Lamentations 4:3-6 Cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance
of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were
haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good."
Amos 4:1-11 Oppression and mistreating the poor.
Zephaniah 2:8 Pride.

New Testament Reference The Sins of Sodom Mentioned
Luke 17:26-29 No specific sins mentioned.
2 Peter 2:6 Living after ungodliness.
Jude 1:7-8 Fornication after strange ("other") flesh. (Could be related to Genesis 6:1-2)

"Jesus declared that He hadn't come to do away with a portion of the Law but to fulfill all the Law (Matthew 5:17-18). Paul in Romans 10:4 says that 'Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to all who believe' and in Romans 7:6 tells us that we have been released from the Law and are dead to that which had us bound. If a portion of the Law remains in effect then all the Law must remain in effect." (christianlesbians.com)

Paul was writing to the believing Jews of Rome and in Chapter One of the book of Romans he is describing the progressive descent into sin of the unbelieving Gentiles. You can't look at Chapter One without relating it to Chapter Two where Paul admonishes the Jews that if they pass judgment on even these behaviors, they are in fact condemning themselves. Paul's purpose was to show us all from which Christ redeemed Christians!

As Professor Peter J. Gomes wrote in his excellent book, The Good Book: Reading The Bible With Mind And Heart, in reading Scripture we must take account of what it says, what it means, its subtext, its context, what we bring to the text, and what we take out of the text; biblical principle must always trump biblical practice. Our cultural lenses and personal prejudices frequently blind us to what Scripture is saying, much as they blinded those who used Scripture to justify slavery, segregation, and subjugation of women inside and outside of the Church. It is essential to realize that text without context is error!

Although GLBT inclusiveness is in part a political matter, it is primarily a religious one, in that even homophobes who have never even set foot inside of a church frequently claim to speak for God on this matter. One may be a homophobe, but he or she cannot appeal to the Bible to justify his or her prejudices.

It's high time that Christians actively stand up to the legalists, the haters, and hate-mongers both in and out of the Church, as perverters of the Gospel message of love, grace, faith, mercy, compassion, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. There is not to be, nor can there be, “unity” at the expense of social justice! There cannot be a meeting of the minds when those who have a tenacious and vested interest in misusing the Bible, God’s love letter to His children, stridently condemn others, thereby helping to create and foment a climate of hate that results in the suicides and killings of GLBT people, many of whom, due to this hateful rhetoric, lead lives consumed with shame and self-loathing.

Christians must reclaim the Gospel of grace and the Bible of forgiveness, to show forth the God of love. And we must use every venue possible to show others that Christianity is antithetical to ignorant, erroneous, oppressive, and hateful biblical exegeses.

In reclaiming the Bible from those who would seek to hijack it, and who have distorted it, for their own religious, materialistic, and political agendas, we must all battle for full civil and sacramental rights for GLBT people, as by so doing we are battling for the very soul of the Church. And, therefore, we are ultimately engaging in this battle for God’s sake!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MY ANTIPATHY TOWARD MOST CHURCHES AND DENOMINATIONS

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has for the first time [on December 12th], publicly expressed his opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill recently proposed in Uganda. His statement follows weeks of pressure, numerous calls for him to speak out and a petition signed by thousands urging him to condemn the Bill.

His office had previously said that he would not be commenting on the issue in public, but today (12 December), Williams said that the Bill was of “shocking severity” and that he could not see how any Anglican could support it....

The tension around the issue rose dramatically this week, after Williams criticised the election of a lesbian bishop in the USA while remaining silent on Uganda. The LGBT Anglican Coalition described his stance as a “double standard of justice”....

Williams' comments are likely to add to the pressure on other Christian leaders, including the Pope, to oppose the legislation.


[For the full article, see here.]

Although Williams immediately criticized the election of a lesbian Bishop in the Episcopal Church, it took him some weeks to criticize the draconian bill that would punish and even execute Gay people in Uganda. Indeed, Williams is considered a "liberal," as is most of the Methodist Church that only criticized that bill the day before (December 11th). The Pope has yet to condemn it!

When I became a Christian in 1982, I felt it necessary to attend church every time it was open. I attended church services Sunday mornings and evenings, as well as Wednesday evening Bible studies. In each church, and there were five of them, there were problems significant enough for us to leave and seek another church.

Just one example: In one church we attended, the pastor's wife and youth leader called my then 16 year old daughter "a tool of Satan" because she listened to rock music.

As an ordained minister of the Gospel, it might seem odd for me to tell you that I have antipathy toward most churches and denominations in the institutional Church, and that neither my wife nor I attend any church. Indeed, we have not attended church for about four years, and we don't miss it.

Why should we miss it? Most of them are enmeshed with the most reactionary forces within society; bear false witness and (despite their rhetoric to the contrary) hold LGBT people in disdain; remain silent in the face of the oppression of others, unless pushed and embarrassed enough to speak out, as we saw with Rick Warren and now with Rowan Williams; rarely, if ever, do they speak out against war, poverty, and corporate sins and greed.

Several years ago, I wrote an article entitled, A Church For The 21st Century, where I called for a New Reformation, and part of it reads as follows:

The need for a New Reformation can’t be made clearer! We as Christians are to hearken back to the biblical truth that God is a God of grace that we appropriate through our abiding trust, or faith, in Him, and that faith will yield the outworking by the Holy Spirit Who indwells all those who trust Him to show love, mercy, and compassion to others. There is no room for exclusion, patriarchy, authoritarianism, man-made tradition, and the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism here!

No! The New Reformation has been, and will continue to be, enacted by those who heed God’s call to be His agents of mercy and grace, unencumbered by fealty to hierarchical and authoritarian structures and those who seek to exalt themselves by adhering to the status quo that frequently handsomely rewards them positionally, psychologically, materially, socially, politically, and cognitively by artificially reinforcing their one dimensional view of our multidimensional world.

Sooner or later, all of God’s children, those called out by God from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), will stop seeking the living among the dead. When any of us make that spiritually necessary leap of faith, we have partaken in the New Reformation designed by God!


I honestly believe that most Christians are better off not going to church if that church in any way rejects anyone; equates Christianity with Americanism, jingoism, militarism, and capitalism; remains silent in the face of the oppression of others both at home and abroad.

Such churches and the denominations to which they belong are toxic to the spiritual life, and are toxic to civil society, as we have seen regarding the role denominations and churches have played in preventing and even rescinding the civil rights of Gay people.

Run from such toxic institutions and either remain home and nurture your spiritual life as you see fit or, perhaps, go to an open and affirming church, a church that nurtures your spirit and enables you to get closer to God, or else involve yourself in a worship community and/or Bible study that nurtures your spiritual life.

I have disdain for most of the institutional Church, save for such denominations as the Metropolitan Community Churches, most Episcopal churches, many churches affiliated with the United Church of Christ, and many churches affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, because Christians are to seek to live up to the admonition voiced by Joshua:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve ; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
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Monday, December 14, 2009

STAND AGAINST UGANDAN PUNISHMENT AND GENOCIDE OF GAY PEOPLE

This brief video speaks for itself, and again we must ask where are the clergy in most of the institutional Church and why aren't they vociferously condemning these draconian measures that may well result in the genocide of Gay people in Uganda?



Under current Ugandan law, homosexuality is a crime punishable by life in prison. The proposed law would not just condemn HIV positive gay men and "repeat offenders" to death, it would also jail for three years anyone who knows a gay man but refuses to report them to authorities. Further, anyone who defends in public the rights of gays and lesbians would be subjected to a seven year prison term.

[For the full article, see here.]


PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO STAND AGAINST UGANDA'S HOMOPHOBIC ATTITUDES
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE: AN OPEN LETTER FROM JESUS TO 'CHRISTIAN' AMERICA, BY FRANK SCHAEFFER

Most of the institutional Church has defamed Christianity, Christ's Church, Christians worthy of the name, Jesus, and God by having a very long record of bearing false witness, degrading, and discriminating against minority groups, such as Gay people, that they feel are "safe" to persecute.

And, most of the leadership of the institutional Church and their gullible followers have the temerity to invoke God, Jesus, and the Bible, along with simplistic, erroneous, and irrational sound bites and buzz words such as "traditional family values," "for the good of our children," etc., to seek to justify the unjustifiable, and to seek to lend rationality to the irrational xenophobia that they display that is diametrically opposed to Jesus' teachings and very life!

One can not assume that just because someone calls him/herself a "Christian" that he/she is not a mere thug! And, what's worse, he/she is a thug who thinks that God is on his/her side when he/she actively contributes to the suffering, suicides, assaults, and murders of God's LGBT children!

I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again: Every single drop of blood shed by LGBT people through suicide, assault, and murder is on the hands of every professing Christian who either advocates discrimination against LGBT people or who remains silent amidst the oppression of LGBT people!

As I wrote in an article entitled, Gay Bashing: The Politics of Religion:

"Make no mistake, every drop of blood shed by GLBT people either through suicide, bashing, or murder, are on the hands of all those religious leaders, their followers, and their allies who spew forth their ignorance, prejudice, and hate against GLBT people and their relationships! These wolves in sheep's clothing take the Bible, God's love letter to His children, and selectively and perversely use it as a club to condemn others, and deny GLBT people full inclusion in the Church and in society.

The tradition-bound parts of the Church have so indoctrinated people, many of whom have never even set foot in a house of worship, that many people even disown their own children when they "come out" and divulge their sexual orientation to those whom they thought unconditionally loved and cherished them. There are many children living on the streets because their own parents trusted ignorant clergy and their followers over their God-given duty and privilege to nurture and embrace their own children!
(See here.)

In his excellent article, An Open Letter From Jesus to "Christian" America, Frank Schaeffer hits the nail on the head regarding the hypocrisy of all too many professing Christians' hateful animus toward one or more minority groups that they feel are "safe" and even "godly" to persecute.

Of course, the minority group de jour that so many professing Christians view as acceptable to oppress is comprised of LGBT people, and it's a crying shame that many people believe their lies borne out of ignorance and/or downright hate!


Here is an excerpt from the article by Frank Schaeffer [Pictured], an article that I strongly urge you to read in its entirety:

You American Christians utterly defaced the name of Christianity with your racism, your slavery and your bigotry against women. And now you're doing it again in your war against gay men and women and in your war against the poor who have no health care. Some of you even have had it as part of your wicked program to reestablish the Biblical law demanding death to gay people that I clearly showed must be broken by the greater law of love. Well, as you judge so you will be judged. Good luck with that!

Do you think the Kingdom of God is more likely to belong to, a wealthy "Christian" leader who preaches hate and exclusion (even when saying "I love everyone and only hate the sin") or to the least of these, the disenfranchised who want nothing more than to enjoy the same rights of other citizens? Do you think God does not see that the poor have no care and die because your greedy (lying) insurance lobby has your so called Congress in their pockets?

You hypocrites and liars! You say you're preaching my gospel when my gospel never was about correct belief or correct behavior. My gospel was about not judging others, making room for everyone at the table, loving your neighbor as you love yourself. If gay men and women are your enemy then, as you know, I commanded you to love them! And if they are asking to be allowed to marry I commanded you to give to him who asks of you! Besides, you don't own America. This is a democracy and yours is just one opinion.


[For the full article by Frank Schaeffer, see here.]
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Friday, December 11, 2009

RACHEL MADDOW HAS IT OUT WITH RICHARD COHEN; RICK WARREN'S ANTIPATHY TOWARD GAY PEOPLE


This 17 minute video with Rachel Maddow skewering Richard Cohen [Pictured], alleged "ex-gay" author, shows the bankrupt nature of both the notion of one becoming "ex-gay" in any meaningful sense, and the bankrupt nature of the "science" that lies behind the ideologically (and often materialistically motivated) saturated rhetoric and actions that can, and might well, lead to the imprisonment and murders of countless Gay people in Uganda and, perhaps, elsewhere:


Although, in my opinion, Cohen is a pathetic buffoon, there are a lot of other buffoons who give him credibility! Yet he makes no pretenses about being a Christian and falsely telling people what the Bible allegedly says about being Gay.

However, the Rick Warrens of the world do just that so, frankly, I have even more antipathy toward the Rick Warrens of the world who sanctimoniously degrade Gay people than I do the pathetic Richard Cohens of the world who should lack any credibility with anyone with even a modicum of intelligence and decency!


Rick Warren [Pictured], after undoubtedly being the recipient of a lot of pressure, finally urged Ugandan pastors to not support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. However, his too little too late speech, unfortunately lauded by some like Wayne Besen who seem to be satisfied with incremental crumbs of niceties, despite their still being defamed and demeaned, contained the following:

While we can never deny or water down what God’s Word clearly teaches about sexuality, at the same time the church must stand to protect the dignity of all individuals — as Jesus did and commanded all of us to do. Let me be clear that God’s Word states that all sex outside of marriage is not what God intends. Jesus reaffirmed what Moses wrote that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman committed to each other for life. (See here.)

How do you think statements like that make a Gay kid (or adult, for that matter) feel about him/herself? How is biblical literalism apart from cultural context helping anyone? How is self-righteous and self-serving rhetoric that seeks to impose one's religious ideology onto others doing any kind of service to civil society, or to anyone who seeks spiritual solace from the Prince of Peace? How can the legalists and perfectionists of the institutional Church world distort the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness and yet be of any use in spreading the "Good News" that Jesus came to set the captives free from the yokes of bondage placed upon them by the likes of those homophobic legalists?

Here is the video of Warren's address to Ugandan pastors:



And in case there is any doubt about Warren's antipathy toward LGBT people even if it were found that being Gay is something with which one was born, please see this brief video:



Please know that there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that condemns Gay people or same-sex love! God does not hate what God creates!

[Thanks to LGBT POV for the last two videos.]
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SOME TALKING POINTS ON CHRISTIANITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY

Some years ago, I wrote the following article that I think is appropriate to post at this time. When we have a seemingly progressive state like New York preventing same-sex marriage in spite of the fact that the Governor said he would sign that bill if it ever reached his desk; when we have a seemingly progressive state like California that affirmed Prop. 8 in spite of the fact that the California State Supreme Court voted same-sex marriages as being constitutional; when we have the debacle in Maine that rescinded same-sex marriage rights; when New Jersey is waffling on this issue; when the egregiousness of having Gay civil rights be put on any ballot to be voted upon by the electorate, it is my distinct feeling that homophobic clergy have inordinate and uncalled for influence on politicians, the electorate, and on professing Christians who take to heart their ignorant and/or mendacious rhetoric, and actually believe that being LGBT and LGBT civil rights including that of same-sex marriage are diametrically opposed to being "a good Christian." Nothing could be further from the truth, and I hope that the following article helps lay that big lie to rest:

About a year ago, after my giving a talk on how the Bible doesn't condemn, but actually affirms, same-sex love, a woman with a gay brother, raised in a Christian family, asked me to write out "talking points" on the subject of the consistency between Christianity and homosexuality, so that she could share that information with her brother. This article is the result of my answering her request.

Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbles, stated what is, unfortunately, a profound truth. He said that no matter how big the lie, if it's repeated often enough, people will come to believe it. Just as that axiom proved true in Nazi Germany, it certainly proves itself to be true regarding the relationship between Christianity and homosexuality. For centuries, we have been repeatedly told from assorted pulpits throughout the world that homosexuality is a "sin," so that so many professing Christians and others come to think that it's a no-brainer, that it is, in fact, a "sin."

The fact is, as the Reverend Troy Perry has said, "Jesus came to take away our sins, not our sexuality." In addition, as I have said for many decades, "Never let other people define your reality or put you into bondage to their ways of thinking!"

Simply put, if we remove the patriarchal and legalistic trappings of "Christianity," that presents the false gospel of legalism perfectionism, and exclusion, we see that the only Gospel to be found in Christianity, the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness demands that we embrace all of God's children, we be authentic as God created us to be, and we recognize that we commit a grievous sin when we reject the wonderful gift bestowed upon us by God, the gift of being able to love another person. As Rev. Troy Perry has said, "God didn't create someone whom He could sit around and hate!"

You also commit a grievous sin if you reject the sexual orientation given you by God! We are to never chafe under the sovereign choices of God, and so many LGBT Christians fail to recognize that they are God's gift to the Church and to society! Always remember, God has gifted you with the capacity to love and that you are God's gift to the Church and to this world!

As I read a while back, "We are not here to prove ourselves to the world, but to be ourselves in the world!" This is a good point and truth worth meditating on each and every day of our lives. Read Isaiah 2:22 and Galatians 1:10 for further confirmation of this truth!

I hope these talking points are of help, not merely to address the prejudice of others, prejudice that, unfortunately, rationality and facts are frequently unlikely to penetrate, but that they affirm all of us as God's children, and once and for all erase any possible reason for anyone to have shame or self-loathing because of sexual orientation, or for any other reason. God is not stupid and God doesn't make any mistakes!

Here are the talking points that I hope you find useful:

1. All of the Commandments are fulfilled by loving God and loving others. We are never to judge others. (Matthew 7:1; Romans 2:1) Read Romans 1 in detail and then Romans 2:1.

2. The "clobber passages" in Leviticus and Deuteronomy concern the "Holiness Codes" that have been fulfilled in Jesus. "Toevah" means "abomination" or "detestable" as related to idolatry and cult prostitution that were engaged in by the Canaanites.

3. The Bible also contains prohibitions against eating shell fish; there are also the cultural practices of stoning to death those who commit adultery, stoning to death those who work on the Sabbath, stoning to death recalcitrant children, women not being allowed to talk in the Church, women not being allowed to teach men, women always keeping their heads covered in church, not wearing mixed fibers in one's clothes, etc. Why not picket Safeway for selling shell fish and picket K Mart for selling shirts made of cotton and polyester?

4. The "sin of Sodom" (Genesis 19) has nothing to do with homosexuality. It deals with gang rape. Whenever Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in the Bible, homosexuality is never mentioned as its sin. Its sins are primarily inhospitality and not taking care of the poor.

5. In a tribal society, living on the edge, surrounded by enemies, homosexual activity is condemned because in this way people can't "be fruitful and multiply." However, we are no longer a tribal society living on the edge; it's inappropriate to blindly translate the cultural practices of ancient societies to contemporary society as witness as a widow having to marry her husband's brother. If she loved that man, that's wonderful. But if she didn't love that man, she still had to marry him and one can't legitimately argue that God is in favor of serial rape!

6. If homosexuality was so important, why is it not mentioned in the Ten Commandments; why did the prophets never write about it; why didn't Jesus ever condemn it? If it were that important, don't you think that it would have been mentioned in at least one of these contexts?

7. Why was the centurion so concerned about this particular slave as recorded in Matthew 8? After all, slaves were a dime a dozen. As it says in Luke, this is a slave who was "dear to him." (Luke 7:2) Why is the Greek word "pais" translated as "servant" in English, when this Greek word is best translated "slave boy?" (See "Our Story Too…Reading the Bible with New Eyes," by Rev. Nancy Wilson, located at http://www.mccchurch.org/.) "Doulos" is the Greek word for slave! A "pais" was frequently one who had a romantic-sexual relationship with an older man; that may well be why the centurion was so concerned about this particular young man and asked Jesus to heal him. If such a relationship was a sin or in any way inappropriate, wouldn't Jesus have taken this opportunity to condemn or censure the centurion for having such a relationship? Instead, Jesus merely commended the centurion on his faith and promptly proceeded to heal the man's slave boy. [It must be noted that pedophilia or ephebophilia are independent of this biblical account; slaves misused by their masters is similarly independent of this account.]

8. Same-sex love is certainly affirmed in reading of the relationship between King David (called "a man after God's own heart") and Jonathan. See 1 Samuel 16:12;20:1-23;35-42;20:41;28:32-34;20:12-17;42; 2 Samuel 1:26. If one reads the account of Deborah, a Judge and esteemed warrior in Israel, one comes away with a feeling that she may well have been transgendered, as she certainly didn't live up to the cultural expectations of how a "woman" is to behave. (See Judges 4:1-24)

9. Particularly in the New Testament, same-sex love is never condemned! What is undoubtedly condemned is male cult prostitution, as seen in the fact that in Corinth, where the Book of Romans was undoubtedly written, there were many religions, one of them being the fertility cult of Aphrodite. Here, sex was frequently a worshipful act in homage to various pagan deities for purposes of fertility, having the crops grow, etc.

10. The word "homosexual" never appears in any biblical manuscript, as it was a word coined in the late 19th Century and first appeared in an English Bible translation, the Revised Standard Version, in 1946. The Greek word used for "homosexual," arsenokoitai, is an obscure word that doesn't seem to appear in any other ancient writings, and may very well have been only used by the Apostle Paul. Its literal meaning is "male bed." No one knows what Paul was referring to but, if he wanted to denote same-sex love, there were other words available to him that he could have easily used.

11. The word translated "effeminate" in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is malakoi. It means "soft." It's used elsewhere in Scripture to denote soft clothing. (Matthew 11:8) In this context it probably refers to people of soft morals, or people who lack courage. In any case, to translate it as "effeminate" in a pejorative way would contradict Paul's assertion of the equality of men and women in Christ. (Galatians 3:28)

12. Regarding the word "para physin" that is usually translated "against nature," this phrase is also used in regard to God's welcoming the gentiles into the fold. (Romans 11:21-24) The phrase is probably best translated, "unexpected," or something not done in the usual way.

13. Biblical principle must always trump biblical practice! The biblical principle is the Gospel, the Good News, of God's grace (unmerited favor) to us that we appropriate through our faith in Him. (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9) As Peter J. Gomes writes in his excellent book that I strongly urge you to read, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, when we read any passage of the Bible we must try to discern what it says, what it means, the subtext, the context, what we bring to the text, and what we take out of the text. Much of the mind-set and many of the words that appear in Scripture don't mean what we think they mean from our perspective.

14. As Christians we are to show forth the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and live out the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. We are in no way to align ourselves with wolves in sheep's clothing who stigmatize and oppress gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for their own psychological, political, social, and financial gains, particularly when they have absolutely no Scriptural authority to do so.

[So, next time you hear the utterances of homophobic clergy who appeal to the Bible to justify their prejudices, remember that they speak out of ignorance and/or hatefulness, and pay them no mind! They are wolves in sheep's clothing, and even many of them are too clueless to know that fact and, unfortunately, many of their followers are too gullible to see through their lies.]
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Monday, December 7, 2009

STRIDENT HOMOPHOBIA STEMS FROM THE UNCONSCIOUS


It might seem strange that my major intellectual influence has been Sigmund Freud. Although I don't place much faith in his therapeutic modality, psychoanalysis, as being any more or less effective than any other therapeutic modality, particularly since it resists empirical study and possible verification or lack of verification, what makes Freud so important, in my opinion, are the insights he drew from his analyses of the human condition and the human psyche.

One of his many insights is stated quite succinctly by him: The ego is not master in its own house. ("A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis," 1917.)

That is, our conscious desires and motivations, our rational processes, are trumped by our unconscious drives and longings of which we are unaware! That is, our unconscious drives and needs are the major determinants of our thoughts, prejudices, rhetoric, and actions. In other words, we do not have the control of our beliefs and actions that we think we do!

When confronting another's prejudices, that person may, when asked, seem to come to a rational explanation for those prejudices, with appeal to assorted "scientific" and "biblical" claims yet, when push comes to shove, those reasons are mere rationalizations used by the person in order to justify in his/her mind and in the minds of the questioner(s) why those prejudices are "rational" when, in fact, they are anything but rational but emanate from the unconscious longings and repressions, the resistances and the untamed and untamable forces that reside within the unconscious of the person with whose prejudices we are dealing.

In the case of homophobia, it is eminently clear that ignorance and/or hate are the root causes of those prejudices, and that hateful animus that propels and compels one to consistently seek to demean the other, and deny equal rights to Gay people, is coming from the unconscious of that person, those tempestuous forces of which he/she is largely, if not solely, unaware.

However, the homophobe's conscious mind must make him/her and his/her homophobia seem "reasonable" to those who ask the question as to why that person is homophobic, so there is an attempt by the homophobe to invoke "credible evidence" in his/her conscious mind, particularly the homophobe's interpretation of certain selected biblical verses, so that credibility can be sought and often, unfortunately, irrationally obtained by gullible people to the hateful utterances made by clergy and by other professing Christians in the name of God and the Prince of Peace.

Therefore, "sitting down and reasoning together" with strident homophobes, particularly religious homophobes, is a waste of time and energy, and is bound to degenerate into profound resistance and hostility on the part of the homophobe because his/her unconscious structure and drives make it virtually impossible for rational discourse to penetrate that structure and change those drives.

So, what is the answer in dealing with homophobia? Social Psychology has provided that answer in regard to many types of xenophobia!

Attitudes can only be changed by there first being a change (even a forced change, if necessary) in one's behavior and then, over time, one's xenophobic attitudes will change. For example, regarding the African-American civil rights struggle, it wasn't until certain key court decisions and mandated integration in the military, public accommodations, and in schools occurred, and when Whites and Blacks were forced to work together as equals, that White attitudes toward Blacks became much more accepting and benign.

I'm not suggesting that Black-White relations are a bowl of cherries now, and that racism still doesn't exist! What I am suggesting is that institutional racism is far less acute than before that forced behavior change; Black-White relations are much more convivial than existed prior to that forced behavior change.

So, we don't change attitudes to evoke a certain desired behavior, but changes in behavior eventually create a change in attitudes! Therefore, we don't work to change the attitudes of people, such as we see with the onerous attempt to appeal to "the milk of human kindness" by many Gay activists when Gay civil rights are despicably put up for a vote of the electorate, but we force the dominant group to deal with full and equal civil rights that come from the Judiciary and then, over time, Gay people will be far more integrated into the society than now exists; full and equal civil and sacramental rights will become a reality.

I understand that there are many Gay people who do not want to be integrated into dominant society, and they should be free to ghettoize themselves if they so choose. However, I have to believe that most Gay people do want equal rights and do want to embrace all of the rights of citizenship that heterosexuals enjoy, and if that is the goal, time, activism, monies, and energy must be spent and directed at the political-judicial arenas to force behavior change on the part of the dominant group so that their homophobic attitudes will eventually change.

And, over time, the unconscious drives and fears that prompt and propel homophobia will change to become more accepting of Gay people, and then, unfortunately, another minority group will be sought after for discrimination by those whose unconscious drives force them to discriminate.

But that fact is the subject of another civil rights struggle at some future time!
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CLERGY DISGRACE OF PREFERRING "UNITY" TO "JUSTICE"

THE Archbishop of Canterbury today called on American Anglicans to block the appointment of a lesbian bishop.
Dr Rowan Williams warned that the selection of a new homosexual bishop could push the divided Anglicans over the edge into full-blown schism.

The Archbishop spoke out after leaders of the Church of England's sister church in Los Angeles chose 55-year-old Reverend Mary Glasspool as an assistant bishop.

He said the choice raised 'serious questions' and warned it was a threat to the 'bonds' that tie 77million Anglicans together.


[For the full article, see here.]

And Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is supposed to be a "liberal." However, it seems that "unity" at the expense of "justice" is his idea of the manifestation of "Christianity."

He's shown himself to be a traitor to equal rights, and to Jesus' teachings that we are to love God (by trusting God over and above seen circumstances) and to love and not judge other people.

For the likes of Williams, the Pope, and many other professing Christian homophobes to be in a leadership (or any) position in any denomination professing to represent the teachings, life, ministry, and work of Christ on earth is a disgrace to all who long for justice and equal rights for all of God's children.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

MY GRATITUDE FOR THIS BLOG BEING NOMINATED AS BEST GAY BLOG OF 2009

I can't tell you how grateful and honored I am that my blog was nominated under the Political Blogs Section as The Best Gay Blog of 2009. It means more to me than I can express. Those who nominated this site, and those who read this site, also mean a great deal to me, and I just hope that we can all work and struggle together for full and equal rights for LGBT people, and agree that we will never quit until they shove six feet of dirt in our faces. God bless you all!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

JAMES HIPPS' INTERVIEW WITH FRANK SCHAEFFER.

Below is a very interesting interview with Frank Schaeffer by James Hipps on Blog Talk Radio, about, in part, the need for the separation of Church and State. Please also listen to James Hipps' commentary at the end of his interview with Frank Schaeffer.

For a flavor of where Frank Schaeffer is coming from, here is an excerpt from his latest post on his blog, Frank Schaeffer, dated December 3, 2009, entitled, Will Rick Warren Go to The Hanging (Killing Gays) Or Just Duck (Again)? I urge you to read his post in its entirety:

Nothing illustrates the danger we face from our own Taliban better than the way American "Christians" are now tangled up with the homophobic—now potentially gay murdering – Ugandan Christian/political leadership.

The Ugandan Parliament is considering a bill that would impose the death penalty on gays. One American must be cheering from the grave. Here’s what the late R.J. Rushdoony, Reconstructionist theologian and founder of the modern movement of that name, wrote in a letter to gay rights activist Mel White: “God in His law requires the death penalty for homosexuals.”

Disclosure: Both Mel White and Rushdoony were friends of mine, back in the day I was a Religious Right leader and sidekick to my father – the late Francis Schaeffer – who is “credited” by many, including by Karen Armstrong and Max Blumenthal – with being a key father of the Religious Right… along with RJ Rushdoony. I quit the movement over its hate for the “other” and got out by the late 80s and started writing novels like Portofino, aimed at the heart of the movement through humor at fundamentalist’s expense.

Back in the day before Mel came out he was working with me on one of my father’s movie/book projects. We both left our far right “faith.” Mel acknowledged that he was gay and I said I’d had it with hate. These days I propose an anti-right progressive Christianity in my book PATIENCE WITH GOD: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism)

That said… The problem of American exceptionalism combined with a theocracy in which the “we” of evangelical faith finally destroy the “they” (everyone else) is growing. Who do you think Fox News rabid followers are? Who do you think calls Obama "Hitler" while using the tactics of fascism themeselves?...

More "respectable" leaders like Warren, Huckabee and Palin won’t admit it but they would like to do here what the Ugandans are doing there, and not just to gays, to all the "other" who are in the way of their taking America into the darkness of theocracy.

Pastor Rick is the epitome of the two-faced friendly evangelical leader today: say one thing for the public, believe another thing and work for it.

Reconstructionists persist and the movement is growing while key figures in Congress to big time pastors routinely deny they are part of this political/religious movement. Meanwhile they’re fixin’ to go to a hangnin’ in Uganda, with the blessing of the smiling nice guys like Rick Warren and and a wink and a nod from the Reconstructionist handmaid Sarah-Tea-Bagger-Palin.


Here is James Hipps' interview with Frank Schaeffer that I think you'll enjoy:

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

SAMES-SEX MARRIAGE DEFEAT IN NEW YORK AND ELSEWHERE: IT'S ALL ABOUT HATE

The New York state senate on Wednesday voted down a marriage equality bill by a wide margin following months of delay and protracted political drama.

In a special legislative session, the senate voted 38-to-24 against the bill, eight votes short of a majority, with no support from Republican senators. A state assembly marriage bill had passed for a third time late last night.

Governor David Paterson, who made marriage equality a centerpiece of his agenda, issued a statement a few hours after the vote that acknowledged the widespread sense of disappointment among advocates for the bill.


[For the full article, see here.]

New York City is my old stomping grounds! It was progressive forty years ago when I left, and I assume that it's progressive now!

I remember thinking after I left NYC that I didn't leave another state, but I left another country! I didn't appreciate the cosmopolitan nature of NYC when I lived there for 28 years until I left it!

However, other parts of New York State are not that progressive and, although I don't know what political motivations and machinations ensued to make possible this defeat for equal rights, I do know that "hate" was and is the major motivator when religious leaders and politicians seek to deny equal rights to any minority group!

The distortions and down right lies perpetrated about Gay people, not the least of which is that Gay merely equals Sex, has a lot to do with such defeats that occurred in New York.

People are not told that same-sex couples love each other every bit as much as heterosexual couples love each other, and that to deny the same dignity and rights that accrue to heterosexuals to same-sex couples is to deny their love the dignity it deserves, and deny Gay people equality that the Constitution assures us belongs to every citizen in the U.S.

I can't but believe that politicians who want to get re-elected are as much influenced by homophobic clergy who have undeserved but great influence in the larger, secular, society, taking upon themselves the undeserved mantel of being the arbiters of "morality," and thereby sadly convince most of the electorate that being Gay is "immoral," and that same-sex marriage is similarly "immoral."

Hence, the ignorant and/or hatefully based hyperbole that same-sex marriage will destroy the family, hurt children, force schools to teach homosexuality, hurt clergy and churches, etc.

Let's make no mistake! This defeat in New York and other defeats for same-sex marriage that have been suffered is not about the well being of the family, children, or the larger society.

Whenever any politicians or clergy seek to deny equal rights to Gay people, it is about "hate," and about nothing else! And they can couch their hateful animus in unctuous, sanitized, sanctimonious rhetoric all they want to, but the bottom line is that they are ignorant haters, and they must be exposed and confronted for that fact!

And the gullible lemmings who follow their lead are no better; only more pathetic, for they don't get any of the rewards of the hateful clergy and politicians, save for satiating their hateful animus that is primarily fueled and fostered by ignorant and/or mendacious clergy.

In this connection, I want to reiterate what James Hipps of Gay Agenda wrote:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now…again, the anti-gay movement in this country is NOT about marriage. It’s NOT about the sanctity of a religious institution. It’s not about protecting anyone or anything, it’s about hate, intolerance and bigotry.

[For the full article, see here.]
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

HUMAN NATURE, REACTIONARY POLITICS, AND HOMOPHOBIA

I have found little that is "good" about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think. (Sigmund Freud)

There are two races of people in the world: the decent and the indecent. (Paraphrase from Viktor Frankl)

These two quotes by two different people represent the essence of the dilemma of what destructive forces can reside in the human heart, and nowhere is this dilemma better seen than in the current reaction to Gay people, and the affinity with reactionary politics, by many of those who profess themselves to be "Christian."

When we see professing Christian leaders enmeshing themselves and their tax exempt funds with reactionary politicians and politics; when we hear the hate-mongering of a Rev. Gregory Daniels who said, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them"(See here.), we can see that there is a very sinister force that resides in much, if not most, of the institutional Church.

Franklin Graham -- Billy's son and nepotistic "heir" to the Graham empire -- says he wants to help the poor. So what is he doing standing next to Sarah - "death panels" - Palin at a press conference as she denounces health care reform as a "Government takeover of the US economy"?

What is Franklin Graham doing promoting Palin's plan to destroy the Republican Party in order to push for a pure far right agenda that would leave old style Republicans (like the late William F. Buckley or Barry Goldwater) screaming bloody murder about incipient fascism?

Franklin is part of today's evangelical "leadership" that has remained mute on the blasphemous misuse of the Bible in the infamous Psalm 109: 8 T-shirt scandal wherein the verse calls for the death of the President (dressed up as a "prayer request.") But Franklin has lent the Graham family name to Palin's book tour. And he stood next to her as she urged the defeat ("some changes") of all incumbent congressmen who vote to give health care to all Americans.

Franklin Graham-- the Islamophobe and gay-basher -- is now backing the symbol of the "America" that wants legal torture but not universal health care. He is impressed by the "spirituality" of a bare faced liar who equated health care reform with "death panels."


For the full article, see here.]

And this brief video shows the tacit, if not overt, involvement of many professing Christians in what may well come to be the genocide of LGBT people in Uganda And you will recall that it was Pastor Rick Warren whom President Obama chose to give the prayer at his inaugural:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


(Thanks to Gay Agenda.)

I must tell you that, although I subscribe to Frankl's belief that prefaces this post, my experiences with most clergy and with most parishoners in assorted churches and denominations has shown me that, regarding most professing "Christians" with whom I've dealt over the past 25 years, that Freud was absolutely correct!
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Monday, November 30, 2009

AN INTERVIEW AND SOME INFORMATION ABOUT "THE FAMILY"

This interview with Jeff Sharlet is an eye-opener about The Family and their often gross distortion of the Gospel!

By the way, regarding the National Prayer Breakfast, that was founded by The Family, it would be wise to hear Jesus on this subject:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you , They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)

It would be naive to think that The Family and its allies don't have a great deal of direct and indirect political sway both in the U.S. and most likely in other parts of the world as well.

Implications of groups like The Family for LGBT rights should become obvious and that's why, whether or not homophobic professing Christians are associated with this group or not, they are certainly on the same page as is this group and what it seems to represent, certainly regarding Gay civil rights, and many people in positions of political power are certainly influenced by the values of this group, as explicated in this interview!

All too often we have seen Christianity represented by mere thugs, often with smug, self-righteous, and sanitized rhetoric, who link what they call "Christianity" with Americanism, jingoism, capitalism, and militarism! And the gullible among us (and there are a lot of them) buy into this perversion hook, line, and sinker!

(In this connection, you might be interested in an article that I wrote concerning the enmeshment of most of the institutional Church with the Power Elite that is comprised of those who have positions in the highest places of the corporate, political, and military worlds, entitled, It's Not About Issues.)

When professing Christians seek to deny civil rights to others; when they seek to deny universal health care to others; when they transform the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor) into the worship of power; when they affirm or don't speak out against unjust wars; when they transform faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances) into their own political machinations; when they demonize and bear false witness against Gay people; when their values are given credibility by others, whether or not they know of this group and those with whom they are directly or indirectly allied, the precipitous deterioration of our country and of the global community is certainly seen and is certain to even further deteriorate as time goes on.

That's one of the reasons I've always felt that the separation of Church and State is a myth in America, the very essence of "Christianity" has been perverted by ignorant and/or mendacious thugs, and I have long stated that LGBT people are the current canaries in the mine-shaft of society!

The way LGBT people are horribly treated; the way they and their love and sexuality and gender expression are denied dignity and equality that accrue to heterosexual citizens and citizens who can easily be compartmentalized into constructed binary boxes, shows those with eyes to see the poison gas emanating from those who would pervert Christianity, and all decency, to be in accord with their own prejudices.

Just one example: No other minority group would be allowed to suffer the indignity of having their civil rights be put up to a vote of the electorate! What do you think would be the result if a group sought to put on the ballot that African-Americans could no longer enter through the front doors of any public buildings? There would be justifiable outrage expressed, and it would come from virtually all quarters. However, when it comes to Gay people, the rules, rationalizations, and "justifications" become different, for some reason!

As I wrote above, no other minority group would allow itself to suffer the indignity of having its civil rights be put up to popular vote! This fact shows how the poison gas of others' ignorance and/or hatefulness and/or quest for political and "moral" hegemony in the name of "Christianity" has even influenced so many LGBT people!

This is a brief excerpt of the interview, an interview that I strongly urge you to read in its entirety:

And some of the, really the core rhetoric of The Family is this idea that most of us misread the New Testament, that Christ's message - the bottom line of Christ's message wasn't really about love or mercy or justice or forgiveness. It was about power. So Doug Coe, the leader of the group, tries to illustrate this, for instance, by saying, sort of posing a puzzle: name three men in the 20th century who best understood that message of The New Testament. And most people are going to say someone like Martin Luther King, or Bonhoeffer; or maybe they're more conservative, they're going to say Billy Graham. And Coe likes to give in answer: Hitler, Stalin and Mao, which just makes your jaw drop. And he will say - he's quick to say these are evil men, but they understood power. And that message recurs again, and again, and again in The Family.


When I was at the C Street house, I sat in on a session between Doug Coe and Congressman Tiahrt of Kansas. And Coe was encouraging Tiahrt to understand the message of Jesus by thinking about the model of power exemplified by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. There are so many examples of this, and I give several because I don't want people to think that I'm cherrypicking one bad choice of words. This is a core idea of The Family. There is actually video that �NBC News� found of Coe talking about the fellowship that he wants to model the things on is like that of the great friendship enjoyed by Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler.

Now, he is not a neo-Nazi. What he is doing there is he's fetishizing strength. He is not looking to democracy, but this model of absolute strength, and that leads The Family into relationships with men like Museveni in Uganda. Before him, their key man for Africa was a guy named Siad Barre of Somalia, for whom Chuck Grassley became a kind of defacto lobbyist as the United States pumped up his military, which he then used to absolutely destroy his country to such an effect that Somalia has never recovered and today is a haven for al-Qaida, for terrorism, for piracy. It's a lawless nation. The Family says that's part of God's plan.


[For the full interview, see here.]

[Now, also please read The Secret Political Reach of "The Family".]

For a ten minute interview by Thom Hartmann with Jeff Sharlet about The Family, please seen the following video:

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

PLEASE WATCH THIS BEAUTIFUL VIDEO ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

PLEASE WATCH THIS BRIEF AND BEAUTIFUL VIDEO TO UNDERSTAND THE ESSENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THE IGNORANT ATTEMPT TO "TRANSFORM" GAY PEOPLE

His [Phillip Lee] Way Out ministry contends in its brochures that its position comes from the authority of Scripture rather than social sciences and medicine.

The ''sexually broken'' can be transformed through close reading of Scripture and openly discussing temptations, the ministry contends.

"Since it is acquired it can be unacquired." Lee said. "And like I said, a lot of people have bought into the born-that-way theory. There's no Scripture to support that theory."


[For the full article, see here.]

How often we have heard from professing Christian homophobes that being Gay is "an inclination," "a life style," "a temptation," "a sin" by their referring to what they call "the authority of Scripture!" The fact is that that reference to, and interpretation of, Scripture is a lie perpetrated by the ignorant and/or the mendacious and/or the haters in the world!

I defy anyone to show me chapter and verse where same-sex love is condemned, or where same-sex marriage is condemned!

To resort to some Old Testament passages to support the specious argument that being Gay is destructive is terribly misleading, not only because Christians are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament, and that the context of these "clobber passages" are in the framework of a tribal society living on the edge that needs to propagate in order to survive, but that other cultural practices in ancient Israel are affirmed in the Bible that no sane person would currently adopt, such as stoning to death recalcitrant children, stoning to death those caught in adultery, and stoning to death those who work on the Sabbath. I'm not even going into such prohibitions listed in the Bible as the eating shell fish and the wearing of mixed fibers in one's clothes!

More to the point, the attempt to "transform," or in any way suppress, that which God has made is a sin in and of itself!

Being Gay is "acquired" the same way that being Straight is "acquired!" God made us in these ways, and it is a sin to thwart God's plan for any of God's children, for to do so not only does inexplicable harm to that person, but also thwarts the will of God and shows a definite lack of trust in God and in God's plan for each person's life!

Even secular psychologists affirm the possible danger that accrues to those who are the victims of attempts to change their sexual orientation, and Christians should know enough to agree with that affirmation as well, even on purely biblical grounds. Our sexuality is a wonderful gift from God, and that is true whether we were created to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender!

The love story of David and Jonathan (1Samuel 18-20), and the story of Deborah (Judges 4-5), a Judge and fierce and well-respected warrior in Israel whom I have always considered to be Transgendered, shows that God mightily uses God's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered children for God's own purposes; God creates us the way God wants, and God doesn't make any mistakes!

For those who believe in "transforming" Gay people into something other than the way they were created to be by God is to show a decided lack of faith in God, and the Bible makes very clear that without faith it is impossible to please God! (See, for example, Hebrews 11:6.)

So, it is those who don't trust God and God's creative abilities, and who think that God makes mistakes, and who refuse to understand that God specializes in diversity, who are the real sinners!

And LGBT people who are comfortable in and with their own bodies, knowing that they are not some mistake, know that God created them just as God ordained from the foundation of the world (for example, see Ephesians 1:4), who are the ones who express their faith in God, and are thereby enabled to live the abundant life that Jesus promises all of us who abide in Him!

Please don't listen to ignorant wolves in sheep's clothing, be they clergy or not, who are seeking to thwart God's will for your life!

Put your full trust in God, and don't trust the rhetoric of others who may well have prejudices based on unresolved sexual conflicts in their own lives, thereby trying with all their might to suppress in you what they are often trying to suppress in themselves!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

THE BLIGHT OF MORAL COWARDICE

“The Vice Chancellor of City University London, Julius Weinberg, should resign. He is refusing to take any action after the Islamic Society hosted a fundamentalist preacher, Abu Usamah, who advocates the murder of gay people and of Muslims who give up their faith,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Abu Usamah was recorded on Channel Four’s television documentary, Undercover Mosque, as saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain....”

Another speaker given a platform at the same City University event on 4 November, Murthadah Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and “filthy”.


[For the full article, see here

I strongly urge you to read the full article, as it not only shows the vile hatred that is spewed in the public arena but, more to the point of this post, shows the moral cowardice of people like the Vice Chancellor of City University London.

Having been a professor, and serving in assorted administrative capacities, for forty years, I've never ceased to be amazed at the moral cowardice of most faculty and administrators who inhabit universities!

As we see in the above cited article, even the most egregious, hateful, rhetoric is spewed without the Vice Chancellor condemning that rhetoric that affirms both hatred and hateful acts perpetrated against others in the name of "free speech."

As Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes succinctly stated, free speech does not entitle one to shout "fire" in a crowded theater!

"Fire" is being shouted by assorted homophobic (and other xenophobic) clergy who are given a platform that enhances their undeserved credibility to help cause untold harm, suffering, and even deaths to others, and they do so in the name of God, no less!

If we don't confront this hatred, be be that hatred expressed in rhetorical form or in actions, the bullies win!

As every schoolchild knows, when a bully confronts you, if you tolerate that confrontation, he/she will escalate his/her bullying. If you fight back, he/she is likely to climb back under the rock from which he/she emerged.

Bullies are basically cowards! So, in this case, we have one coward allowing other cowards to have their way, and the bullies win because of this lack of confrontation!

It is unfortunate that Christians are expected to be milquetoasts! We are, indeed, called upon to suffer all types of indignities for the sake of God!

The tragedy is that if we stand for the bullying of others, we are behaving diametrically opposite to what God expects of each of God's disciples, because we are allowing evil to prosper at the expense of others' well-being.

Turning the other cheek is relevant to one's own cheek! It is not up to us to turn the cheek of those who are being victimized, and that is what we precisely do when we keep silent amidst hate-speech and discrimination directed against others!

It is moral cowards like Weinberg seems to be who have allowed hate to prosper; discrimination to endure; suffering to escalate; suicides, assaults, and murders to occur!

I imagine Weinberg is not a Christian, but his silence amidst this atrocity mimics so much of what I have seen within universities and by clergy and their followers within churches that comprise most of the institutional Church!

Those who remain silent amidst the oppression of others leave a hateful legacy that further erodes the civility of society; escalates the hatred evinced by the bullies among us; terribly hurts our fellow human beings; despite rhetoric to the contrary, defames God!
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