What I chose not to post on Jim Berkeley’s Blog

I never understand how homosexuality becomes inflated to the status of core issue. In a world where tens of thousands starve to death every day and thousands more die in ongoing conflagrations of violence, why is there this obsessive focus on what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own lives?

That aside, I think it is a fallacy to put abusers or embezzlers or kleptomaniacs in the same category as homosexuals for two important reasons:

1. There is massive scientific evidence that homosexuality is something that someone is born with, exactly the way they are born with heterosexuality, or red hair, or nearsightedness. In some few cases homosexuality can be the result of trauma or abuse, but those are rare exceptions. This is distinct from abuse, embezzlement, kleptomania, etc., in that, for the most part, these are decisions, or they are disorders which are acquired over the course of life. Anecdotal ‘evidence’ which presents homosexuality as a choice does not come from reputable peer-reviewed researchers but rather from fringe groups motivated by a desperate desire to justify their bigotry with pseudo-science, on par with claims that the earth is six thousand years old or with the ‘science’ of, say, phrenology.

2. Homosexuality does not harm anyone any more than heterosexuality does. It is not like stealing or violence at all. Claims that homosexuality is somehow a threat to civilization or “traditional values” are absurd. (What traditional values? Jim Crow laws? Women as property?) Poverty, racism, violence, terrorism, pollution, ignorance and disease are threats to civilization. Homosexuality is a minority sexual orientation that has a long history of engendering hatred for no good reason. Any traditional values that preclude the humanity of a class of people because of something they do not choose and which does not harm anyone around them should be rejected for the evils that they are.

Because of these two main points, I see no ethical distinction between homophobia and other “values” like racism, sexism, elitism, and any other flavor of bigotry you care to mention.

The Bible follows the historical consensus that homosexuality is an “abomination”. It isn’t special in this – it is actually a very pedestrian position to hold in, say, 500 BCE. The Bible also says that epilepsy is caused by demonic possession, that women are unclean during menstruation, that you should never wear clothes with two kinds of cloth in them, that women should not speak in worship, that defiant children should be publicly executed, and that witches should be put to death, among other things. These are all things we ignore today, and it is good and right that we ignore them. Biblical injunctions against homosexuality are no different. We should reject them because they are clearly baseless prejudices that we have no good reason to hold today. There is so much in the Bible that we ignore on a regular basis without discussing. To talk about the Bible as if its every injunction must be taken seriously just doesn’t hold water.

This isn’t even getting into how far I think this ongoing prejudice is from Jesus Christ. I think that future generations, looking back at the horrific things that we let happen with almost no protest, will see these arguments about homosexuality as a crime against humanity. They divert time and energy and ideas from things that are actually core issues. I think its about time we stop being a schismatic band of sex-police and start being the Church of Jesus Christ.

8 thoughts on “What I chose not to post on Jim Berkeley’s Blog

  1. Hallelujah!You took a more direct route than I did on Jim’s blog – and your argumentation is better therefore. You force the debate to be moved away from interpretation of specific passages, which is a very good tactic in my opinion. Though, you do it with some fire that would only polarize rather than encourage reconciliation.I responded to Jim again. I doubt it will matter, but I tried to use all the skills in my toolbox for being direct and honest, but not attacking. Hoping to disarm him a bit, by using “I” language etc… Most likely he will respond the same way he did before. Ah well.

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  2. Doug,For you to even begin to equate the garbage that comes from Fred Phelps and his tiny band of idiots in Topeka with anything approaching any kind of rational dialouge about the issue or ordaining practicing homosexuals is disingenuous at best. These people or so far on the fringe that even a negative mention in a blog gives them credibility they don’t deserve. I have read most of the comment strings on your blog and have not seen any other instance where someone has painted with such a broad brush. To make my position clear I do not believe that ANYONE who is involved in ANY ongoing unrepentant sinful activity should not be in a position of leadership in the church. This is not about homosexuality or addiction or pornography, fraud, usury, slavery, etc. This is not about bigotry or homophobia, leaders should be held to a higher standard. Sorry, I might have gotten a little passionate, but it ticks me off for someone to associate me with Phelps. I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to run your blog (your blog, your rules) but to have the WBC link diminishes your point. I have never read anything by Gagnon (whom I’m not sure I completely agree with either) that sinks to the level of “God hates fags” or “Fags Die”. I sincerely hope that you will re think this link.By the way,you might want to be careful, Fred shares your position on the war in Iraq.Craig N

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  3. Disingenuous? Maybe. On the other hand, I think its easy sometimes to dress up garbage in fancy clothes, and I think a lot of unreasoning bigotry lingers beneath some ‘reasonable’ discourse. I’ll leave the link up because I’d rather be transparent about these things, and leave my mistakes up too.Fred Phelps is a pacifist!?

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  4. Doug,Thanks, you made my point. Had you actually done some cursory research into the W”BC” you would be aware that they have been protesting the war in Iraq for quite some time. However it’s easier to post something without getiing the whole story.To be fair, I come from much closer to eastern Kansas than than you and probably have seen more local reports of their outrages. Not to mention a face to face confrontation with one of Fred;’s minions a few years back. Regarding being a pacifist, I had a conversation with a pastor who claims to be a pacifist who admitted that if someone hurt his wife or children it would not take him long to rethink pacifism. Pacifism is just where you draw the line.Craig

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  5. How did I make your point? Are you actually claiming that Fred Phelps is a pacifist? Or are you misunderstanding “pacifist” to mean “against the Iraq war”? I really don’t get what you’re talking about here. I have looked at Fred Phelps’ website and writings, and I’ve seen nothing to indicate that he is a pacifist, by which I mean he is opposed to all kinds of violence under any conditions. If he in fact is one, I have definitely made a mistake. If not, it seems you have.Though, if your definition of pacifism is “where you draw the line”, then I guess he might be a pacifist by your definition, but I don’t think he’s one by mine, or by the one you’ll find in the dictionary.

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  6. Actually, I have to be honest. I’ve looked through their webpage again, and sort of refreshed my memory (and disgust), and there is no evidence you could come up with to convince me that Fred Phelps is a pacifist. His writing is so full of hate and vileness and a desire for violence, and his actions are so clearly aimed at causing agony in everyone he disagrees with, I’m not going to be open to whatever it is that makes you think he’s a pacifist.And yes, I knew very well that he’s been picketing the Iraq war. So have I, but for quite different reasons. Pacifism takes a lot more than a picket-sign.

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  7. Doug,Your mind reading tricks are failing you, I merely said that you and the Phelps clan are on the same side of the Iraq war. I never said he was a pacifist, that was your assumption. Where you draw the line was less a definition and more an observation of human nature, everyone has something or someone that they are comitted enough to to defend them by any means necessary. Maybe that’s called survival of the fittest, or natural selection, who knows but it sure seems to be hardwired into human natureThe only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (no quotes because I’m not sure the verbage is right but it’s close)I would never criticize your decision to be a pacifist, I may not agree with it, but it is your choice to make. In a way I kind of respect it.Craig

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