“It’s the ‘Homosexual Lifestyle’ We Hate”

One of my FB friends objected to the title of my last post, “One Anti-Homosexual United Methodist Pastor,” saying that disagreeing with people’s lifestyle doesn’t mean you are against them personally.

Politically charged headline–divisive and untrue. Because someone doesn’t agree with or even goes so far as to condemn someone’s life-style, does not necessarily make them anti-people. I have two family members that are gay. Though I don’t agree with their life style, are deeply loved and always accepted. There could be many things other than homosexuality that one’s child may be involved with, that doesn’t mean a parent would be “anti-” their child.

Why not insert the word “lifestyle” between “Homosexual” and “United”? Is it because you are anti-united methodist pastors?

“Homosexual Lifestyle”–No Such Thing

I want to look first at the common phrase “homosexual lifestyle.” One common reply to that phrase is to ask, “What is a homosexual lifestyle? Is there a single heterosexual lifestyle? Of course not.” Some heterosexuals are virgins, some are faithfully married for life, some are promiscuous, some are in faithful committed relationships without marriage, some engage in serial polygamy. There is no such thing as a single “heterosexual lifestyle,” and there is not single “homosexual lifestyle,” either. Doctors, beach bums, attorneys, and U.S. presidents may have something approaching a “typical lifestyle,” but not gays and lesbians–no more than non-gay women and men.

Some will disagree, but I don’t doubt that commenter loves and accepts his gay family members. I would nevertheless make a few comments. First, while many gays and lesbians are not welcome in their parents’ homes, many are welcome, but their partners are not.  I’m sure many of those parents would say, and actually believe, that they love and accept their gay and lesbian children. But that love and acceptance is limited if they can’t stand even the thought of having in their home the person their daughter or son loves.

I Love You, But I Will Never Accept That, I Will Always Hate That

Let me re-post this excerpt from Mary Lou Wallner’s letter to her lesbian daughter.

Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of your letter was the gay thing. I will never accept that in you. I feel it’s a terrible waste, besides being spiritually and morally wrong. For a reason I don’t quite fathom, I have a harder time dealing with that issue than almost anything in the world. I do and will continue to love you, but I will always hate that, and will pray every day that you will change your mind and attitude.

Not long after receiving this letter, her daughter committed suicide, despite Mrs. Wallner’s mistaken belief that she really loved her. “I will never accept that in you…. I will always hate that.” But her letter only reflected her trust in the popular slogan, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Her rejection was justified by the expert advice to not accept a son or daughter’s announcement that they are gay, rejection advice given repeatedly to millions by author, psychologist, and political pundit James Dobson.

So, while many Christian parents handle their gay and lesbian children with wisdom, many do not.  Mary Lou Wallner did not, and bitterly regretted it. While precise figures are not available, it has been estimated that about one-quarter of adolescents are rejected and forced from their homes when they come out to their parents. This is a primary reason for so many teens staying in the closet until they are off at college or otherwise established independently.  A teenager only has to hear of one person, or have one friend, kicked out of the house for being gay to not take that risk.

Personal Opinions vs. Pastoral Pronouncements

There may be a difference, however, between one’s “private opinions” and a pastor’s pronouncements the pulpit, based on the Bible. That difference is small, however, if the person with the “private opinion” is the parent of a gay or lesbian child, and that “opinion” is based on something like the inerrant, unchanging of the Word of God. I don’t know if or how often Rev. Dr. Frankie L. Perdue preached on homosexuality, or how often he strung together phrases like “homosexuals, murderers, and rapists” or “homosexuality, abortion, drugs, and women’s lib.” All I have are his own words.

Homosexuality was, is and always will be an “abomination” before God….  I cannot, no matter how I might wish to, tell gays and lesbians that God is ok with their lifestyles when God abhors (hates in the strongest terms) said lifestyles.  It wouldn’t be loving not to be truthful to them in an attempt to give them a false hope of acceptance when damnation and hell awaits.

In the context of using pornography, the commenter left the questionable (dishonest?)  euphemism behind and acknowledged that the word “lifestyle” meant sexual behavior. I will assume for a moment that the “use” of pornography, the use to which it is put, is the normally unstated behavior of masturbation. If Rev. Dr. Perdue means by “lifestyle” what the commenter means, that is, sexual behavior, then for a gay teen to masturbate over pictures of men is apparently worse than when a straight male does it over pictures of women. I suppose there are some who would say that both are equally perverted. For the gay teen the act is an abomination to God, always was and always will be; God abhors that “lifestyle,” “hates it in the strongest possible terms”; “damnation and hell” await that young man.

Proverbs: “Even the Kindness and Compassion of the Wicked is Cruel”

Many people refuse to take responsibility for the effects of their words because they think, rightly or wrongly, that what they teach is based on the Bible. “God says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.” I remember when I embraced the violent, brutal, and unjust picture of God found in parts of the Bible and absolved myself of that picture’s awful implications because it was, after all, in the Bible.

I pity the teens whose pastors preach the language that the Rev. Dr. Frankie L. Perdue used in his reply.

Homosexuality was, is and always will be an “abomination” before God….  I cannot…tell gays and lesbians that God is ok with their lifestyles when God abhors (hates in the strongest terms) said lifestyles.  It wouldn’t be loving not to be truthful to them in an attempt to give them a false hope of acceptance when damnation and hell awaits.

If there are 50 teenagers in an evangelical congregation, statistics tell us that at least one or two of them are gay or lesbian. (This is based on conservative figures, not the inflated figure of 10% based on the Kinsey Report’s skewed sample group.) These kids have prayed to receive Christ in VBS, they’ve been baptized, they’ve memorized John 3:16, Romans 3:23, and a dozen other verses.  They believe the Bible, and the Bible says that their same-sex attractions will forever be an abomination to God, that God abhors their desires, and that damnation and hell await them.

Sent to hell because of desires and attractions? How is that? Because of what Jesus said: “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” These kids are smart enough to know that if this applies to ordinary lust, then it applies doubly to the twisted, perverted, unnatural crushes they’ve had on friends and classmates. They haven’t just thought about.  In God’s sight they’ve already done it. Thinking about it is as bad as actually doing it.  Those crushes last so long–they’re proof of the young man’s vile and perverted heart. “Man looks at outward appearances, but God judges the heart.”

I know it’s possible to explain why Jesus’ words don’t really mean that, but that’s an example of fine-print explanations. Having been one for some time, I know that many adolescent minds are pretty literal-minded.  Things are black and white, right or wrong–simplistic.  Put an adolescent under the teaching of a literal, simplistic, black and white, right and wrong preacher, and you have a recipe for tragedy.

We’ve all read about the mysterious suicides of young teens.  “He seemed happy and successful. Good grades, active in sports and in clubs, sang in the choir. We had no idea that he was so troubled. He seemed perfectly fine.”  There’s no way to know, but I’m certain that well over half of these mysterious suicides are because of the inescapable bind these Christian young people experience because they’re gay.

I experienced the same self-loathing because of pornography and masturbation well into my twenties. I remember being knocked into depression for weeks, even months, after buying a Playboy at a liquor store or a gas station. But preachers don’t call garden-variety lust “an abomination to God” or call young people “perverts” and lump them in with murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.

The journal Pediatrics reported that LGBT teenagers are 6 times more likely to suffer from depression and 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people. My son Jonathan attempted suicide three times due to the rejection he received from Bible-believing evangelicals.  And he was a virgin–he had never transgressed the Law–so there’s no claiming that the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment somehow drove him to despair of life.  There was no “sin” for which to feel convicted.

People may believe they love gays and lesbians. They may say, “I don’t hate homosexuals. I don’t hate anybody! I love homosexuals, it’s their lifestyle I hate.” But it isn’t what you say, or believe, or think you believe. It’s not how you qualify what you say and how you wrap fine-print disclaimers around it. What matters is what a person hears.  We talk about our love; we talk about God’s love. But the real energy is in the word hate.

That’s what these gay and lesbian young people hear. God hates them.

“Hate” is Too Strong? Doesn’t Apply?

Pastors and parents say they don’t hate homosexuals, and insist they only hate the “lifestyle,” that is, they only hate homosexual sex acts. Then Christian kids, gay and lesbian young people, sons and daughters, commit suicide. I can only say that those those brave,  defiant pronouncement on behalf of God based on the Bible are hateful. Are they protected speech? Yes. Is it the free exercise of religion? Up till now, yes.  However, when we casually disavow responsibility for the impact of our words on the innocent, and the innocent take their own lives because of those careless, literally irresponsible words–well, if that doesn’t constitute hate, let’s look for something else.

On “Law and Order” I hear phrases like “wreckless disregard,” “criminal negligence,” “depraved indifference,” and the like. If “hate” is too strong, then how about criminal.

I’m reminded of Proverbs 24:11-12.

Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
      save them as they stagger to their death.
Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
      For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
      He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you want to Demolish the Strongholds of shallow anti-gay slogans, click here.

If you want to respond to the Clobber Passages, click here.

About Ron Goetz

Lay leader, intellectual, struggler, disciple, writer, activist. Husband, father, grandpa, friend, son.
This entry was posted in Gay Christians, Homophobia, Homosexuality, Pastoral Ministry, Propaganda, Religion, Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to “It’s the ‘Homosexual Lifestyle’ We Hate”

  1. Shannon says:

    A year after I came out, I received a Christmas card from a grandmother that I have never been close to. She was very angry when I came out but this card was her way of trying to reconnect. Under the “Merry Christmas” imprinted on the card, she wrote, “I love you but I don’t agree with your lifestyle.” I thought it was so odd because my lifestyle is the same. I still cook, clean and tend to my children. I still go grocery shopping and volunteer in the community. I still do everything that I always did. The only difference is that I am married to a person with a vagina instead of a penis. How does that small fact change my entire lifestyle?

    • Ron Goetz says:

      The use of the word “lifestyle” is deliberately misleading, and is based on a false stereotype of promiscuity and endless one-night stands. It was originally coined decades ago. As a young fundamentalist in the seventies, I associated it with multiple anonymous sexual encounters in San Francisco’s gay bath houses.

      The fact is that men are generally more open or inclined to anonymous sexual encounters than women. The problem is that straight men have to couple with straight women, who in general not inclined toward promiscuous sex. I believe it’s mainly due to that whole taking-care-of-the-baby thing.

      But that’s nothing you haven’t heard before.

      • Robin Mavis says:

        Ron Thank you so much for this great blog posting. I too was caught up in fundamentalism but in the mid 80′s to late 90′s. They still use the same broken record message..or just a broken message. I will be sharing your post with many!
        Robin Mavis

  2. Noel Goetz says:

    Any time someone’s heart sorrows or acts on something (suicide) because of what we have said, is a time for reflection, repentance and sorrow. We ask ourselves how we might have said something differently without injuring a person. We don’t ask ourselves that often enough.

    One of the difficulties of this subject is the beliefs of others based in fear. Specifically the fear of an uninvited homosexual encounter. No, homosexuals don’t normally make it a point to harass or to make sexual advances, on straights, though some may. But it is so driven into the psyche of most people, especially straight men, that any mention of it unless it is cloaked in a negative stereotypical joke is taboo. What is the greatest fear of a man going to prison for the first time? Is it getting beat-up? Is it not being able to be with loved ones? Is it loneliness or thoughts of abandonment? No. It’s the fear of forced anal/oral homosexual sex.

    That said, forced rape of any kind is still a violent act, but the thought of a violent beating to a straight man does not compare to the underlying fear of an unwelcome man on man encounter. Straight men feel their identity and self worth as a straight man, their pride, self worth, etc., would be inexorably lost should this occur and though it may not make sense to some, that it goes beyond the act of rape itself. This fear, whether real or imagined, crosses all nationalities, income brackets, age groups, etc. You cannot reasonably blame a straight person for something that comes from something so deeply embedded. I would even go out on a limb to say that it is something that one is born with and is not a learned response.

    How could someone be born with this fear? As Christian, and you yourself have quoted the verse. 1 john 2:27 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things”. I assert that people are born with a sense of right or wrong–a conscience, and this is what is so problematic when pointing fingers at those of us who are homophobic–the fear or disdain of gay sex. We believe it to be wrong– scripture or no scripture. Like it or not, it goes to our core. So is it fair to condemn people for a belief/fear that some may assert they were born with or quite possibly was placed there by God? Of course it would be ridiculous to assert that God would have us to hate or fear a homosexual person but to” fear the act” I think it reasonable to conclude that yes some “good people” do.

    Condemning people because of a deeply held belief is unreasonable just as, as you assert it unreasonable to condemn a homosexual because of who they believe they are. You are not dealing with a change of mind here. You are dealing with something that reaches to the soul. Yes education of the grace and love of God helps the non-gay to reexamine the clear admonition of judging another to condemnation, and that is our Christian calling and duty. This is only one reason that I can with confidence say that I love my gay relatives. Not only is it a natural love and affection, but It is the love of Christ born out in a transformed mind, heart, soul and life. Our love should have no strings attached. I and other “straight” Christians should be open to any move that the Holy Spirit would have for us to repent, including the belief that the homosexual act is not a sin. But as it stands, I have not been spoken too or urged by the Holy Spirit to do so. Nor do I see it (clearly and straightforwardly taught) in scripture.

    So if the homosexual, or the homosexual community has a problem with me or others, they are encouraged to take it up with God. And with a heart that seeks to please God, I would hope to be receptive to anything He may venture to instill in my life. Unfortunately unkind, hurtful and even devastating words pass between people, from lips that are full of wickedness, that are a consuming fire. But it cannot be stated clearly enough (right or wrong) that issues of the heart are rarely controlled, rarely balanced, or reasonably thought through. Unfortunately sometimes to the detriment of others.

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Noel, thank you for your honest, gentle, and reasoned reply. I believe you have spoken from your heart.

      I don’t assume that you experience the fear of rape to the degree that you have described. In any case I do not condemn people for their fears (although there was this one person). Fear of rape is normal. Many or most women fear the possibility of being raped. I’m 56 years old, and only three times has another man show an interest in me (nothing approaching an impending rape). Once was a lingering workplace hug with what seemed to me an obvious intent; once was a ridiculous leer that lasted several minutes as I stood at an office copy machine, and once consisted of an intimidating look and comment in the shower at the county jail. But I didn’t panic or freak out on these occasions. Maybe I’m a bit cerebral, but I mainly analyzed what was occurring. I found the leering guy ridiculous, and asked myself, “He thinks this interests people?” The hug was mildly uncomfortable, and the jail “incident” (and there was no incident to speak of) was only a little unnerving.

      Three times in 56 years. Heck, lots of women experience such unwanted attention three times on one month—or more! Simply to say that the male fear of contact with gay men, and the fear of rape, exists on a continuum. This doesn’t make me superior to men with greater fear (you used the word “homophobic,” a word I don’t use). I have my own issues. I don’t generally blame people for their fears. Emotions are emotions. Genuine phobias are intransigent and difficult to treat, but not untreatable.

      I also don’t think it is appropriate or right to “blame” someone for their emotions or their phobias. They may even try to legislate their emotional responses and phobias, make them a matter of law. Overseas the Indian people still struggle with a caste prejudice that to the Brahmins “feels” natural and just. Their caste system is rooted in the Hindu religion and for centuries was enshrined in law. As a society we have had to repeatedly deal with fears, phobias, and prejudices that had been enshrined in law and imposed on socially powerless groups of people. Sizeable numbers of European Americans denied the full humanity of Native Americans and African Americans. Women, Japanese, Italians, Irish, Jews, and Mexicans all suffered from the prejudice, the “feelings,” of powerful white males.

      Race-mixing, interracial marriage, was against nature and against the Bible. People felt a “natural” revulsion when they considered a white married to a black.

      There comes a time when people’s intrinsic sense of justice, what I believe is part of the Imago Dei, bursts forth and says, “Enough is enough. I don’t care what you think about me, I don’t care how you feel about me and people like me. I will not tolerate your oppression. I will not tolerate your discrimination. You will treat us fairly and justly, whether you like it or not.”

      When the Supreme Court granted women the vote in 1920, our culture did not collapse. When the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional, the fabric of society did not unravel. In 2003 the Supreme Court overturned the anti-sodomy laws remaining in 14 states; Marriage Equality remains to work on.

      Noel, most thinking people are reasonable enough to realize that it isn’t possible to change the deeply held convictions and beliefs with a little argument and a snap of the finger. A lot of those unkind, hurtful, and devastating words have been uttered the angry and wounded, and are not easily forgotten. I care how you feel, you’re my brother. But you know what? Gays and lesbians are simply tired of what they see as irrational and unfounded discrimination against them. They don’t care how you feel. They care about the fact that their LGBT brethren are still discriminated against, still being hounded to suicide, still beaten and murdered by punks.

      Let me explain something. I have never been too active on the strictly political end of LGBT issues. I have always been more on “hearts and minds” end. When I was growing up, it was called “Conscious-Raising.” Talking at high school GSA clubs, I was for some students the first supportive adult, the first supportive Christian, the first supportive parent, these gay and lesbian students had ever met apart from their club advisor. I once asked a group of about 30 students how many had contemplated suicide. Every hand in the room went up. And I shared my own struggle with suicidal thoughts, and Jonathan’s three suicide attempts. This let them know that they were not alone, that there were people in the wider world who understood their struggle and accepted them—just as they were.

      I’ve told my family’s story to college classes, at conferences of school nurses and high school counselors, and in churches. Using the coercive power of the law doesn’t resonate for me. But, when it comes to social change and fighting injustice, the time comes when it is absolutely essential. If blacks and women and mixed-race couples had waited for good people to change their minds, blacks would still be slaves, women without the vote, and interracial couples forced to live without the benefit of marriage. There are still people who would own slaves if they could, be content with no women voters, and totally happy with no marriage for black and white couples. There is a minority of people would turn back the clock if they could.

      Noel, you said, “If the homosexual, or the homosexual community has a problem with me or others, they are encouraged to take it up with God.” I know I care about how you feel, but somehow I don’t think that the “homosexual community” is concerned about your feelings, fears, and convictions. The concerns of many are civil rights and equal protection under the law. For many, if they have a problem with “you and others” it is the campaign against them. And it is against them, make no mistake, and they feel it keenly and personally. They are seeking the same rights and privileges that non-gays and non-lesbians enjoy. But many in the Christian community (but certainly not all) have set themselves up as their personal enemies. We’re talking about social change and a quest for justice. Justice is inherently a matter of courts and the judicial system.

      I, for one, do not condemn people for their feelings, fears, and convictions. And I don’t condemn people for acting on their convictions. I will, however, do my part in the quest for justice. Jesus said,

      The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
      for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
      He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
      that the blind will see,
      that the oppressed will be set free.

    • If I may paraphrase:

      “That said, forced rape of any kind is still a violent act, but the thought of a violent beating to a WOMAN does not compare to the underlying fear of an unwelcome man on WOMAN encounter. WOMEN feel their identity and self worth as a WOMAN, their pride, self worth, etc., would be inexorably lost should this occur and though it may not make sense to some, that it goes beyond the act of rape itself. This fear, whether real or imagined, crosses all nationalities, income brackets, age groups, etc. You cannot reasonably blame a WOMAN for something that comes from something so deeply embedded. I would even go out on a limb to say that it is something that one is born with and is not a learned response.”

      And so, by this rationale, I as a woman (who is straight, but not narrow), should find that the HETEROSEXUAL “lifestyle” is repugnant. I should love the man but hate the sexual aspect of man.

      Sorry, but you don’t hate the idea of being forced into a sexual encounter by a man any more than I do – and I submit that I’m in far greater danger in my day-to-day life than you are of this unwelcome encounter. Even as an ageing and no longer particularly attractive woman, rape is one of my greatest fears. However, I am not debilitated by it, nor do I avoid being around men or reject heterosexual sex because of it.

    • Effie says:

      Noel, I would like to address something you discussed, about men’s fear of rape by another man. Men don’t fear rape the same way women do; that is, men don’t fear being violently brutalized and violated for its own sake. Men don’t fear being raped by another man so much because they are disgusted by homosexuality. Men fear rape because rape is something that is done to women, and a man’s greatest fear is being made to feel like a woman – powerless, less-than, and weaker than those around him.

      That fear drives a lot of the homophobia in straight men (at least, the homophobia that isn’t born directly from hateful religious teachings). When I would have discussions with other military people about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the reaction from men was always fear that they would be hit on, looked at in the shower, etc. They didn’t fear being raped by another man; they knew it was very unlikely to happen. Their fear was that they would be sexually harassed, objectified, and made to feel sexually uncomfortable by other men – they same way they made the women around them feel. They feared being treated like a woman.

      Consider the “gay panic defense.” It’s when a straight men kills a gay man ostensibly because the gay man made an unwelcome pass at him, and it causes the straight man to snap. Really? If women up and killed every straight man who made an unwelcome pass, we wouldn’t be able to walk outside for the bodies! But it works as a defense, even in 2011, because men aren’t supposed to be hit on by other men. That’s something men do to women. And men aren’t supposed to be made to feel like women.

      Besides christian doctrinal teachings, that is the reason why so many straight christian men have such disdain for gay people. When they are confronted by a loving gay couple, they don’t see people. All they can picture is, if I may be so crude, one guy taking it from another guy. You used the phrase “fear or disdain for gay sex.” You have a point; indeed, it all comes down to the sex! More specifically, it comes down to the fact that these men have disdain for another man who would allow himself to be used sexually in the same way that a woman does. They don’t respect a man who is, in their minds, at the same level as a woman. Conversely, they don’t respect lesbians, either, because these are women who don’t “need a man.” This angers them, because, in their misogynist views, reinforced by christian teachings, women are there specifically to be subjugated to men.

      These attitudes speak a great deal about how such men view women, that they would so abhor being treated like one. It’s telling that the most gay- and transgender-accepting straight men I know, men for whom sexual orientation and gender identity are about as important as the color of one’s hair, are ardent feminists. These men aren’t threatened by strong women, or by gay men. They don’t subscribe to a modern christian-idealized notion of what a man should be, and as such don’t feel their masculinity threatened by gay people.

      Perhaps, when you encounter men for whom such an attitude is inborn, to which you alluded, you and they might stop to consider that maybe 1) Such an attitude really isn’t inborn, merely so prevalent in our society that they embrace it at a young age without realizing it; and 2) That they work to change it.

  3. It’s the common delusion that gays (et al) are gay because of ‘the sexual act’… and somehow straights can’t get it that many of us might be monogamous, or even celebate … Fear justiifies people to make all kinds of fearful accusations – I hope God forgives them for THAT.

  4. Jay H says:

    Thank you, Mr. R. Goetz, for your thoughtful posts. Indeed, it is a shame that too many Christians are making this struggle by the LGBT community for equal CIVIL rights a religious battle.

    I, for one, do not care what anyone’s religious beliefs are. I want the American government – the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches – to do what is right, despite people’s religious dogma, by extending equal rights to ALL American citizens. Marriage, the civil and legal contractual agreement between two consenting adults, ought to be accessible to all.

    My “lifestyle” is comparable to many Americans, gay or straight. I wake in the morning, I eat three meals a day, I shop for groceries, I do laundry, I clean my apartment… and, much of the time, I enjoy the company of the person I love most. We have been together nearly 13 years. I work in the art non-profit sector, in education… my partner, who served 20+ years in the United States Air Force, now works for a social service oriented non-profit. We are not “taking more than we deserve” by expecting the equal right to marry. While we do not “need” marriage to “sanctify” our relationship, to be married would extend several benefits we should have as citizens of this country. And, for those who believe in God, isn’t “fairness” part of God’s plan?

    Would an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God create someone, and give that someone the capacity to have same-sex attraction, if it were “wrong” or “evil”? I guess that’s up to God to decide… NOT mere mortals. For this reason, I close with reference to Matthew 7:1-5 — and hope all who feel it their right to judge others keep it in mind:

    [1] Do not judge, or you too will be judged. [2] For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [3] Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [4] How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  5. Scott Rose says:

    What always works for me when people use the Bible to gay-bash is to tell them “Take your gay-bashing Bible, stick it down your throat and choke on it.”

  6. John Fisher says:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Children-of-the-Rainbow/202189863175855?sk=info

    and this ladies and gentleman is why we do this.. Care to join us?

  7. In yout next blog, I would greatly appreciate it if you would talk about our transformed beliefs and the work we do traveling round the country telling our story and we are one of the five families featured in the popular documentary FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO. I don’t want what you wrote about me to be the last thing people know about me.

    Thank you,
    Mary Lou

    • Jay H says:

      yes, Yes, YES! Some lessons are learned the hardest way. Mrs. Wallner has transformed her tragedy into dedicated work to educate those who will listen that parents, from a Christian religious perspective, ought to love and embrace their children no matter what.

      It would be an honor should she find herself in Houston, TX… I’m sure there’s a forum here in need of her words of wisdom.

      • stanJames says:

        [Heavily edited for content.]

        Love the sinner, hate the sin – translates into so many minds as hate the sinner, and Christianity justified slavery as per the bible.

        Currently Some American xtians are pushing a genocide of gays bill in the Uganda parliament. One of them is Don Schmierer of Exodus, the fix the gays group. Interesting how he wants to fix gays.

        The catholic church calls gays intrinsically disordered, intrinsicaly evil, and not normal. Adding to the carnage of several thousand gay kids committing suicide every year.

        Some orthodox Jews in the Israeli Knesset back in Jan 2009 said “gays are like bird flu.” Something we were trying to stamp out – swine flu carried by birds.

        All we need to do is learn to respect and love thy neighbor. All the rest is bunk and best and genocidal at worst.

    • Ron Goetz says:

      I will do that, Mary Lou. Your story didn’t end there, by any means.

  8. I am reminded of the words of John Shelby Spong in his October 2009 “A manifesto: The Time Has Come,” to wit:

    “I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that ‘we love the sinner but hate the sin.’ That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is ‘high-sounding, pious rhetoric.’ The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to ‘Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!’ Time waits for no one.”

    Gregg DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  9. itsnotachoice@gmail.com says:

    To indicate that the fear of rape in heterosexual men is inherent, and if, as we gays argue, same-sex attraction is inherent, then we have an inherently impossible dilemma to deal with. In order to live with one another, one or the other has to either change their inherent traits, or both have to agree to respect the fact that we all have inherent traits, no different than our inherent gender, the inherent color of our skin, whether we write with our left or our right hand, the color of our eyes and hair, etc. Also, to imply that the fear of rape is inherent, and often translates into the hate of homosexuals, also implies that many people are born haters. The rape of a straight man by a gay man is so incredibly rare, I’m willing to bet there aren’t enough cases to keep statistics on. And what straight man would admit to being “scared” of, or not be able to handle himself in the company of an effeminate man?

    Also, why are there so many straight men that are completely unaffected by the presence of gay men. I live in a large city in America which has several “gay gyms” with thousands of members and “gay neighborhoods” with tens, if not hundreds of thousands of residents. Yet, none of these gyms or neighborhoods are 100% gay. They’re more like 80% gay. And the straight men change in the showers with, and live in neighborhoods where 4 out of 5 people are gay, and are not inherently “afraid” for their man-on-man virginity. They walk down the streets with their babies in strollers, wife by their side, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that visit them without blinking an eye or concerned for the safety of their family, etc. It’s like Pleasantville, except mostly gay. You HAVE to respect those who are on that end of the spectrum far more than those who claim to be born “afraid”. This is why I believe that the fear of gay men is an inherent sign of weakness.

  10. Will says:

    I plan to show this article to my deceased father’s family if any of them ever speak to me again. My aunt threw the exact same quotes at me. She found out I had a boyfriend, the only one I’ve EVER HAD, and told me I was living a completely different lifestyle. What was different? Nothing, other than the fact that for once in my life I decided to follow my heart rather than what I was told was “right” and “normal”. For once I was in a relationship where I truly felt secure and loved. It’s not like I chose to be this way, and even if I did I’m happy with the way I am. Being out and true to myself finally made the gaping hole in my chest disappear, that hole that nearly drove me to suicide.

    I tried so desperately to be with a woman. I was in a committed relationship for 7 months with a girl… I never managed to even kiss her. The thought of it was repulsive, the thought of kissing ANY woman was replusive to me. I have no idea how I’m ever going to make her, or any of them, understand this is just the way I am and there is no changing it. They claim to “love me but disagree with my choices” and they forbid me to bring my lover to any family event. I’ve been mulling it over in my head how to approach them, but as an agnostic, I have no clue how to navigate around their blatant and blind religious conviction.

  11. itsnotachoice@gmail.com says:

    I would love you to challenge the straight men that claim to be “born afraid”, to live in one of these “gay neighborhoods”, and shower in one of these “gay gyms”, just for one short year. And, I would LOVE you to post their fear-stricken responses to that challenge on this blogsite. I’m willing to bet that most, if not all, of their justifications not to go along with the challenge would have to do with extreme unfounded fear, ignorance, and misinformation, all disguised as “disgust”. (btw, It’s not likely that they would EVER actually witness gay sex taking place during this experiment. They would only be exposed to the people themselves.). And for those who would take up the challenge, it would be funny to see how many of them would end up climbing up a flagpole, shaking to the core, to get away from the gays. Or feeling inherently compelled to hurt the gays. And they call themselves “men”…

    This is why it’s so important to teach people at as early an age as reasonable, the truth about being gay. And to “normalize” the gay lifestyle on television. Outside of the sex, our lives are NO DIFFERENT than theirs! Also so they don’t end up climbing up flagpoles, “fearing” for their virginity, or “fearing” being objectified, or “fearing” being treated like they treat women. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I promise! And so do the hundreds of thousands of straight men who already live this life WITHOUT FEAR.

  12. Ms. Jennifer Élise Atchison says:

    I am so fed up with people saying that being Gay is somehow against God! Guess what… I talk to God too… he says he not only accepts me this way, but he wants me to be this way… this is the way he created me. If you only find God in the bible, you are missing most of what he has to say… the message has always been the same… love, in all its forms is good… hate, in all its forms, is bad. If you are against the way we love… you are against the way God wants us to be. You are standing face to face with God and telling him he is wrong. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes!

  13. Robert says:

    What’s all the fuss? I submitted myself to the Army draft during Vietnam in response to my father’s and priest’s concern with their assurance it’d make me into more of a man. I heard all my life that God dwells in every person He creates, yada yada. When I got there I took very careful aim at the VC and NVA with whom we engaged, but as careful as I was I blew God away with a burst of six. It wasn’t God I hated it was those whom I was taught to hate at whom I aimed. I missed him but took out the guy to whom many say I’m an abomination. Sorry folks. It’s moot. I killed Him. Although I could not believe it then I know it now. I’m gay, but not to worry. The one who hates that part of me is dead.

  14. The phrase “homosexual lifestyle” is a convenient demonizing term thrown about by those professing a stereotype as universal. It is a sign of profound ignorance and clear evidence that the oft-spouted “love the sinner, hate the sin” by those folks is simply a desperate attempt to alleviate their own guilt in acting in what is a clearly non-Christian manner.

    For every overly-promiscuous homosexual, there are statistically five to ten equally overly-promiscuous heterosexuals. Of course, if you confront most of the “gay hate evangelicals” with this statement, they’ll splutter and tell you that they hate that sin just as much. But if that’s true, then why aren’t they spending equal amounts of time and money campaigning against what, statistically, is this much larger Biblical infraction?

    In closing, I’d like to quote Ted Alexandro:

    “Some people say homosexuality is a sin. It’s not. God is perfectly cool with it, and He feels the same way about homosexuality as He does heterosexuality. Now you might say whoa, whoa, slow down, you move too fast! How could you have the audacity, the temerity to speak on behalf of God? Exactly. That’s an excellent point – and I pray YOU remember it.”

    Sincerely,
    Joshua D.
    (An agnostic who sometimes is surprised to find how unChristlike many Christians are compared to himself)

    • Ron Goetz says:

      The phrase “homosexual lifestyle” is indeed a convenient demonizing term. I would point out that all such rhetorical phrases have an originator. Frequently there is some discussion by insiders about how to frame an issue, what to call things.

      This phrase has been in use for over thirty years based on my own memories. The people who repeat the phrase didn’t originate it, it was coined decades ago by people searching for just such a demonizing term. Because it seems relatively innocuous, or “reasonable,” it gets repeated without much thought. I don’t think people who use it today necessarily understand that they are “demonizing” anyone. They know what it means, but they don’t know the effect it has on people.

      Or am I just trying to cut people too much slack? That’s always a possibility.

      • I think that you’ve probably spoken true. The normalization of language, regardless of its accuracy (etymological or otherwise) is built into language and society. For instance, while it’s not now a commonplace word, people still occasionally use the word “gyp”, without realizing that in other times and other places, it was a word with a racially-negative connotation.

        At the same time, we can see that there are groups who still recognize that such terms can be effectively used to marginalize others. While I’d guess that many of the people who use the phrase “homosexual lifestyle” don’t necessarily mean anything harmful by it, by perpetuating its use, those that DO have an agenda against homosexuals effectively segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals. They paint an unconscious picture of “our lifestyle and “the homosexual lifestyle” – as though there were some marked (and negative) difference between the two.

      • Ron Goetz says:

        I totally agree, Joshua. And I think it cuts both ways.

        I studiously avoid using “homophobia” and words like it. For a few people, there is a genuine phobia (irrational, crippling fear) regarding gays and lesbians, but the reasons that most conservatives and conservative Christians are anti-homosexual do not include fear of homosexuals. These other motivations include 1) fitting in, 2) accepting what everyone in your group believes, 3) fear of ostracism, and 4) genuine phobias like mysophobia and coprophobia.

        There is a fifth motivation for pursuing anti-homosexual campaigns: the pursuit of raw, naked political power.

        Demonizing people for being who they are, how God created them, in the pursuit of power is the most blameworthy motivation. Calculating leaders who deliberately employ fear and hyperbole to urge discrimination, to increase donations and voter turnout, are the most culpable.

        To do something deliberately means to deliberate about it beforehand, to think it through, to plan. Here in California a common tactic to motivate people to vote in partisan elections is to include on the ballot a measure calculated to drive your supporters to the polls. Turning people into a wedge issue…. You get the idea.

        Politics is, if nothing else, calculated and deliberate. And that cuts both ways, too. (sigh)

  15. david0296 says:

    This whole “homosexual lifestyle” diatribe is ignorance and laziness on the part of religious people who never question anything the church tells them. It’s called indoctrination. There was a time when it used to be that gay people were the devil’s work, or gay people had evil spirits in them. Now the popular catch phrase is that “straight people choose to be gay” …for some unknown reason; and even if they didn’t choose to be gay, they can choose to never act out on their innate sexuality throughout their entire lives. Otherwise, God will be mad at them, even if God happened to make them that way. Yes, that is the warped logic that is going on here. Try telling a straight person that they should never fall in love or be intimate with anyone for their entire life. What do you think their response might be?

    Did you ever notice how no other so-called sins merit this level of rhetoric? For example: Newt Gingrich cheated on two of his wives, and has been married three times. Yet, conservatives actually consider him to be worthy of becoming president of the United States. I have to wonder why there is this immense disconnect with what is clearly condoned immorality (adultery and divorce) and what isn’t. The answer is: If it could effect them personally, then it’s totally acceptable. If it doesn’t effect them, then they will definitely condemn it. Homosexuality falls under the latter category.

    There is more than enough scientific research that all points to sexual orientation being innate. Again, religious people are either too lazy to find it, or are intentionally avoiding it in order to not question their belief system. Google search: gay brain scan, identical twin gay studies, gay hormone levels, gay birth order studies. If straight men and gay men’s brains are hard-wired differently, it makes it virtually impossible to say that sexual orientation is simply a choice. Obviously, it isn’t; and no amount of Bible verses is going to change that reality.

    As to the question of a “gay gene”. Why would people assume that sexual orientation is that simplistic? Why would only one gene control a person’s sexuality? Human beings are very complex. And for the record, scientists haven’t found a “straight gene” either. So I guess that means that straight people choose to be straight, right?

  16. Larry Baumgartner says:

    Do you really think I chose to be gay? That I chose to be ridiculed, hated, despised, ostracized by the church and others, denied basic civil rights? Wake up people. Until you rid yourself of this misguided hate, you cannot be a Christian. What will you say to the Lord God when he stands in judgment of you? What will your answer be when he says didn’t I tell you to love each other as I have loved you? He doesn’t restrict that blessing to one group, he doesn’t say only love these people… What happens when you find out you were wrong? Live and let live. Put your energy to helping the needy and infirmed and leave those who live differently yet in the sight of the same God alone.

    • Jay H says:

      [Heavily edited for content.]

      Really, it’s time we acknowledge that Christians who take an anti-gay stances are just homophobic. I don’t care about the cause, but the effects. The effects include rejection of children (which increases youth suicide statistics); rejection of families by fellow congregants (which is a disgustingly uncivil way to treat your fellow Christians); and the denial of equality in CIVIL life because Christians keep trying to impose their religious values in this nation, the United States of American. But while the First Amendment to the US Constitution allows for Freedom of Religion, to allow Christians to spout ignorant homophobic views… the First Amendment also prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring the government remain secular. Christians: Keep your faith and your God out of government.

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  18. Ron Goetz says:

    Dear Stan and Jay,

    Believe me, I’m very grateful that you’ve read my blog, and that you are energized to participate in the discussion.

    I hope you understand my desire to keep our discussion as civil as possible. I understand the incredible damage done by the churches. Much of the hostility and vitriol religion gets is totally deserved. My wife hears most of my anger and frustration at home.

    Here on the blog I strive to keep the tone as constructive as possible and avoid inflammatory rhetoric. For example, most of the sharing on this thread has been reasonable and measured, and much of it very personal–including most of yours, Jay.

    Thanks for understanding.

    Ron

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  20. Let me put it simply, so there is no misunderstanding. There is no gay “lifestyle”. There is only LIFE, whether gay or straight, Christian or atheist, conservative or liberal. Every time we demonize other people, we ourselves become less. God created us ALL as we are–and even the most rabid gay-hater cannot be presumptuous enough to claim that God makes mistakes.

    • Ron Goetz says:

      I absolutely agree with you, Athena. You know, with practice it gets easier to resist my own temptation to demonize. But then my life circumstances don’t require me to interact with anti-gay fundamentalists routinely. It could be different. Thanks for posting!

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  22. Duncan Beach says:

    Pastor, the most hateful phrase I hear from Christians (Pentacostals and Baptists are the worst about it, but everyone says it) is, “I’m not judging them. God (or the Bible) is judging them.”
    Pastor, I’ve read the bible 43 times in the 43 years since I turned 8. Jesus refused to even accuse an admitted, caught-in-the-act adulteress. I have never heard God speak directly to me and tell me to hate someone. I’ve never heard God tell me ANYTHING about Godself, not even Gods gender. As to the bible, it doesn’t judge. It has no robes, no gavel, and no mouth. The bible is A BOOK. And as a book, it’s been rewritten, mistranslated, and abused for its entire existence.
    God may judge the homosexuals, and if so, leave God to it. That’s not MY job. You might tell, however, your hate-spewing colleagues something from me.
    Just because they’re holding the Bible while they judge, doesn’t mean the bible is the one doing the judging. And we all know what Jesus said about judging, don’t we?
    Duncan Beach

  23. Actually, Duncan, if God is going to judge ALL, then God is going to judge ALL. Given that God clearly and specifically told us not to judge but remained virtually silent on the issue of same-gender attraction, one has to wonder whom God will hold to a higher standard.

    As with you, God has never told me to judge anyone, either – not their person, their faith, or their so-called “lifestyle.” Would that more of us felt the way you do! Thank you, on behalf of my gay son, his straight brothers, and me, his straight mom.

    • Duncan Beach says:

      As a hetero guy who’s worshipped and studied Jesus from the age of 8, I have to tell you I never saw what the fuss was about. It’s ridiculous that your gay son should be distinguished for judgement from your straight sons or you by ANYONE on Earth. Jesus said, “There are none righteous, no, not one.” He clearly included himself in that, because even when addressed as “good master” he objected on the grounds that the only good one was God. Bless you and yours, may the sun shine bright upon you.

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