Wednesday, February 01, 2006
ACLU backs Baptist leader in gay sting!
But this is irresistable because so many values and rights and political positions (pardon THAT pun) are wadded up like a bunch of damp tangled sheets!
The American Civil Liberties Union says that a pastor who frequently speaks out against homosexuality and was arrested last week for propositioning a male police officer was charged in violation of the Supreme Court's ruling on gay sex.
Read all about it.
But dangit, don't you think that gay men who are in careers requiring a degree of privacy would learn to stay away from Will Rogers Park??? Do they miss reading all the stories about teachers, school superintendents, ministers and counselors who get arrested there?
At least this pastor was discreet enough to make plans to go to a private place. That may be his "saving grace," so to speak.
... What are the chances that he really was there to "minister" to gays? He might very well have been! The vanguard of conservative Christians who aim to help gays "overcome" their gayness are "out there" just enough for an occasional stray to actually think he could set a "date" with a gay to try to persuade him.
I guess it is possible he thought he had a "set 'em straight" ministry. It's not impossible. Personally, my instincts tell me ministry isn't what he had in mind. Otherwise he might have fought harder to keep his church position. And surely if it was a ministry, there would be others who could come to his defense to confirm that. I don't know of any churches that start a ministry of any kind without a mile-long paper trail from umpteen committee meetings and an administrative board vote to approve it.
And the law on the subject? Well, if that DA is to be believed, looking for anonymous, consensual sex (if not heterosexual) in your state is illegal. Is it, as far as you know?
And of course, serves the bastard right. Scratch a bigot, find a closet case every time.
But you knew I'd say that.
Isn't it funny though that the Christian-hating commie pinkos at the ACLU would defend a minister?
Of course there are those that would say "It's only 'cause he's possibly gay!" and these people would be highly unintelligent beasts of burden, or to use the vernacular, dumb asses.
Oh ER, there's an open meme at my place if you're interested (or anyone for that matter).
I think the Baptist guy is more to be pitied than censured. This is what happens when the "Word of God" is used like a sledgehammer, when the Christian Church gets and stays hung up on condemning people rather than holding open the door that Jesus opened, and then the secular culture echoes the increasingly evident bullshit that homosexuaity is a "lifestyle choice":
People desperate to be themselves, as God created them, do desperate, stupid things.
Gay men with careers requiring privacy go to parks *because* they require privacy--and having sex with total strangers is a decent way to try to ensure it.
But I've had it with condemnation of others in the name of God, by people who say they follow Jesus. There's a disconnect there.
Trying to follow Jesus's example of inclusivity, rather than trying to strictly adherence to, like, three verses out of a gozillion, just makes more sense to me no, in my head as well as my heart, and in my own personal walk -- stumble, collapse, crawl, walk -- with the Lord.
And if I'm wrong, I'd rather err in trying to hold open the door Jesus opened, rather than err by trying to slam it shut.
Here's somethign to chew on, from Mayflower Congregational Church, Oklahoma City:
Our Covenant of Openness and Affirmation
This is an invitation:
We know, with Jesus, that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that those neigbors include all human beings - encompassing our families, our Church, all other churches and faiths, and the world at large.
We also know that both society and the larger community of faith have often scorned, excluded, attempted "cures", and condemned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Bible, and in the name of religious doctrine.
We know that Mayflower Church has been very public in its determination to be a reconciling force between gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people as they are and the church, welcoming all people whatever their sexual orientation - not as doing something new, but as doing something very old, harkening back to the early church's radical hospitality.
We know, like the Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 8:26, that the answer to the eternal question "What is to prevent me from being baptized?" - an answer learned steadily over the centuries from one outcast group to the next: first Gentiles, then women, then blacks, then the poor, the deformed, and now lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people - is the luminous center of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: "Nothing prevents it."
We know, like the Syrophoenician Woman of Mark 7:24, that there is a wideness in God's Mercy that - merely by asking for it - brings God's love to all people, not hust to those who think they are in God's good graces, but to all of us, which must include his gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangendered children just the same.
We know that across the land, in every church, large and small, and in every denomincation, people of good will are struggling with the gospel's revolutionary inclusiveness as it relates to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. We recognize that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people can be just as loving, just as faithful, just as disciplined, just as holy as all other people can be, and that they equally share with all other human beings the worth that comes from being unique individuals. We seek to encourage all people and churches to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people into their full measure and allow them to take their place at the table.
So it is that we publicly, reverently, and happily issue a Welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people as they are, to join our congregation in the same spirit of neighborly love as we welcome and accept all new members. We covenant not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. We seek to include those who find themselves in exile from the community of faith because of their orientation. We actively encourage churches and secular government bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination. And we join together to celbrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed all created by God, reconciled by Christ, and empowered by the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
Equality for Gays and Lesbians
Jesus taught Equality, Justice and Obligation. We Accept Jesus' Call to Love One Another and to Welcome All God's Children at the Table
As Christians, we are all called to follow Jesus' commandment to "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12) Jesus welcomed women, tax collectors, Pharisees, and lepers at his table. His behavior indicted those who inflicted hurt on others as they piously honored the purity codes of his day. Following Jesus' example, we declare that using the popular "purity codes" of today, such as sexual orientation, to ostracize and marginalize people is immoral.
Gay and lesbian people and heterosexual people are all children of God. We all labor together in our places of employment. We all worship together in our churches (except in those churches where gays and lesbians have been banished from the congregation). On April 15, we are all taxpayers. As God's children and as American citizens, gays and lesbians deserve legal protection from bigotry and discrimination.
Discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders - especially legally sanctioned discrimination - violates the Gospel-based values of justice and equality for all people. We support equality under the law for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation.
This post represents an even further leftward shift for you ER.
Ya'll out there, Nick, Tug, Timothy, Mark, etc? Any conservative lurkers?
Illicit sex is ill-advised, no matter what kind it is.
And if it's another shift left, blame Jesus.
Timothy? He and I couldn't agree on the way the wind is blowing, and we both are hotheads with each other. Better that he stay away.
Mark's feelings got hurt awhle by another commenter and I think he's trying to prove a point by staying away -- or waiting for a personal invite. Not.
Etc. is always welcome, too.
Shall we start inquiring into your sex life before we decide whether or not to treat you like an American?
An openly gay couple shows up at your church. They profess faith in Jesus. What do you do, Rem? Grill them on their sex life? Set up cameras in their house?
Do you -- and I'm using the universal you, dude -- grill a hetero unmarried couple who does the same?
Do you grill a married hetero couple?
Jesus said, "Y'all come." And I say extend fellowship to all who profess to follow Jesus -- and let God sort it all out.
To do otherwise, is not only unchristian but is antichristian.
There are some obviously gay men who attend the church I attend. It made me uncomfortable at first, and still a little sometimes. That ain't Jesus talkin'.
Hell's bells, man. He hung with whores, tax collectors, dock workers, roughnecks and all forms of life held in low regard by the prevailing culture and the religious leadership of the day.
And son't even get me started on the example he left us for how to treat women: as total equals. But that's another thread.
I did not say that the law should discriminate. I said that the law should not protect. There is a difference. If you make a decision, you should be able to reap any/all rewards and suffer any/all consequenses. If you choose a homosexual lifestyle, don't expect others to embrace you or it. If you choose to overeat to the point of morbid obesity, expect some discrimination. The law should not be used to give shelter to those who choose to do things their way. The law should be used to keep discrimination away from things that cannot be helped - age and race mostly. Religion is protected under the constitution - pretty well the only choice that is.
The first thing I'd do is look for the cameras. While I'm not naive enough to think there are no homos where I live, I do believe that they know better than to come out in the open. I guess that makes us backward, arrogant rednecks.
I'd welcome them in, but I'd never miss a chance to point out the error of their ways - I'm like that - I don't back away from conflict. And if they ever attempted to become members, I'd speak up when the call went out for, "Any discussion?" Homosexuality is an abomination to God, goes against the creed of the SBC, and goes against our church's charter. They'd be allowed to stay, but they wouldn't be able to become members.
And as for discrimination/protection -- you have every right to associate with whomever you want for whatever reason you decide. HOWEVER, it is a crime to assault anyone, for any reason. Period. So if the goons start gay-bashing (physically assaulting people), you better believe the SOBs are going to go to jail, if not Hell. Your dislike of any group does not entitle you to injure or infringe on another person's civil liberties.
At least you spoke the truth in the first paragraph of your last reply.
Call the papers. It's a red-letter day. Rem has crossed the line, and I'm declaring war.
But let's state the nature of the conflict. It's not his self-righteous, mean-spirited, un-Christlike attack on gays. It's this phrase, this phrase that reveals his inability to see past his own prejudices and his total lack of compassion. "If you choose to overeat to the point of morbid obesity, expect some discrimination."
Back-story so that you can understand what follows: I am obese. I diet constantly, but no matter what I do, I realize that I can never be thin. I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I have to take a large amount of steroids and other meds to keep from bleeding inside. Due to the medication and the IBD, my body will actually devour my heart muscle and my spinal tissues before it willingly uses fat. Fine. I can live with that. If the choices are between bloody, life-threatening diarrhea and being seen as fat, I'll take fat. I exercise daily, run/walk a mile and lift weights. I can work longer and do more than many people who are much thinner and supposedly in shape. I eat less than 1,300 calories a day on a careful diet that is doctor-prescribed and approved. (I follow Weight Watchers somewhat, or at least as much as I can because of my dietary restrictions.) My face still looks like a basketball and my stomach will always have a bloated pot. I carry some extra poundage, which I'm trying to lose, but there will always be a limit that I won't be able to lose beyond.
With all of that, I have to constantly deal with people who assume that because I am fat, I overeat. I have been called fat to my face, I have had total strangers tell me that I was a "fat pig," and I once enjoyed having a church deacon tell me that over-eating was a sin and would send me to Hell. Oh, people understand when I explain, my friends know and they try to protect me from the ignorant, but I shouldn't have to explain. Certainly not to my so-called Christian brothers and sisters.
Naturally Rem will point out that he said "if you choose" and since I didn't choose to overeat, his phrase didn't apply to me. Certainly that is correct. But let's make a small assumption that we can base on the fact that he used the phrase in the first place: The assumption being that when he sees a heavy person on the street, at the library, in his church, that he thinks to himself, "What a porker. He/she should push away from the table." Let's assume that is his first thought. Not that the person might have a countless number of physical problems that cause a person to gain weight. I don't think Rem can honestly challenge that, and I wouldn't believe him if he did. It's a prejudice that many people hold. If you're fat, it's because you overeat. It's because you're lazy. If you are made fun, called names, humiliated in stores, you get what you deserve.
And now, let's make one more assumption. Let's assume (knowing as we do that when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me) that when Rem sees an effeminate man, he assumes that the man is gay, that the man is a buttboy, even though he doesn't know for sure. Let's assume that when he hears that a homosexual has AIDS or is beat to death, that he says, "Well, that's terrible, but that's what they get for choosing what they are." Let's assume that in the dark places of his heart, he chortles with glee when they get what they deserve. Let's assume that he thinks sinners get what they deserve, totally ignoring that we all have sinned, that we all have come short of the glory of Lord, that God cannot countenance any sin in His Holy Presence, that God is no respecter of persons. Homosexuality, adultery, cheating on your income tax, not tithing the proper amount, running a stop sign, swearing, looking at an obscene picture, watching R-rated movies, laughing at a dirty joke, yelling at our children, gossiping, lying, being judgmental, being unkind, not feeding the poor, helping the sick, staying home to watch the Super Bowl instead of going to church, pick your sin -- will any of these common activities please God? Would we proudly stand before Him and say, "Well, God, I did gossip and told some lies and looked at porn, but it wasn't gay porn and I'm not gay so I get to go to heaven"?
Can we make that assumption? Do we dare? After all, judging others, condemning others, only opens us up to judgment. So if we are willing to judge Rem as callous, prejudiced and shallow, then aren't we also placing ourselves under judgment? Should we, as Christians, judge the people around us? If God's Mercy covers us, do we assume that it doesn't cover them? Without knowing what's in their hearts and how they stand before God, can we do that and sincerely believe that God's love is manifesting through us?
I have been harsh to Rem, possibly undeservedly so. Already I can feel my conscience stirring. After all, I am judging him, and he is surely more than this comment. He is certainly a loving man to his family and friends. He has merit beyond what his comments reveal, and God loves him as much as he loves me.
But these prejudices, this desire to separate us on this earth into the goats and sheep, keep people away from God. So many people think that God is only a list of commandants and rules, that He enjoys condemning people. They think that by the way we Christians act. They do not realize that it is a life of joy. That His commandants are meant to allow us to live long, happy lives.
Now, I want to be very clear on this, I am not saying that sin is okay. I am not saying that the Bible is wrong. What I am saying is that we don't reveal the love of Christ to people by condemning them. We spend too much of our limited time here on earth attempting to make people behave in the way we think they should, totally ignoring the fact that our true purpose in life is to lead people to Christ, to get them in church, to get them praying, to get them talking to Him in a personal relationship, to get them to realize how much He loves them. If we truly believe He is almighty, can we doubt that He will quicken their souls? As a loving Father, will He not correct their ways?
I see I have babbled on. I guess because Rem's offhand remark hurt me. I am often the victim of unthinking prejudice, of being dismissed as just another fat man. So when I see blacks or gays or nerds or anyone else dismissed by that same unthinking prejudice, something like rage rises in me, and it says, "This will not stand unchallenged. Not as long as I have a voice. Not as long as I live."
After having ulcers for almost 22 years, my doctor, about five years ago, gave me a serious anti-biotic regime for the bacteria that causes ulcers. With two weeks, no more ulcers, no more pain no more problems. Now, I guess I must be a "True Christian", now that I have killed off those peskey little ulcer anti-christain bugs. I really am glad that those bacteria are no longer keeping out of heavan.
Where's the love Trixie? Going to Hell, huh? So, only the non-violent sinners can be saved? Are you the kettle or the pot?
I can be judgemental. In my life, I have probably discriminated or pre-judged somebody for any number of reasons. But it's not the norm with me. On the issue of homosexuality, I will not budge. I will not endorse a gay-bashing (a younger Rem would have - and likely would have participated). I will also not endorse acceptance. The continual in-your-face flaunting of the homosexual community only further pushes myself, and others like me, closer to the edge. Edge of what? Well, that depends on the individual.
My original aim was to point out that we do not need anti-discrimination laws. You are a large man. It cannot be helped. You will be unfairly discriminated against and made fun of. Laws should not be created so that somebody's feelings can be saved. Of the countless obese inidviduals out there, how many of them do you think could do something about it? Instead of doing something about it, we see lawsuits against cookie makers, fast food restaurants, etc. We hear complaints that people made fun of them. We hear how life isn't fair. Well . . . life isn't fair.
We are an increasingly litigious society. We do not need new laws. Businesses should be able to decide whom they will hire and turn people down for whatever reason they choose. Special rules should not be created for each and every 'group' out there.
But if you're going to get on Trix for violating "judge not lest ye be judged," shouldn't you then let the courts do their job on this one and uphold Constitutional law?
Homosexuality is not illegal. Hell, they can get married in Massachusetts. (And no, you big baby, I'm not saying you're going to hell. I don't even believe in the place, just like I don't believe anybody rationally think someone else's sexual prefence is any of their business.)
You said something about child molesters and beastiality enthusiasts as well. Since I think it was your main point and not a throw away, let me rip you up on that one.
The difference between two homosexual men above the age of 18 having sex in a private place and the difference between a man seducing or raping a child is so plain, even you should be able to see it.
One cannot defend themselves, the other is consensual. One cannot make that decision competently, the other is an adult and fully aware of what is going on both physically and emotionally.
So, even if we're to believe that homosexuality is a choice (and we don't), then the "choice" of consensual homosexual sex is clearly different from beasitality or sex with a minor.
But you're not really trying to make that point, are you? You just don't want to have to try and turn back to the religious side of things and have ER point out the whole "Jesus Loves Everyone" thing again.
What you really want is to live in the Old Testament, right? Wrath and fury for sinners, until you realize that, just like the rest of us, we've all sinned.
Jesus does love everyone. It doesn't mean He approves or condones their behaviour.
I don't have the hard numbers on those who diddle animals here on my desk (someone rework that sentence for me?), but I do have some anecdotal evidence, being from cattle country. Anyone I've ever met who admits it has been someone who at least identifies as a hundred per cent straight.
As to the child molestation statistics, they're pretty clear. An overwhelming majority of those who are convicted for that crime are heterosexual males, often married ones.
I keep trying to get it on the ballot: most crimes are committed, statistically speaking, by people in hetero marriage arrangements/lifestyle choices.
So why haven't we outlawed That yet?
Rem, I don't expect you to budge. I expect God himself to give you a heart transplant. That's what happened to me.
And of course, I will point out again that I started out talking about orientation and you keep talking about behavior.
And, I will say again, that if any of our behavior was worth a damn, there wouldn't be any need for God to invade humanity in Jesus in the first place.
I categorically reject that homosexuality, or even homosexual behavior, is any more or less an abomination than when I am selfish and mean to my wife -- and that's based on about 33 years of being a Christian, thinking and praying virtually ever day of it, plus one or two recent epiphanies.
You, of course, are on your own faith journey.
At the top, there are links that lead to 3 follow-ons - two responses and a rebuttal by the original author.
The first piece concludes thusly: Being "right" isn't enough. We also need to be wise. And loving. And patient. Perhaps nothing short of that should "seem good to the Holy Spirit and us." He makes a good point - I'm often more concerned with being right.
Answer: The repentant ones. The contrite ones. Those who don't openly flaunt their transgressions.
There is nothing loving about a gay-bashing.
Not because I see the answer, but because I see that I do NOT have the answer, that no one does -- and that our task right now is to LOVE ALL -- and even to fellowship with all others who try to follow Jesus -- and let God sort it out in his time, in his way.
But that's just me.
Not sex no,it is not about that it is about hypocrisy.
But if he is -- IS, as in a state of being -- homosexual, it's about a lot more:
It's about church people being hostile to one who obviously felt the call to spiritual leadership, one whose love for God is tangled up in mixed messages from his own church organization, one for whom the love of God Almighty himself was not enough to break through the puny human judgment of those around him, one so desperate to love the way he was born to love that he jeopardized everything else in his life in an effort to find affection.
That, or he was just out looking for a piece of a--.
But something tells me it was the first thing.
Again I say, the man is more to be pitied than censured.
A pox! -- and a gay child! -- on all who would judge him!
I recommend this little film to everyone:
The Lord's Prayer
That is way cool.
I spent many years away from church because of my fears of a God ready to zap me for all my screwups. Then I came to understand that His character is not the way it is portrayed by so many. I began to read the Bible in a different way. I began to hear the word in a different way.
God never quits on us, like I always thought he did. ER, I got a heart transplant, too. I certainly don't have answers to a lot of questions, but the further along I go on my Christian walk, the more I understand that it boils down to 1. Love God. 2. Love your neighbor.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
As YOURSELF. You need to love yourself as Christ loves you, in order for you to love your neighbor as as Christ would love them. Now for such a simple commandment that is the hardest task for a simple human being to accomplish with-out some devine assistance.