Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Battling Homophobia

So, recently I bought "The Unlikely Disciple" by Kevin Roose. It's a memoir about Roose's time at Liberty University (I'm sure those who go or have gone to Liberty have heard about it). Roose was a Brown University student who decided that he wanted to learn more about his evangelical peers, and he took a semester to attend Liberty. Although not a Christian himself, Roose was very open-minded and balanced about his fellow Liberty classmates. In fact, I could relate to a lot of the book. Even though I was a Christian, when I came to college and saw kids who were much more skilled at evangelical culture, I experienced similar kinds of culture shock.

One of the most difficult things Roose deals with on Liberty's campus is the homophobia that exists amongst his male classmates and roommates. He attributes this to their Christian upbringing, though I think that if you observed any group of secular state college guys, you'd find similar usage of words like "queer," "faggot" and "gaywad." Unfortunately, you'd also see that kind of thing among the Christian guys, too.

One particular line from Roose's roommate (who he admits is more extreme than the Liberty norm) was really awful. After a conversation about how weird it would be to be flirted on by a gay man, his roommate said, "I hate faggots. If something like that happened to me, I would do something about it. I would snap somebody's neck."

Now, I've never experienced homophobia like that, but I've experienced plenty of the so called "innocent" slurs used by lots of guys nowadays. One thing that I've been thinking about recently is that--as a guy who struggles with SSA, what can I do to speak out against this kind of stuff? In a perfect world, whenever I'd hear something homophobic from a guy--especially a Christian guy, who should know better--I'd speak up, explain my experience, and explain why words and phrases and attitudes like that are harmful.

Obviously, that's easier said than done. Like any person I can be very afraid of backlash, and that can sometimes keep me from doing what is right. Even though I'm very open about my SSA--most of my friends know about both my orientation and my religious beliefs about it--it's hard to speak up when they say something hurtful. I don't want to be seen as "over-sensitive" or a buzzkill. And yet, something needs to be done. These kinds of comments and attitudes can't be allowed to continue, especially among Christians.

Gay men and women know the hypocrisy when Christians say that they love them but turn around and make homophobic comments. I think guys like us, who struggle with SSA, can be some of the best people to bridge the gap and stop the hatred, but we first have to be open about our stories, and we have to be brave enough to speak out. I'm not so good at either, all the time, but I'm learning.

30 comments:

Pomoprophet said...

You keep referring to yourself as someone who struggles with SSA. Why don't you just call yourself gay? And I didn't realize you were still at the "struggle" stage? I thought you accepted this part about yourself. And you were simply a guy with ssa... or a gay guy?

As a Liberty Alum, and ex-evangelical, I know full well the views of Christians towards gays. But you're right, it really is most guys in America. Something about American machismo. Less brains, more brawne. But examples like this book are why I know the truth about Christian views of homosexuality. This "lets give them equal rights" that I hear so often in CA (though im sure in other places they dont even offer that) is only a concession because they know it looks bad on them to deny equal rights. But behind the anti-gay marriage and anti-gay rights movement is a pure hatred towards us. Just like all the good ol boy Christians from the south used to (and some still do) hate blacks.

Jay said...

Re: "struggle with SSA"

It's just a phrase. I don't mind being called gay, though I admit it's just not a term I really like. I suppose just saying I have SSA would be equally accurate, but it is a struggle.

Or at least, it's a struggle to remain celibate, which is something I'm seeking because of my SSA, and wouldn't be something I would seek otherwise. I accept it as a part of my experience, and I think a "guy with SSA" and "a gay guy" are pretty much the same thign, though using the former gives more clues as to one's ideology about the whole thing.

Anyway, labels are tricky and if I could find a way to do without all of them, I would.

Also, you should read the book. The author doesn't portray his roommates as hateful. Ignorant, yes, but not hateful.

Joe S said...

Pomoprophet,

"pure hatred for us" isn't the conclusion Kevin Roose came to in his book. He flags up the casual homophobia (although most of the gay insults straight guys aim at other straight guys isn't intended to hurt gay guys) and he's extra sensitive to it because he adores his lesbian activist aunt - but I got the impression he would be very reluctant to label any of his Liberty classmates as "haters".

Except Henry - the venomous "snap somebody's neck" roommate Jay mentions. Henry is the exception at LU and Roose makes it clear that all of the other casually homophobic guys don't like him at all.

I'm not saying anyone should have to put up with overhearing the gaywad jokes though.

RikFleming said...

I often wonder if people who make exaggerated or hyperbolic comments about homosexuals and their hatred for them only do so as a "show of holiness" to other guys when deep down inside they aren't as hostile towards homosexuals as they make themselves out to be. In other words, such comments are only made in an atmosphere where such demonstrations are tolerated in a Pharisaical "holier than thou" culture.

I was once a guest preacher at a church in Sacramento and one of the elders was singing a song "burn the faggots, burn the faggots" not knowing about my issues. As a reflex I turned around an punched him. I then chewed him out and told him that he was the reason why the church has no voice in our culture.

Needless to say I haven't been back. Not that I haven't been invited, I just don't want to fellowship with Pharisees.

Rik

A. Friend said...

Rik, that's crazy!
I have found that most of the time people use anti-gay slurs I really don't feel like they're attacking me. That may be because I have not formally embraced "gay" as my identity. It just feels like "somebody else".

At other times, I find myself feeling sorry for the individual and very rarely I feel envious. You wish you were "secure" enough to be so dismissive of other people (yes it's a bad feeling).

Here it is difficult to say anything. Usually I say nothing at all.
I actually am not sure if me saying anything would help change the culture in any way. People in th Caribbean are not known to be friendly to political correctness.

My other things is that if the church never formally addressed the race thing--and never stated specifically and forcefully that racism is a sin and is not to be found in people who call themselves Christian then I don't think the issue of homophobia stands a chance.

donsands said...

If someone looks at two men having sex as perverted, is that an ultimatic label of fearing homosexuality?

I don't think so. I don't fear homosexuality, but it is a perversion to me.

I am always astounded by your writings Jay. The Lord has given you great wisdom. And His grace is upon you.

Hope some day we can meet and have a face to face over a coffe and blueberry muffin.

And you are making a difference by sharing your heart as you visit different blogs. You speak God's truth in love, and are honest with your struggles.

Bottom line is the Scriptures. But even then, there will be people in the Church who mock homosexuals. But not all the Church is the Church. There are false disciples in the Body of Christ. Any body can go to Libery U and say he is a Christian. Big deal. Let's see your faith in love, and gratefulness for your salvation.

When I hear Christians make fun of homosexuals, I always try to set that right.
My older brother Tommy died of AIDS, and he was a wonderful brother, and a very good son to his our Mom. I'm rambling on.

Keep on Jay. Lord bless you and may His wisdom, power, and love fill your heart this day. Amen.

Jay said...

Joe S: Right, Henry, whom I quoted, is seen as an extremist even by the other Liberty students. But that kind of venom is real--online as well as in person.

Rik: You've told me that story before, I think. I know you've repented of the physical violence. The chewing out, of course, was appropriate. I've never encountered that kind of bile, but I would probably react very passionately against it. And you're right, I think many men and women say these kinds of things out of insecurity. Actually, I think that's where any kind of bullying comes from.

A. Friend: I understand what you mean. I'm sure dealing with this issue is much harder in the more conservative Caribbean than it is here, although the American South can be a somewhat alienating to deal with this issue as well.

Quick question, though. The church here has largely said that racism is a definite sin. Are things different in Trinidad? Just curious.

Don Sands: Certainly believing that homosexual behavior is a sin doesn't constitute homophobia--at least in my eyes. I'm sure many gay folks disagree with that. Actually, homophobia is a weird term for it because it has less to do with fear and more to do with hatred or prejudice. Again, I think most conservative Christians believe homosexual behavior is a sin, but I don't think that equates to hatred of the persons who deal with it.

And thank you very much for your encouragement and love. I have really been blessed by your writings--on your blog and elsewhere. In fact, I'd say that your amount of love, grace, and fairness is something I aim for. Your heart seems to be very much surrendered to Christ, and I want mine to be, too.

And don't be afraid of rambling. I do that often. I'd love to get together for blueberry muffins one day in the future, though I don't drink coffee. May the Lord bless you and keep you as well.

donsands said...

"though I don't drink coffee."

Just as soon make it fresh OJ, or tea, or milk.

David said...

Jay you wrote:

"These kinds of comments and attitudes can't be allowed to continue, especially among Christians."

I am aware that you believe that homosexual sex is an "abomination in the eyes of God" and therefore have declined ever having sex with a same sex partner. Is not that a negative "comment/attitude" that produces fear?

It would seem that this stance is a form of homophobia, fear around gay sex for fear of God's judgement. Yet you are saying these homophobic "comments and attitudes can't be allowed to continue" in others yet you hold them yourself. Isn't that a bit like calling the kettle black regardless of whether it is verbalized negatively or kept negatively inside?

Does not this very homophobic belief you hold, held by Christian "homophobes", invigorate homophobia to continue subtly and intensely by those who would mame over it?

Jay said...

I'm sorry, David. Could you point to where I said that homosexual behavior is an "abomination in the eyes of God"? I personally believe it is a sin, just like any other sin, but it is no more or no less severe than, say, heterosexual fornication.

And yet, Christians have been able to disagree with heterosexuals who have sex before marriage for years without being considered hateful. I think Christians--such as myself--can disagree with homosexual behavior without being homophobic. How one phrases their disagreement is important.

David said...

I read it in your posts a while back. It had to do with a discussion about your celibacy and how to streamline that commitment. In it you concurred with a poster that you considered same sex sexual activity an abomination.

Without going through your archives to find it, is it not true that you base your celibacy on one of a few comments (posts)in the Bible, including Leviticus where gay sex/lying with another man is an "abomination" this word being the leading view from God's eyes?

Jay said...

I don't disagree with that in concept. It's just that I believe God has the same views about all sins--from an angry thought to murder, or from lust to fornication. All sin makes us abominable and worthy of His wrath. That's why every human being needs grace through Jesus Christ and the cross.

That's also why I don't see myself as lesser than any other person just because I have a homosexual orientation, nor do I tolerate that kind of prejudice from anyone else. At the same time, I still have the theological position that homosexual behavior, like all sexual behavior outside of a man and woman in marriage, is sinful. That's just my personal belief on the subject.

I don't think it's a homophobic belief, either. Yes, some people use that belief as an excuse to commit horrible crimes against gay people, but some people also use a pro-life position to blow up abortion clinics, and some people expand disagreement with the doctrines of Islam into full-on racism and religious bigotry. Do the acts of thugs and extremists keep the rest of us from holding dissenting opinions on certain issues?

David said...

A Phobia is an irrational fear that produces anxiety (struggle) around a given object, this object of discussion being gay sex and the homophobic anxiety anger guilt fear etc it produces in a select grouping of people.

So the question bodes, is it rational to have a fear about gay sex. Being blown up or murdered constitutes a rational fear and all would agree. Having gay sex does not, as is proven by loving gay couples having life long bonds of romance love and sex. If it had the same fear effect of being murdered, that would be a different story, but it doesn't, it produces the opposite with two people having loving sexual connection.

If a person chooses to be afraid of gay sex, well that is of course a choice, but is it rational? Human nature proves otherwise via loving gay couples, and therefore to fear it is in fact a personally selected irrational fear, hence we have escalated drama due to the irrational misconceptions about gay sex.

When an SSA person fears expressing the sexual self, then fear is the moderator of that sex life. So much so that it could be considered a phobia because of the impulsive feelings of shame and guilt due to the conflict that arises from an irrational sexual belief, hence being a bit stuck in a phobic chronic fear rut. It would seem that the very title of your article Battling Homophobia, is a thing that SSA strugglers live with on a daily basis --- within themselves. They are in constant fear and battle with their sexual drive and expression are they not? So the popularized term homophobe may need to be stretched further, not just to include loud obnoxious people, but also the silent inner self that wreaks havoc within the psyche, str8 or gay.

I don't think extremists hold anyone back from dissenting beliefs, but would it not be accurate to say, that as long as you hold a dissenting belief about your sexual expression, that you are saying nothing different than the intense homophobe, just more quietly yet still perpetuating the irrational fear mongering mix, hence calling the kettle black?

If I were a raging homophobe, and you called me on it, I would reply that you also hate gay sex like I do, that it is an abomination and that I am just expressing my beliefs outwardly, while you do it inwardly. I'm not telling you anything you don't tell yourself silently. We are no different, you radiate dissent with your thoughts, I do it with my actions. But we are both saying the same thing as painful as it is, save only in expression.

Both seem to be in the same black kettle called homophobia, supporting each other carte blanche.

So I hold you may be homophobic in your own way, supporting homophobia in general at all levels of expression.

As Gavin Newsom would say, "whether you like it or not".

Thoughts?

Jay said...

I don't have a fear of gay sex. I just don't think that it is compatible with the theological views I hold. I know there are plenty of loving gay couples out there. I've said so many times before on my blog. There are also plenty of nice, hardworking, decent atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus in the world.

That doesn't mean I have to agree with their worldviews or religious practices. I have a theological disagreement with homosexual behavior, and I choose not to do it. It's based in my own rational interpretation of Scripture, not any sort of illogical fear. Honestly, the struggle is difficult, but I don't think I live my life under the constant stream of "shame and guilt" that you seem to think I do. Maybe you should try to get to know me a little better before you think that, just because I deal with SSA, I have certain personality traits or worldviews. That's prejudice, and I don't appreciate it.

Both seem to be in the same black kettle called homophobia, supporting each other carte blanche. That is a particularly ridiculous statement. That's like saying that a peaceful Muslim who disagrees with Christianity is on par with the 9/11 terrorists, or that someone who disagrees with the doctrines of Judaism is an anti-Semite. I disagree with homosexual behavior, yet I still have many gay friends whom I love. I'd think if any of them saw me as the same as a raging homophobe, they wouldn't take me out to dinner or hang out with me at the beach... and yet, they do.

Brandon said...

If you happen to notice Christians making fun of gays or putting them down, how have you reacted to this in the past? What sort of response have you given, I mean?

I asked a counselor once about how to deal with such things and he told me (especially if it were concerning other Christians) that the best response might simply be to tell them: "You know, as Christians, we really shouldn't talk like that about people." I tried this back last year when a coworker of mine began speaking ill of homosexuals and it seemed to work pretty well. It made him think a little bit about what he was doing. And even better, I didn't have to go into a whole discussion about myself responding to him this way.

David said...

I think you mistook what I was saying. I think that anyone who has negative or judgemental views of gay sex, are no different if they are silent about it or very verbose. It's homophobic no matter how you frame it, religious belief or otherwise. They both silent and verbose, agree on one thing, gay sex is an abomination. I certainly don't see you as a raging homophobe, but I do see you as homophobic if you believe gay sex an abomination.

If we are to ever get past the partial collective view that gay sex is somehow evil, unpleasing to God, or an evil to be punished, then one by one, people who think that will have to re-evaluate their stance, straight or gay. It's much like taking gas burning cars off the roads to be replaced with green cars, the atmosphere slowly stinks less and less.

Shame and/or guilt are keystone to this gay sex negative belief. And wherever there is guilt or shame, there is a negative judgement waiting to be addressed. That is not to say you live it that way every day, but many people who demean or damn up gay sex feel it consciously at different times who hold this belief, and when they are not thinking about it, the subconscious holds it in place.

I have no issues with celibacy, unless it hurts others with it's unfounded irrational basis giving a boost to homophobia. That is all I'm saying. Tossing ones sex love and possible marriage out the window is very extremist behavior, and teaches the impressionable that it's wrong to be loving and sexual with the same sex they were born to engage with. If gay sex were not native to the human race created by God, it simply would not naturally exist.

So you asked that I might get to know you better. That is ok. Maybe you could tell me if there were any other reasons for your celibacy besides religious belief. Not that you are in this category, but one "Christian" celibate I know, finally admitted he felt unattractive and also "ungifted" in his genitalia, and that it was easier to just believe the Bible instead of dealing with his low self esteem. He has since changed his celibacy stance.

Many think reasons for disgust or the demeaning and resisting of gay sex starts with a negative self image, with religious belief and practices following in second place. Be that as it may, there are always exceptions. So instead of hearing from the religious Jay, maybe you could let your natural non religious sexual human natural Jay give a comment or two on how that part of you feels being suppressed with no hope for expression. The struggle it would seem, would be the conflict between those two parts of your being.

PS I notice that another David has posted on here in other places, I am not that David and can change my handle if you wish.

Jay said...

David: "I think that anyone who has negative or judgemental views of gay sex, are no different if they are silent about it or very verbose." That statement really makes no sense. There is a very big difference between someone who says, "I am concerned about the high levels of unemployment and illteracy in the African American community," versus someone who says, "Black people are stupid and lazy." Likewise, there is a difference between someone who says, "I think homosexual behavior is outside of God's will, though it is no worse than any other sin, and gay people need to be shown respect and love" versus someone who says, "Burn the faggots."

I also believe that sex before marriage is a sin. Do you think that means I have a phobia of the many, many men and women who do that? Can't someone think that a certain act is wrong, without being labeled hateful towards people who commit it?

"If gay sex were not native to the human race created by God, it simply would not naturally exist." I suggest you take a look at Genesis and read about the fall. All sins exist, but that doesn't mean they were supposed to.

Now, in terms of not wanting to hear from the "non-religious Jay," that's going to be difficult. My faith in Christ defines who I am. It's not like this is just a religion for me; it's a real relationship with Jesus Christ. It's not a part of me; it's all of me. I don't really have any body image issues. I'm young, I'm healthy, I've had a boyfriend before, and I've had other guys and girls be interested in me before, even though I've turned them down.

Simply put, if I didn't think my faith required that I abstain from gay sex, I wouldn't be celibate. This isn't a religious cover-up for self-esteem issues. And frankly, being celibate is not this awful fate. It means I can't have sex, yes. Big whoop. It doesn't mean I can't love others. In fact, it frees me up to love people and serve people in ways that folks who are married or partnered up can't. Yes, it can be lonely sometimes, but everyone can be lonely sometimes, even those who are married. No one should rely on romantic relationships to make them happy, anyway.

And perhaps a last initial would help me distinguish you from other David's who post here. Take care!

Jason said...

"Simply put, if I didn't think my faith required that I abstain from gay sex, I wouldn't be celibate. This isn't a religious cover-up for self-esteem issues. And frankly, being celibate is not this awful fate. It means I can't have sex, yes. Big whoop. It doesn't mean I can't love others. In fact, it frees me up to love people and serve people in ways that folks who are married or partnered up can't. Yes, it can be lonely sometimes, but everyone can be lonely sometimes, even those who are married. No one should rely on romantic relationships to make them happy, anyway."

Amen Jay! :) Its sad that so many people DO rely on romantic relationships to make them happy.

Anonymous said...

This disgusts me as well. And it happens from folks who are on BOTH ends of the political spectrum. I'll be on campus and hear guys/girls who claim to be liberal and "progressive" talking negatively about "fags, queers, gaywads" and then you hear it from those on the right side of the political spectrum and from those who claim to be Christian from both ends of the spectrum. It infuriates me to no end. I've only come out to two people because of this and don't know if I'll come out to anyone else. It makes it even more difficult being retired military older guy.

DavidMichael said...

Jay you said above: "I think that anyone who has negative or judgmental views of gay sex, are no different if they are silent about it or very verbose." That statement really makes no sense. There is a very big difference between someone who says, "I am concerned about the high levels of unemployment and illteracy in the African American community," versus someone who says, "Black people are stupid and lazy." Likewise, there is a difference between someone who says, "I think homosexual behavior is outside of God's will, though it is no worse than any other sin, and gay people need to be shown respect and love" versus someone who says, "Burn the faggots."

Please allow me to clarify: First off the statement "I am concerned about the high levels of unemployment and illteracy in the African American community," is not a negative or judgmental "view" as indicated by my original "I think..." statement model. Nor is there any "sin" in it's content. That alone takes it out of the conversation. It is a discerning caring statement derived from a caring individual aware of the plight of the AA community. It's basis is not derived from a sinful ancient Hebrew Homophobic Law of which you cling stating paraphrase "men who lie with men are an abomination in the eyes of God and shall be put to death" a rule held by all homophobic Christians. The statement "I think homosexual behavior is outside of God's will, though it is no worse than any other sin, and gay people need to be shown respect and love" versus someone who says, "Burn the faggots." does hang with this negative judgmental law no matter how you sugarcoat it. Many find such comments offensive in the light of reason. So your comparisons don't add up.

Celibate gay Christians seem to base their sex lives off this Leviticus death threat, keeping themselves transfixed on a past law i.e. like the current Iranian law, worried about judgment in the future by God, keeping themselves fully out of touch with present time gay sex love romance and marriage they could be experiencing, thereby adding to the homophobic structure that hurls them in to the bin of evil sexual deviants. Your celibacy reflects and supports these principals.

Now I know you are young, and steeped in religion, but that is the point. You seem so defined as you say, by it, that you may not be aware of how you are viewed by rational Christians and secular people who see you as irrationally taking on things that don't make sense i.e. celibacy due to a death threat when you are obviously fully gay. And from a Jewish text I might add, whose laws have been pretty much relegated to the trash bin regarding Leviticus out of a 'they just don't make rational sense' deduction. Jesus put hammer to nail on that one.

So I do hold you believe in irrational homophobic uneducated ancient Hebrew law regarding gay sex out of personal choice, have tossed your sexual reality into the past, yoking yourself with celibacy for fear of God's judgment in the future, therefore living in present time as homophobic fully supporting the mass consciousness homophobe reality in general.

Unless you can somehow prove otherwise, I think my deduction does stand the test of reason.


PS Converting "David" only used in this post, to DavidMichael.

Jay said...

David: You seem to be under the impression that if I had sex with a guy, that I think I'd automatically go to Hell or something. I have to say that you are mistaken. I abstain from it because I do believe it is sinful, but I know I am already saved. If I stumble, I am forgiven. More than that, the reason I abstain isn't because I'm afraid of anything. It's because I love God with all my heart and I want to follow His commandments to the best of my ability.

And furthermore, who's talking about Leviticus here? There is a difference in the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament (the stranger ones like not eating shellfish), and the moral laws (the ones that ban theft, murder, and adultery). The laws against homosexual practice fall into the latter category, and oddly enough, when people want to chuck all of the Old Testament because of the odd ceremonial laws, no one makes the argument to throw out laws against murder, adultery, theft, selfishness, etc. Why is that?

Besides, even without Leviticus, I think the New Testament makes it clear that sex is for a man and woman in marriage. Christ and Paul talk at length about what proper marriage is, and not once are gay relationships mentioned as valid. Furthermore, homosexual practice is listed as sin (one of many, might I add) in other places in the New Testament.

And no, your statements don't stand up to reason. Like I said, your accusations against me are the same as accusing a Christian who disagrees with the doctrines of Islam of religious intolerance. It sounds like you would have us all live in a world where no one disagreed about anything, ever.

DavidMichael said...

When it comes to human sexuality and the demoralization of a suspect class, that being the LGBT community, then those supporting beliefs get a measure of scrutiny that others may not.

I do not find disagreement intolerable, but I do find it unnecessary if the premise of an argument is unfounded and irrational i.e. gay sex is a sin.
This rational has been thrown out of court several times, and for good reason, it's an insane thought.

So I would not debate you on that point as it is as unfounded as animal offerings being God's requirement for his glory.

The males who wrote scripture were not as aware of sexuality as we are today. And though I find the entire subject sad, compassion for this error truly is in my emotional tool kit.

The reason I find anyone homophobic if they believe in irrational homosexual beliefs is for this reason mentioned above. Building a fear case around gays or gay sex just doesn't add up, like killing animals in the old testament doesn't add up, regardless of who said it.

Now if you choose to believe these things that are irrational and opinion at best, I think that is fine. However, I also hold that one should be responsible enough to own the basis and the resulting effects it has on those around them, i.e. the entire world.

You are not happy with the way some Christians express homophobic behavior towards gay people. What I am saying here is that anyone,
ANYONE, who holds the beliefs that gay sex is a sin against God, whether you are swinging a metaphorical ax, or quietly "spreading God's word" that gay sex is a sin via Biblical text, is part of the problem you are seeking to abolish.

To own this is a huge blind spot for you as you think you are doing God's work, so I am not expecting cart wheels here with what I am saying. But it is worth a thought or two don't you think?

You seem to have this notion that if you are church mouse humble and quiet when you spread that belief, that you are somehow exempt from being called an ax swinging homophobe. Unfortunately, the quiet ones feed the beliefs of the roudy ones and visa versa, there is no separation in basis. Some streams of sunlight are brighter than others, but they all come from the same place.

THAT is the point I am trying to make here. I am asking you to own the effects of your beliefs. You support fear around homosexuality and teach it, and that fear has effect. If you really wanted to change peoples homophobic attitudes around gays and gay sex (very rational), don't you think it starts right at home?

continued below . . .

DavidMichael said...

I think to some degree you may be an exception to the rule for gays who abstain from gay sex out of fear. There are those very few handfuls that do celibacy out of sheer love for God, i.e. priests nuns etc. But then again you said if gay sex were not a sin against God, you would not be celibate.

Priests and nuns do not take the vow of chastity out of a fear basis, they do it for the closeness and love of God they think they can achieve with celibacy in place. There is no basis of fear for that type of celibacy. i.e. mother Teresa etc.

But many gays do it out of fear of over sexualization of which they can't handle (sex addiction also a very str8 issue etc) fear of wrath etc and therefore use the negs in the Bible to further their "struggle" by being celibate, simply causing more abscess within their minds.

It's a terrible basis in which to live and quite unfortunate for those who struggle with hard core sex addiction that good quality therapy would help so much.

There are far too many loving gay couples in the world to continue to think this negative religious belief actually holds water.

Could you possibly regard your celibacy like Mother Teresa did, and let go of the irrational negs? That would be quite uplifting, as few do celibacy that way anymore. To say you are doing it ONLY for the love of God, would then bring you a status you cannot achieve with the current controversial model you hold.

To tell most str8 people who are homophobic that you are celibate because the Bible forbids gay sex, well, that still brings on a grimace. But to say you are gay and you are celibate for the pure love of God and the help you can wield to mankind, now that makes one take note, building a loving bridge in the process free of the angst both you and them hold against a sex act.

Then you have let go of the anchor that holds this entire conversation under water.

So Jay, it's good batting with you. Have a great day.

DM

Jay said...

Funny you bring up Mother Theresa (or any Roman Catholic for that matter), because the catechism of the Catholic church (which a nun such as her would abide by in full) says that homosexuals are to remain celibate, whether they are called to the priesthood or monastic lives or not. Why? Because the Roman Catholic Church teaches that all sex outside of a man and woman in marriage is a sin.

And yet, at the same time, people like Mother Theresa were well-known for their love and grace towards gay people, even while upholding Biblical standards of sexuality.

Again, why is it so hard for you to see that both of those things are possible?

Again, let's say that the issue isn't homosexuality here, but religion. You have a Christian on one side and a Muslim on the other, both of whom see their faith as rock-solid, immutable, and a foundational part of their identity. Both faiths, however, are irreconcilable. If both individuals truly believe all the tenets of their faith, then a Christian would think that Muslim was hell-bound, and the same would work in reverse.

However, they are both respectful, rational, and don't do anything to get in the way of each others' lives or religious practices, even though they may proselytize to each other passionately. They each believe, though, that the other is outside of God's favor.

Now, are these two people on par, morally, with the kinds of Christian terrorists who blow up mosques or intimidate people of Arab descent, or the Muslim terrorists who hijack planes and bomb buildings?

DavidMichael said...

"Now, are these two people on par, morally, with the kinds of Christian terrorists who blow up mosques or intimidate people of Arab descent, or the Muslim terrorists who hijack planes and bomb buildings?"

You mean, can a bad seed bear rotten fruit and are they then separate?

Your model takes legal and illegal actions as a basis, which is rare in the homophobic model. Most extremist homophobes don't do anything illegal. They just rant bully and are basically a pain in the ass. Then there are the few killers and thugs that do break the law.

If a religious person has a different tenant than another and they argue all the time, and then someone with the same tenant gets angry enough to blow up a building and kill people, I do not see how one person is different from the other, though one is breaking the law. They both bear rotten seed (an irrational belief) that bears the bad fruit expressing outward as negative.

I think the best question to ask, is whether the belief they are fighting over holds rational merit. Because if it doesn't, it should vehemently be dropped from the religion that professes it.

Muslims and Christians who are vehemently shoving that each will go to hell because the other does not hold a membership to each others respective religious order, is mere speculation at best and could be dropped from the belief structure and regarded as speculation. The fighting would then cease if the order came from the "top"

Same with homosexuality. If the Pope came forward tomorrow and said "after careful review of sexual education and the morals expressed by openly gay loving couples, we now find we were entirely wrong about homosexuality, and that the church now supports it fully" Side B would disappear rather quickly. But he can't do that, not for at least 10 or 20 or maybe even 100 years, because religion is the last to change views because of it's basic need for stability.

Now you have Muslims blowing up America because we are considered the anti-christ and they get 12 virgins in heaven for strapping on suicide devices. Now is that rational? No but alot of people believe it. Is it true? Who knows. All I know is someone is dying and I'm having to bury dead bodies because of a ridiculous mere possibility that some kook thinks "God" said.

So yes I do believe that morally, you are just as responsible for homophobic death of gay people, as is the terrorist who murdered them. If you support the law that the murderer used that killed them, then yes, you are part of the gun that fired the bullet. You may be just the handle, or the hammer, or the trigger, or the barrel, but all those things make up the gun nonetheless.

Beliefs always precede behavior.

You say negative homophobic insane behavior must stop. I say negative homophobic insane beliefs must stop. Why? Because the insane beliefs CAUSE the insane behavior.

You talk about the result, I talk about the cause. You see a fluttering computer screen, I see the virus on the hard drive. You see the rotten apple. I see the rotten seed.

Get it?

Jay said...

"Muslims and Christians who are vehemently shoving that each will go to hell because the other does not hold a membership to each others respective religious order, is mere speculation at best and could be dropped from the belief structure and regarded as speculation."

That's ridiculous. The belief in God would then be considered "speculation at best." In fact, the belief in anything aside from observable reality would be considered "speculation at best."

You said: "I think the best question to ask, is whether the belief they are fighting over holds rational merit."

Um, it's a religious belief. Of course it doesn't hold rational merit on the large scale, because we're talking about faith here. The basic premise of any religious doctrine relies on the belief in God, something that can only be taken on faith, not reason. Reason can be used to live consistently within a religious system, but it is incapable of evaluating the system as a whole, because religions by definition rely on things that cannot be rationally observed.

Now, since the majority of humans are religious, and since the majority of religions believe in some form of Heaven and are exclusive about entry into it (i.e. only believers get to go), then you're essentially saying that the majority of humans are on par terrorists. After all, you just said that a faithful Christian and Muslim, no matter how civil they are, are on par with terrorists if they believe in the exclusivity of their respective faiths.

Frankly, that's just idiotic. It shows very elementary thinking on your part:

"Civil Christian = Thinks Muslims are unsaved."

"Terrorist Christian = Thinks Muslims are unsaved."

Therefore "Civil Christian = Terrorist Christian."

You don't see the difference in someone who has a principled conviction but respects the human rights of others and someone who kills or intimidates those who disagree?

Look, no matter what beliefs you have, there is always going to be someone out there in the world deranged enough to harm you because of them.

By your logic, if the act of disagreeing automatically carries the responsibility of those who kill because of their disagreements, then no one on the planet would ever be allowed to disagree, ever, without being considered murderers in your eyes.

Jay said...

As a follow-up, I want to clarify that I'm not just speaking out against illegal homophobic or religiously intolerant actions. Obviously, harming another person or destroying their property is illegal, but it's also inconsistent with (at least) the Christian worldview.

A Christian may disagree with homosexual behavior, but if he/she intentionally intimidates, taunts, bullies, or physically harms a gay person then he/she is sinning.

My call for Christians to stand up against homophobia is not only a call to stand up for basic human rights and peace (though that's certainly a large part of it), but it's also a call to live consistently within the faith.

DavidMichael said...

The "curve ball" . . . Could a debater be licking his chops more than after reading this?

"Um, it's a religious belief. Of course it doesn't hold rational merit on the large scale, because we're talking about faith here. The basic premise of any religious doctrine relies on the belief in God, something that can only be taken on faith, not reason. Reason can be used to live consistently within a religious system, but it is incapable of evaluating the system as a whole, because religions by definition rely on things that cannot be rationally observed."

First off, it is quite "reasonable" to believe that an intelligence larger than a human's created all that is. I think most atheists are atheists because of the way religion personalizes God to a white haired invisible dude up in the sky throwing invisible lighting bolts at porn producers, which never seem to make it to the ground.

It's also quite reasonable that many tenants within a religious structure are also reasonable i.e. the earth is flat, finally reasoned after much ado by an obstinate "idiotic" church stance. However, they couldn't see the curvature of the earth so of course it was a reasonable belief, AT that time. Not eating certain meat was very well grounded in the fact that some meats are better than others. So yes there is much reason within non reason.

Now, abstinence has proven foolishly ineffective and has been dropped from the O'bama agenda. Why? Because it doesn't work and never has. It's foolish, meant to control kids so the parents aren't stuck raising grand kids. Do the parents say that? No they say God will punish them if they have sex. Which is the truth? The truth is mom and dad will come down like a ton of bricks, God's will has prevailed. Nah, it was mom and dads will. Their sin? Not talking WITH their kids about responsible sex, instead of talking at them about God's threats.

It's like the Hebrew gay sex law of 'men who lie with men are abominations in the eyes of God and shall be put to death". That is just plain 'ol drunken evil trailer trash in current time. Why? Because it is evil judge mental predatory and bottom line, not true. But there was good "reason" for it being a law back then. When the Bible was written, there was so much incest and pederasty going on in the royal lines, the church attempted to make a blanket statement to wipe it all out. However, they did not consider that like straight people, most gays didn't screw up their lives with such things.

Is it "reasonable" to believe in things that "God" said? Sure. Whether they were really said by God in my opinion, isn't the point. The point is, are you going to live your life on irrational ancient beliefs made out of lack of all facts, or not? Because one will cause you confusion and conflict and the other won't. So if you are going to play the "belief/faith" card whether it is reasonable or not, then you must uphold that lefties are also abominations, or your entire model fails. You could say God blew it on that one, but then one must take into consideration that God may not have said it at all, and that it came from some custom at the time it was birthed.

At some point, a religious gay person will have to wake up to the fact that it is very possible God didn't say anything about gay sex at all, that it was made my straight male lawmakers of the times, and take reason into consideration when deciding to throw ones gay reality into the hell bin or not. As history will show, some "beliefs" were very reasonable at the time they were constructed, but as reality showed up, those beliefs were dropped. Same is happening with the entire religious gay belief structure now. It's going down the drain because there is new information that makes dismantling the now erroneous belief, realistic.
(continued below)

DavidMichael said...

So, do "God's laws" change over time? They sure do. Does that make faith mutable? It sure does. Does faith give way to reason? Much of the time yes.

So in your case of believing your gay sex reality is an abomination, does that feed the raging homophobe who kills gays? Now you may not end up in jail, but you were certainly egging the jailbird on by NOT asserting reality, that gay sex is an integral part of loving coupled relationships. Are you the raging homophobe that swung the ax? No. Are you just as amoral? Yes, because you are backing homophobic irrational beliefs that cause the homophobe to over react. Hence I present that you are both sinners. And as you said before, all sins are equal.

My take from what religion has shown through it's malleable history, is that you are sinning against yourself by demoralizing your sex drive and not consummating with a SS mate, which is natural to your system. And that is why you struggle. Your body/mind is naturally set for one thing, and you are homophobically axing yourself by trying to diminish it off old laws that don't even pertain to you as a cool upstanding a-ok legal acting gay male.

Mother Teresa didn't have the "abomination" clause to worry about with her decisions to live her life. To this day, out of wedlock mothers are derided for their position in society. It takes a village to raise even one child, so the religious laws do make sense around sex outside marriage. But now we have birth control. Voila, no need to worry about this anymore.

I feel common sense does trump religious dogma, and that is very important to have a society that supports one another. If irrational belief prevails as fact, we cannot diminish the feelings of separation that you entertain on a daily basis by demoralizing gay sex. I do have to toss in that you are 21, and that most of your str8 friends are probably not married and live chaste to the best of their ability. So you are in an age where it is probably easier to be within their structure. But when you hit 40 . . .

It seems to me laws for straights and laws for gays regarding sex are different. We don't have to worry about out of wedlock mothers, child support, or parents holding the bag for their pregnant kids. It gives us legal sexual carte blanche, of which we must hopefully determine for ourselves how a loving life can be led within the ranks of sexual freedom.

Ok so I am blathering a bit, but my fire around this "battling homophobia" issue comes from feeling attacked by irrational religious dogma. I struggle through feeling attacked. You struggle in other ways, guess we all struggle. As I engage more with others about it, the feelings of attack subside more and more and I realize that insanity is just part of our planetary experience and I have to deal with it. I'm very priestly by nature, but do have a rational edge that needs quelling from time to time.

I hope you don't feel judged or that I made you feel poorly because of my statements here. Beyond all these controversial sex rules, is the true love and companionship all humans naturally want to have with each other. I really don't think you are a "sinner". I just think we all have issues to get through. Could that be what sin really is, just issues?

Thanks for your postings. Only such words could entice me to write, and it is very helpful.

Blessings at you Jay.

Jay said...

I think we just operate under totally different premises. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to see religion as a convenient way to keep society in reasonable order. Therefore, its tenets change with the winds of social change, and whatever higher power you think created us doesn't really worry what we do, as long as it's "reasonable."

I, on the other hand, see the Bible as revealed Truth, spoken by God. There isn't a rational reason for that. There is just the compulsion that is on my own heart, which I attribute to the Holy Spirit's work in my life. Therefore, since I believe the Bible is Truth, I use theology--a system of religious doctrines and interpretations--to filter that Truth.

Obviously one is not meant to follow every rule in the Bible. The Bible refers to itself and its own rules at various points. The ceremonial laws revealed in the Old Testament are said to be fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament, and thus they are no longer required. The historical texts show a narrative about how God's method of dealing with humanity has changed over time. God Himself has not changed, mind you, merely His manner of interacting with humanity.

Theologies are used to interpret an overall premise of God's nature as they believe it is revealed through Scripture. Some theologies do view homosexual behavior as okay, and I have researched them, but I have found that they are not logically consistent in their approach to Scripture. Therefore, I have opted for more conservative theologies.

Either way, I live my life by the Bible. Because of that, I can't really say I can agree with anything of what you've just said. Cheers, though, and blessings.