Changing Homosexuality or Suppressing the Self?

Years After Resigning in Disgrace, Archbishop Speaks Out – NYTimes.com

This piece from the New York Times contains a few very large issues to ponder. I can’t necessarily speak to all of them in this blog entry but will raise them at least. Over the next week, I hope to write a blog entry for each question. But weigh in- let me know what you think- leave a comment.

1) The organized Church’s role in maintaining the status quo. Who is benefitted by the status quo?

2) Do people change their sexual orientation or simply suppress their real selves and delude themselves about who they are and/or their orientation?

3) The problem of understanding God as a “loving God” when there are so many homosecxuals.

4) What is the nature of a faith journey?

I think the last 2 are the most interesting of the topics for me, however, all 4 are big and there can be valid or thoughtful viewpoints from divergent opinions.

Years After Resigning in Disgrace, Archbishop Speaks Out – NYTimes.com.

Blogging the Bible — a Nadder!

When I imagined starting “Queer Look at the Bible: I didn’t think it was, my any means, a unique idea, yet, I didn’t really see it happening all that much. Now, you can’t turn around without knocking into someone reading and discussing the Bible! 🙂

I haven’t ready any of this yet, but the premise is interesting to me, a Jewish Atheist blogging the Bible. Just finished AJ Jacob’s “The Year of Living Biblically” which is a very good read. Enjoy!

Blogging the Bible — a Nadder! .

How Religion Fails us- Covenant Marriage

This post may seem politicaly based, but I decided to post it here due to the religious motivations behind the law being discussed in this linked blog.

This is a story about something called Covenant Marriage, a type of legal marriage began as an attempt to stem divorce rates, begun in Lousiana, but now available in several states. My purpose in writing about it is to illustrate the ways in which conservatives apply a double standard when it suits them.

You can follow te link at the bottom to the full story. I have pulled out some stuff, and it is displayed as quoted text, and the rest are my comments/text.

The Definition of Marriage may not be re-defined!

The first line of attack towards same-sex marriage is that it would be redefining marriage, as if the definition of marriage has never been re-defined. Covenant Marriage is one example of a redefinition of marriage. While it remains a marriage between a man and a woman, it is still a different definition and type of marraige. If there can already be 2 types of marriage with 2 different sets of rules or qualities how would adding another destroy the definition of marriage?

The definition of marriage is biblical and may not be altered!

There are 2 sets of scripture often used to justify marriage as between a man and a woman. Adam and Eve as the original husband and wife (even though I’m not sure the Bible ever says they were married), and the words of Jesus. Jesus was actually talking abot divorce, and the passage ends with te idea that who God has joined no one may tear apart. Interestingly, even though the Bible says there can be no divorce, Covenant Marriage allows for divorce.

Ending a marriage is still possible, though no-fault divorce is eliminated, and grounds for divorce are limited. They include physical or sexual abuse (of either a spouse or child), infidelity, a felony conviction or abandonment.

Note, that sexual abuse is an acceptable reason for divorce, and yet rape is not an acceptable reason for abortion (according to some such as Governor Jindal of Louisiana). where conservatives draw the lines varies even where the Bibler does not. Why must the Bible be followed literally at times and at others it can be modified?

Don’t use the government to advance social change!

When legislation is advanced that gives GLBT people more rights, it is attacked as an attempt to force social change upon people- or blamed on activist judges. Covenant Marriage was developed by a professor at a law school and a congress person. The purpose? To advance a social agenda.

…an attempt to strengthen the family and protect children.

Critics called it a potentially dangerous injection of religious belief into a civil commitment…

The sky will fall!

Conservatives have a very hard time predicting the results. They are sure that if same-sex couples can marry, that all hell will break loose. They were also sure that Covenant Marriage would take off big time, and it has totally not happened. It hasn’t done what it set out to do, and has not been embraced by the american people, even in some of the most religious states.

Then-Rep. Tony Perkins, R-Baker, predicted, “I think in about a year a majority of couples will make it [covenancy] part of their marriage plans.” Today, nearly 12 years later, the total has edged closer to 2 percent. Nor has covenant marriage reduced general divorce rates. In 1997, when covenant marriage became law, 13,836 divorces were granted in Louisiana. In 2003 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), the divorce total was 15,230.

Gays want special rights!

“Louisiana has elected to confer special benefits on covenant marriages, such as a 10 percent cut in auto insurance rates,” wrote Pat Buchanan…

So it is OK to provide special benefits to some but not others. How hyocritical is that?

Being gay is a choice!

If gays can marry, then there will be no limits, anything goes!

According to our opponents, being gay is a choice and therefor, we do not deserve to be a protected class. But the truth is, choice makes a difference. Straight couples who chose Covenant Marriage, had a lower divorce rate. These are couples who actively chose to define their relationship as special and more than just being together.

Though covenant marriage has had little effect on divorce as a whole, those who opt for it do have lower divorce rates.

But so many of the gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage are already in a committed relationship. They are chosing to define their relationship as more than just being together.

For gay and lesbians don’t mean it! They are only doing it for the show!

…then-Gov. Mike Huckabee ­— who, though he was an ordained Baptist minister, did not “upgrade” his own marriage at the time. And Bush and his wife Laura chose not to upgrade their own. Later, Huckabee did in a very public way. Columnist Margaret Carlson saw the $65,000 spectacle as a political ploy: “If moral values helped President Bush win the White House, why not Gov. Huckabee?

Don’t force tour ways on the American people!

Though the 2008 Republican Party platform made no mention of covenant marriage, the Texas GOP platform called for it, along with the complete abolishment of no-fault divorce, as well as making it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple ­— this despite the fact that during the 2007 Texas legislative session, a proposed covenant marriage bill failed to clear the state house.

Covenant Marriage is an idea that some want to push on the American people, who have shown that it is not their choice. And even though it has been shown not to create the desired results, andhas not been embraced, even in religious states, conservatives don’t give up.

But Perkins says he has not given up. “When the Jindal administration gets through some of these challenging times,” he says, “I hope they’ll focus on some of these family laws.”

The Independent – I Don’t

H – E – double hockey sticks

The link below is about a really wonderful story from This American Life.

The Bible’s priorities, however, have been inverted by evangelicals, for whom Hell has become a central, essential doctrine.

I’m not sure how that happened. St. Paul had precisely nothing to say on the subject of Hell. He had a lot to say about death, resurrection and the kingdom, but not one word about Hell.

I can tell you why Paul has no mention of Hell.  For him it neither existe, nor was important. For Paul believed that the second coming would be in his lifetime.

You can probably find the TAL story- the original, but here is a blurb about it.

slacktivist: H – E – double hockey sticks.

Commentary on Dobson and Focus on the Family

While I usually post this type of stuff to my other blog, thomascwaters.com, I thought this was really appropriate here.  Focus on the Family bases its message on christian values and the Bible. How easy it is (or is it?) to lose track of one’s original message and go off on some side path, that seems connected but maybe doesn’t have the same value in the end?

If Christians want to uphold the Family and strengthen Family Values, they can do that by focusing on families, not by trying to keep others from having rights.

When groups like “Focus” take the focus away from the family, everyone loses out. The real issues that are destroying the family become lost in the shuffle as the attention s turned towards other things. The problems facing our society  and the traditional family unit will not change if same sex couples can get married, or if GLBT people have equal rights.

I’m all for strengthening families, including traditional families, and if people find the power for that in the Bible, that is fine by me. I’m even OK, of traditional family types do not want to accept that “Family” can mean different things to different people. But, as long as there are reports of sexual abuse in heterosexual households, and drugs and violence, and physical abuse, and a lack of good communication and love, then you folks have enough to worry about. You don’t need to turn your focus to gay people.

IndyStar.com | Thou Shalt | The Indianapolis Star.

Do Family Values Lead to Family Violence?

Wanted to post think link here, as so much of the arguments raised or discussed are biblical.  A long article well worth the time to read it.

Matthew Herbst : Do Family Values Lead to Family Violence?: A consideration of the idea of family – Quodlibet Journal.

GOD.LOVES.GAYS.COM

Came across this link today as gays.com began to follow me on Twitter. I certainly no fan of Westboro Baptist Church, but I’m wondering.. what will this accomplish? Fred Phelps and his loonies are a fringe element- very fringe even for most conservative evangelicals. So we have a very real and very big battle looming those who seek to oppress us with the Bible.  What do we need to accomplish more: this interaction with a fringe cult or real dialogue and discourse addressed towards the majority of Christians?

GOD.LOVES.GAYS.COM.

IN THE LIFE Airs “TIES THAT BIND” – Featuring Bishop Robinson, So-Called “Ex-Gay” Survivors and “Jihad for Love” : glaadBLOG.org

IN THE LIFE Airs “TIES THAT BIND” – Featuring Bishop Robinson, So-Called “Ex-Gay” Survivors and “Jihad for Love” : glaadBLOG.org.