Boycott gay weddings, even family, says Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler

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RNS photo by Tracy Simmons

RNS photo by Tracy Simmons

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks during the 2015 Association of Certified Biblical Councelors Conference. Photo by Emil Handke, courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks during the 2015 Association of Certified Biblical Councelors Conference. Photo by Emil Handke, courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Christians should not attend a same-sex wedding — even of their own child — because it signals “moral approval” of the union, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in a new book.

Boycotting weddings of gay friends and loved ones will be excruciatingly difficult, the Rev. Albert Mohler wrote in “We Cannot Be Silent,” which goes on sale Oct. 27.

“At some point, attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union,” he wrote. “If you can’t congratulate the couple, how can you attend?”

Even if scientists prove people are born gay, the “sinfulness of homosexuality” would not be eliminated because human sin taints the world, Mohler said in addressing other topics of sexual identity. He contended that transgender people who are “saved” should consult with their pastors about whether to have surgery to return to their original gender.

Mohler, a prolific blogger, speaker and podcaster, is no stranger to controversy. In the past he has said that delaying marriage and limiting family size are both sins, that the Roman Catholic Church teaches a “false gospel,” that the pope holds an “unbiblical office,” and that Christians who practice yoga “either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace” of it.

He wrote his 213-page book, subtitled “Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage & the very meaning of right and wrong,” for what he called “intelligent evangelical readers,” pastors, other church leaders and the public, he said.

Gay-rights activists and some clergy denounced the book, to be published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, saying it will further divide gays and their families.

“Dr. Mohler’s self-righteous intractability on this issue — even banning followers from simply attending the weddings of their LGBT loved ones — can cause nothing but strife, heartache and hardship,” said director Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign, a Louisville-based non-profit advocacy organization that works to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the USA, numbering a little less than 15.5 million members, down from a peak of 16.3 million in 2003.


READ: What to make of Southern Baptists’ declining numbers (COMMENTARY)


While no official tally of the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans exists, a Gallup poll released in May estimates the national average at 3.8 percent of the U.S. population, which works out to about 12.2 million people.

Supporters of gay marriage outside the U.S. Supreme Court building wave a pink and red tarps.

Reuters

Supporters of gay marriage rally after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The Rev. Joseph Phelps, pastor of the independent Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, praised Mohler’s intellect but called his words harsh and offensive and said they will cause damage and division in families and society.

Whether to attend or avoid same-sex marriages has been a hot topic in conservative Christian circles. While many evangelical leaders have sided with Mohler, others have urged Christians to go.

“I have to extrapolate that Jesus would be all for attending a same-sex marriage ceremony,” based on Jesus’ example of dining with prostitutes and drunkards, Stephen Arterburn, a best-selling Christian author who is president of New Life Ministries and host of the radio and television show “New Life Live,” said in a recent column.

Attending a same-sex wedding doesn’t imply approval but instead personal support and love for the marrying couple, according to the Chicago-based Marin Foundation, which works to build bridges between the gay community and conservatives.


READ: Like it or not, most expect gay marriage will sweep the US


Some Catholic bishops have urged parishioners not to attend gay weddings while others have not addressed the question.

While Jesus regularly ate with sinners, Mohler said that “his constant call was to repentance” and in no case did he endorse sin.

Mohler said he never has attended a same-sex wedding and wouldn’t even if one of his children or grandchildren were marrying. In an interview, he said he addressed the question in the book because students and grandparents had asked about it even before the June 26 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.

“I don’t want to underestimate the difficulty of these questions, but I don’t think a faithful Christian can recognize or celebrate … what we don’t think is a marriage,” he said.

Most of Mohler’s new book was written before the Supreme Court ruling. In an afterword, Mohler, who has led Southern Baptist seminary for 22 years, said the decision vilifies those with a traditional view of marriage and places every religious institution in jeopardy.


READ: No ‘therapy,’ but Jesus can change LGBT lives, say evangelical leaders


Yet Mohler doesn’t propose that conservative Christians isolate themselves from gay community.

In one chapter, Mohler asks and answers what he calls hard questions about gay sexuality, such as whether it is OK for Christian parents to let their kids play at the home of children with gay parents. He says it is, as long as the parents instruct their child first on “scriptural authority and sexuality.”

“We should make every effort to develop real and authentic friendships with our LGBT neighbors,” he wrote.

Timothy Love, one of Kentucky’s plaintiffs who won the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide, said Mohler’s advice on boycotting weddings is ironic.

He and Larry Ysunza, who were married Saturday, had a Christian wedding and both have been Christians all of their lives, Love said.

“We are closer to God now more than ever because he has shown us a miracle in modern times, right before our very eyes, and allowed us to have a role in it,” he said. “We look back at the long timeline of our relationship (35 years) and truly know that there has been a hand over us protecting us through this difficult journey. There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

(Wolfson reports for The Louisville Courier-Journal.)

 LM END WOLFSON
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  • Tim

    This guy sounds mentally ill. It’s an obsession with him. Anti-gay prejudice is a cancer in the Christian religion that needs to be cut out. If Christian churches edit – or ignore – the anti-gay prejudice in the bible – then no one will have anything negative to say about Christianity again. It’s those that are comfortable disliking gays, that want it to stay.

  • Jack

    Better yet, boycott all Baptist cult houses, even those where your family members may attend (ESPECIALLY those, in fact).
    Judging by the wholesale abandonment of fundie churches by teens and young adults, that seems to be the path they’re taking. And make no mistake – our country will be better off because of it.

  • Bernardo

    The only sin committed is the idiocy of Mohler. As a reminder for everyone:

    o Those who have studied homosexuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore gays are gay because god made them that way. And “Abrahamics” like Mohler believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the gay members of the human race.

  • MarkE

    So, Reverend Al, the logical consequence of your call for “real” Christians to boycott gay weddings because they’re not “real” marriages as God intended means that “real” Christians shouldn’t attend Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or (shudder) Episcopalian/Lutheran/Presbyterian weddings either. That’ll cut down on your social calendar significantly!

  • Victor Edwards

    Sorry, guy, but God does not “create” human behaviors. He creates human beings, but homosexuality is a set of behaviors, not genetic traits. Even as a heterosexual, I have a depraved nature that tempts me to sin. But I am totally responsible for my response to that temptation. You cannot escape your responsibility for this heinous sin by appealing to some kind of deterministic drive that you have. In fact, you WILL to do such things; all of us do. That is what makes us guilty before God and creates our need for forgiveness which leads to repentance of such sinful behaviors.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, what’s an “Abrahamic?” Is that some original concoction of yours?

  • Kenneth Barnhart

    People need to challenge foolish and ignorant religious leaders when they say stupid things. If a pastor told me to boycott the wedding of my gay son, he would get an ear-ful and never see me again.

  • alison

    It would completely depend on the relationship I had with the person, just like any other wedding. The same would apply to the questionx, “Are they un/equally yoked?” or “Has either of them entered into an unlawful divorce?” Even for Baptists, a same sex marriage is not the only kind of marriage that is unbiblical.

  • Bob

    That’s not all, Tim. The anti-gay prejudice is one of many bad parts of that very bad book with its silly myths. There is much more that is negative to be said about Christianity and about the bible, such as its obvious discrimination against women, its many errors in regard to science, its brutal recommended punishments for “sins” ,and much more. The religion in and of itself is a cancer on the human race. Better to exit the whole thing.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Jack

    Tim, tell that to the various persecutors of Christians around the world today. The persecution has absolutely nothing to do with how any Christian feels about gay marriage.

    A more constructive approach, one which should unite Christians and non-Christians, is to focus more on the brutal persecution of gay people at the hands of radical Islamist tyrants (Iran) and terrorists (ISIS and friends).

  • Jon

    “unlawful” divorce? Divorce is legal. It sounds like you mean “unlawful” according to some religious instruction, like Muslim-sharia or Christian-sharia law. We know a lot of people want to be sure we don’t let that be used as a substitute for actual law. We agree that those have no place in our legal system, right? Or is OK if it’s your religion, but a terrible travesty if it’s someone else’s religion? .

  • Ben in oakland

    So I guess heterosexuality is also a set of behaviors?

    Let’s see. On the one hand there is you, a self proclaimed sinner who lacks perfection.

    On the other hand, there are a large number of churches, including the Catholics and the Mormons, virtually every scientific, medical, social service, and psychological professional organization in the entire civilized world, and the testimony of millions of gay people.

    Who ya gonna believe, Jethro?

  • Ben in oakland

    Out country would be better off, Jack, if the religious right would stop obsessing over sexual issues, like mohler does. Then the religious news sites wouldn’t have to report on it.

  • Ben in oakland

    “Shun your family members” says the self proclaimed proclaimer of “FAMILY VALUES.”

    I think I will just shun southern baptists and their fellow travelers.

  • Ben in oakland

    My posting just disappeared, apparently because it disagreed with victor. Five minutes from posting to disappearance.

    What gives, RNS?

    I think you may be owing your readers an answer. either that, or simply stop allowing any postings on any subject. This is making you look like wing nut daily.

  • Jack

    Bob evidently believes in a “hear-no-evil-see-no-evil” stance regarding genocidal atheist regimes which slaughtered more human beings than those that died in any previous century at the hands of religion.

    Let’s see: Pol Pot’s Killing Fields in Cambodia (“democratic Kampuchea), Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, Stalin’s Soviet Union….and many, many, many others from the last century alone, and of course today’s atheist utopia of North Korea and its “Dear Leader.”

    This grisly gang of godless goons created the equivalent of 10,000 Spanish Inquisitions.

  • Religion News Service welcomes all views, presented in a civil manner. Please post one comment only. Offer your view on the article or issue at hand, not on other commenters. Additional comments by the same person will be removed to maintain a thoughtful comment space where new voices — including people with whom you may disagree — can have their say.

  • Bernardo

    What, no atonement rhetoric? What kind of Christian are you? And forgiveness? Hopefully, you are not referring to the sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession via the RCC?

    A rigorous historic analysis of said sacrament:

    (1a) Matt 16:19
    (1b) Matt 18:18
    (2) John 20:23

    And what do some of the contemporary NT scholars conclude about these passages?:

    Professor JD Crossan’s analysis:

    Item: 375
    Strata: III (80-120 CE)
    Attestation: Double
    Historicity: negative

    See http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=375_Binding_and_Loosing

    See also Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 197-198, 205-206, 575-581. His conclusion: the pa-ssages are historically nil.

  • Richard Rush

    Victor, do you not realize that the overwhelming odds are that, if you had been born in India, for example, the Christian Bible would have zero relevance in your life? Now, you are probably thinking, “but Hindus are also opposed to homosexuality,” and you would be correct, even though it’s irrelevant. So, for a moment, lets assume that Christianity is fully accepting of homosexuality, in which case I’m sure that you would be saying, “the Hindus are wrong.”

    Overwhelmingly, people get their religion via force-fed indoctrination. They don’t reason their way into their religion, and unfortunately, few of them are courageous enough to reason their way out via independent thinking, which has usually been wrung out of them by the time they reach adulthood.

    Keep in mind that I’m referring to major differences in religions, not the shifting from one Christian denomination/sect to another.

  • Bob

    Tim, there is far more that is cancerous and wrong in the Christian religion than just the horrible anti-gay prejudice. The bible also has much more wrong, with its discrimination against women, and the science that it gets far wrong, plus the awful punishments that it recommends for certain “sins”.

    The Christian religion itself is a cancer on human society, as is a certain other major religion, Islam. Let’s start to work to cure humanity of those awful cancers.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Mr. Edwards is dead wrong. Sexual orientation, whether gay, bisexual or non-gay, has been shown by science to be inborn and unchangeable as is race, and psychologists have shown being gay or lesbian is just as healthy and “normal” as being non-gay. Here are just a few of tens of thousands of respected websites (and a citation from Fox News for the doubters) that document this:

    http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
    http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/06/16/172/
    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/17/science/sci-gaybrain17
    http://psych.fullerton.edu/rlippa/bbc_birthorder.htm
    http://www.nbcnews

  • alison

    I’m sorry, I should have clarified. The Bible does forbid people who are divorced for reasons other than adultery or abandonment to remarry. I was just trying to make the point that there are marriages other than same-sex marriages, that the Bible forbids, lest someone think: (1) someone is picking only on those who enter into a same-sex marriage; or (2) that an adulterous marriage is somehow less serious than a same-sex marriage. Both are forbidden in the eyes of God. I should have made it clear that I was referring to the Bible when I used the word “unlawful.” Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Bob

    Tim, there is far, far more that is cancerous and wrong in the Christian religion than just the horrible anti-gay prejudice. The bible also has much more wrong, with its discrimination against women, and the science that it gets far wrong, plus the awful punishments that it recommends for certain “sins”.

    The Christian religion itself is a cancer on human society, as is a certain other major religion, Islam. Let’s start to work to cure humanity of those awful cancers.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • JESUS – HATE THOSE WHO LOVE YOU MOST
    “Hate your parents…hate your life”(Luke 14:26)

    If you want to be sad, be sad for the people who believe this stuff.

  • Pablo

    Better yet, Baptists should beat and disown gay kids on discovery (lots do already). That’s what Jesus would do, right? I mean, they’re only your children. You’re straight, you can just breed and make some new ones. But, pray hard that God sends you a keeper this time, you’re not getting any younger.

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  • Eric

    “Please post one comment only. Offer your view on the article or issue at hand, not on other commenters.”

    Why? Is RNS not interested in dialogue on its articles and the issues they discuss?

  • Eric

    “Christians should not attend a same-sex wedding — even of their own child — because it signals “moral approval” of the union, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in a new book.”

    Christians should not read Mohler’s book because it signals “moral approval” of ignorance.

  • Bernardo

    Max,

    I see you finally found an authentic saying of Jesus. As per some NT scholars, he uttered these words because his family accused him of being out of his mind which of course was true. And yet people, as you noted, still believe this stuff.

    ( Mark 3: 21 “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.”)

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by many contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann’s conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit “touched”. After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today’s world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction?

  • Joel

    I love my family, but I can’t support a ceremony that I think is wrong. I would still embrace my family at other times, but saying “no” is actually ok. Boundaries are healthy. It’s as if in today’s culture the only ones who are “bad” are those who honestly believe something is not good. A true moral compass is non existent…

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  • larry

    So you don’t love your family as much as you love arbitrary and irrational rules or your own personal prejudices. After all you would rather insult and demean members of your family rather than disagree with the spoutings or clergy. Understood.

  • Ben in oakland

    So, not even one of YOUR columns, and we are subject to deletion of comments if you don’t approve.

    What’s the point of offering a discussion of a column if discussion is forbidden?

    Multiple comments by me, if they meet the terms of service, and are not blatantly inciteful of hate or violence, stated in respectful language– exactly how Is it that these prevent other people from commenting?

    You have already Limited comments to 1000 characters. What other limitations, besides that. Are required? Let’s see. bqrq’s comments, greg1’s comments, doc Anthony’s comments, be brave comments– all bigoted in the extreme, were fine for the past year. But actual comments from thoughtful non-bigots, intended to provoke discussion, not hate, are verboten?

    RNS is free to set whatever rules it likes. But if you want those advertising clicks, and expanded readership, and people who are actually INTERESTED in RNS, this isn’t the way to accomplish it.

  • Ben in oakland

    So you would tell your child, on one of the. Let important days of his or her life, that you have no wish to participate. bOundaries are indeed important, but this isn’t a boundary, it’s a border WALL.

    As a great many heterosexual but homophobic parents have discovered, that is never going to make you R child sorry that she is gay. It’s only going to make her sorry that you are her parent.

    For myself, I was a straight A student, an athlete, a successful musician, never gave my parents any trouble, did what I could to make them proud of me. The only thing that mattered to them was that I was gay. Eventually, I understood that their prejudices were far more important to them than their relationship with their son. And wasn’t that just too, too sad?

    I found other parents that loved me and celebrated my life. My parents both pretty much died alone, except for each other. Too sad.

    You reap what you sow.Homohatred doesn’t reap love.

  • Ben in oakland

    But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.

    1 Timothy 5:8.

    I always like to go to my bible for words of wisdom.

  • Bob

    Jack, that’s just your usual rubbish. It has already been thoroughly rebutted elsewhere. Stop trotting it out. Those regimes were essentially theocracies, with Mao et al establishing themselves as supreme beings, and their crimes were not done because of any dictate of atheism. Furthermore, 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Without having an “other” to demonize, Mohler’s brand of right-wing religion would disentigrate overnight. He has a long history of manipulatiojn and lying for fun and profit and his entire christofascistic schtick is based on promoting boogeymen to the rubes. Before Millenials came into adulthood, fear and hatred of LGBTs was almost in America’s DNA but it has all but disappeared except in the most backward environs. Nothing to see here folks; just a carnival barker spewing his sad old con on the suckers.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Joel, I have encountered this “me no endorse no sin” mantra from religious right types many times before. My response is this: I do not believe the assertion that LGBT relationships are “sinful” is based on anything factual. Clearly, if one believes in a diety who is a god of love, then such a god cannot and would never say to people “Yo, 90-95 percent of you: go find somebody to love, make the beast that has two backs, be happy. The rest of you: Not happenin’, folks. Why? because I said so, that’s all.” Such a false god would by definition be the epitome of evilness.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    It’s interesting you nbring up that “unequally yoked” bromide. Did you know that is exactly the same verse the Amish use to justify their practice of not using electricity from a common grid. Note the importance of the last four words of that last sentence – in any utility service, one is joined on a “common grid” with the other customers, be they members of your church or not, members of other religion, businesses whose practices you find sinful, etc. the idea Amish reject electricity is a myth – they have their own generators. Just not on a common grid with the Methodists, atheists, Buddhists, etc. To most non-Amish that is somewhat ridiculous, and so is just about every other invoking of that obtuse verse. It would seem a reasonable interpretation is to acknowledge the challeges of diversity as well as the fact that many fraudsters target right-wing churches: They join up, igratiate them with the members, then suck people into Ponzi schemes.

  • Bro David

    You’ve obviously not studied genetics, nor heard of the field of epigenetics. This is the study of gene expression, turning genes on and off. The most recent identical twin research does point to an epigenetic basis for homosexuality.

    Time to move on from that old lie.

  • Bro David

    Judaism, Christianity and Islam all look to Abraham as a patriarch of their faith and are referred to in scholarly circles as the Abrahamic religions.

  • Jack

    Merely responding and actually refuting are two separate things, Bob. You should learn the difference one of these days.

    As for your response, all you’re saying is that when a dictator rejects God, he becomes a god and tries to play god with his hapless people, exempting himself from every human norm or rule.

    No fooling….It’s also true that one and one make two.

  • Jack

    Wrong as usual, “Jack.” Given your cloistered ideological existence, it’s no surprise that you know as much about what’s going on in the evangelical world as you do about the way things generally work in the real world — which of course is next to nothing.

    And given your rather delicate ego, I fear that if you receive any more thrashings from the more sensible posters on this boards, your personality will fragment further, leading to the creation of more names for yourself, female as well as male.

  • Jack

    We know that Bro David. But I’ve never heard a follower of any of the three being called an “Abrahamic.”

  • Jack

    Ben, come on…..You’re a smart man who has to know better than that. I’ve come on this site at times and have found virtually all of sixteen articles focusing like a laser on sexual politics, even when the immediate news of the day had nothing to do with that.

    Does a certain type of Christian obsess about sexual sins? Sure. Do I like it? Nope. But in a weird sort of way, ultra-fundamentalists and post-1960s leftists are both equally obsessed about sex, albeit for totally different reasons.

  • Jack

    I agree. RNS wants to keep conversations civil, but there are better ways to do it than creating a false equality among all posters. The better way is to come up with a stricter code of civility and enforcing it. I don’t like civility codes because I think they limits freedom of expression, but as a private web site, RNS has the right to do so. And as much as I dislike such codes, they’re better than arbitrarily limiting posters to one post each. They get at the problem in a more direct fashion.

  • Jack

    Let me ask you something, Ben.

    Let’s say that the parents of a man who told his parents he was gay continued to love him in every way. When the son threw a birthday party for his live-in lover, they came. They did not exclude him in any way. They spoke to him on the phone each day, as always. Nothing changed. Father and son still went to alumni events, as they went to the same college and were both proud of it.

    There was just one exception to that pattern:

    When he announced that he would marry his lover once his state allowed it, the parents said they could not come to the wedding. They were not angry or surprised. They just couldn’t do it….because they believed marriage, as opposed to simple union, was reserved for male and female..

    Since then, though, they visit the son and his spouse just as before. Again, nothing changed.

    He asked my opinion….I said his parents were kind & special people & he agreed.

  • Jack

    The question is whether or not his parents were hateful people. It would take a very hardened heart to say yes.

    In the larger world, I think both sides need to understand each other better, but I don’t see it happening. The leap from gay marriage to violation of religious liberties is a colossal mistake. If I were an advocate for gay marriage, I would be shouting from the housetops against that leap. I would say it risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I would say it was hubris on a positively asinine level.

    But the leap has been made and that is of greatest import, more so than even the issue of gay marriage itself.

  • larry

    Your ignorance is duly noted Jack. It is not an uncommon term.

    Hey you learned something new. Go figure.

  • Jack

    No, Larry, it’s supposedly to be used as an adjective, not a noun.

    Calling someone a member of an Abrahamic religion is fine. Calling someone an “Abrahamic” just doesn’t do it.

    Now run along and make up ten new names for yourself.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    I don’t think the assertion the left is also obsessed with sex has any merit.

  • John W

    An orthodox believer reaffirms the 2,000 year-old Christian faith. How shocking

  • Bernardo

    Please note that “Abrahamics” was used between double quotation marks:

    http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/use-double-quotes.aspx

  • Larry

    I take it you are not married. One of the nastiest kinds of conflicts one sees in a marriage are between spouses and parents in-laws.

    I sincerely doubt “nothing changed.” Even among hetero couples such a snub would be the start of in-law/spouse rifts. It already shows the father is willing to disregard the son-in law as a member of the family.

    Even if your hypothetical friend was willing to be OK with his father avoiding the wedding (and any public acknowledgment of the marriage afterwards), you can be certain his husband would not be. The act is insulting to say the least at least for the non-related spouse.

    The kind that simmer with years/decades of passive/aggressive behavior. Your take on it, is awfully rosy and biased to ring true.

    Lets face it, attitudes like yours and Al Mohler’s are meant to intentionally cause family conflict. To intentionally demean and insult loved ones in service of your faith.

  • Shawnie5

    I fail to see what is so stunning about all of this. Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that loyalty and obedience to Him would often trump loyalty to family. “Do not think that I come to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Matt.10.

    It’s simply the way it is. We in the west are so spoiled by years and years of cultural (and often nominal) Christianity that we’ve lost awareness of how very real are the sacrifices to which Christ called the church. Our brethren in the middle east certainly know.

  • Ed

    Jack, it’s obvious what larry meant. Stop nitpicking, you loser.

  • Ben in oakland

    Enough of my comments have disappeared when they violate no terms of service that I can determine that I’m starting to think that think that RNS has no more use for regular and thoughtful commentary than does the baptist or Catholic Church.

    If you want me to leave, RNS, you have come upon a sterling way to accomplish it.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    yah you do bring up that argument a lot–but what I don’t understand about it is, how do the heinous crimes of the regimes you mention make it okay for the church to mistreat gay people?

    But I’ll take it a step further: gay people’s fear and consequent invisibility until recent times make it very hard to gauge how many people have been harmed by the church’s stand on gay people, based as it is on a text originating in a semi-barbarian Bronze-Age society, most of whose mores all of us can be very glad we don’t adhere to anymore.

  • Ben in oakland

    First, Jack, there is no leap from gay marriage to violation of religious liberties. That is simply the bleating of dominionists who are upset to find that they are losing legal dominion over the lives of gay people.

    Second, these situations are far more complex than what you outline. I’m sure there are a few people who fit into it, just as there are a few vendors and state officials who think their personal beliefs about gay people trump law, dignity, good manners, and equality before the law.

    Third, I could only tell you how I would feel. If my husband accepted it, so would I– up to this point. My parents ONCE allowed my boyfriend and I to visit them, some 30-odd years ago. It was very clear what their feelings were, and that they allowed it because they knew they wouldn’t see me otherwise.

    It didn’t take me too long to finally give up on them. In your example, it would take longer. But the result would be the same.

  • Ben in oakland

    As I have said many times, if the religious right would stop up obsessing over their overwrought imaginings about my sex life and what it means to the universe, I would stop being concerned over religion beyond philosophical arguments.

    RNS, whatever it’s faults may be–and they are increasingly obvious– reflect what is going on in the culture. The baptists had 2000 people attend a conference on homosexuality. 2000 gay people didn’t attend a conference on the baptist church.

  • Ben in oakland

    Agreed.

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  • Bob

    Shawnie, the whole Christ-sacrifice story that you keep trying to promote here is a steaming pile of nonsense. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Not only that, but an omnipotent “god” would have known that Jesus wouldn’t really stay dead. That is no sacrifice at all.

    It’s also worth asking why such a claimed benevolent, wonderfully kind, “god” has to put us through thousands of years of anxious waiting before “saving” us from a flawed life that he supposedly created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Bob

    No, Jack, your claims were completely rebutted. And again, those regimes were essentially theocracies, with Mao et al establishing themselves as supreme beings, and their crimes were not done because of any dictate of atheism. As usual, you cannot rebut those points. You have again tried to put words in my mouth in your usual deceptive, dishonest ways, but what I said is not equivalent to what you claim.

    You’ve been caught again, you dirty trickster.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • ben in oakland

    Here is another way to think about it, jack. Maybe RNS will allow it.

    It is VERY telling that these issues–freedom, acceptance, beliefs– only come up when antigay religious people are expected to treat gay people exactly the same way they treat all of the other people they believe are sinning, on the wrong side of god, who reject the entirety of their religious beliefs.

    What if these (e.g.) Catholics refuse to attend the wedding of their son to a non-Catholic Christian, or to a non-Christian, because only Catholic weddings are valid? Somehow, I think we’d call it what it is.

    All this hypothetical does is call attention to their beliefs being more important than their relationship to their son and life partner.

    My aunt belle wanted to disown her only child because he wanted to marry a non-Jew. Fortunately, my father managed to convince her to pull her head out of her nethers. When Howard was dying from cancer a few years later, Wanda was there for him.

  • Jack

    Wrong, Bob. That’s just a tricky way of smuggling in the “no-true-Scot” fallacy. And like all other examples of that fallacy, it falls flat on its face, as do you.

    You want it both ways….you want religious believers to take full responsibility for any and all violence done in religion’s name, but you refuse to take any responsibility for violence done in atheism’s name.

    And again, your claim that atheists assuming godlike powers refutes their claim to be acting as atheists is laughable. From the perspective of religious believers, that’s precisely what we would predict many atheists would do once they amassed great power. For if God truly exists, then to deny Him is to take His place and try to act accordingly, standing above all human laws and restrictions on behavior.

  • Jack

    “Ed,” while time in your case might be running short, you’re never too old to grow up. And let little Larry defend himself; he’s got a voice.

  • Jack

    I can attest that while I disagree with Ben on many things, he has been generally civil. I hope you will not leave, Ben.

  • Jack

    Leave it to Bob the atheist yahoo to trivialize conversations on a complex issue.

    Bob, why do you think that people like Shawnee (from what I can tell from her prior posts) and me, who obviously bear no animus towards gays, and who probably have a greater ideological diversity of friends than you’ll ever have, find ourselves sadly but for some, unexpectedly taking a stand on these issues?

    It’s because we are convinced that the Gospel story is true. And why are we so convinced? I don’t want to speak for Shawnee, but given her posts, I’d say it’s because we both find the evidence extremely (and surprisingly) compelling. This is not some intellectual head game, although it certainly can be intellectually engaging. This is literally about life, death, and eternity, once you accept the premise as true. It means, if it’s true, that we will all stand before God and give an account some day.

    As CS Lewis once wrote, atheism is in the end too simple.

  • Jack

    Ben, there are times when I go on this web site and, again, I see 15 or 16 out of 16 articles on some aspect of sexual politics, using gay-related issues. Some of them are certainly relevant, but often they are severe stretches, reaching the level of self-parody….something that would fit with a Saturday Night Live skit.

  • Bob

    False, Jack. Now, let’s yank you back to the core of your evil Christian beliefs. There is no modern, verifiable evidence that you can produce for the claims of your religion.

    The whole Jesus story that you keep trying to promote here is a steaming pile of nonsense. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Not only that, but an omnipotent “god” would have known that Jesus wouldn’t really stay dead. That is no sacrifice at all.

    It’s also worth asking why such a claimed benevolent, wonderfully kind, “god” has to put us through thousands of years of anxious waiting before “saving” us from a flawed life that he supposedly created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions…

  • Jack

    George, the hard left has always been obsessed about sex, so much so that it redefined what constitutes a liberal vs. a conservative.

    Thus, a person can be liberal on nearly every other issue, but if they’re against abortion or gay marriage, they’re a conservative.

    Likewise, a person can be conservative on nearly every other issue, but if they’re for abortion or gay marriage, they’re liberal.

    If that’s not a reflection of an obsession with sexual issues, then nothing is.

  • Bob

    You on the other hand Jack have been the most persistently insulting and uncivil poster here, as your record plainly shows. Leave soon.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Bob

    Jackie5, again, your Christian tall tale is what is simply false and absurd. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Not only that, but an omnipotent “god” would have known that Jesus wouldn’t really stay dead. That is no sacrifice at all.

    It’s also worth asking why such a claimed benevolent, wonderfully kind, “god” has to put us through thousands of years of anxious waiting before “saving” us from a flawed life that he supposedly created. The Christian beliefs are just plain ridiculous.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains.
    Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Bob

    Hey, at least this one isn’t yet another Pope story.

  • Jack

    Ben, of course there’s a leap. I know gay people, and I have seen other gay people on TV, who have stated in no uncertain terms that while they are for gay marriage, they don’t want bakers or florists being jailed or fined for violating their conscience on gay marriage. Some are absolutely sickened when they see that happening.

    There is an abiding difference between refusing to serve a customer because they are gay and refusing a specific request by a customer. The first is despicable, but the second is far more complex.

  • Jack

    It’s not a hypothetical, Larry. It’s based on the real story of a friend of a friend, both of them gay. I first met the friend way back in 10th grade when I saw him getting beaten up. I was a lot taller than the bully, so when I told the bully to knock it off and pushed him to underscore my point, he complied. I then asked the kid getting bullied what happened. He related, after a while, that he was gay. I took him home and my mom cleaned him up because he was bloodied. I befriended him and of course I was then accused of being gay, which I found amusing. While I was and am an evangelical who had not previously, at least to my knowledge, met a gay person, I hate bullies and have a weakness for underdogs. He was my first education on what it was to be gay.

    It was a friend of his, whom I met years later, whom I was talking about.

  • Jack

    Yes, Bob, for a week, RNS went way overboard with Pope-mania. Agreed on that.

  • Larry

    Jack, your take on the story definitely has the appearance of an outsider to such issues looking in. Tons of confirmation bias.

    What I am talking about is fairly common among all marriages. Parent in-law snubs have a nasty habit of snowballing over the years. Its something you notice when one gets married themselves and when most of your friends start settling down.

    Although your friend may be OK with the snub by his father, one has to look at the non-family spouse. The one who will be dragged into family events with people who he is only related to by marriage. It is more than likely your friend’s husband is not OK with that nor will be over the years.

  • Larry

    “The hard left”?

    Where do you see them?

    Who in the public consciousness do you think falls under such a category?

    Do you have an example of a real public figure who ascribes to the positions you claim?

  • Ben in oakland

    I don’t want to see them fined or jailed, either, Jack. I want them to obey non-discrimination laws, and stop pretending that it is about their sincere religious beliefs. That doesn’t strengthen their case, but weakens it, because we have laws at EVERY level of government which forbid it.

    It is VERY telling, as I have already stated, that the ONLY time this comes up is when they are dealing with gay people. Jesus rejecting jews, demon worshipping hindus, idol worshipping catholics, god-denying atheists– no problem.

  • Ben in oakland

    Jack YOU may have no animus against gay people. shawnie demonstrates clearly that not all bigotry is hate. she has demonstrated it many, many times.

  • Ben in oakland

    Thanks for the kind words, Jack. I try.

    As far as am concerned, RNS needs to decide what kind of a website they wish to have, and post those words very clearly. Removal of comments which are germane, but allowing the antigay bigots to post their calumny repeatedly over months, does not a good website make. Deleting comments after they are made for violating no visible terms of service merely says they wish to be arbitrary.

  • Jack

    Hmmm…..A New Atheist who likes to bully Christians but cries foul when some of them push back…..Hilarious….

  • Jack

    “Mafia? What Mafia? ‘Ey, it’s just a myth, ya know what I mean?”

    Larry, you’re the equivalent of an old mob lawyer denying La Cosa Nostra exists.

    “Da five families [Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Bonano, Colombo]? What five families? Whattya talkin’ about? Leave dem alone!”

    Nah, they don’t exist. Just a figment of prosecutorial imagination, that’s all.

    (Theme of the Godfather plays in background)

  • Jack

    ROFLOL…..Let’s try much of the congressional delegation from NY and California, for starters. Let’s try the dozens of members of Congress who are associated with the “democratic socialist” label.

    Of course, Larry never heard of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), formed by Democrats specifically to step the far-left drift of their party.

    Ah, but it’s just a figment of their imagination, right Larry?

    “What far left drift? I don’t know what you’re tawkin’ about!”

    LOL

  • Shawnie5

    If you don’t mind my asking, Ben, why exactly do you believe Jack has no animus against gays while I do? Jack and I don’t agree on everything but on this subject I’ve yet to notice a point of substantive disagreement between us. Jack, to his credit, has a bit more patience and forbearance than I do with the usual logical fallacies and outright misrepresentation and mangling of scripture and history to be found around here, but that is more a manifestation of my unfortunate tendency toward intellectual elitism and nothing particularly to do with gays.

  • ben in oakland

    Shawnie, we had this discussion a few months ago. I posted a number of comments to your comments where you demonstrated quite clearly that you felt far superior to any gay person as a Christian, as a moral person, as a heterosexual, and a human being. you chose to ignore all of it.

    I don’t intend to go into it with you again.

  • Shawnie5

    “…you chose to ignore all of it.”

    Ultimately, I probably did…because I eventually get bored with people trying to tell me what I “really” think and feel. While I like to belief there are some logical minds on the left, I have rarely ever encountered one who could dialogue without doing this.

    For some inexplicable reason, those on the opposite side of this issue from mine seem desperate to attribute my stand to something other than what it quite simply is — I regard same-sex behavior as sin because the holy scriptures, endorsed by the Lord Jesus Christ, pronounce it so. Not because I feel superior, for it goes without saying that I have many sinful tendencies of my own, and not because of any random “malice” or “phobia” or what-have-you. I’d gladly affirm it if I could find a solid scriptural reason to do so, but none exists and those who scream most loudly that it DOES exist are oddly reticent about elaborating on it…still waiting and hoping.

  • Shawnie5

    LOL! Jack, all this talk about the left “not caring about sex” puts me in mind of a certain extremely radical feminist blogger that John Edwards once hired for his campaign and had to ditch because of her many bigoted statements about Christians that offended part of his constituency. She stated once that part of her pleasure in nonmarital sex was the thought of “how much it pissed off Christians.”

    I didn’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity of the idea of anyone outside of her own bed caring about her sexual activities, or weep for such inner emptiness and hatred.