News Revelations

Pastors rarely asked to wed same-sex couples

The Rev. Jennie Barrington, left, performs the marriage ceremony of Amanda Boyd and Narkisha Scott at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., on May 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jacob Slaton

(RNS) After the long debate before gay marriage was made legal in 2015, a survey shows that since then Protestant pastors have rarely been asked to officiate them.

More than 100,000 same-sex weddings have occurred since the Supreme Court ruling. But only 11 percent of senior church pastors, both mainline and evangelical, report having been asked to perform such a rite, according to a poll by LifeWay Research.

Mainline Protestant clergy were three times as likely as evangelical pastors to have been asked. Presbyterian or Reformed clergy are most likely — 26 percent — to have received a request to marry a same-sex couple, while Baptist pastors, at 1 percent, are the least likely.

“Have you been asked to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony?” Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

“Have you been asked to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony?” Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

Pastors 55 and older were twice as likely as their younger counterparts to be asked to perform a same-sex ceremony.

“Most couples, if they want a church wedding, will ask a pastor they know or who they think will support them,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “For same-sex couples, this appears to be an older Presbyterian pastor.”

Researchers for the Nashville, Tenn., evangelical research firm also found that fewer than half of Protestant senior pastors say their churches permit LGBT people to serve, even in limited ways.

Despite the stereotypes of evangelicals being anti-gay, researchers found that fewer than half of evangelical pastors actually forbid LGBT people from serving in their churches. And mainline pastors, often viewed as LGBT-affirming, were split on whether LGBT people can serve.

“Where can an LGBT person serve in your church?” Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

“Where can an LGBT person serve in your church?” Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

Forty-four percent of all pastors surveyed said LGBT people can serve in “helping or serving roles.” Fewer said they could hold more prominent public positions, such as leadership roles (33 percent), teaching (32 percent) or leading worship (32 percent).

The findings, based on a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors from March 9-24, 2016, had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.


About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • “But only 11 percent of senior church pastors, both mainline and evangelical, report having been asked to perform such a rite, according to a poll by LifeWay Research.”

    I don’t know why this is billed as “only”. 11% is pretty much what one statistically would expect based on the demographics and amount LGBT persons in society.

  • Pastors, if you officiate at a homosexual wedding, you ARE responsible for your sin and mess, and also you’re responsible for trapping people (people who God loves), in yet more sin and mess.

    You’re supposed to be working for God, but now you’ve signed up for OLD SCRATCH’S dirty payroll !!

    You know what the Bible says in 1 Cor. 6:9-11, yet you give no warning of what’s at stake for them, neither do you offer them the infinite power of Jesus Himself to save, heal, and cleanse them (verse 11). Instead you want them to keep on sliding headfirst towards Hades?

    Look at that weakling pastor in the above photograph. She doesn’t even know what that photograph is saying about her. Forget about the courts and politics, we just need some REAL pastors up in here !!!!!

  • This demonstrates how poorly affirming sects are in advertising their positions or availability. One knows the bigoted sects won’t do it as a matter of course and few mainline sects are quick to call attention to whether they do it.

    If the NALT (not all like that) sects were more vocal, the figures would be much higher.

  • No reason to be afraid. The pastors passing off a ceremony that let’s these people think they are married, are the ones hurting them. Being told the truth is a life changing experience that will be accompanied by blessings innumerable, love – like you’ve never felt it, problems that you will have God’s help with, and it all culminates in Heaven. No doom. No reason to be afraid. I would be more afraid of someone who would let them think they are married. That starts off with a lie, and then the lies increase rapidly. Jesus is better.

  • In the past 2-1/2 years I have attended maybe a half-dozen same-sex weddings. Only one had a religious component (and, interestingly, a secular officiant, as well). I can’t say that I blame the LGBT community for not having religious marriage ceremonies. After decades of abuse and vitriol spewed at the LGBT community, along with active efforts to curtail secular civil marriage, I am little surprised.

    Even to this day there are these idiotic bills proposed to Congress to “protect the clergy.” From what? Since when in all of USA history has a church been forced by legislation or the Courts to perform ANY religious ceremony? Ceremonies are symbolic and legally meaningless unless a state-issued marriage license is signed-off by the presiding officiant of the wedding.

    I am surprised even 11% of the LGBT community would want to partake of a religious marriage ceremony.

  • Fortunately marriage in the United States is secular. Clergy must be certified or licensed by the state and register the marriage with the civil authorities.

  • I would guess that many understand that it is still considered a sin in the Bible and feel no need to the push the issue within the Church. I really respect that attitude.

  • Sandi, nobody ever has to give a flying s–t what you or your religion says about the legal civil marriage of any couple. Its nice you feel the need to give your input. But nobody is bothering to ask you for it.

  • You are an extremely rude and arrogant individual, if you can’t disagree civilly, spare the rest of us your bile and vitriol, which is merely bigotry of another shade.

  • Rudeness and incivility begets rudeness and incivility. What is galling is how obnoxious fundamentalist types seek to constantly give offense, but are so surprised to see it returned in kind.

    Have I ever been so nasty with you? I don’t think so. If I have, then apologies are in order. You are fairly civil and polite.

    Once in a while it would help if people understood the “silver rule”. Don’t treat others how you would not want to be treated. 🙂

  • In my case, if you ever see a news story about me officiating at a homosexual wedding, I give you (Spuddie) full permission to jump on me with rudeness and incivility and fresh jalapenos.

    (But be sure to remind me of 1 Cor. 6:9-11 along the way, so I can come back to my barely functioning senses and stop *apostasizing* in front of everybody!!)

  • Lol. But if you are doing that and you live in the northeast, I know plenty of people who might need your services.

  • Okee dokee!

    Your denial of legal fact is… cute. Irrational, but cute.

    Fear of, and groveling before, an angry sky monster is nothing but doom… and that’s all your mythology offers.

  • No need to grovel in front of anything. You repent of your sin and ask Jesus into your heart. He does the rest of the work.

  • Floyd, are you telling us that you didn’t love the sight of two African-American women getting married by a white female pastor in a Southern courthouse?
    If it makes you feel better, the pastor is a Unitarian Universalist minister.

  • Sandi, please, please do some research, and learn that being LBGTQA and I are inborn characteristics. over which no one has any control. If you are heterosexual you cannot change that orientation, nor can our LBGTQAI sisters and brothers change theirs.

  • You do know, Floydlee, that the NT was primarily written by Jewish men, and some who may have been Greek, (Gospel of John). Jewish men followed dictates of the Jewish religion, Jesus, being a political “trouble maker,” was crucified for going against laws of the day. That was the how the people of that day “took care of those with whom they had a violent disagreement.”
    Homosexuality, even in the O.T. was rarely mentioned, what some feel is about homosexuality is really about hospitality.

  • Actually, no reputable, God fearing church would marry these homosexuals. Homosexuality is a sin and the church does not endorse sin. We are here to help people have a relationship with Jesus and end up in Heaven, not to endorse sin. “The wages of sin are death”.

  • Sandi, what on earth makes you think that people choose their sexual orientation? It is true that people decide what to do with their orientations, but the orientation itself is discovered, not chosen.

  • “orientation” is a term used to “normalize” immorality. At present, in Canada, “scientists” are asserting that there is a pedophilia orientation.
    Homosexuality is a choice.

  • Orientation change has already happened, sorry. Just ask the formerly lesbian wife of New York City’s mayor.

    She doesn’t even credit God or Jesus for her orientation change. As soon as she met up with Mr. Bill De Blasio, it was just plain Bye-Bye Lesbianism, period !!

  • So is wearing mixed fabrics. Any cotton-poly blends in your closet?

    More to the point, Jesus says nothing about homosexuality, but he does, explicitly condemn divorce and remarriage, something that most protestant churches have no problem with. You are cherry picking your arguments.

  • What about all those who officiate in a second marriage? That’s a much more common occurrence, and one that Jesus, not Paul, condemned

  • Money. Find an enemy, something to be afraid of, someone to blame for their problems and the people will come in and empty their wallets.

  • I am a priest of a non christianist sect. I hoped to add comment in this conversation. @Sandi, you see, you have been making statements from a perspective most of us don’t share. You insist everything at your church is truth and all else is false. In your church, homosexuals are sinful, and you’re perfect. But many of us, American tax-paying citizens, feel we don’t have to live in a society under your church’s rules. When you approach news items, like the one above, with the insistence that your church-view should be the law view, you act as if your church has conquered us and made your laws over ours. We live somehow in the nation you occupied and converted and all law should reflect that war you won.

    Before you mention christ won that war, stop. He was never here. He led no armies. He never stood in victory here and forced all citizens to comply with his Iron Will.

    The truth is that there are many ways to witness the Divine and in the end we should find a middle world of law that accommodates us all. Your church has not occupied America and replaced our laws and traditions, and our laws and traditions are not written by you or your church. We outside your church remain stunned that you need to be reminded of this. You did not enter this conversation in good faith to recommend one policy over another, but to smugly remind everyone that you don’t consider American law important if it is not marching lockstep with your church. In that spirit Spuddie is trying to remind you that this mode of speech is insulting, smug, and in the end a preparation and rehearsal to war between us.

    Could you be so thin of compassion for others witness of the world and the Divine in it, to smugly consider your way the only way and all others deserving of flames? If so, you will be guaranteed unhappiness, because the world simply does not match your church view, never has, and never will.

  • Oh that’s just so sweet. A white UU pastor happily sending a couple of young black women straight to Hades on the “A” train. Just lovely!

    Something’s skewed-up here. Where are these two women’s mama’s? Where’s their aunties? They KNOW they’re messin’ up on God. Somebody annul the mess already!!

  • Doc is a black man who objects to discrimination against black people on the basis of sincere religious belief, but thinks it is fine if it is directed at gay people.

  • Well, in your beliefs, I’m sure that is true. But, other people believe otherwise, just as vehemently as you believe yours.

    My point is that from the viewpoint of legal, civil, marriage, what churches believe or don’t believe is completely irrelevant. The recent LEGAL battles have been all about CIVIL marriage. So, any gay couple wishing to marry in a church should discuss it all with that that church, but from the legal standpoint it is not a concern.

    Churches are not needed, and in fact, are not a part of civil marriage. For example, two straight atheists can go to City Hall, obtain a state-issued marriage license, find a judge, be married by that judge, and their marriage is recognized by all States, the Feds, and all other countries. This has been this way for as long as I can remember and is a long-used plot in many movies. Do recall the young couple running off to elope and to be married by a Justice of the Peace? A JP is a government official, not religiously affiliated, and performs civil (not religious) marriage ceremonies.

    The long-time fight for years – which always amazed me – involved a lot of pushback from the churches on the issue of gay marriage. However, in reality, civil marriage (which is all about the law and not religion) has nothing to do with churches! The churches didn’t even have a dog in this fight yet they thought they did.

    Here’s how this is going to work: Gay couples can get legally married in all 50 states. Where a gay couple wishes a religious ceremony in a church is up to that couple and the church – they work that out. But, none of it has a lick to do with the legal aspects of it.

    It’s really and open-and-shut legal case. Oh, and by the way, no one is pushing for churches to be “forced” to perform a gay wedding. That is such an eye-roll. Never in the history of the USA has a church or religion been forced by legislation or the Courts to perform ANY type of religious ceremony. We have the First Amendment that guarantees that.

  • Quite correct. And, I think over the years, people have grown to assume a church is required because of a pastor acting as an agent for the State. But, in reality, the pastor is simply “signing off” that the couple agreed to the terms of the marriage license and that the two people who presented themselves, in fact, are those persons.

    If one were to go to some countries in Europe, the difference would be more obvious. A young couple usually goes to City Hall to be legally married by the State. They may optionally go to a church for a religious ceremony. Here, we simply combine those two steps for the convenience and cost savings for all concerned. It does lead to some misunderstandings, obviously.

  • A choice? Okay, standard old line: When did you choose to be straight? At what point did you say, “Gosh, I have a choice. I think I will be straight.”

  • mixed fabrics is a Jewish item. I am a Christian.
    Christ taught about homosexuality from Genesis to the Book of Revelation and never once endorsed it.
    I’m not divorced and no one has taken up a cause to say it isn’t a sin.

  • lots of evidence. You breathe air; don’t you? You know it exists because there is wind, but you don’t see wind. Christ created both.

  • God said that marriage is a man and a woman – so the point is moot. Actually, there is a couple in Great Britain trying to force the church to marry them. Don’t have a link though. Sorry.

  • Of course us older people remember when conservative Evangelicals where telling us that miscegenation and interracial marriage were dreadful, unnatural sins that were tops on God’s hate the sins list. They had dozens of proof texts, such as Acts 17:26 etc, and claims that God caused Noah’s Flood and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the “unnatural” sin of miscegenation.

    Interesting how conservatives apparently think that the Bible mostly exists to privilege themselves at the expense of everyone else.

  • non sequitur of the year.

    Here’s another, just for you, courtesy of someone else.

    Your post demonstrates the prideful condescension typical of people enslaved to a sin they love too much to give up. It shows a need to exalt yourself at the expense of others, even though you are unwilling or unable to address the issues raised, you simply draw attention to yourself in a way that makes you feel superior

  • Acts 17:26English Standard Version (ESV)
    26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” You need to tell me how that endorses racism.
    Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with miscegenation. There were no righteous people found there, so the Lord destroyed them.

  • And, they won’t succeed in that effort. But, our laws are different and this issue was resolved with the First Amendment.

  • Of course if you replace “homosexual” with “mixed-race,” us older people have heard it all before.

    Disparaging loving adult minority couples as just being about living a sin that God hates, has been done before.

    The photograph says that the Pastor is a loving and compassionate person.

  • But I don’t exalt myself. I just tell you what Christ said. You have a problem with the truth Ben. I hope to see you resolve that before it’s too late.

  • Pedophilia is a paraphilia, which are sexually predatory behaviors. One might have an orientation for sexual predation, but as that don’t involve informed adult consent, shouldn’t be compared with loving, mutually consensual adult relationships. Rape, statutory or not, is about establishing complete control over another,which is not the same thing as adult consent, love and respect.

    What is it about the concept of “consenting adults” that conservatives don’t understand? They didn’t understand it when it came to interracial couples back when I was young, and they still don’t when it comes to same-sex couples today.

  • “What is it about the concept of “consenting adults” that conservatives don’t understand?” Because it is generally used as an excuse to try to condone immorality.

  • You must not believe in the free will of the married couple. they are free to sin or prosper just as before. I urge pastors to remain in contact with their people especially the people they marry. Be on hand to advise and guide. but if they reject you after the service, you are not bound or responsible to their sin.

    You seem able to quote scripture, but like Sandi you act as if you have conquered all of America and we are required to see everything your way. Your church has not occupied America and replaced our laws and
    traditions, and our laws and traditions are not written by you or your
    church. These people are celebrating two people in love and devoting their lives together. Hate keeps your from seeing this. Please notice your hate.

    BTW why do christianists visit the Greek god of the underworld? (sliding headfirst towards Hades?)

  • So you would not be hold to Jewish laws, but will hold everyone in the world to your christianist laws? You must be a sad and unhappy lady, or will be when your children abandon you. Be clear, that is not my wish for your future, But I can’t see how you will avoid that while you keep acting out of hate and failing to see that hate. You have made your religion the veil to treat people with anger and incivility and enjoy condemning them to flames. These divisions lead to pain and war and always have.

    I know many bright and love filled Christians and they seem to find other things to talk about. If you feel a burning desire to rebut me here, pay attention to that burning. Those are the flames i would be concerned about.

  • 2 Samuel 12:7-8
    Thus saith the LORD God of Israel … I gave thee … thy master’s wives….

    1 Kings 11:2-3
    Solomon … had seven hundred wives … and three hundred concubines.

    1 Chronicles 4:5
    And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.

    2 Chronicles 11:21
    Rehoboam … took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines.

    2 Chronicles 13:21
    But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives….

    Really Sandi, you should read more

  • Matthew 19:5 – New International Version
    and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

    Genesis 2:24 – New International Version
    That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    Ephesians 5:31 – New International Version
    “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

    God allowed some to marry more, but it was not His intention for marriage, and Jesus made that very clear in the New Testament.
    With your train of thought, because God allowed some people to murder, He would be
    accepting of murder, and we know that He is not.
    With the marriage incident, not one of those situations was positive.

  • Christ fulfilled the Jewish laws that He gave in the Old Testament, except for the moral laws which He brought into the New Testament: Matthew 15:19: For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.20 These are what defile you.” That’s what Jesus said about homosexuality.

    I don’t condemn. I just report what Christ said to help people. One day, it will matter to you.

  • Really?! Wow… Prove it made both.

    I can see wind with the right equipment. That is such a silly statement. Going to talk bananas now?

  • Well you have studied parts. I believe this succeeds in proving contradictions and confusions – god says alot of different things for different people. Some get multiple wives and sliding scale arrangements, some have a line to tow.

    However you could Conquer the rest of the world and force them to believe as you and you can make all the laws just like your picture of what you think the bible says.

    Until then, you might try to work with the undeniable fact there are many other people believing many other things living in the USA. If you were trying to get them to believe as you do, fear of reprisal and damnation will get you nowhere. it seems for now that America is happy to set aside your grumpy angry religion and do as they please – enjoy their Life, Liberty and Pursuit of the Happiness, the happiness you want to wipe out.

    I suspect you will never come to these terms, but I feel it necessary to define what side you truly are on.

    Stop the hate Sandi. please. Jesus sees through your game. You take his name to justify your hate. You know you can not get away with that level of dishonesty if Jesus is the God you think he is.

  • Oh, puh-leeze. You are evading the question. It was really simple: When did you CHOOSE to be straight? Apparently, since we CHOOSE to be gay, there must have been a time that the decision was presented to you.

    In a nutshell, I am not going to change your mind about this, nor you change mine. Your spook-in-the-sky says I’m going to burn in Hell. I conferred with Zeus, Thor, and Ra – they all agree with me.

  • Perhaps a better example of the verses cited to support anti-miscegenation laws would be Genesis 28:1: “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” Or perhaps Deuteronomy 7:2-3: “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. That commandment (and others dealing with the Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites, and Perizzites) directed the Jews to kill every adult, youth, child, infant and newborn of those tribes, and intermarriage with them was explicitly prohibited.

  • That’s right Judge. The Sodom and Gomorrah story has been completely distorted. Sex is mentioned only as the form of violence. The fact that it was sexual is incidental. In the following 4 or 5 biblical mentions of the story sex is never mentioned because it was not important, not the point. It was about hospitality, taking care of the stranger, as you said.

    If it was all about sex, it seems odd that it was never again mentioned in ensuing references in the bible.

  • I appreciate your reply. you duty to your faith is strong. I will continue to disagree though. you have demonstrated expertise in bible study and get an “F” in humanity. you have a clever side step for every example within your own book that you are acting out of hate and turning your religion into a cardboard cutout to be politically active against gay marriage. You have mentioned nothing Christlike, just condemnation. And when called on it, another side step saying you’re just passing the message.

    When I talk to young people today they think Christianity is about hating gays and not getting an abortion. When I speak to devout Christians they instantly apologize and say, “OH sorry, I’m not one of those crazy hating ones.” How did you get reduced to this?

    Remember this one? “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” Well not any more. We know you by your grumpy faces, condemnation and fear and anger. You know God so well you can pronounce us damned? That takes potatoes lady.

    You still won’t face what motivates you to get on here and say we all have to follow your church’s rules. You fail to see the hostility involved.

    In truth, I wish you true contemplation over this exchange and a life of happiness. i do. I do not aim to call you names or belittle your sincerity in hope, enjoy your day.


  • Love is also telling people the truth so they do not die in their sins, my friend. Blessings to you
    Close as I can find, the scripture that quote was taken from was:
    John 13:35
    English Standard Version
    “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    Love does not let people die when one can help them. Too many people read the trash on the internet and use it as justification for their wrongs, Eric. I want to assure that people know there is a way out.

  • Sandi, homosexuality — like heterosexuality– is neither moral nor immoral; it is what each of us does with our orientation that can be evaluated. And let me remind you that Jesus implies, and Paul makes explicit, that marriage is, at best, a poor second to celibacy. Jesus said “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19) Paul said “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. ” (1 Corinthians)

  • Conservative Evangelicals read Acts 17:26 as mandate for race separation. The races were allotted their naturally separate places on earth; therefore, God hates “unnatural” race-mixing.

    It was a popular proof text with the suit and tie segregationist crowd, like Billy Graham’s father in law, Dr. L. Nelson Bell, founder of the “Southern Presbyterian Journal” (now WORLD) and co-founder of “Christianity Today.” Dr. Bell, if memory serves from research I did awhile back, even quoted it in a “LIFE Magazine” article.

    Finis Dake had a list of proof texts in his ’30 Reasons for Segregation of Races by Finis Dake Acts 17:26,’ which was only removed from his famous ‘Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible’ in 1999, if memory serves. You can find it on racist websites if you can hold your nose long enough to read it.

    Of course “race” is a much abused, modern-era social construct that evolved to justify a white supremacist caste system. (See the now classic 1968 book, ‘White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812’ by Winthrop Jordan, for starters)

    Conservative Protestants back when I was young, generally regarded “miscegenation” as something that no righteous person would ever do. They assumed that the Sodomites would be swarthy and that the angels would be fair complected. So to them, the destruction of the Cities on the Plain had everything to do with race mixing. Miscegenation was proof of a lack of righteous people. (Pay no attention to the attempted gang rape which graphically illustrates the abuse and lack of hospitality towards strangers.)

    Of course rape has nothing to do with sexual orientation and mutually consensual adult relationships, despite what conservative Evangelicals are claiming about the story or Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • I am very open to that conversation. Honored you asked. It’s my suspicion that you and I have more in common than different. Any links you provide I promise I will read with an open mind.

    I would offer you same, but my tradition has no central book. I offer you the warm gentle blessings of Freya and Freyr in return.

  • A generally law abiding group of people that consists of 5% or so of the population, and which have had to bear a lot of unjust and dangerous minority stress, are certainly a “minority.”

  • “Homosexuality” is a much abused, modern era social construct (conceptualized in the late 1860’s) with a lot of long discredited scientific baggage.

    Despite that, certain people continue to abuse it to privilege themselves at the expense of minority sexual orientations and gender identity people.

    As sexology goes, the concept of “homosexuality” is too blurry, too broad and too limiting, I think, and doesn’t really mesh well with modern theories of identity formation.

  • a) The term ‘homosexuality’ is not mentioned in either the Jewish or Christian Bibles.
    b) The concept of homosexuality –the adult sexual desire for the same sex– was unknown to the Ancient and Classical worlds. Their understanding of sexuality was based on actions –penetrator vs penetrated– not on the object of affection. you cannot overlay modern concepts on ancient texts; it’s like forcing new wine into old wineskins.
    c) Same-gender sexual activity in the Ancient and Classical worlds was most frequently seen in the context of 1) pagan worship and 2) wars of conquest. The vast majority of students of the Jewish and Christian Bibles understand the Mosaic and Pauline prohibitions on same-gender sexual activity as part of the ‘separateness’ of the Jewish and Christian communities from their pagan neighbors.

  • I’m sorry, sin is not a minority – particularly when Jesus said that He would forgive and heal them of it.

  • Pedophilia is a dangerous paraphillia. Which if you’re going to use the “orientation’ word, would be an orientation to dangerous sexual predation. Rape is about completely controlling a person, enslaving them to your will.

    So it’s very unlike a Gay couple’s loving relationship.

  • Matthew 28:16-20English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Great Commission
    16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Disparaging minority adult relationships as just being about “sin” is an old racist tactic. You should be ashamed of yourself for repeating it to dehumanize a multi-ethnic minority group.

  • No dehumanization involved. Romans 3:23 – New International Version
    “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” It just shows they need Jesus and the forgiveness He offers.

  • Not to mention that eunuchs were a discriminated against sexual minority generally thought not all that given to procreation.

  • “Straight” is a social construct that humans created. It did not exist in biblical times. Christ said nothing about homosexuality, an older modern era social construct, c late 1860’s.

  • Chirlane McCray doesn’t like labels. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as bisexuality. A bisexual has a romantic attraction to the person regardless of that person’s sex.

    As she said in an ‘Essence’ interview:

    “I came out at 17. I hadn’t really dated any men. I thought, Whoa, what is this? But I also didn’t think, Oh, now I’m attracted to men. I was attracted to Bill. He felt like the perfect person for me. For two people who look so different, we have a lot in common. We are a very conventional, unconventional couple.”

    (‘Chirlane McCray: From Gay Trailblazer to Politician’s Wife,’ By Linda Villarosa
    May, 09, 2013)

  • I applaud you casting your comments in terms of love. Thank you. I would only ask that you remember this love in future posts. No one wins a flame war, and its my hope we are not doing this. I worry when Christians insist our laws must match their church law. We are a nation of many beliefs and means. If we continue with the presumption that our nation must be a christianist theocracy, we should be prepared for internal war. If we unite in love, we all win.

    I receive your blessing with humility and thank you.

  • As sinners, a Christian theocracy would be quite difficult. As risen saints, it will be Heaven. 🙂 I pray that you one day learn the value of that.

  • “reputable” and “God fearing” would be an oxymoron. Fortunately, all do not have to abide by your superstitious beliefs.

  • Our social concept of “race” didn’t exist then. His wife’s family was apparently from Median, which would mean that her family was from the northwest Arabian peninsula. Egypt was very cosmopolitan.

    However, in Numbers, Moses was criticized for marrying a Cushite wife. Which means that she might have been of Nubian or Ethiopian descent. However, “Cush” can also refer to an area on the Arabian peninsula, like Median , that spanned the Red Sea to include an area on the African side. Both sides of the Red Sea were intimately tied together in trade and intermarried ruling families, I think. So you would have West Asians and East Africans making modern concepts of race kind of meaningless.

    Interestingly, Zipporah’s father is regarded as the founder of the Druze religion,. also a West Asian Abrahamic monotheistic religion.

  • Please define “sin” for us. An act that your god disapproves of? So what. We do not believe in your god, therefore, no sin. You commit sins against Hannuman and the Great JuJu of the Sea every day…are you concerned?

  • Other than the dissension, this is my knowledge on the subject:

    Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
    Miriam, as a prophetess (compare Exodus 15:20-21) no less than as the sister of Moses and Aaron, took the first rank among the women of Israel; and Aaron may be regarded as the ecclesiastical head of the whole nation. But instead of being grateful for these high dignities they challenged the special vocation of Moses and the exclusive authority which God had assigned to him. Miriam was the instigator, from the fact that her name stands conspicuously first Numbers 12:1, and that the punishment Numbers 12:10 fell on her alone. She probably considered herself as supplanted, and that too by a foreigner. Aaron was misled this time by the urgency of his sister, as once before Exodus 32 by that of the people.
    Numbers 12:1

    The Ethiopian woman whom he had married – (Hebrew, “Cushite,” compare Genesis 2:13; Genesis 10:6) It is likely that Zipporah Exodus 2:21 was dead, and that Miriam in consequence expected to have greater influence than ever with Moses. Her disappointment at his second marriage would consequently be very great.

    The marriage of Moses with a woman descended from Ham was not prohibited, so long as she was not of the stock of Canaan (compare Exodus 34:11-16); but it would at any time have been offensive to that intense nationality which characterized the Jews. The Christian fathers note in the successive marriage of Moses with a Midianite and an Ethiopian a foreshadowing of the future extension to the Gentiles of God’s covenant and its promises (compare Psalm 45:9 ff; Sol 1:4 ff); and in the complaining of Miriam and Aaron a type of the discontent of the Jews because of such extension: compare Luke 15:29-30.

    Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
    (1) And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses.—Miriam appears to have been the leader in this insurrection against the authority of Moses. Her name occurs before that of Aaron, either as the nearer or as the more prominent subject; and the verb which is rendered “spake” is in the feminine gender. Moreover, the judgment which was inflicted (Numbers 12:10) fell upon Miriam, not upon Aaron. who seems to have yielded to the suggestions of Miriam, as he had previously done to the request of the Israelites in regard to the golden calf.

    Because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married.—Some suppose that the reference is to Zipporah, who may have been included amongst the Asiatic division of the Ethiopians, or Cushites (comp. Habakkuk 3:7, where the tents of Cushan, or Cush, are coupled with the curtains of Midian), and that the occasion of the opposition to Moses was the undue influence which he is supposed to have allowed Hobab and other members of Zipporah’s family to exercise over him. This supposition, however, seems improbable on many accounts. The words, “for he had married an Ethiopian (or Cushite) woman,” naturally point to some recent occurrence, not to one which had taken place more than forty years previously, and which is, therefore, very unlikely to have given occasion to the murmuring of Miriam and Aaron at this time. Moreover, the murmuring is expressly connected with the Cushite herself, not with any of the subsequent or incidental results of the marriage. It seems, therefore, much more probable that Zipporah was dead, and that Moses had married one of the African Cushites who had accompanied the Israelites in their march out of Egypt, or one of the Cushites who dwelt in Arabia, and who were found at this time in the neighbourhood of Sinai. A similar marriage had been contracted by Joseph, and such marriages were not forbidden by the Law, which prohibited marriage with the Canaanites (Exodus 34:16).

    That is the best response I can provide. Blessings.

  • Sin is not meeting the mark that Christ wishes for us. When we choose to defy His wishes and sin, we hurt the One who created us to love us and to be loved by us in return. A very, very simplistic definition for you Tony

  • Look Sandy, you’ve demonstrated very clearly here that you know everything and have all the answers and refuse to listen to anyone else. So just go ahead with that and enjoy your self-righteousness. Don’t let me slow you down. I’ve learned it’s a waste of my time and energy to engage someone like you.

  • I would rather know that I assured you knew the truth. That helps both you, another reader and me. If that is self righteous, then guilty. Too many people believed the errors you asserted and were hurt by them and missed out on Jesus’ blessings due to that.

  • absolutely. no disagreement.
    One could argue paraphilia versus orientation, but having had some experience in the field, I would go with orientation. Per Nicholas groth, one of the foremost experts in the field, pedophiles come in two flavors– fixated and regressed. Regressed pedophiles are normally oriented towards adults, but for whatever reason they have, will turn to children. They would be proper paraphiliacs. Fixated pedophiles, however, much more the typical molester in most people’s minds, are exclusively oriented towards children.
    Rape is a good indicator of the difference. You can be a rapist AND be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual– or pedophile.

  • The racists were also fond of the “curse of Ham,” which in their minds anyway, made Black people the descendants of Ham’s son Canaan, and therefore cursed to serve the blessed sons of the father of Europeans, Japheth.

    I have an ABeka test book that really wants home-schoolers and fundamentalist school students to know that it was Ham and co. that immigrated to Africa after the Noachian Flood. The authors were apparently unconcerned about where Noah’s other sons went as I don’t remember any questions about them.

    That implies, of course, that “cursed” Canaanite humans immigrated to an empty African continent… that all of us modern humans originated from Mount Ararat in the Armenian uplands. That is, of course, a white supremacist conceit.

    Not that one will ever find Noah’s Ark, but I would look, if I were looking, at the bottom of Lake Van. It would be much easier to disembark from a floating ship on the shore of a lake, rather than risk elevation sickness and falls on the steep slopes of Mount Ararat. Watch out for the Lake Van Monster!

  • She was solid lesbian activist for nearly two decades, Ben. Then BOOM! Meet the mayor, end of lesbianism. (And no spare tires either!)

    Nobody saw that change coming.

    Who’s to say that the same thing won’t happen to YOU next week, Ben?

    (Wouldn’t be the first time a couple of long-time gay guys suddenly BREAK UP — sometimes it happens after one of them becomes a Christian. Go figure!)

  • For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

    The fact that you claim that mixed fabrics are “a Jewish item”, and then in your next sentence claim that Genesis is still relevant is clear evidence of your hypocrisy. The exact same section that refers to homosexuality in Leviticus uses the exact same terms to refer to eating shellfish. The fact that you follow one, and not the other, is pure cherry picking.

    Oh, and no, homosexuality is not taught against in Genesis. I presume you are referring to the story of Sodom in Genesis 19, but that is clarified in Ezekiel 19:49.

    Now, this was the sin of your sister, Sodom. She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, they did not help the poor and needy.

    The sin was mistreating travelers. The fact that the proposed mistreatment was homosexual gang rape is not the point, unless you believe that heterosexual gang rape is somehow acceptable.

    The only other places where same sex marriage are mentioned are both by Paul, and one of those is in the same passage where he speaks against marriage in all forms, not just same sex attraction. Contrary to the teachings of the church fathers who selected the books of the bible, Paul is not a reliable source for the teachings of Jesus.

    Finally, I assume you aren’t gay married either. The fact that you aren’t has nothing to do with whether or not it is sinful. And one entire branch of the protestant church is based on divorce not being sinful, see Henry VIII and the formation of the Anglican Church. I don’t know exactly which denominational group you come from, but almost all modern evangelical groups owe their existence to that particular split. So yes, people have taken up a cause to say it isn’t a sin, and you are descended from them.

  • You been watching too much “Clash Of The Titans” on the late night TV.

    Meanshile, the biblical Hades is far worse than some cheap grade-B special effects mythology tomfoolery from CGI Central.

    So no hatred no hoolymagoo, but these fake pastors and pastor-ettes who are soiling their own clergy collars around here (again, see the nasty photograph), had BETTER start taking note of the Bible, or else they’ll just have to fry their little ecclesiastical bacons in the good old BRIMSTONE skillet !!!!

  • Genesis will always be relevant. It is our beginning. No hypocrisy needed, my friend.
    I suggest that you read Ezekiel 19:50 along with 19:49,
    Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire
    2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);
    You also forget that God was concerned about what He was hearing about Sodom and Gomorrah and sent the angels to check it out. Homosexuality was rampant long before the visitors arrived for the whole town to be homosexual.

    You are right. The sin was mistreating travellers – trying to break the door down to have sex with them is mistreating them. Gang rape was not their intention until they were stopped by Job. If you remember, the homosexuals also turned down heterosexual sex Job offered his daughters. They wanted homosexual sex Dan. That also was their sin. The whole town came out for homosexual sex and were blinded because they would not take no for an answer.
    Then, God destroyed them because of their unrighteousness – that’s a little more than being inhospitable.

    Paul spoke for Jesus. Galatians 1:11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to[e] me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” Church tradition asserts that Paul spent 3 years in Arabia learning from Jesus.
    No one in the protestant church is trying to assert that divorce is not a sin – in some circumstances, it isn’t.
    People need to be educated so they don’t believe the same errors you have. Blessings Dan. I hope this helped you.

  • I looked up your shellfish problem:

    Leviticus 11:9-12English Standard Version (ESV)

    9 “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. 10 But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. 11 You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. 12 Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.

    the answer:

    Acts 10:9-16English Standard Version (ESV)

    Peter’s Vision

    9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[a] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

  • Why do people bring up Ezekiel 19:49 without mentioning Ezekiel 19:50?
    You know that the verse 19:50 says what LGBT activists don’t wanna hear.

  • Ezekiel 19:50 says that they committed an abomination. Exactly what the abomination was, it does not say. Nor are we told that it was a sexual one, but perhaps it was. If so, we have only to look at the original story in Genesis 19 to discover what it was: the attempt of the entire male population of the city to subject God’s messengers to homosexual gang-rape (Genesis 19:4-5). Ordinary consensual gay relationships? Nope, they don’t get so much as a passing mention, either in the original Genesis narrative or anywhere else in the Bible that Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to.

  • So what was the “perversion” referred to in Jude 7? We are told that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah went away after “sarkos heteras” – which the KJV has translated as “strange flesh”. The Greek word “heteras” means not just “other” or “different” in the sense of “not the same” but “QUALITATIVELY different” (which is why sexual attraction to people of the OTHER sex is very appropriately referred to as HETEROsexuality). To refer to the flesh of other HUMAN beings of the SAME sex as “qualitatively different flesh” would, of course, be complete nonsense. The author of Jude uses the phrase to refer to the fact that the mortal men of Sodom and Gomorrah were attempting the homosexual gang-rape of angels. This is made even clearer by the way in which he draws a mirror-image analogy (Jude 6-7) between their behaviour and that of the angels of Genesis 6:1-2, who had sexual congress with mortal women.

    “Homosexuality was rampant long before the visitors arrived for the whole town to be homosexual.” Assuming, for the sake of argument, the historical existence of Sodom and Gomorrah and that they were normal cities, then as in any other normal cities, heterosexuality would have been “rampant” among the majority of citizens, but a minority would have been homosexual and some of them would have been in ordinary consensual gay relationships. Indications that such relationships played any part whatever in the decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, or that homosexuality was any more “rampant” there than anywhere else? Zero.

    “Gang rape was not their intention until they were stopped by Job [sic].” Another of your pure inventions. Lot had hospitably taken the two outsiders into his home to give them bed and board for the night, and later that night the entire male population of the city surrounded his house and shouted out to him, ordering him to bring out his guests so that that they might “know” them. The word “know” is ambiguous, perhaps deliberately so in this instance, but only a nincompoop would pick up on the sexual implication but NOT recognize the intention as gang-rape. Lot does not come across as a particularly attractive or moral character in a number of respects, but at least he clearly wasn’t stupid. He knew exactly what they were attempting: “…only to these men do nothing, for they have come under the shelter of my roof (Genesis 19:8b).”

    “They wanted homosexual sex Dan.” Yes, and they didn’t want normal, consensual homosexual sex. They wanted homosexual gang-rape, and Lot knew it immediately. That was why he offered them an equally immoral alternative: “Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please… (Genesis 19:8a).”

    People need to be educated, so that they don’t believe the same errors that you have. Blessings, Sandi. I hope this helped you.

  • Gug, I don’t know. Could be that it was just an ordinance to test their devotion. What do you think?

  • That’s all History. That was God keeping His people pure – something that isn’t necessary as Jesus cleanses us when we sin.

  • “If so, you will be guaranteed unhappiness, because the world simply does not match your church view, never has, and never will.”

    Tell us some more breaking news. John’s gospel records that Jesus warned us of exactly that 2000 years ago. And yet, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

  • Show me where Leviticus says that Gentiles must keep kosher. And then, I’ll show you where God rejected Gentiles for immoral sexual practices before there was ever a Torah.

  • So you think that God cooks up arbitrary and pointless rules just to test people’s devotion, which he discards after some centuries – even though we are told that with him there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17)? What do I think? I think that the Pentateuch is exactly what it appears to be: a set of ancient documents written and cobbled together by men, consisting largely of religious mythology, with possibly some history, and a primitive moral code which contains many good things as well as others which we can profitably dispense with.

  • “So you think that God cooks up arbitrary and pointless rules just to test people’s devotion, ”

    James 1:2-4New International Version (NIV)
    Trials and Temptations
    2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
    There is only one way to Heaven, Gug, and that is through Jesus

  • Their mommas and aunties are probably out of sight, celebrating the love of these two women with friends, families, and neighbors.

  • It seems you missed the whole message I wrote.

    1) you don’t own America and your church does not hold 100% sway over our laws. You have no conquered us, and don’t get to walk with the automatic expectation that our laws must match the parts of the Bible you like.

    2) When you and your people act as if you are owed that lockstep match between you version of the Bible and law, you are rude and smug and nasty to those of us outside your church. We don’t like it and are always likely to push you back. When we do, you tend to call US rude, and totally fail to fix your attitude first.

    When you post like you did, you send the message that I’m not worth talking to, and that Sandi should take heart and BE rude to me because, somehow, John gave you permission to do so?

    When you act so casually rude, we will not accept you in the world of decent people and relegate you to the same “sandbox” of coo-coos as the KKK, the Flat Earthers, The Heaven’s Gate cult and so on. That’s my choice, I get to.

    -Are you serving Jesus well by acting so rudely? Was this your charge?

    -Are you willing at accept the non-Biblical consequences of that rudeness? I just called Sandi and YOU to join us together in love, a united America. You said “no thanks” and quoted John as your pass and excuse and sort of asking Sandi to buck up and take heart because us non-christianists don’t matter.

    I invite you as clergy to come out of your insulation. You are not moving toward a united America, you are moving toward an isolated christian sect hostile to the rest of us. Sounds familiar…? Rhymes with Isis? Acts like Taliban?

    Are you even understanding what’s at stake with your current behavior?

    And now I challenge you. Come up with an answer with some thought. See, you are now required to blather on about hell, the extortion racket of christainsm. The Hell argument never talks of the great works of your god, nor does it build anything. It just scares little children into complying with your pastor.

    Show the world a compelling Christianity without hell. I don’t think you can. And that’s sad.

  • I have been telling Shawnie for some time now that however much she denies it, it is clear that she considers herself superior to others who don’t share her religious and moral views. She considers it perfectly acceptable for Christians of that sort to try to force their purely theological concerns on people who don’t share them through the force of civil laws that govern all of us, but objects strenuously when non-Christians push back, especially in religious matters. I have pointed out numerous times the slanderers and revilers of gay people that post here regularly, ironically quoting Corinthians, and her failure to call them out on it. (She did once, but we both knew that she didn’t really mean it). She has been quite vocal in stating that I am here to mislead the gullible, the uninformed, and the easily led– all her words to describe Christians who don’t agree with her, or who are willing to see gray where she sees only black and white. She denies that any Christian who is not sola scriptorum, as she is, is anything but one of those gullible, uninformed, and easily led Christians, and have no prompting a at all from whatever it is they believe in.

    She is very smart and very well educated, and I have told her so. She doesn’t actually believe in burning hell, only the hell being cut off from her God. So you won’t get an answer to your question there.

    But good luck with it anyway.

  • Humble thanks for your coaching, as you can see I am new here to disqus. I am merely more interested in her hearing, from yet another observer, that her behavior has consequences. I am glad I am not alone in this message.

    I have a pressing concern here. It’s important.

    I wish christianists could stop treating non-christians as subhuman.Their behavior is driving people from seeing any good works Christianity used to do. If their good influence is exterminated, we will suffer. There is nothing standing to replace them as teachers of morality here. if they act crazy, they will be set aside. Ben in Oakland, I am sure you see that.

    Yes it’s irritating to hear them reply to a public concern with a Bible quote sounding off about how we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the world because it’s going to be renewed in the ‘blood of Christ” (ewww). But besides that irritation, we should not allow them to think it’s ok to scrub Muslim cities to the ground with fire, because terrorism, never mind that innocent people are dying. They are not subhuman.

    In our own history, christianists watched our own gay population die from AIDS Christianists did this in the 1980s, smiling, quoting scripture to dying men, telling them about how they deserve their deaths. The first time a sitting government in the USA looked at a plague break out and smile and smugly watch the victims die. This is depraved. This is not Christ-like behavior. This is not Christian.

    In short, I wish they could make their Christianity part of the American solution to problems, not the smug and righteous inflammation of every problem. in forums like this, I see a need as outsiders of their churchy world to evenly be intolerant of their smug and toxic behavior and their lies about that smugness. At the same time, we as critics need to treat them as more human than they treat us. They came to their opinions somehow. They are here talking. this is a good start – let’s build on this.

    As i said, I’m new to Disqus, check with me in a year and see if I’m still up to this task. It sounds as if you have burned your available patience on her and watching me burn mine.

    Ben in Oakland thank u for reading, i hope i was not too windy.

  • I can’t see anything in that passage about God testing people’s devotion by cooking up arbitrary and pointless rules, but I have to hand it to you: you’re a right dab hand at making things up and pretending that they’re in biblical passages which you quote. Eisegesis, I believe it’s called.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:4 – New International Version
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
    I don’t think I can help you any more.

  • There is no Christianity without hell, I’m afraid. While my views on hell are not exactly orthodox, still Jesus spoke more about it than any other figure in the Bible so it’s not something we can simply delete for the sake of politeness. Sorry if you find that rude but it simply is what it is. Reality is often “rude.” Jesus was almost murdered a number of times because of His “rudeness.”

    However, fidelity to scripture hardly prevents a united America. The founders created a government with severely limited enumerated powers precisely so that our country could be united despite manifold differences and beliefs. Religious belief has certainly not become stricter than it’s ever been before. If religion is now preventing a “united America,” it’s more likely because government has overstepped its constitutional boundaries and THAT is what should be remedied.

    “When you and your people act as if you are owed that lockstep match between you version of the Bible and law, you are rude and smug and nasty to those of us outside your church.” We never said we are “owed” any such thing. But we are citizens equal to everyone else and have as much right as you do to advocate for laws and policies that are consistent with our values.

    I never said Sandi should be rude to you. I said that your warning about how biblically-faithful church is always going to be out of step with the world is rather old news because Jesus said long ago that it would be and that we were not to be disturbed by that. Are you troubled by that passage in some way?

  • Hi Ben. Gossiping again? Is there some reason you don’t want to address me directly?

    About “superiority”…I’ve invited you multiple times to share with me your scriptural case for affirming ssm in the church and for throwing out 4000 years of Jewish and Christian teaching on the subject, and am still awaiting your response. I hold my stated position, as you well know, not because I consider myself superior but because it is the one which the weight of scripture, history, ancient commentary, and language best supports, and I have as yet been showed nothing to indicate that I am incorrect. Are you prepared to change that? If so, please proceed. If not, why are you still slandering me?

  • Nope, gossiping is sin.

    I’ve made whatever case I could. Scriptural? Well, I’m going with the non sola scriptorum people. You’re not. But as you know, I’m far more concerned about the issue of bigotry disguised as religious belief, and the consequences for its victims, rather then continuing with the pretense that this is solely biblical– even ifit is for you, though you give me no reason to think so.

    Nor was I slandering you. In fact, I complimented you in unambiguous terms. But you are changing the subject. I challenged your always assumed superiority a several times in the past. I provided examples, and you ignored them. I provided more when you asked for them, and you told me that you were just too busy to actually read them, just assuming that I wasn’t going to make a case, thereby proving my point. I’ve also pointed out where numerous regular posters here are very busy reviling and slandering gay people on a regular basis, not to mention such creatures as Pat Robertson and Tony Perkins, and it did not seem to bother you in the slightest that they were, also indicating the biblical fidelity isn’t the motivating force here. And your constant referrals to Really True Christians– though I don’t think you used the term, The Elect– and all of the people who have fallen by the wayside in the world according to Shawnie, is another good indicator of where you stand. You are among the very few that remain faithful to the written word of God, and you will surely be rewarded for it. The people who think God speaks to them are just sadly mistaken and deluded.

    I don’t think I am wrong about any of this. If I am, I apologize, but I’ll need specifics. All of these are things that I believe are true, things that you’ve said or strongly implied. It would be not nice of me to make those things up, and I don’t believe I did. So, that has Been my experience of you. It seems that the person I was responding to had somewhat the same impression of you. I was just confirming it for him.

  • “I provided examples, and you ignored them. I provided more when you asked for them, and you told me that you were just too busy to actually read them, just assuming that I wasn’t going to make a case, thereby proving my point.”

    The closest thing to an answer to my question that you ever provided (and it wasn’t even close) was some assertion about “poorly translated passages.” When asked about the exact nature of these “poor translations,” your evidence that they are poorly translated and your evidence for a more accurate translation… you fall silent. So does pretty much everyone.

    “Scriptural? Well, I’m going with the non sola scriptorum people. ” No doubt — when the scripture don’t say what you want them to and you consider them all rubbish anyway.

    In any case, “superiority” has little to do with it — which is how you repeatedly slander me. I believe my position is the correct one in light of scripture and history. You believe yours is the correct one in light of…I don’t know, perhaps it feels right to you. If having a position that one feels is correct constitutes self-superiority then every single poster here is guilty of that, including you. And we’d all be in a sorry state indeed if we were not firmly convinced of anything. But when you must start your case with throwing out scripture, you’re SOL in persuading the followers of history’s greatest “bibliolater” of all, as you slandered not only us but our Lord who opened His ministry with scripture, closed it with scripture, and taught from the scripture every moment in between.

  • So you’re now trying to tell me that your reading into biblical passages of things that aren’t there is “the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”. I don’t really think so. I agree with you on one thing, however: you certainly can’t help me (or anyone else) with such nonsense.

  • Fair enough. Of course, in the passion of debate , and in the earnestness of our convictions, political, social, spiritual, and otherwise, regardless of our position on the linear spectrum of these issues, we, particularly when irritable or tired, utter things we would probably like to take back. I am not too small to regret and apologize for the pique in my last comment. My intent was a defense of Sandi because I don’t believe she harbors a hateful spirit, just the earnestness of her spiritual convictions with which I typically agree. It is often difficult to convince people that one can oppose something philosophically and still have regard for those with whom we are in opposition.

  • Be careful when you bring in the UK in discussions. We in the US do not have an official church and very different laws.

  • Thanks for you comments, Erik. My pleasure.

    Personally, I think it is too late for any unification with fundamentalists. And I’m not just referring to the Christian one’s. They have their way of seeing the world, and since they identify that with their gods, that isn’t going to change unless and until something miraculous or catastrophic happens to change it– what I usually refer to as a rhetorical 2×4 upside the head. My favorite example of this is Marry Griffiths, whose son Bobby was gay. She was virulently Antigay until he finally committed suicide. THEN She finally saw the light. But unfortunately for that poor boy, that’s what it took.

    You have the same mindset as another regular contributor here, but who hasn’t been around for a few weeks. G Key. I truly admire him.

    I’m willing to engage I respectful dialog here, with those who are respectful, even those I disagree with. But I am not unwilling to call out bigotry when I see it, especially when it is disguised as sincere religious belief. My issue is with hypocrisy and dominionism, not with religion per se, even though I am an atheist. (more strictly, an it-doesn’t-matterist, but that is another issue entirely).

    For myself, I don’t write to convince bigots, religious or otherwise, of anything. I long ago reached the conclusion that it is impossible to reach people irretrievably poisoned by hate, ignorance, fear, imaginary superiority, religion, prejudice, or self hatred.

    my purpose is to reach the people on the fence, who are still trying to decide where they stand, or who are at least uncertain enough on their beliefs not to over-identify with God. They can read what those others have to say, read what I have to say, and then decide who stands on the side of facts, logic, experience, mercy, kindness, and humane treatment of other people.

    As for Shawnie, I respect her intelligence and knowledge, as I said. I respect her religious beliefs, even though I don’t share them. What I don’t respect is what she does with those beliefs. So I wouldn’t say I have no patience with her, but I will only engage her so far, an no further.

    As for Sandi, well, she is as obsessed with homosexuality as she is certain that she is going to heaven and speaks for Jesus. Whatever she does, she feels is justified because Jesus. As I said, one can never reach those people.

    Stick around. I’m sure you have a lot to contribute.

  • OF COURSE you never said Sandi should be rude. You just encouraged her to ignore sense and press forward with the agenda.

    In truth I would not suggest deleting Hell or any references to it over some honor to politeness. You misunderstand my objection. The notion of Hell is absurd completely, and adhering to it is a quiet admission that your theology is insane. The notion of Hell is the most craven extortion threat in history. 1) suggest someone has an invisible “soul” and your vengeful god will expose that soul to eternal tortures if you don’t comply with the church’s wishes. 2) Use that as the compass to guide your society.

    For starters, where is hell? Well its not on star charts or in an Earthly place so it’s “imaginary” in all physical senses. And I agree with you, if you don’t have Hell, you can’t be saved from it, and if you don’t need to be saved from it, you don’t need a Savior. Sudden free time on Sunday emerges. Christianity needs Hell, and herein lies your problem.

    My theology does not collapse when the eternal torture chamber is removed. Yours does. My faith has no torture/compliance plain of existence.

    For Hell to exist in reality, one must also believe in so many hundred invisible intangible objects If you don’t believe in an immortal soul, Hell holds no threat. If you don’t believe God is busy counting your every sin, Hell holds no threat. If you don’t believe in ‘sin” Hell holds no threat. When you examine Hell as a concept, it’s an absurd notion in its entirety.

    I don’t find you quoting the bible about hell rude. I find you threatening people with torture and suffering rude. I find you scaring children with a made-up story about hell atrocious. I find the whole motivation of making a faith around torture avoidance completely depraved. And I find your inability to see that depravity a mark of insanity.

    “However, fidelity to scripture hardly prevents a united America. The founders created a government with severely limited enumerated powers precisely so that our country could be united despite manifold differences and beliefs.”

    STOP: we are not discussing “fidelity to scripture.” That is such a sterile and removed reference. Thousands of horrors have been perpetrated in the name of “fidelity to scripture.” Humans sold into slavery, watching men with AIDS die and suffer, turning an uncaring plastic smile, putting prisoners to the sword having certain faith that “God will know his own.” Your sterile and pleasant sounding “fidelity to scripture” is a quiet velvet covered call to war.

    It seems once again you failed to read what i said to Sandi.

    Your smug attitude when reaching out to non church members is marginalizing your faith to a useless corner of the world. It seems that a cons equence you are willing to endure. If you’re ready to fold, watch the world burn when Jesus comes to “overcome the world”, and do it in the name of “fidelity to scripture’ I will be sad.

    I would ask you to try “fidelity to reality.”

    I wonder if there is any statement in scripture so fantastical that you would be forced to disbelieve it?

    Religion is often seen as timeless eternal truths that never change, but in fact they are a moving target all the time. The Earth was made in six days (but we don’t know how long those ‘days’ are so in truth we really don’t know.) We are told to treat children with kindness but “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” Leviticus 20:9

    We should be stoning children? I think not. Neither do you.The target clearly moves all the time.

    So in my request that you find a theology that makes no reference to Hell, I am asking you to come to the modern world and show us why we should follow your god, and frame this anthem in terms that involve no torturing, no threats, and treating all of us as human. I wager in your daily life you do this often or you could not remain faithful. I believe you are sane, educated, and not bent toward atrocity. I think you have been soaking in the “hell speech” so much that you have become numb to how truly insane it is.

  • Thank you Ben. I appreciate the background and a better understanding of your motivation. it looks like we will be crossing paths. i look forward to your next words!

  • My judgment never mattered. It’s what Christ said that matters. He said that homosexuality is a sin.

  • @Sandi – genuine question and maybe you can help me.

    In contemplating Sodom and Gomorrah and the sad and unfortunate events surrounding Lot’s Wife, unlike other non Judeo Christian readers, I had a different take away from that event. I will not embroil this conversation in notions of God’s justice. But you know, when you read scripture, your mind travels to questions, at least mine does. the most compelling question from that story; why salt?

    Lot’s wife, a woman nameless, turns to a pillar of salt after looking back.

    I have heard her eulogized as a faithless woman, a punished woman, guilt of crimes of disobedience. When I asked the question of salt, i suddenly saw a different story. I had to go back and look at what the men warned. they said don’t look back.

    But if she were “punished” why not turn into a pile of used diapers? or a pile of useless sand? Salt was precious. It was very valuable. And that’s her punishment?

    We’re told all kinds of warnings in life. Look both ways before crossing, mind the gap, Speed monitored by airplane, and so on, but we don’t always see consequences of those actions. Lot’s wife looked back – she saw the town of her birth being erased by the wrath of God. How would you feel?

    All i can imagine is grief.

    And behold, she becomes salt. I was confused until i thought about this. Then i asked, how many tears does it take to make 120 pounds of salt? I am not being disrespectful, but i cry when i think of her. This moment perhaps the most intense moment of grief expressed in scripture ever, hidden and trapped in arguments about who disobeyed who.

    It’s a fundamental story in the Bible and moved me greatly. I am not a Christian or a Jew so i really fail in understanding context. I have looked at this story over 50 times with no understanding then saw it – that horrifying moment of unexpressable grief, and two angels trying to protect her from it.

    So – here it is, why salt? Am i close? With sincerity I ask if you know or maybe hint where i should look for an answer.

  • Your interpretation of what you think Christ said doesn’t matter now, why would you think it will later?

  • “For starters, where is hell? Well its not on star charts or in an Earthly place so it’s “imaginary” in all physical senses.” Perhaps, but “physical sense” is hardly all there is to the universe. Quantum mechanics tells us that there exist at least 10 dimensions yet we are confined to only 3 that we can experience with our physical senses. What we don’t know comprises all but an infinitesimal smidgen of what exists.

    I believe there is an unhappy post-death state for the unrepentant, which is unhappy precisely because it consists of the long-desired removal from the unwanted presence and intervention of God and complete freedom to be one’s own god — and it is the logical extension of a life lived to that end. But I do not believe it is an eternal state. I believe scripture means exactly what it says when it states that the soul that sins shall die. I don’t see an “eternal torture chamber” in scripture but an incinerator that utterly wipes out everything that goes into it. That isn’t too far from the atheist’s concept of our ultimate end anyway.

    “Your smug attitude when reaching out to non church members is marginalizing your faith to a useless corner of the world. It seems that a consequence you are willing to endure.” Please excuse me for not being impressed. The end of the church has been prophesied ad nauseum ever since its very inception. Faith has waxed and waned,and waxed and waned again over the centuries, but the church isn’t going anywhere.

    “He hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” Leviticus 20:9″ Have you ever actually read that passage, or have you merely borrowed it from an atheist echo-chamber? That passage is quite clearly referring to recalcitrant young MEN, not to children (unless you know many children who are habitual drunkards, for example — in which case you might be excused for making such a mistake). The fate of degenerate sons, who in ancient tribal communities were a danger to the survival of the entire community, was placed in the hands and discretion of not the community but their parents. Imagine what a menace to society one would have to be for one’s own parents to petition for your execution. Josephus describes at length what this process would look like — and it would not surprise me at all if it were never invoked at all — as we know that the sabbath years were not actually observed even though they were prescribed. The whole point of the law is to point out sin and what sin deserves — if followed in both letter and spirit it would condemn each and every one of us to death. Hence the mission of Christ.

    “I am asking you to come to the modern world and show us why we should follow your god, and frame this anthem in terms that involve no torturing, no threats, and treating all of us as human.” The “modern world” and the entire concept that everyone deserves to be respectfully treated as “human” irrespective of familial, tribal or national ties IS the legacy of Christianity, Erik. If not for it, we would not be having this discussion. Such ideas did not exist in the pre-christian world, period. It still does not exist in some cultures. This is why the west, for all its many faults and lapses, has been the standard-bearer for human rights. The best case for following our Christ would be to spend some extended time in a culture which has never been meaningfully exposed to Him. Try the less westernized portions of Asia and Africa– and no fair hopping a plane back to western civilization as soon as you get tired of it.

  • I don’t quote myself. I quote Jesus, if that makes it easier for you. What Jesus has said will always matter. My opinions don’t matter a hill of beans to anyone but myself and Jesus.

  • “I believe there is an unhappy post-death state for the unrepentant,
    which is unhappy precisely because it consists of the long-desired
    removal from the unwanted presence and intervention of God and complete
    freedom to be one’s own god — and it is the logical extension of a life
    lived to that end. But I do not believe it is an eternal state.”

    OF COURSE – move the goal post to where ever you like it. But as long as you are moving it to suit your comforts, why not move it all the way off the board? It seems you are happy to make things up as you go along, just make them up to leave the absurd and cruel notion of hell out of it. nothing quantum, nothing dimensional, it’s still a stupid and silly notion and extortion.

    As to stoning children, “That passage is quite clearly referring to recalcitrant young MEN, not to children…” no, it quite clearly says children. As i said, move the goal post to suit your comforts. it’s still a rule you no longer observe – you don’t stone people for ANYTHING even when you know it might feel good to try it once in a while – so this still stands as a good example of moving your theology to accommodate the modern world.

    As much as i sound like a complete stonewall against you, I am moved by your next words. Shawnie5 writes – ” The “modern world” and the entire concept that everyone deserves to be
    respectfully treated as “human” irrespective of familial, tribal or
    national ties IS the legacy of Christianity, Erik. If not for it, we
    would not be having this discussion.”

    If you ever wondered why i would coach you on how to keep Christianity relevant is that I completely agree with you here. IF your religion fails and crashes, we have no spare in the back to replace you with. Can we achieve morality without you? OH sure. I don’t think the world is ready for that. You don’t either. Most learn morality and social norms at church.

    There are forces that are social “glue” and Christianity is one of them – they keep us together building loving and living. i would like you to see Christianity is not as the sole, single social cohesion force however. If we are going to build and love and live, we should temper the rehearsals to war and division. I want you to be aware when you are behaving as one of those forces of division. If you like being divisive and warlike, I can’t stop you. But i will wave my arms in warning.

    I am a seeker, not an atheist.

  • Yes. your opinions just don’t matter to many, many other Christians with a personal relationship with Jesus. Thank you!

  • We’d all like to say, “I’d listen to God’. Well, I would say that, but sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t just be as guilty as she was – like, what am I leaving?
    As Christians, we are the “salt of the earth”. Off the top of my head, He turned her into that? I have no idea and really haven’t given it much thought.

    I tend to think that she looked back longing for the life of lasciviousness and that was why the Lord did that. After all, you didn’t hear about her fighting the men off, as one would normally do to protect her guests and family. I’ve recently learned that guests were more important to protect than one’s family.

    I’ll pass along a site to you that may help you – or several sites they have a link “comment”. if you click on that and put the scripture in Genesis 19, you will be able to read what some of the greatest thinkers said on the subject. is another site with a search engine – again Genesis 19. You may also be interested in Judges 19.

    Two sites off the top of my head that will give you more information.

  • Humble thanks for your words and advise. i was moved by this story and the feeling was sudden and intense. I think you understand my experience.

    Wishing you the best


  • I find that odd. Jesus only said one thing on a lot of topics and I’m assuming you are discussing homosexuality. Christ said that it is a sin, and it would be interesting to see that proven otherwise. Do you have the scripture?

  • First you assume I am gay, second you cannot back up your assumption Jesus said anything about homosexuality.

  • I never said that you were a homosexual, and think you are more intent on arguing than a civil conversation. Christ said that homosexuality is a sin from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. Why do you think He rained burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • No, you do not want a civil conversation, It is your way or the highway to hell. Quote Chapter and Verse please. You know, out of your Red Letter Edition.

    And you might want to check out Ezekiel 16:49-50

  • Let’s talk Ezekiel 16:49 – 50 – Ezekiel 16:49-50 English Standard Version (ESV)

    49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

    “They were haughty and did an abomination before me” homosexuality and other immoralities, I’m sure. They went from wanting to have sex to attempted rape and God had to blind them to stop them they were so intent.
    pride – takes a lot of pride to demand to sleep with a stranger.
    “did not aid the poor and needy” – the entire town got together to have sex with the men and then it turned into attempted rape, and yet, no one tried to stop them but Lot.
    “haughty” – trying to force yourself into your neighbour’s door to rape them? That’s pretty haughty
    again – “abomination” – homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord. (Leviticus 18:22)

    You may also be interested in the following scripture regarding Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19;
    2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

    Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire

    Why do you think God rained burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah?

    Also, if you are only looking for what Christ said in the red letter edition, you are depriving yourself of wisdom and hope. Christ is God. The Bible is the Word of God –

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
    That’s Jesus. He is the Christ.

    I hope this helped you. blessings.

  • As if I haven’t. I just read it like moral people read it, as opposed to those who read it to privilege themselves at the expense of minority people.

  • Read Romans 1 like you aren’t scavenging scripture to justify oppressing a modern minority group.

  • Is it intelligence to used canned arguments, “Gish gallop” tactics, and blatantly misrepresent facts? I guess in a malevolent form of cunning. Being capable of avoiding and excusing their way out of inconvenient arguments.

    I got fed up with going down the rabbit hole. So I blocked her.

  • Try reading it all the way through to Romans 2 for context about idolatry. Does your Bible have a ton of reactions or do you just put a highlighter relight it.

  • I can understand that, but I also understand where she is coming from. I also understand what she denies characterizes her– that always assumed, always present, yet completely unwarranted belief in her totally imaginary superiority as a Really True Christian (TM). She doesn’t see it, and won’t see it. Too biblically proud of being one of the elect, and god’s BFFF.

    I am happy to engage her, up to a point. But, as I say, it’s not to convince her. That won’t happen. But despite David Gushee’s column today, I still believe that a lot of people are on the fence about Antigay religion and religious dominionism. These are the people that Shawnie refers to as the gullible, the uninformed, and the easily led. (BTW, Shawnie, since I know you’re reading this, there is one of the most sterling examples of your self assigned superiority to others. I guess it takes an atheist to say it, though).

    For that reason, I don’t block her or anyone. As I said above, I want people on the fence to have two voices to judge from, and decide which one sounds kind and reasonable.

  • Sandi, no one here is claiming that the anti-miscegenation passages of the Hebrew bible should be enforced today. The point that is being made is that those verses are in the Scriptures, and they have been used in America to support racial discrimination, just like the passages regulating and enforcing slavery were used to defend slavery before and after the Civil War, and just like the “clobber” passages were used to support anti-gay discrimination. (And are used today to defend bigotry and hate speech.)

    The larger point is that you don’t get to use your interpretation of the Bible– Jewish or Christian– to pass laws that discriminate against any Americans; not gay Americans, not black Americans, not atheist Americans, not Hindu or Moslem or Shintoist Americans. No discrimination.

  • “It seems you are happy to make things up as you go along, just make them up to leave the absurd and cruel notion of hell out of it.” Re-read what I said. I did not say I believe in ultimate annihilation because I’m more comfortable with it; I said it appears to best fit what scripture teaches. The OT tells us the soul that sins shall die. Jesus Christ tells us that God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Revelation tells us that the lake of fire is not a torture chamber but “the second death.” There are a number of things the Bible teaches that I do not particularly like but if they are confirmed by plain reading of scripture and are supported by ancient commentary and tradition it does not good to pretend they don’t exist.

    “No, it quite clearly says children.” No, it quite clearly says “sons.” Here is the complete passage: If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”

    I ask again, how many children do you know who are habitual drunkards?

    “It’s still a rule you no longer observe.” It’s a rule “I” never observed, because as a Gentile it was never given to me. It was the civil law governing the ancient nation of Israel. Gentiles were never bound by the Torah but by the much more ancient and generalized Noahide standard which the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 spoke of and which is stil incumbent upon us today.

    “I want you to be aware when you are behaving as one of those forces of division.” So what’s your suggestion, Erik? You want us to throw out the portions of the word of God that make people uncomfortable, although they made people just as uncomfortable when they were first written and Jesus told us they would always arouse hostility and we were not to be concerned about that? Is that REALLY your plan?

  • OK, once again you demonstrate your scholarship, It’s formidable!

    My argument centers more on the notion that this scholarship is completely misplaced.We could argue if it says sons or children – ( the bible i have
    says children, don’tcha think a mistranslation in something so critical
    as to stoning children is more than an oversight?) I contend that many aspects of scripture are not marching in step with sanity or basic reality, (Basic as in GRAVITY life death and immutable aspects of existence.) and you (as a group of Christians) have evolved your notions and they are not timeless and unchanging, rather a moving target able to shift and accommodate a new era.

    You contend as an adherent to scripture, ” There are a number of things the Bible teaches that I do not particularly like but if they are confirmed by plain reading of scripture and are supported by ancient commentary and tradition it does not good to pretend they don’t exist.”

    Our argument shows “plain reading’ is not possible with so many versions kicking around and, OH yes it does plenty good to pretend they don’t exist. In our present example, that very pretending keeps you from stoning people for anything! So the Ten Commandments – they rock, but the stoning one, that’s something Jewish? It seems you are able to agree someone should be condemned in violation of OT laws but seem to cherry pick which ones you follow and which ones are too inconveniently Jewish to follow.

    Honestly, the JEWS stopped stoning people. Have you ever wondered why? I have asked Rabbi and follower alike – many Jews will tell you there are traditions considered too savage to continue. I contend that your over-focus on Hell and condemning people to it is also savage. ANY time you can choose to pick ones you will follow – like it seems you already have – and pick rules to discard – like you already have. You can stop the Hell extortion fable any time.

    Evolve. Stop it.

    I would like to ask, did you understand my challenge to you? (Please do not misread me somehow calling you stupid here – this is not true and I apologize if my tone suggests that. We have piled some strong challenges to each other in a small space so i ask…) My challenge to you was to find some way to express your Christianity in ways that don’t threaten anyone with torture. If your notions of Christ have nothing but this extortion game, it’s pretty useless. Obey or else? That’s it? Feels stranded in 5th grade detention and holds no hope for adult living.

    My challenge asks harder questions – How are you Christlike in the supermarket? How are you Christlike in traffic? Are you Christlike here in our conversations? Of course I asking for an answer that would take hours and pages and meals upon meals to know each other and understand – but to start, you have to find some tactic with traction.

    I have a hard time believing in 1) an immortal soul that can be tortured 2) A god so petty as to care about my infractions 3) a place reserved for the dead for torture 4) any justifiable reason to scare children with tales of Hell and damnation. These entry level assumptions don’t fit any testing of reality at all. Can not be seen or measured or verified but are given the out-proportioned weight as the law of Gravity.

    The insistence on hell is such an abused concept. Would you even agree to that simple fact, that people have used Hell as a tool to express Christ way more than necessary?

    I see religion as something to teach us how to live, love, and build – if you would like to do that, try being less savage and over-focused on torture methods.

    i wish you the best in your afternoon. We have some intense storms here in the US and i hope you are safe and sheltered. be well.


  • and they were wrong Paul.
    Jesus thought enough about homosexuals to die for them Paul. You think a simple law outlawing their sin is more than that?

  • Sandi, are you saying that the people who enslaved and discriminated were wrong, even though they quoted Jewish and Christian scripture to support their actions? If that’s what you’re saying, I agree with you.

    Are you also saying that the United States should have laws criminalizing gay people for being gay because Jesus?

  • “We could argue if it says sons or children – (the bible i have
    says children, don’tcha think a mistranslation in something so critical
    as to stoning children is more than an oversight?)” It is difficult to understand how a passage which speaks of a son in the singular (ben) could possibly be translated “children” in the plural. Either it is an extremely bad translation or you are perhaps taking it from an anti-christian website (one of our frequent posters here has such a site) which skews scriptural texts in various ways in order to smear Judeo-Christianity. In any case, our exchange does not in any way show that a plain reading is not possible.

    “It seems you are able to agree someone should be condemned in violation of OT laws but seem to cherry pick which ones you follow and which ones are too inconveniently Jewish to follow.” I have already explained that what Gentiles are obligated to follow was not “cherry-picked” by us for the sake of our convenience but was decided upon FOR us by 1st century Jewish believers who were themselves (inconveniently) Torah-observant but who knew very well what had always been expected of righteous Gentiles among them and what had not. That understanding has been unfortunately lost on most people due to lack of bible study and general deficiency of historical knowledge. That “Noahide” standard consists in a nutshell of everything covered by the law of love of God and neighbor, plus humane butchering practices, avoidance of known pagan sacrificial meat, and abstention from ALL sexual immorality — which is exactly what we find in Acts 15.

    “Honestly, the JEWS stopped stoning people. Have you ever wondered why?” No need to wonder why. Both the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud tell us that the Jews lost the authority to autonomously impose capital punishment in the early 1st century upon becoming a Roman province. And by the end of that century they had no country and therefore could not impose civil law at all.

    “How are you Christlike in the supermarket? How are you Christlike in traffic? Are you Christlike here in our conversations?” Sorry but I don’t care to expound gratuitously on my personal virtue. I leave that to the atheists around here — one in particular. Suffice it to say that the Christian walk consists of keeping one’s eyes fixed upon the example of Christ and testing everything against the word of God.

    “I have a hard time believing in an immortal soul that can be tortured.

    Why are you continuing to argue about this with me? I’ve already said I do not believe that a soul can be physically tortured. Any torture that the unrepentant soul experiences until it is annihilated is the result of separation from God.

    “Would you even agree to that simple fact, that people have used Hell as a tool to express Christ way more than necessary?” Some have. On the other hand, some have not expressed it nearly enough, particularly in the last generation. However, our Lord Himself spoke of it more than any other figure in the Bible and told His disciples to teach everything He taught them to the new disciples they would call out from the nations. So no, as I said before, I don’t think it’s up for deletion.

    The weather here is a bit warm but pleasant. Looking forward to a nice weekend. Hope you are too.

  • You have been extremely patient with my questions and more than instructive. If it bring you any solace, I have learned from our discussion. I appreciate you not bearing your soul and virtues when I’ve revealed nothing in kind to you. Your understanding of scripture is tight. Thank you.

    So in the spirit of bringing you the vector I come from, I am a priest of Thor and Odin in the tradition of Asatru. Our traditions have many sources but no central book that aims our directions. Much has been destroyed. Much has been made up by people with political aspirations (I’m sure you can share that frustration.) And of course, my God is in a comic book.

    Hard to get serious about Thor when everyone expects me to wear a red cape.

    I did not come here to sell Asatru to anyone. My people find me and we celebrate our Troth together. We don’t try and subvert the laws of the US to accommodate us, and when the laws don’t accommodate us we don’t whine about persecution.

    I followed this path to be true to my blood. I was born Norse. In my blood is, in some scintilla, the God Thor. I started this journey to be faithful to my blood and people and our Troth. I could not see why I would follow a god of the Semites and discard my own people, especially when the adherents of that god seem (with present company excluded) crazy and ticking like a bomb, rehearsing for the next war, blind to their own atrocities.

    Then I met Rev Macemon. Methodist pastor. We started conversations and found our middle grounds amazingly similar. I have followed Rev to churches and prisons and we have tended the faithful together.

    Your words and scholarship are appreciated on this side. I did not know stoning stopped more as a political interruption than a faith-based deviation. But as you remarked, we all have lost history, in the end must work with what we have.

    I hear you (finally) in your words about torture and took something inspiring from your words. I don’t feel separated from god – yours or mine – in any way. I know my soul is fine. (NOT expecting you to share this sentiment, just sharing my perspective.) In a way, I see you and I on a similar mission, and have worked to pull the anger our of my motivations.

    OH yes I grew up hating Christians. Listening to one pastor changed all that. I stand 6’3” and weigh 260 pounds – Rev Macemon is 5’6” and she weighs less – a lot less. She poked me in the chest and told me to stop looking for a fight. We had coffee and everything changed.

    I bring up that question “How are you Christlike in the supermarket” because its one of my standards. We have no mounted and packaged theology. I extol my people to examine their godly self and bring their behavior to that standard. BE like Thor when its needed. You can see my impatience, I have met many Christians that quote scripture flawlessly and act like animals and treat people with haughty pride and presume they are some homo-superior. My people have flirted with “master race” notions to their sad detriment.

    If you’ve continued reading this far I’m honored.

    Resolved: you and I will not match up on the Hell question, but I now see it
    differently thanks to you. I will continue to resist people using it as a
    mechanism of social control and extortion. I still think it’s critical for Christians
    to behave in a manner that would join us, not separate us, and if their pride
    won’t let them consort with unclean non-christians, we will not so well.
    Honestly, angels don’t need hand sanitizer after working with us humans You did well consorting with this heathen and strengthened my faith in proper conversation.

  • You’re attempting to reason with a person whose beliefs have never intersected with reason. It’s like playing chess with a pidgeon. They poop on the board and strut around like they own the place.

  • So much for the red herring about gay marriage “threatens religious freedom”!
    As comparatively recently as 1967, interracial marriages were illegal in the US until the landmark “Loving” case( now the subject of a film) which itself acted as precedent for Obergefell v Hodges.

  • I’d rather think of Sandi as a well-meaning person who has not previously been asked to examine what she believes without the warm, comforting light of faith. I’m sure faith plays an important part in her life –it certainly does in mine– but faith is neither evidence nor proof.
    The laws of the United States are based on the consent of the governed; not on Scripture, not on Divinely anointed kings, not on the faith of the majority. If the only reason for denying one citizen –or a group of citizens– the equal protection of the law is “I think they’re sinners”, there is clear proof of a violation of the 14th Amendment. People of faith are free to believe whatever seems good to them– but that’s not the way we make law. 🙂

  • I’m a 20+ year member of a Unitarian Universalist (UU)church and a Justice of the Peace in my city, and I’ve performed same-sex marriages in our church. I’m now attending seminary to earn my Masters in Divinity and eventually become an ordained UU Minister. I have absolutely NO problem performing weddings for same-sex couples, and when I become a Pastor of a UU church, I’ll certainly continue that service, and proud to do so! I offer the couples who use my service freedom to use whatever language form they desire – religious or civil – because it’s not up to ME, it’s up to THEM. It’s their ceremony! SO very glad that same-sex ceremonies are lawful in Connecticut, where I live.