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Take a deep breath. The Nashville Statement won’t change anything

A truck with signs protesting gay marriage in a demonstration in Mississippi in 2006. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Natalie Maynor

(RNS) — There is a way for conservative Christians to make a strong, winsome case for traditional views of sexuality and gender. Unfortunately, the Nashville Statement isn’t it.

This week, a group of prominent evangelicals released a “Christian manifesto,” which argued that LGBT people who embrace their sexual or gender identity are living in sin. The statement was coordinated by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and many intelligent and respectable people, including my father, signed it. I assume most did so because of their convictions, however misguided, rather than hatred.

When the statement was released, a broad coalition of progressive Christians responded with disbelief, anger and mourning by turns. But dissenters can take a deep breath and put their sackcloth back in mothballs. A closer look at this statement reveals a number of fatal flaws, which are likely to render it impotent. And the history of similar efforts indicates the Nashville Statement will almost certainly fail to shape broader conversations on the issues it addresses.

A casual reader of the Nashville Statement can quickly spot its problems, regardless of theological convictions. But here are the three most consequential:

Terrible timing: Set aside the content itself for a moment, and consider when this coalition decided to release its statement. An unprecedented hurricane was ripping through Texas, leaving countless people homeless and many others dead. The nation still sits in shock and grief as images of the carnage assault us on television and social media. Choosing to release this statement now, rather than waiting even a few days, is not just kind-of-sort-of misguided. It is inexplicably callous and exhibits Trump-level tone-deafness.

When it comes to messaging efforts, the when is just as important as the what. Or to frame it with a phrase my dad often spoke to me when I was a child, “The right words spoken at the wrong time are the wrong words.”

Absence of repentance: Let’s look at the content itself. The Nashville Statement fails as soon as it starts, not because of its assertions but because of its omissions. The statement fails to acknowledge, much less apologize for, Christians’ sinful mistreatment of the LGBT community.

A quick review of the history of this sect of American Christians reveals a pattern of aggressive and harmful behavior against LGBT people. Growing up, I heard preachers aplenty talk about gays and lesbians like animals. They were spoken of as filthy, disgusting abominations that made God’s blood boil. I am not the exception. To wit:

  • Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart once said, “If a gay man ever hit on me, I’d kill him and tell God he died.”
  • Presbyterian pastor D. James Kennedy reacted to a notion of gays serving in the military by sending out a letter asking, “Honestly, would you want your son, daughter, or grandchild sharing a shower, foxhole, or blood with a homosexual?”
  • Founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network Pat Robertson declared that for him, “[Homosexuality] is sodomy. It is repugnant.”
  • Ten Commandments crusader and Alabama Judge Roy Moore called homosexuality an “abhorrent, immoral, detestable crime against nature” that should be punishable by law.
  • Calvin Beisner of the Christian Cornwall Alliance wrote an article arguing against the “militant homosexuals” who were calling for an increase in federal spending on AIDS research, treatment and education. Beisner asked if it was “rational” to increase funding to “fight a disease that is almost 100 percent self-inflicted by people intent on immoral and irrational behavior? Not when there are more pressing matters that ought to take priority.”
  • In the 1990s, leaders such as Jerry Falwell led an effort to block funding for AIDS relief and research. Countless gays and lesbians — that is, men and women who are made in the image of God — have perished as a result.
  • Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor and blogger at The Gospel Coalition, wrote an article asserting that Christians need to recover their “gag reflex” when speaking about gays and lesbians. This article remains on the popular conservative website even today.

Acknowledging these failures would have softened the edges of an otherwise blunt statement, and in the process, would have ceded no theological ground. That the drafters of this statement did not realize the need to address their own history, or realized it and yet simply chose to ignore it, is grounds for questioning whether they are as smart and culturally savvy as they think they are.

Christian theology generally asserts that repentance is the key that unlocks the door of conversion. The Nashville Statement attempts to convert the culture while refusing to repent of its own failures on these very issues.

Marginalization tactics: An earmark of fundamentalism is marginalization. It is how the movement remains pure. Whenever someone disagrees or dissents, even if they themselves are not implicated in the “sin,” the person must be cut off and cast out. Article X of the Nashville Statement repeats this error by rejecting that Christians can “agree to disagree” on these matters.

Instead, the document asserts that “it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such an approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.” In other words, if you hold to every doctrine in every Christian creed since Jesus’ resurrection but you disagree with the signers on this issue, you are no longer a faithful Christian.

The problem with these kinds of heavy-handed tactics is that they often backfire. And a case in point is the LGBT debate itself.

Three decades ago, gays and lesbians merely wanted some sort of civil recognition of their unions. They wanted the ability to visit their loved ones in the hospital and leave their inheritances to their partners. Conservative Christians rejected even modest compromises at the time.

But then the balance of power shifted. Now conservative Christians are in the minority. They are crying “uncle” in similar fashion, asking to be left alone so they can live their lives (and refuse to bake cakes for whomever they like). LGBT people and advocates aren’t having it. They are returning the favor, refusing to compromise with the ones who oppressed them for decades.

Solomon said that if a man rolls a rock, it will be rolled back onto him and if a man digs a pit, he will fall into it. Or to paraphrase the words of Jesus, “Those who live by marginalization tactics will die by them also.” Conservative Christians are quickly becoming the minority on these matters. For better or worse, they will soon be the ones who are considered unfaithful and sinful.

These three flaws, and many others, will likely shipwreck the Nashville Statement. But there is one other glaring reason that progressives should slow their roll: Signing statements almost never lead to lasting cultural change.

I think of the 1978 “Chicago Statement,” which made a case for the inerrancy of the Bible. This became a rallying cry for many who were already committed to the doctrine, but I’ve never met someone who was convinced to change their mind as a result of reading it. In fact, some of the most popular and influential books on the Bible in recent years have argued against this doctrine. If the Chicago Statement shaped culture, you can’t tell it.

Or one might consider the 1997 “Colorado Springs Guidelines,” which made a case for keeping gender-inclusive language out of Bible translations. Despite the support of influential leaders like James Dobson, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a person outside of evangelical academia who has even heard of this statement. Subsequent conservative translations that claimed to follow the Colorado Springs Guidelines would have presumably done so with or without the statement. Meanwhile, several popular Bible translations have violated the principles of these guidelines in their translation decisions.

Or for a more recent example, consider the “Manhattan Declaration” from 2009. This statement made a case for conservative positions on marriage, abortion and religious liberty. Like the Nashville Statement, it was met with much fanfare and criticism at the time. Organizers of the Manhattan Declaration even hired a full-time spokesperson, Eric Teetsel, to promote its message. In no time, the fledgling organization was broke and Teetsel was sent packing. Its effect on the American society and public policy was nil.

Conservative Christians seem to love issuing statements, all of which share two common characteristics: They oddly bear the name of the city in which they were drafted or released, and they all fail to shape the broader culture.

When it comes to issues of sexuality and gender, a statement like this is unlikely to move the needle with those who aren’t already in agreement. It is all head and no heart. It speaks to your mind but fails to look you in the eyes. It is intellectual, but not pastoral. It dialogues about people, rather than with them. It acknowledges the theology of these issues but never the humanity. It is all words and no word-made-flesh.

So progressives who hope for change should take a deep breath and stay the course. Keep comforting your friends. Keep making space for those whom others refuse to welcome. Keep loving your neighbors, and don’t forget that these signers are your neighbors, too.

Like so many before it, this statement won’t change anything. But if you keep leading with love, you can change everything. Proclamations don’t shape history; people do.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

308 Comments

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  • “This week, a group of prominent evangelicals released a “Christian manifesto,” which argued that LGBT “people who embrace their sexual or gender identity are living in sin.”

    correction: they released a hyper-conservative, sex and gender obsessed Christian manifesto.

    Living in sin, According to them: so is the 2/3 of the world that doesn’t buy the Christian story. So are the African Christians who practice polygamy. So are 1/2 of the Christians left who aren’t moralizing busybodies intent on managing what everyone does with their dangly bits. So are the Mormons.

    So is every single evangelical who is divorced, or divorced and remarried, for any reason except adultery. But they won’t attack those people, because they would lose half their money sources, and half the Nashville signees would have to resign, or do something about starving children.

    Mr. Merritt, their statement is worth exactly the paper it is printed on, and has the moral force of used Kleenex.

  • This author needs to get out of his head and take action. Take back your religion. Speak up, join a group. Leadership should inspire to act, not tell us to relax.

  • “It (the Nashville Statement) speaks to your mind but fails to look you in the eyes.”

    That’s why I quote from the Bible rather than from “statements” when discussing this issue, because the Bible DOES have the powerful ability to look a person in the eyes, as it were.

    But having said that, the Nashville Statement DOES speak to a person’s mind, just like Merritt admitted. It’s clear, it’s direct, it’s well-written.

    Most importantly, the statement does tell the flat-out Biblical truth. That’s the deal. And it’s done in an easily understood, quick-reading soundbite fashion (which I admit is how I prefer things.)

    Will it change any minds? I don’t know. Not sure Merritt knows either. All I know is that, for me, I’ve now read the Nashville Statement, and I’m glad it’s there at this crucial time.

  • I noticed that the picture at the top of this column was taken at an annual gay parade in a large major city. The guys with the hate signs are always placed behind police barricades for their own protection.

    That being said, many of the marchers in the parade are pastors, priests, rabbis, etc. representing many denominations, many religious sects. They are from the city and many of them are from the surrounding suburbs. They march in the parade to show their support for our gay brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. And, I would venture say, they greatly outnumber the people who signed the “Christian manifesto.”

  • Does anyone really think the “timing” of the manifesto would have made a difference? Is there any progressive or liberal out there who would have been more open to the content of the statement if it had been released in 2 weeks?

  • Is there a thinking, decent, non-sex-obsessed human being who would have been more open to the content of the statement if it it had been released in 2 weeks?

    FIFY.

  • Mr. Merritt, I think you are going much too easy on the moralizing, sex-obsessed busybodies that signed this statement. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll straighten YOU out on this. Tee-hee. I said “straighten”.

    “many intelligent and respectable people, including my father, signed it. I assume most did so because of their convictions, however misguided, rather than hatred.” Bad assumption, whatever their convictions allegedly are. So much bigotry is not really hatred, and it is a mistake to “assume” it is so. A lot of bigotry, as I am fond of saying, is nothing more than continuously re-affirming an entirely imaginary superiority, as a heterosexual, a moral person, a so-called Christian, and a human being. As for your father assuming it, the father of a gay son: if he wants his beliefs to be respected, maybe he could start by having respectable beliefs.

    (Of course, I have some bias here. After years of trying to communicate, trying to convince my father, a normally intelligent man, I gave up on him. It was clear that his beliefs about homosexuality, and what it means to be gay, were far more important to him than his relationship with his son. He finally convinced me of that truth).

    ” The statement fails to acknowledge, much less apologize for Christians’ sinful mistreatment of the LGBT community.” They don’t see it as mistreatment for the simple reason that they don’t see it as what it has always been: an ancient, vicious, and extremely durable prejudice, hiding behind “respectable and intelligent” religious belief. Sodomy laws and their reinstatement, which these people would surely love to see happening, have nothing to do with sin.

    “They were spoken of filthy, disgusting abominations that made God’s blood boil. I am not the exception.”
    Except that you left yourself out of the list. And you left out every single grifting lie, every single blaming us for every single social ill we could not have had a thing to do with, while simultaneously ignoring HETEROSEXAL AND HOLY-HOLY porn use, adultery, child molestation in the family, kiddy diddling by Catohlic priests, illegitimacy, and divorce.

    “They are returning the favor, refusing to compromise with the ones who oppressed them for decades.” How about centuries? How about Millennia? How about right this very minute.

    “It is all head and no heart. It speaks to your mind but fails to look you in the eyes. It is intellectual, but not pastoral.” All the wrong organs entirely. It is more accurately placed at the business end of a colon.

    ‘It dialogues about people, rather than with them.” not about, but against. And not about people, but about a fundelibangelist caricature of gay people, our lives, and our aspirations. It is the fundelibangelist mindset that you have to deal with here, like al Mohler’s nonsense claim about the issues being between “traditional views of marriage” versus “sexual liberation”. It refuses to see us as people, just as issues, sex acts, and walking sins.

    Maybe, someday, Mr. Merritt, you will actually stand against the purveyors of this theotrash and call it what it what truly is, rather than being nice.

  • Your statements are clearly useless, and I can understand you whose father is an evangelical pastor have hesitation. However, their statement can be observed as the declaration of civil war against LGBT. Sitting back and service with mouth won’t make their statement less homophobic or bellicose. They need to be called out for condemnation.

  • You talk about forgiveness and repentance, but for a sin to be forgiven it must first be acknowledged as a sin. The tolerance of homosexuality in society necessitates a hard and condemning line be taken against this most vile and wicked of crimes against God and nature. If you want to focus on forgiveness and repentance you must take it out of the public eye and make it a private matter; so long as it is a public matter, the preservation of the faith must always take precedence over individual pastoral concerns.

    The only way we’re going to take the issue out of the public eye and allow it to once again become a pastoral, rather than doctrinal, issue is to re-criminalize homosexuality. It is the law that should be punishing this unspeakable crime and the Church that should be showing the pathway to forgiveness; but when the law neglects to punish one of the most vile of all criminal acts, the Church must stand firmly in defense of eternal truth, condemning the law and the unrepentant sinner alike.

  • “The tolerance of homosexuality in society necessitates a hard and condemning line be taken against this most vile and wicked of crimes against God and nature.” STUPID.

    The only way we’re going to take the issue out of the public eye and allow it to once again become a pastoral, rather than doctrinal, issue is to re-criminalize homosexuality. VICIOUS.

    how about we do this. Let’s not just criminalize gay people, let’s criminalize everyone who doesn’t share your religious beliefs, not just the antigay parts. Let’s criminalize Jews, Buddhist, Atheists, Muslims, Liberal Christians, Mormons, Unitarians, and everyone else. Those are all horrible sins, aren’t they.

    but thanks for proving ONCE AGAIN that this is no more about “sincere religious belief’ than it is about the price of a pillar of salt.

    But I knew that.

  • Given how the crime is spoken of not only in our scriptures, but in the fathers, and even in the common law itself, I don’t think it’s hyperbole, it’s spot on.

    Part of the problem is we’ve tried to minimize this crime, which is a capital offense by scripture and tradition. We need to put it in its proper perspective, it’s not a mere misdemeanor that can be overlooked. It’s a grave and serious crime, amongst the most serious a man can commit and in the same category as crimes like murder.

  • Blasphemy and heresy are probably the gravest of sins and should be punished by law, That is self evident, you won’t get any argument from me.

    But how that justifies homosexuality is beyond me.

  • A great deal is apparently beyond you. Maybe you can take a cue form Jesus about it, or read the constitution, or fergawdsake, read a goddam book and educate yourself.
    but nice to know that you believe in Christian sharia.

  • Blackstone’s Commentary, itself, the gold standard of the common law and the most cited reference in the history of the Supreme Court refers to this crime as ‘that sin so horrible it is not named amongst Christian men’, clearly states it is a greater offense than rape, and that it is, of course, a capital crime.

    Our own, secular legal tradition is most clear on this crime and the modern tolerance is a deviation from over a thousand years of common law. I recognize that the constitution clearly allows for freedom of religion and while I’d like to see that repealed, our legal tradition is clear in that regard. But there can be no justification for the tolerance of homosexuality from law, from history, from tradition, or from scripture.

  • I don’t agree the statement is “impotent,” but not for the reasons Jonathan assumes. I think its another bomb — just another reason why people are giving up on the Christian church. Maybe if you live in the Bible Belt your neighbors have a bit more residual respect. Maybe they’ve even joined a more forward – thinking, lgbtq-friendly church, because they still think of religion as basically a good thing. But the rest of the country is just so sick of evangelicals they can’t bear them anymore. And lots of people aren’t discerning enough or aware that there is more diversity in the Christian world than these 150 represent. They insist they’re speaking for all Christendom, and not everybody has the time or inclination to find reasons to doubt them.

  • I think that’s a sort of unsophisticated way to think about what’s happening right now. In a normal year a statement like this wouldn’t have generated much publicity, and it wouldn’t have generated much outrage. Eyerolling maybe, but it would have just been “those guys doing that thing they do.” But the country has pretty much had it up to here — with racism and bigotry, with threatening to throw trans people out of the army, with the slimy preachers who surround Trump and with Mike Pence’s dreams of not just carrying out the Koch Bros plans, but reversing Roe v. Wade and doing what he can to stymie political protection of gay people in employment, and marriage in states where they can. So this boneheaded move isn’t without context.
    Hypocrisy is generally the thing that makes people angriest. And when the world faces a famine the likes of which it hasn’t seen in 70 years, an unprecedented refugee crisis — not to mention the other items mentioned in this article, the idea that a group of so-called Christians found this moment to say this — well yeah, it is a combustible moment.

  • Well thanks Constantine. We haven’t seen the “throw the gay people in jail” argument in awhile. Good to know it still lives in the fever dreams of some Americans.

  • Very Christian: arrogant, vain, malicious and wilfully ignorant. Comes from living by childish delusion and ridiculous fabrication.

  • That “separation of church and state thing” doesn’t work for you, huh? Because whose blasphemy and heresy would you like the federal government to prosecute? Anybody who isn’t a fundamentalist protestant Christian? Should it be anyone who isn’t Mormon in Utah, since they are the majority in that state?

  • “Blasphemy and heresy are probably the gravest of sins and should be punished by law.”

    Fortunately we live in a democracy and that is not going to happen. You should be embarrassed for posting that.

  • If it were given to me to write the law, taking into account our history and tradition of religious liberty I’d make the Nicene Creed the standard confession of faith for the country and allow for differences of religious expression within the bounds of the creed, but would condemn as heresy any deviations from it.

    I believe that would strike a reasonable balance, guaranteeing religious liberty within reason and preserving the detente that has emerged between the Catholics and Protestants in America, but clamping down on some of the more blatantly heretical religious excesses observed from time to time.

  • Eric Teetsel, mentioned in your article, resurfaced as one of the 154 initial signers of the “Nashville Statement.” He’s now the president of the Family Policy Institute of Kansas.

  • Actually, divorce is not mentioned anywhere in the “Nashville Statement.” I’ve read it three times. Funny, something Jesus actually criticized and not mentioned? Hmmmmm.

  • Take a Deep Breath, Merritt’s critique won’t change anything. I stopped reading after he promised to show me “Christian mistreatment” and “aggressive, harmful behavior” of LGBT people, but only proceeded to provide statements by people who said homosexuality is sinful and disgusting in their opinion. Such statements don’t constitute mistreatment and harmful behavior. So, unless people who believe homosexuality is sinful and repulsive start saying it is the epitome of holiness and beauty, they are going to be accused of mistreating and engaging in aggressive, harmful behavior against gays? Really? I hope the article got better after that point.

  • One of the statements literally said that the speaker would kill a gay man, and another said that homosexuality should be punishable by law. These are aggressive statements that display mistreatment of LGBT people.

  • “Part of the problem is we’ve tried to minimize this crime, which is a capital offense by scripture and tradition. ”

    And this is why your religious beliefs have zero bearing on the shape our laws may take. You are arguing for the mass imprisonment/murder of gays in the name of your faith. A repugnant and immoral idea if ever you expressed one. Religious Freedom means we as a people can take your bigoted, violent anti-democratic ideas and tell you to blow it out your @$$. There is no reason why our laws have to follow the arbitrary and bigoted dictates of your religious belief.

  • Still waiting for mistreatment and behavior. Those are merely words (the last unquoted), from people who don’t represent all of Christianity. Clearly a logical flaw on the part of Merritt, who resorts to it in desperation to soften the effect of the statement.

  • There is literally not a single person in the entire world outside of Jesus that “represent[s] all of Christianity.” It’s ridiculous to assume that Merritt would try to point to anyone who might. Merritt is pointing out influential voices in American Evangelicalism, which the people he listed are.

    If you really don’t believe their words don’t represent any form of mistreatment, you either don’t actually understand what mistreatment is or are delusional.

  • Another highly charged address by Mr. Merritt, if he used the same language to analyze a statement by the Christian progressive Left, he would be excoriated by the usual suspects. At bottom, there is not one of us who is without sin and the challenge of standing for what the bible declares to be true, while doing so in a humble fashion, is a difficult task at best, otherwise there would not be so much instruction in the bible regarding it. Still, I’m bothered by the fact that Mr. Merritt takes an equivocal tone, at best, with respect to the clear admonition of scripture. I speak as one Christian to another, to anyone outside the faith, such admonitions are a dead letter until one comes to faith.

  • The suggestion to “take a deep breath and stay the course” is good advice. Although hearing about such “statements” is painful to those of us who have long ago been moved by, among other things, God’s grace and the message and life of Jesus to turn away from any positions that purport to understand and limit the mind and the love of God as God continues the work of creation and redemption with us humans, with the earth, and in the entire cosmos.

    I have only to recall the history I have lived through with my own family and friends over the past 70 plus years. There was a time when nearly everyone I knew would have subscribed to the positions laid out in this latest pronunciation, myself included. If non-heterosexual people were present in the family or among my group of friends, they were securely closeted and guarded in their willingness to share their whole identities or lives with those of us who simply KNEW we were right in our reading of scripture as forbidding such identities and the behaviors that accompanied them.

    I recently returned from a family reunion of some of these same people, at which two beloved cousins in the family were present. They are the same wonderful people they have always been, but now the entire family knows these two women are lesbian and have been with their respective partners for many decades. They have created positive, loving, faithful Christian relationships. They no longer hide who they are, but act and speak openly about their lives just as everyone else in the family does about her/his spousal relationships and families.

    What I see is that some of the family are still not entirely comfortable with these relationships, but the dynamic has changed from as recently as twenty years ago. Whereas the two lesbian cousins were always the ones who had to be silent and hide deeply significant aspects of their lives from everyone else, they now are open and proud of their families. The people who choose to continue to believe that their cousins are somehow uniquely sinners and condemned in God’s sight are the ones who are now silent. Most of us now enjoy full and open relationships with our lesbian cousins and their partners/spouses. If anyone has a problem with these women and their families, they now keep silent and for the most part engage in normal conversations and interactions with them.

    What I am learning is that God has a way of bypassing and rendering moot politics and/or culture masquerading as faith, even if those who fervently believe they are upholding some unchangeable and non-negotiable biblical position on God’s behalf do not know it’s politics or culture they are clinging to. God is not done revealing God’s self to the world, and what we may think we know about God beyond a doubt, because we insist on hanging onto our tired, human-minded interpretations of the Bible, means – to be blunt – very little to a God who is still determined to be God and continue with the work of creation on God’s, rather than human, terms. God continues to work in the world over and above anything any human or any human institution has to say about what God is doing. The one thing I know and can safely say about God is that God is going to surprise us, and very probably about the things about which we think we are most absolutely certain.

    I’m not too worried about the Nashville statement, because it was drafted by humans. God is working in God’s own way, and I don’t believe God feels any need for humans to speak for God or predict what God will or will not do. God works in human hearts; I’ve seen it; I’ve experienced it. I saw it at our family reunion this summer, and it was wonderful.

  • A text between me and my wife yesterday:

    My wife: let’s eat at this restaurant tonight, 100% of tuesday proceeds are going to hurricane relief.

    Me: sounds good.

    My wife latter in the day: Have hair appointment can’t go eat.

    Me: I’ll let the hurricane victims know you have a hair appointment and will not be able to contribute.

    My wife: Jackass

    Me: her Cain hair

    Denny Burk is calling someone like me a revisionist. That must have been a tough playground Denny grew up on.

    Conversation this morning.

    My wife: I was going to write a check for $100 to hurricane relief but after your text yesterday the holy spirt told me to make it $500.

    Me: Revisionist!

  • So, again, if those who sincerely believe homosexuality is sinful and repugnant express this opinion, then that constitutes mistreatment? What if those who sincerely believe that Christians are ignorant, superstitious, and bigoted, and express that opinion, are they mistreating Christians?

  • The huge numbers of people who have turned away from clear biblical truth, out of a misguided notion of being more loving, are exactly the reason these church leaders feel the need to make such pronouncements.

  • Stats according to pew research.
    35% white evangelicals now support same sex marriage.
    47% when it comes to those under the age of 53.

    That is a number that is moving in one direction I’m not sure where it will settle at. When you draw a line in the sand you say that none of this shift is of God, and when you do that, you underestimate and or deny the ability and the activity of the Holy Spirit at work within the church.

  • If all they were doing was expressing their opinions on sexual morals, it would not be mistreatment. But that is not all that they are doing. Did you even read the quotes? One person says he’d kill a gay man. One person says that gay people should be punished by law. And others are generally pushing false narratives about LGBT people. These things are mistreatment. They are aggressive. They are harmful.

  • “Proclamations don’t shape history; people do.” … is exactly why Evangelicals are losing the argument, and gay people are winning the hearts and minds of a growing majority of Americans.

    Evangelicals paint gay people as “evil monsters” which hasn’t squared at all with the gay people that so many people know and love. A mom and dad look at their child that’s gay and they see a person they love with all their heart, not an “evil monster”. A neighbor looks at the gay couple on their street who are so nice and they don’t see an “evil monster”.

    And each time Evangelicals double-down with their “gays are evil” they lose more and more hearts and minds. They’re sealing their own defeat. When the #1 thing your faith group becomes famous (infamous) for is your hatred of a certain people group, that’s bad for the future of your religion and a sad commentary on your religion.

    A number of us have long warned Evangelicals that one day the tables would turn if they didn’t knock off the ongoing demonization and marginalization of gay people. They ignored us. Now the tables are turning and it looks like it’s the Evangelicals turn on “the rack”. I have a feeling their wailing “Help! We’re being persecuted” isn’t going to be paid attention to.

    The Evangelical’s holy book says “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy”. But Evangelicals had no mercy on gay people, and now they will likely receive none themselves. They should have paid attention to their holy book.

    As always, this “heathen” thanks Jonathan Merritt for his perspective and his mercy on LGBT people.

  • The Nashville Statement is not about the divorce issue. It’s about the homosexuality issue.

    They are two separate issues, they are NOT equivalent issues. Any attempt to exploit the divorce issue to justify the Gay Religion or Gay Marriage, is already shown to be invalid and refuted, simply by reading what the Bible says about both issues.

    Russell Moore of the SBC, explains about how Christians should view the divorce issue, and he addresses the question, “Is Divorce Equivalent to Homosexuality?”

    http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/09/24/is-divorce-equivalent-to-homosexuality/

  • In other words, the Holy Spirit, God Himself, has now repealed all those verses in the Old and New Testament — and there are many of ’em — that throw up any kind of roadblock to choosing a gay-self-identity, choosing a gay dating relationship, and/or choosing gay marriage or cohabitation.

    Hence these recent pro-gay-marriage statistics. The Holy Spirit is a supporter of gay marriage, and is working to convince Christians of same. (I promise I’m not being insulting or dissing about this. But such a suggestion is…astonishing.)

    Jonathan Merritt, THIS is precisely why we need the Nashville Statement, whether it changes anybody’s mind or not.

  • The homosexuality issue DOES create a lot of pressure on families, parents, etc.

    If you love and accept me, then love and accept my lifestyle too — or else say goodbye to a deeply valued relationship. Many parents, family, friends, are facing that hostage situation right now.

    Some parents crack under that intense pressure, some don’t. Saw a “60 Minutes” or similar TV show years ago, in which a gay man was doing efforts, letter-writing, etc, to get his Mom and Dad to not only say they loved and accept him (which they were doing), but specifically for them to say out loud, publicly, that they also accepted his homosexual lifestyle as morally and spiritually A-okay.

    So there’s the parents, on-camera. Mom cracks; she throws away her own beliefs, she gives in. Dad, he holds out, he refuses to give up his beliefs. But then he says “I don’t know” at the conclusion. Pressure’s slowly getting to him. The End.

  • ” Dad, he holds out, he refuses to give up his beliefs. But then he says “I don’t know” at the conclusion. Pressure’s slowly getting to him. The End. ”

    No, it’s not ‘The End’. It’s probably just the beginning. It could be verses like this that’s ‘slowly getting to him’ —

    Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God……Romans 15:7

    After all, it’s only his son that he need accept, and for his son’s sake, that could make all the difference in the world.

  • You’re fighting a losing battle. You’re on the wrong side both in terms of morality and legality and this is one battle where I enjoy watching your side’s frustration and desperation.

  • Sincere question for you: What if the son ALSO demands, right upfront, that his parents accept

    (1) the specific claims of the gay movement that contradict the Bible’s claims

    (2) the son’s personal choice of a gay-self-identity, gay dating, and/or gay marriage or cohabitation

    What will you tell those parents when they ask you about it?

  • Well, let’s see. Maybe the evil Obergefell decision, really is forever. Trump certainly won’t last long, and afterwards the PC-Police will make sure Christians bow & kowtow 24/7. The national media is pro-gay-marriage, and Christians themselves are badly divided. You’re right, it’s looking pretty grim.

    But gay activist Andrew Sullivan said it best: This battle is always “One person, one mind, one heart, one life at a time.” So if Hebrews 4:12 is even halfway true, then the Bible is superbly (and supernaturally) constructed for PRECISELY this type of warfare.

    Besides, I’ve already seen with my own eyes, what the extreme overwhelming power and love of Jesus Christ can do for people in this specific area. So I’m feeling pretty good about things. One person, one life, at a time.

  • Its always so interesting to see groups put their stake in the ground. We are right, we are 100% sure, this will never change or be different. Looking back over history, few of those statements remain. Loud proclamations of finally having God and the edges of Him sorted age very poorly.

  • Jesus loved. Period. And looking into the eyes of a person, which is what Jesus always did, allows you to see with the eyes of Christ, straight to the heart. What is so unbearably sad when hearing someone speak against another human being who they deem a sinner is the blatant disregard of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through their words. The callous insults, name calling, assumptions, condescension, righteous indignation that so freely flow (in a spirit of assumed omniscience) would never be spoken by the Spirit. Ever. It is only the small, ego, false, protective self which would dare communicate to another human being this way. Love is nowhere in this mix. And every Christian should be well aware that love is the greatest commandment of all. A conscious choice to stray away from Jesus’ most definitive proclamation has now become an acceptable sin. Withholding love from the person being condemned equates to a serious lack of self-love in the person spewing hatred. And that is what I pray for. I believe that refusing to allow the Divine Love within you to flow out and into others is the biggest “omission” of Gospel living. And that’s about as big as it gets when it comes to missing the point of why Jesus died on the cross. God created every human being inherently good–I will never believe God creates mistakes. But for some reason, this truth is lost on far too many people who somehow believe He would create a human set up for “perceived failure” from day one. Which is why I believe this statement by Jonathan, “It is all head and no heart. It speaks to your mind but fails to look you in the eyes. It is intellectual, but not pastoral. It dialogues about people, rather than with them. It acknowledges the theology of these issues but never the humanity. It is all words and no word-made-flesh” is on point and speaks straight to the heart of the issue.

  • More nonsense.

    It’s abrahams choice. Do I do what god says, or what men say god says, or do I love my child.

    Abraham was a foolish, immoral, fearful man.

    The pressure all comes from the antigay side.

  • So, JM says Evangelicals need to apologize for Evangelical mistreatment of gays, and cites a non-Evangelical’s hyperbolic statement and an Evangelical who made a statement at the time when what he asserted was the law of the land in many states and was the view of most Americans, including many on the Left. Those are his great examples of mistreatment and aggressive behavior towards gays? Really? I will be looking for your condemnations of all those on the Left who for decades now have engaged in and/or threatened violence against Christians and those on the political right, including those who seem to advocate the assassination of a sitting US President (one, which, by the way, I have never voted for).

  • My biggest problem with the Nashville Statement (and yes, I have read it) is the lack of scriptural support. For all its thundering and judgement and speaking in God’s name, there is remarkably little recourse to what God has actually said in the Bible. The scriptural witness is not unequivocal in either direction, but it seems to me that scripture has to be the starting place for any conversation among Christians, not simply “We affirm” and “We deny.”

  • You’re being ridiculous. Just because someone is asserted what is a law doesn’t make it OK. Many Christians supported slavery when it was legal, but that doesn’t make it moral to support slavery.

    I’m not sure which of these people you are referring to as a non-Evangelical, but it doesn’t matter. All the people JM listed are people who influenced American Evangelicals or espoused views many Evangelicals held (or are still held by many today), regardless of whether or not they were technically Evangelicals themselves. Conservative Christians absolutely should apologize for, or at least clearly and explicitly denounce, the disgusting behavior these types of people have shown and their words.

    And I’m not falling for your stupid whataboutism about “the Left.” The Left isn’t perfect, and I have some criticisms of them, but they are not the subject here.

  • You revisionists! Always being kind, merciful, and generous. Won’t no one think of the poor evangelicals, up to their necks in just the opposite?

    Good for the two of you.

  • Just like the Holy Spirit repealed all of those laws in the Bible that said that black people like you were fine as property, but if that were not allowed, sitting at the back of the bus was perfectly fine.

    And please! before you tell me that the Bible doesn’t justify what was done to your people, don’t tell me. Tell it to the people who used the Bible to justify slavery and made Jim Crow a saint.

  • The huge numbers of people who have turned away from biblical truth being a clear disguise for a vicious and ancient prejudice, out of a spirit guided notion of being more loving, are exactly the reason these church leaders feel the need to make such pronouncements…

    Because they are losing their market share, losing their influence, and think that no one can see through them.

    FIFY

  • Sodomy laws. Don’t ask don’t tell. Anti marriage laws, calling us a threat to western civlization.

    If you don’t see this, then you simply don’t wish to.

  • I’ve been reading some of your comments here and it’s clear we are coming from two entirely different perspectives. So, rather than address the points you have attempted to raise (really those “points” are just carelessly throwing my own words back at me) I think I will just say I still disagree with your position and will not be interacting with you further.

  • Of course we come from two different perspectives.

    You think that some vague passages in your bible outweigh the harm done to gay people for 2000 years, including prisons, murders, beatings, stigmatization, and being blamed for every single possible sin of heterosexual and Christian society. You hide this vicious and ancient prejudice behind your sincere religious belief, just like the purveyors of this Nashville Attack Manifesto.

    I think it’s time to stop disadvantaging, disenfranchising, and stigmatizing gay people in law and society. All we want is the same courtesy and respect you routinely extend to all of the other people you believe are going to burn in hell forever because they don’t share your religious beliefs.

    If you can’t stand the heat of disagreement, I suspect you will be getting out of the kitchen. Try Nashville. I understand they have cool kitchens there.

  • By the way, yes, I was throwing your words back at you. But not “just throwing” them back at you.

  • Denny Burk president of the group who put out the statement referenced 1 Thess 4:3-8 to justify much of the Nashville statement. He went on to say we labor for a moral clarity on the point not so we can say to sinners, Keep Out! We are standing with our arms wide open saying, Please come in.

    I think the attitude of the church in general is changing, I believe the power behind that change is a higher power than the ones these men hold. I think the church is becoming more in tune with the verses that follow the 1 Thess 4:3-8 that Burk references.

    1 Thess 4:11-12
    And make it your ambition to lead a quite life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you, so that your daily life might win the respect of outsiders, and so that you might not be dependent on anybody.

    If you really want to stand with your arms wide open what’s wrong with that part of the Bible? Has the Holy Spirit declared it null and void?

  • 1 Thess 4:11-12, is 100% good. “Lead a quiet life, mind your own business, work with your hands, your daily life might win the respect of outsiders” — Yes I agree.

    But that specific text does NOT say, “Keep your mouth shut regarding the Bible and today’s issues.” Denny Burk’s own public example, makes that clear.

    Burk wrote, “Anyone who persistently rejects God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue is rejecting Christianity altogether, even if they claim otherwise. Or as the apostle Paul puts it, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality… Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:3-8). The stakes are higher than the revisionists want you to believe.” Do you agree with him?

  • What’s this? You put forth a claim about what the Bible said, but you don’t want your claim examined for accuracy or inaccuracy?

  • Kind, merciful, and generous is nice of you to say, but I really don’t look at myself that way. I really want to see myself as someone who fights the right fights, if it looks like something else on the outside that’s ok, but on the inside it’s about a right fight for someone else.

  • It’s not about the homosexuality issue, it’s about sexual ethic as a whole which is why they also denounce polygamy and polyamory. If you feel the need to draw lines concerning sexual ethic and denounce not only homosexuals and transgender people, but even those straight Christians that have a different view, then I do think it would be consistent to discuss divorce. Jesus says what God has put together let not man separate. That has to do with a sexual ethic as much as a relational/family ethic. They promoted fidelity in an affirmation, but that was the closest they got. I feel that addressing divorce would have actually been more compelling than just continuing to hound on people they’ve already been alienated with.

  • Yes. That is Denny Burke speaking, one more time declaring who, in his opinion, is a true Christian, and who is not. Which means he thinks he’s god. Which means he is no Christian.

    Jesus had something to say about whited sepulcher guys. He had nothing to say about gay people.

  • No, I just want you to stop being a damnable hypocrite on the subject.

    But then, I want world peace, a good Ben AFfleck movie, and Cherry Garcia to have no calories, no cholesterol, and cost $1 a gallon.

  • There’s no frustration or desperation among Bible believers. We are TOLD that this is how it will go. We will ALWAYS be anathema to majority thought, just as our Founder was.

  • Same-sex marriage is guaranteed by law and will likely not be overturned. Trump isn’t going to touch it. After a while there will be too many marriages for this to ever happen. Spend your time ousting transgender from bathrooms. You’re going to lose that battle, too.

  • You are overlooking something. Obergefell can’t stop anybody from getting saved, healed, and delivered. Can’t stop people from abandoning gay-self-identity and influencing others to do likewise.

    (And this is true even if American speech and religion freedoms are repealed by dinnertime.)

  • Not really…see the CDC fact sheets about men having sex with men. It looks very grim for gays.

  • It was Evangelical Christians who opposed slavery to begin with. Get out of here with your fake history. LOL.

    British Quakers were the first organized religious group to both repudiate slavery and to forbid slave owning among their membership. They provided much of the leadership of the abolitionist movement, both in Britain and North America. However, their influence was limited by their small numerical strength. It was John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of the Methodist movement, who was able to convert the small Quaker protest into a mass movement.

    By the end of the 18th century, slavery appeared to be a dying institution. In Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, farmers had largely switched from tobacco to grains. This required less manpower. Many slave owners freed their slaves to avoid the costs of having to care for them. But the invention of Eli Witney’s cotton gin reversed this trend. Short-staple cotton became very profitable in the south. Production of cotton in the South increased from 3,135 bales in 1790 to 4.8 million bales at the outbreak of the Civil War. With the increased production of cotton, the demand for slaves increased.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_slav3.htm

  • Short answer, no the first word, anyone, disqualifies the statement from a arguement standpoint.

    Long answer, Denny Burk trying to convict me of my convictions is not a promting of the Holy Spirit. His statement the way it is stated does not define my attitude.

  • The issue is apologizing for what others who at least in the eyes of the world fall into your particular camp (i.e. Evangelical, LGBT) have said or done. I feel no compulsion to apologize for what some health and wealth televangelist allegedly said years or decades ago. Nor do I consider someone saying what the law said as aggressive behavior. Whether you should be compelled to apologize for the objectionable people in your camp have done is not a “stupid whataboutism.” If Christians can’t proclaim what the Scriptures say about gender and sexuality without being demanded to apologize for what Jimmy Swaggert said, then surely gays can’t proclaim their views without first apologizing for the hateful words and harmful actions coming from their ilk. The simple fact of the matter, is that many of the examples provided by JM are merely expressions of opposition or disgust. If you think you are ever going to eliminate the revulsion some people feel when confronted with the image of two people of the same gender having sex, then I am sorry to say you are on an impossible mission. Also, if you think you will ever get everyone to celebrate homosexuality when it is clearly and explicitly condemned by the Scriptures and is obviously a deviant form of sexuality, then you need to wake up to reality. Calling the holding of such positions aggressive behavior and mistreatment will only make things worse. As long as there is Christianity there will be people who abide by what the Scriptures say, even if they are ridiculed for doing so.

  • And that was only the renaissance of Christian abolitionism. The first wave, really the first one anywhere, was during the so-called “dark ages” when the first heroes of the cause such as Patrick and Bathilda and Anselm were proclaiming the liberty and equality of all men before Christ. At the same time the rank and file clergy were quietly and diligently persuading one master after another to free their enslaved brothers in Christ, until slavery virtually disappeared from Christendom while the entire rest of the world was still mired in it.

  • One eternal life vs a thousand that end in the dump. Hmm, what a choice!

    Rather calls to mind the narrow road and the wide one…

  • Some of my former theological professors signed the statement. It is un-biblical from article I. If you hold to the theology that the bible is inspired by God (and they do hold that position) then God is ultimately behind the stories of polygamous marriages that are nowhere condemned in the bible. Where did the 12 tribes of Israel come from? According to the Bible (and therefore, God) from Jacob’s 2 wives plus their two handmaids. But article one says: “WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
    WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship.” Well, I cannot see how you can have it both ways.

  • So you believe.

    It still doesn’t say much either for your god, or people who “think” and act like Floyd.

    So I’ll take my chances that whatever God there might be is better than so many of the people who claim to follow him.

  • Not now, they aren’t.. but they would certainly like to see them reinstated, and did all they could to prevent their repeal.

    Look at 2rump’s proposed transgender ban. Not requested or wanted by the service, but as a direct result of his meeting with evangelicals.

  • You have no actual interest in what the CDC says. Men who have sex with men is not synonymous with gay men, and the issue, as have you have been told repeatedly, is not same sex sex, but promiscuity. By your standards, lesbians must be god’s chosen people, because their dates of disease are far lower than heterosexual owmen’s.

    And at 67, I’m still running 6 minutes miles. My husband will be climbing the third highest peak in California this weekend.

    Sounds pretty healthy to me. Your obsession with my dangly bits doesn’t.

  • They’re bible and sexual repression fanatics. They can believe six impossible things before breakfast.

  • True Christians will follow what God has said in his holy word while heretics and Gid haters will do other wise.

  • Because The Bible more then once says marriage is between a man and woman while pologomy brings nothing good.

  • But I do. And I’m sure it just pisses you off no end that you can’t do a thing about it. I rejoice in your weeping, and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  • There is always an up side. As a Christian (I thought), I go to church on Sundays. Since I support gay equality, I now find that I am not actually a Christian. So now I can mow the yard Sunday mornings. Thank you to those who wrote and signed the Nashville Statement.
    Perhaps the original document complete with signatures can be put on display in the Ark Museum.

  • This is a re-reply long answer to your question.

    Gay marriage-Not biblical, because it isn’t in the the Bible.

    Gay sex-Not biblical, because
    it isn’t in the Bible.

    Is being gay married living in sin and is gay sex sin?-There was a time when I would have said yes absolutely. Today I would say that nobody has convinced me that it isn’t. It’s not my temptation, it’s not my struggle if it is.

    One thing the Bible is crystal clear on is for me to love the people in my life. So out of love, I reject Denny Burk’s assertions and conclusions concerning the Nashville Statement and for that he has told me I’m going to hell.

    Denny Burk has said everything is at stake concerning this issue. Sara convinced Abraham of something with that same attitude. Armed with that knowledge of attitudes I will trust what I believe is the source of my attitude, and I will ignore Denny Burk and his solution for my attitude.

  • You might think that Burke has declared himself to be god, since he knows that status of the relationship of That Imposter with everyone on the planet, and knows who is going to hell and who isn’t.
    It’s charming, in a vicious sort of a way.

  • “. If you think you are ever going to eliminate the revulsion some people feel when confronted with the image of two people of the same gender having sex, then I am sorry to say you are on an impossible mission.”
    As always with you people, it is always, always, always about sex. It’s the first place you go.
    I would suggest that if you find the thought so revolting, you would be doing yourself and the world a favor not to think about it as much as you clearly do.

  • Merritt’s milquetoast response does make some good points, but it is odd that he misses the subtext of the Statement. This isn’t, as he says, an effort to persuade anyone or change anything. This was written by white evangelicals for white evangelicals and it was written as an expression of self confidence, even celebration. The statement isn’t an effort to change anything because its authors believe things have already changed–in their favor.

    It’s crucial to remember that white evangelicals implored Public Servant 45 to issue the trans military ban. Then he did. And with someone like Gorsuch on the Supreme Court now, something else they desperately wanted, they might even dare hope to overturn Obergefell. Or at least they can be confident that “religious freedom” laws will have a friendly ear on the court who will protect them when they support discrimination in the public sphere.

    The authors didn’t write this to let the world know what they think and what they want. Everyone already knows. They wrote to stake a claim to leadership and authority *within* the white evangelical world. They imagine that world is again exerting its rightful influence on the nation through the highest authorities in the land. And they want to reassert their power to define who speaks for that world. Who’s a real white evangelical and who is not, today: that’s what this Statement aims to declare.

  • Russell Moore has, in fact, discussed the divorce situation, and seriously spelled out what Christians need to do in that area. But at the same time, he directly answers the question “Is Divorce Equivalent To Homosexuality?”

    (There’s only one biblical answer, of course. It is NOT equivalent. Therefore, even though I affirm the importance of addressing the Christian divorce situation as Moore does, there is NO hypocrisy or wrongness involved in addressing the homosexuality issue by itself, such as in the Nashville Statement.)

    Moore’s article:
    http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/09/24/is-divorce-equivalent-to-homosexuality/

  • You know Ben my view of this is that of an insider, these are my people you might say. I can’t tell you if God is real or not, but I do believe he is and it is based on what I have experienced in life more than what I have read in the Bible. The Bible makes sense when I apply it with common sense. My common sense seems to get a little more senseable when I apply the hard parts of the Bible to myself first. If homosexuality is a sin I really don’t have any experience with the temptation. Pride’s a sin, if it was a skill I might be over qualified to get a job anywhere. I don’t know…end of the day maybe these guys are right, they have phd’s, masters of divinity’s, they know Hebrew and Greek, if they are right I’m willing to risk hell just to be able to have conversations like these with you. If there was no promise of reward, no threat of damnation, and if this person they called Jesus was who he said he was, would his cause be worth taking up. I would still do it, if you could believe you would too, you already do, you just don’t claim to.
    What happens when you claim to and don’t, compared to, do but don’t claim to? I believe in grace, I believe done over do, I believe in obedience. Maybe that is the difference I have with the Denny Burks, it’s pretty easy to call someone out in an area where you experience no temptation and tell that person your God hates them. Your disobedience in this area is a sign of your hatred for their God and that hatred deserves damnation. Not only that but anyone who would disagree with them deserves the same. Obedience seems to be a big deal with these guys, it’s usually your lack of compared compared to their minimum standard of. Motivation of obedience is more important, motivation is the tone of our obedience, and our statements. I don’t know…but thanks for listening. People could learn a lot getting to know you:-)

  • Somewhere in the Bible it says “God is love.” I was and am foolish enough to believe that, and it has been borne out throughout my long lifetime thus far, so I have no reason to doubt it. Becoming more loving would seem to always make sense if we claim to love God and to try to follow the two greatest commandments, as identified and demonstrated by Jesus. Misguided I don’t believe I am. Long ago I figured out I could worship “clear bibical truth” (which can ONLY be enunciated by humans) or I could worship God, i.e., love. It simply was not possible to do both. I chose God.

    Life makes a great deal more sense to both my mind and my heart since I stopped worrying very much about “biblical truths” I could not, no matter how much I tried, reconcile with the law of love. I decided to go with the clear message of Jesus’s life and ministry, and that, as Frost said on behalf of those who opt for the path less traveled, has made all the difference.

  • Thank you so much for this. It proves what I said earlier that you are indeed a kind and generous person. You should be proud of that! ?

    I don’t have much time to write today, as I’m going on another trip. (I do love being retired). and what I really want to write would take at least an hour or two. But the short version is that this is about what I always say it is about: money, power, and dominion.

    The money part is easy. Politically minded religious people, as often grifters as sincere, love money. They have been mining the anti-abortion and antigay industries for decades. Lately, they moved over to the anti immigrant, anti Muslim and anti-trans industries. There are plenty of people who are afraid, ignorant, angry, and lazy, and they are ripe for the plucking. So what if the Bible talks about false witness, whited sepulchres, camel loads of money, and all the rest? JOel Osteen is a kinder, gentler and less dead version of Eddie Long, but probably not as rich as that pervereted old fossil Robertson.

    And that is not even getting into what I am certain must also be true: hyper conservative religion is simply infested with homosexual hating homosexuals, hiding there to avoid detection. I wonder how many active Grindr profiles might an interested person have found in the vicinity of the meeting place in Nashville?

    The power part is also pretty easy. Power over others is always attractive to certain personalities. Religion is just another vehicle for getting that power. And of course, where there is power, there is also money.

    Dominion is a bit more complex, but it also related back to power over others, and in the case of the homosexual hating homosexuals, power over oneself– except that of course that doesn’t work. It’s all an illusion. But get the dominionists get two things: first, confirmation on the world that their religious beliefs are correct. And second, the fulfillment of their megalomania: “look at me! LOok how holy I am and pleasing to God. Why, I must be god’s BFFF!!!” And in the case of Burke, he gets to say who is and who isn’t god’s BFFF. VEry much like the schoolyard bullies I used to have to deal with as a boy. “I’m popular. I’m above you. No one likes you. Everyone hates you.” And as always, it simply goes to show that so much of bigotry is what I always say it is: the never ending, completely unwarranted belief in ones totally Imaginary superiority as a Christian and a human being.

    I think that in this idea of dominionism that we find the real psycho(logical) payoff for Burke’s game, and why gay people will continue to be the whipping boys for his type of evangelical for some time to come. They have decided that being antigay is going to be the lynchpin of their brand of Christianity– as did Anita Bryant forty years ago. If they are wrong about that– andthey are– what else are they wrong about– besides everything? It’s the fundamentalist mindset. There cannot be any error, because if there is, the whole thing falls apart. And they know it. We gay people stand as the refutation of their entire doctrine, their entire claims on power and money and being God’s BFFF. Burke has officially placed himself and his fellow travelers on god,s throne, and they just love the view, especially the one in the mirror.

    Until about 50 years ago, they were able to count on the culture standing with them, as it did with their racist tendencies. But then, gay people started coming out of the closet, which was their enforcement mechanism. If you can get people to oppress themselves, then the lazy bigots don’t need to work too hard at it. And the homosexual hating homosexuals can continue to hide and deflect, and still make their HAGGARD choices. But once we started coming out of the closet, the entire structure was in danger. (IT’s why I have nothing butcontempt for people who hide out in the closet, and who attempt to work harm on People with self respect).

    And all of that is what this Fascville Manifesto is really about. No real concerns with heterosexual divorce, adultery, and illegitimacy, no concerns about the love of wealth and power, because all of that is in their in-group. And any real concern over it would endanger their income stream. They have an out group to pick on, with power, money, and dominion in the offing.

    And I think that this is why they are going to lose. But not to worry, they have some new targets, and will always find some more.

  • “(There’s only one biblical answer, of course. It is NOT equivalent”
    There you go again. Both are sinful, except for divorce in the case of adultery. and so called Christians have been busy informing me that all sins are sins, all are equal in thev sght of god.
    But in true Orwellian fashion, we have just learned from you that some sins are more equal than others.

  • Ditto what you said, brother Jonathan Merritt.

    Oops, not its entirety, mind. Sorry, just this very thought of mine after reading all 14 Articles and catching all the name-dropping celebs and celeb-wannabes at the end of the manifesto:

    “The Nashville Statement fails as soon as it starts, not because of its assertions but because of its omissions.”

    One Grand Omission, actually. Kindly read on.

    QUESTION: Who is The Coalition for Biblical Sexuality in their Nashville Statement attacking, and who are they covering up, and how do we know this?

    ANSWER: Let’s count their target groups one by one, repeated ones included. This way the listing in the order given of the frequency the groups being mentioned, serves to prove whom they’re picking on, bullying even, and whom they’re looking the other way from, condoning even. Here’s my inventory:

    (1) HOMOSEXUALS are 6 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b, 7, 9 and 10.

    (2) TRANSGENDERS are 6 times singled out and implicated in Articles 2a, 2b, 7, 9, 10 and 13.

    (3) POLYGAMISTS are 4 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b and 9.

    (4) POLYAMOURS are 4 times singled out and implicated in Articles 1, 2a, 2b and 9.

    (5) UNSPECIED OTHERS are 3 times singled out and implicated in Articles 2a, 2b and 9.

    (6) BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN PORN-ADDICTS AND ADULTERERS are 0 times singled out and implicated in all 14 Articles of the Nashville Statement – even after 3 years since Charisma News broke this news in the article, “Shocker: Study Shows Most Christian Men Are Into Porn” dating October 7, 2014: “A new national survey of Christian men reveals shocking statistics pertaining to high rates of pornography use and addiction, plus rampant sexual infidelity among married Christian men. … These alarming statistics are not limited to those who nominally consider themselves Christian. Those who identify themselves as born-again Christians have similar struggles with pornography and affairs”!

  • It is certainly true that a Supreme Court decision will not stop anyone from adopting ridiculous religious ideologies. However, the fact it is the hatemongers who refrain from speaking out due to public opprobrium, and the ridiculousness of those who do despite public opprobrium, means fewer will be taken in by such nonsense.

  • So you say. But your desire to be able to tell others what to do and your frustration that you can’t, is clearly revealed by nonsense like these sort of self-important “declarations” .

  • More than one non sequitur here. Can you spell out what you mean rather than use Bible verses like the hearing impaired use sign language?

  • Well, Jim, the world is bigger than the USA and history comprises more than than right now. The USA is a drop in the bucket either way you measure.

  • Those “Evangelical Christians” were liberals through and through. In contrast the Religious Right of today stems from segregationism, which Jerry Falwell Sr. and Pat Robertson championed before it became unpopular.

  • Hm. It seems to me serfdom is but a form of slavery and there is no record of Lords freeing serfs out of religious conviction to speak of.

  • They can make these ridiculous “Declarations” to their heart’s content, but no one outside the deluded or fellow grifters are impressed

  • Um, Bill Clinton was responsible for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Bill Clinton is an evangelical. QED your assertion is disproven.

  • Lol. Little late there Capt. K-poo. But it IS the cdc after all. They are not intentionally sex obsessed. It’s just professional. They get paid to inquire into the sex lives of everybody – even Kangaroos. Lol.

  • “That must have been a tough playground Denny grew up on.”
    More than you know. Hateful religion is positively correlated with childhood bullying, same dynamics, accelerated to a cosmic scale. And a large portion of the fudegelical hatemongering preachers were as boys somewhat sensitive four-eyeses like Norman Rockwell’s “Waldo” character.

  • Good point, but probably not. However it reveals well the mercenary motives of the releasers. They were so devoted to promoting their particular hatred they didn’t give a flip about the optics of it.

  • “Tolerance” is only leaving other people alone. If you can’t do that, your heart is strained from the hatred within it.

  • There was no sneer. I’m addressing all the readers — and you are too — so I for one, am being careful (for a little while, anyway. No promises!)

    People understand what the word “lifestyle” means according to the dictionary; it’s a neutral term, easily understood.

  • Serfs could not be killed by their owners with complete impunity, or sold away from family, or forced to commit immorality. While a serf’s lot was not a particularly happy one (very few were before the modern era), none of that was part of it because a serf was seen as fully human and valuable to God, whereas a classical slave was not..

  • Ad isn’t that charming? we can go back to making gay people criminals, destroying our families, encouraging despair and promiscuity, and a host of other ills.
    And oyu are just salivating at the prospect.

  • “I decided to go with the clear message of Jesus’s life and ministry” You can hardly separate Jesus’ life and ministry from biblical truth, for He taught from scripture every step of the way, even upon the very cross itself, and rebuked the people for not having heeded the messengers (the OT prophets) that He had sent.

    “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” Luke 16:31.

  • Honey Baby Sugar Loaf, that seems to be YOUR cohort’s MO, what with the marching about, waving a flag, stomping your feet and throwing a temper tantrum until you get the attention you crave.

  • “Serfs could not be killed by their owners with complete impunity, or sold away from family, or forced to commit immorality”
    Well that certainly made it better.

  • Well I’m a citizen of the US and that’s my focus. I’m glad we have a secular government where fundamentalists just get one vote apiece, same as the rest of us. Biblical or not – it’s bigotry and fewer Americans are supporting it.

  • You are free to say and do what you want – within the law. You’re free to vote how you want and try to influence other people. I would never stop that no matter what my own beliefs are. I’m just stating my opinion and pointing out that you are losing on the LGBT issue.

  • If you find ignorance funny, continue to crack yourself up.

    Or look it up. The word Southern in Southern Baptist Convention stems from it having been founded in 1845 at a regional convention held in Augusta, Georgia in the Southern United States, following a split in the national group of members from the northern Baptists over the issue of slavery; the immediate issue was whether Southern slave owners could serve as missionaries

  • No. Gay rights are simply civil rights for a group that has been ostracized for millenia because of gullible people believing books of mythology.

  • It looks like pigs’ last squelching before sent to butchers. It wont change anything, including Evangelical filth’s dismay.

  • Lol.
    The topic could be Bud Lite: tastes great/less filling and suddenly you’d be like “Squirrel!” “Southern Baptists.” lol.

  • Oh, I have no trouble separating “biblical truth,” as pronounced by limited human minds – most particularly by those who have not (yet?) been able to distinguish their own, likely unconscious, political, cultural, and personal agendas, from the overwhelming message of Jesus’ life and ministry. Of course, you and all others are entitled to make your own judgments and speak freely about those matters as you wish. However, you do not speak and are not entitled to speak for anyone other than yourselves in that regard. I think that’s where we get into trouble and bitter arguments. My original post spoke of God’s/the Holy Spirit’s work in the world over the past 50 years as I have personally observed it. I offer it as personal testimony; I speak only for myself. If it has meaning for you, take it, examine it, judge it, and use it if you see fit. If not, pass it by and go on as seems right to you. I have great faith that all things ultimately work out as they are meant to be, regardless of the difficulties along the way. God doesn’t need me to lobby for truth, only for me to be grateful and to continue loving as I see God’s love fulfilled.

  • I’ve read your numerous points in this thread, and I just have one question for you: Do you feel you are the image of Jesus? “Yes” or “No” will suffice. Any additional wording is not requested.

  • Everything you or I know about Jesus and the “overwhelming message of His life and ministry” comes from the pronouncements of those “limited human minds” of which you speak, and those pronouncements in turn incorporate the biblical truths pronounced by other limited human minds which Jesus’ overwhelming message nevertheless instructs us to heed.

    Do you see the difficulty here?

  • Although I reject your premise statement, you have nonetheless highlighted precisely the difficulty I have always seen with relying on scripture and interpretations of scripture as a once-for-all, case-closed, unique and unquestionable guidebook to the mind and heart of the Divine. Do we find great truth there? Of course. Is all truth contained there? No, it is not. Truth has been and will be revealed in many ways as God’s ongoing work of creation continues. The worship of scripture and interpretations of scripture is in my view idolatry.

  • Nobody worships scripture. Yet, as Christ told us, the scriptures testify of Him, and its writers are His messengers, and whatever is “revealed” later is not going to be inconsistent with what was revealed before. Why else do you think the Psalmist calls it a “light unto our path,” and the Apostle calls it “the sword of the Spirit?”

    Are you prepared to dismiss Jesus as an idolator as well? The gospels (none of which is terribly long) record Jesus referencing the OT 78 times, 26 of those references to the Pentateuch alone. No less than 25 times we hear Him say “It is written…” or “Haven’t you read the scriptures?” or “What did Moses say?” The opening statenent of His ministry was a quote from Isaiah. His last words on the cross were a quote from the Psalms.

    One might even call such scripture saturation “overwhelming.”

  • Re: “British Quakers were the first organized religious group to both repudiate slavery and to forbid slave owning among their membership.” 

    British Quakers were hardly the sum total of all Christians, at that time. Quite the opposite, actually; in many locales they were in the minority and were often an oppressed minority, at that. 

    You’re right that the “cotton gin” caused slavery to return with a vengeance, but it happened with the help of many Christians, armed with scripture (e.g. “the Curse of Ham,” among other things). As the Baptist church became increasingly Abolitionist, southern churches within that sect broke away from the majority and created their own organization, the Southern Baptist Convention, so they could avoid that trend and keep promoting what was, essentially, a “slave theology.” 

    Economics made southerners want more slaves, it’s true, but their version of Christianity made it more acceptable than it otherwise would have been, in a time when — elsewhere — the tide had been pushing against it. Christianity cannot logically be taken out of the mix, here. 

    Oh, and that some Christians were Abolitionists (e.g. the Quakers, Wilberforce, etc.) does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean they all were, or that Christianity itself is anti-slavery. If scripture is any indication, that’s simply not true. 

  • I’m sorry, you just reminded me of a funny moment from an otherwise lousy movie from the ’80s (Dragnet): 

    “Sure, this city isn’t perfect, we need a smut-free life for all of our citizens; cleaner streets, better schools, and a good hockey team. But the big difference between you and me, mister, is you made the promise, and I’m going to keep it.” 

    I’ll get out of the way now so you can continue…. 

  • It is unloving the try to force your purely theological concerns on people who don’t share them by use of the civil law that governs all of us, in order too cause harm to them.

    It is likewise unloving to declare other Christians aren’t real Christians is
    F they don’t share your prejudices.

  • Yes. You are claiming that the products of limited human minds are equally the products of god’s unlimited mind. And you don’t care if the law is used to enforce that opinion on people who don’t share it.

  • Many people worship scripture, or more accurately, their own group’s interpretation of it. I grew up in a denomination that worshiped, and taught me to worship, the Bible as they understood it. At some point I understood that there was very little room for God to come between them and their chief object of trust and adoration. The only point of contact with the Divine they could acknowledge was their own narrow reading of the Bible, which largely reflected the culture around them; they were afraid to allow themselves to experience God in any other way. They stringently limited and guarded themselves and rejected those whose experience of faith was larger or different. As I said before, I offer only my own experience, which is based on a lifetime of observing grace at work in my life and in the world. If it has meaning for you, take it and use it as you see fit. If it has no meaning for you, leave it. I don’t engage in Bible statistics or scripture wars and generally don’t find citations of scripture particularly enlightening or persuasive. I wish you peace.

  • Ah, yes. I’ve encountered that question a number of times before. My experience is that it is always posed by somone who is at least 100% certain he already knows the answer. What is the point of such a question?

    To the degree that I think about or talk about “sinning,” my concern is strictly my own.

  • I didn’t make the claim that the prophets are God’s messengers that He holds people responsible for not heeding– Jesus did. So do with that what you will.

  • I’m supposed to take seriously the opinion of someone who thinks “blogosphere talking points” is an intellectually substantive critique?

  • Love the photo at the top of the page. The Big 10. Didn’t mention gay people. didn’t mention gay marriage. Didn’t mention transgender.
    DID mention adultery, meaning bad behavior by heterosexuals in the holy covenant of marriage.
    so it needs an overlay to make it “current.” Do we need any more graphic example of the shallowness of the Fascville Manifesto.

  • This is a public forum. You have no proof of that. It shows the weakness of your argument that you use such claims to mask your inability to explain.

  • If you believe I have made “obviously incorrect statements” please state so and provide evidence of same. I do not believe I have but everyone errs. I believe evidence shows I am right. If you believe otherwise provide evidence or stay on the porch with the little dogs when the big dogs are playing in the yard.

  • I would not be surprised if some of the people you deride are indeed deluded grifters. None of us commenting here are perfect either. I think you said in another comment that you are a lesbian? However, even a broken clock can be right twice a day! A wise man loves correction. But the world will hate you if you testify that what it does is evil, no matter how perfect the messenger (Jesus).

  • I provided you with the facts and you want to ignore and diminish their importance. LOL.
    You libs will never admit all the good trad con Christians have done in this world. But you enjoy the benefits of western civilization thanks to trad con Christians. But you and your ilk will never admit it. LOL.

  • You are welcome to your own opinions; but you are not welcome to your own facts
    – as I have rubbed your arrogant nose in – repeatedly showing you and everyone here how truly ignorant you really are of the Scriptures. LOL.
    Oh,and by the way…have a wonderful Labor Day. Sorry wife and I can’t make it to your Labor Day soiree, but we don’t live anywhere close to Oakland.

  • Re: “I provided you with the facts and you want to ignore and diminish their importance.” 

    You did not “provide me with facts.” Instead, you said “British Quakers” represented all of Christianity, which is absolutely, totally, 100% no-doubt-at-all untrue. 

    Re: “You libs …” 

    I’m not a “lib.” I’m also not a “con.” I’m not an anything. I oppose all ideologies, everywhere and of whatever sort, and will not follow one. At all. Ever. Period. 

    Re: “… will never admit all the good trad con Christians have done in this world.” 

    I’m happy to cite all the good Christianity has done. A lot of charity has been done in the name of that religion. I’ve never said otherwise. I have no idea why you think I’ve denied this, but I haven’t. 

    That said, let me flip it around: You “cons” refuse to admit all the evil that’s been done, in the name of your Christianity. I’ve heard all the excuses, which range from “oh, that was a long time ago” to “but they didn’t really do that because of Christianity” and on and on and on and on and on the excuses and rationales go. 

    But, in the end, that’s all they are: Excuses and rationales. If you Christianists would just grow up and acknowledge the evil that’s been done due to your religionism, you might have the moral standing to bellyache and whine that no one gives you credit for the good your religion has done. But until you do so, you will never have that moral standing. 

    And in any case, as I said, I never have argued otherwise. Maybe someone else did, somewhere, sometime in the past, that you know of … but it wasn’t me. So don’t try to pin it on me. 

    Oh, and as for “trad con” Christians … surely you’re aware that, in their own time, those British Quakers whom you praised — and who very well might be considered responsible for instigating Abolitionism — were anything but “trad con” … aren’t you? Members of other sects (e.g. Anglicans/Episcopals, Calvinists, etc.) which could be called “trad con” considered them insolent, blasphemous upstarts, and many of them harassed Quakers, every chance they got. Quakers were in no way “traditional” or “conservative” back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their doctrines were often considered unusual and innovative (and that wasn’t seen in a good way). 

    You really need to stop citing Quakers as “trad con” Christians. That you suggest they were, betrays your ignorance of history and your anachronistic thinking. 

    Re: “But you and your ilk will never admit it.” 

    Since I don’t belong to any ideology, I don’t have any “ilk.” So I have no idea who else you may be talking about. 

    P.S. To be clear, I consider the Abolition movement to have been one of those “good” aspects of Christian history. So don’t try to say I’ve never said so … because I just did. 

  • Re: “You are welcome to your own opinions; but you are not welcome to your own facts …” 

    I agree, but you haven’t presented any. Instead, you said British Quakers were representative of all Christians — even though they weren’t — and you implied that they’re “traditional” and “conservative,” even though, religiously speaking, that also wasn’t true. 

  • Had you ever lived as a slave with your humanity completely unacknowledged, you might get the relevance. Theoretical comparisons extrapolations are probably a bit too much for you.

  • statistics by pew research show a rise with white evangelicals who now support same sex marriage, 35% latest survey. That number goes up to 47% when it comes to those under the age of 53, this number is rising. Many signers (I admit I am assuming this based on the tone) of the Nashville Statement would say this is not of God. Denny Burk seems to say this and qualifies his statement with a reference to 1 Thess 4:3-8 which talks about sexual immorality. My claim is really a question, how do we know that the statistics are not a indication that God through his Holy Spirit is not at work within the, evangelical part, of His church?
    Within the same body of work that Burk quotes from, seperated by a quick thought concerning the original readers brotherly love for each other, verses 11&12 talk about having as an ambition, the ability to mind your own business with the intent or the purpose of winning the respect of outsiders. Could it be that there are people within the evangelical church who are learning this outside of these men’s teachings? Could these men consider that anyone could learn outside their instruction? I submit that Paul the originator of the Thessalonian letters thought possible for those he influenced to be taught directly by God. Again, 1 Thess 4 verse 9, the verse following verses 3-8 that Burk references states: Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

    Without using hermetic antidotes to qualify a different meaning than the one that would be commonly understood as applied to this subject, I am lead to believe the truth of scriptures points to the changing attitude of the body of Christ. The truth of scripture being this in this case-to win the respect of outsiders mind your own business.

    “I personally am greatly for healthy deep personal relationships, more than I am for same sex marriages. But if that is the vehicle that delivers that result for some people I am for it.”

    That is my personal changing attitude statement about same sex marriage. If that gets me kicked out of the evangelical of the month running, oh well.
    If I don’t go far enough to support a cause, go find another supporter. If your okay with just be honest and let me know how you feel, that’s my statement and I reserve the right to be swayed either direction depending on results with the goal of winning the respect of “outsiders”, I believe, and my hope, is for relationships.

  • The list of verses in the bible that have been picked and picked over is long and has always been done in every part of the church. That’s because people have brains and are sometimes even willing to use them. The argument you make, meanwhile, bit the dust many a long year ago – centuries really – long before we got into this stuff about same-sex relationships.

  • Though I agree with you, and you have certainly gone far enough for me ?…

    you are not being sola scriptorum, or what I have learned to call bibliolatrous. As you know, we have a number of those here.

    If I were a believer, I would as my Christians friends believe, which is just what you said. The Holy Spirit moves, but moves slowly. or that still small voice speaks, but it is still and small.

    It is a major difference in perspective. But I think the perspective is also psychologically determined. If you are a person who requires authority, certainty, and little that is gray or has fuzzy edges, then bibliolatry is where you go, if sureness is not a requirement, than you are moved by exigencies, or the Holy Spirit.

    Which all goes back to something I’ve said many times. How you– meaning a generic you– read the Bible depends on the kind of person you are. You don’t become “that person” because you read the Bible and decided who you were going to be. Well, at least in my experience. Very few do, and most very rarely do,

  • I believe I did. It may not have been the kind of answer you wanted, but it is indeed my answer. I offered my original comment not for the purpose of argument, but information and possible enlightenment for whomever might wish to accept it and engage on those terms, whether agreeing or disagreeing. Your purpose is solely to draw and frame an argument where you control the direction and the terms. I have gone there with others like you long ago, and frankly, it is an empty exercise, a waste of time, pointless, and boring.

    If you have an interest in learning something new and taking some risks rather than “besting” me in good Christian fashion and showing me all the ways I am wrong, then you are certainly still free to take what I’ve already offered and give it some thought. Then, if our paths cross again, and if you become willing to discuss based on your life experiences rather than quoting scripture passages you’re absolutely certain you understand beyond any shadow of a doubt and citing impressive biblical stats to prove your points, we may yet someday have a discussion. Once again, I’ll bid you peace.

  • Full disclosure here, I have to look up half the words thrown about here, like sequitur, hey I’m no quitter you non speller. Then I looked it up and edited.
    Had to look up solo scriptorium on your post…saved myself from having to delete a long story about going alone to get prescription filled at Walmart.

    You said some much in such a short reply I’m not sure what to respond to.
    First your kind response to not going far enough is no surprise to me. The marriage issue for me is bigger than just being a political issue and bigger than just a religious issue.

    Your last paragraph, “what you’ve said many times before”, reading the Bible does not change you. I’ve had to unpack that statement to really understand what your saying, but yes I agree with you most of the time it does not change a person. My counter statement to that, and I would say it is true of me, as a person changes, they start to understand/read the Bible differently. Now we would probably disagree on the source of the change. I sometimes have agnostic days, weeks, maybe even months, those are my exception days not my rule days. A agnostic day is a day where god doesn’t feel near, doesn’t feel like he cares, it doesn’t feel like he hears. I can’t really say I have atheist days but agnostic days for sure. Reading the Bible and going to church doesn’t prevent this, I’m not sure I can pinpoint a cause. What brings me back usually is normal people, normal conversations and seeing what I call God in it. Examaple of what I’m trying to articulate: I’m a part of a prison ministry where I interact with inmates, today a inmate answered a bible study question and quoted two verses to qualify his answer. It was a excellent answer to the question the reference fit and I’m sure the verse had a impact on him when he read it. When I heard the same verse from him to me it had less impact Later he answered a question about dealing with different people within prison. He gave a straight up answer, no Bible, no church speak, he mentioned his violent past, and he mentioned a present peace in his life. He had run into a few charges all at once but the bulk of his sentence was the assault on a police officer charge that he collected at the time of his arrest. But the straight up words and the sincerity of them, that for me was God’s word out of that man’s mouth. It was not “the word of God regurgitated from the Bible” out of his mouth that had the impact. So I see scripture as having a power in my life but the words don’t have power God has the power to use the words. I would say that what you have experienced is people using their power to take those same words and use them for their own power.

    What I find interesting is if what you describe is the norm-and for you I’m sure it is the norm-and what I see is actual-and for me I’m describing my take on actual events-what is the cause. And I think that is what you focus on, the cause, while I tend to focus on what is the source. I think we both see something that is wrong in the middle from two perspectives.

  • Ignoratio elenchi

    Get out of here with your fake history.

    “…does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean they all were, or that Christianity itself is anti-slavery. If scripture is any indication, that’s simply not true.”

    Here are the facts:
    Liberation of slaves was frequent in the early church. Christianity was born in a world that was overwhelmed with slavery. Rome, the dominant world power, was utterly dependent on slave labor. The message of Jesus and the New Testament, while not forbidding slavery nor organizing any campaign to abolish it, struck at the very roots of slavery, to dry up its power much as popular herbicides work to kill stubborn weeds from the roots up.[1]

    Early Christians liberate slaves at their own expense
    In the second and third centuries after Christ, tens of thousands of slaves were freed by people who converted the Christ, and then understood the inherent wrongness of the slave condition. Melania is said to have freed 8,000 slaves, Ovidus 5,000, Chromatius 1400, and Hermes 1200.[10] One popular Christian book of the early church said that Christians should not attend heathen gatherings “unless to purchase a slave and save a soul” (by teaching the slave of Christ and then freeing him or her).[11]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Slavery_in_the_early_church

    In fact, due to the influence of Christianity, slavery was rapidly declining and had all but disappeared from much of Europe when the advent and subsequent conquest of Islam brought a rebirth of the slave trade.[23]

    Religious equality was the negation of slavery as it was practiced by pagan society.
    But to say, with Ciccotti (Il tramonto della schiavitù, Fr. tr., 1910, pp. 18, 20), that primitive Christianityhad not even “an embryonic vision” of a society in which there should be no slavery, to say that the Fathers of the Churchdid not feel “the horror of slavery”, is to display either strange ignorance or singular unfairness. In St. Gregory of Nyssa (In Ecclesiastem, hom. iv) the most energetic and absolute reprobation of slavery may be found; and again in numerous passages of St. John Chrysostom’s discourse we have the picture of a society without slaves – a society composed only of free workers, an ideal portrait of which he traces with the most eloquent insistence (see the texts cited in Allard, ”Les esclaves chrétiens”, p. 416-23).
    http://www.earlychristians.org/index.php/texts/studies-and-documentations/item/1802-slavery-and-the-early-christianity/1802-slavery-and-the-early-christianity

  • There’s a glaring omission from Merritt’s list of faults with the Nashville Statement, any condemnation to its claims of biblical support — not even the statement’s condemnation of polygamy, where its biblical argument is weak. My guess would be that Merritt wanted to avoid what he knew would be an argument he’d lose. The Bible clearly labels marriage as a heterosexual institution and condemns sex outside of that institution, and there is no pretending otherwise.

  • Where did this so called ” LGBT debate” happen? I have yet to see any justification for homosexuality as being healthy or that homosexual “marriage” is possible and good for children or that a man should have a right to use the girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms.

  • And that’s because you could, wouldn’t, haven’t ever looked for such evidence, or sought to understand anything, or looked at anything with nuance, education, compassion, or caring.

  • So you care nothing about girls having to be in the same room as a man who showers with them. You care nothing that having 2 moms is not a good role model for children. You care nothing that people who engage in homosexual sex get very sick for doing so.

  • Re: “Then you oppose your own ideology?” 

    I don’t have an ideology. I oppose all ideologies, because they’re just arbitrary collections of notions cooked up to promote the agendas of those who create and/or propagate them. 

    Re: “And there has been a ton of evil done by atheists, too.” 

    Of course, but that’s not relevant here. 

  • Re: “Get out of here with your fake history.” 

    … says the phony “historian” (have you been getting lessons in promotion of fiction as history from David Barton?) Sorry, but you clearly haven’t the first clue what you’re talking about. 

    Re: “Liberation of slaves was frequent in the early church.” 

    In some places, yes, but in others, no. Scripture says something else. It explicitly supports slavery. See e.g. Paul’s epistle to Philemon, along with his exhortations (in more than one epistle) for slaves to willingly submit to their masters and obey them unquestioningly. 

    Again, you claim the actions of some Christians represent the beliefs of ALL Christians, everywhere, who’ve ever lived. That’s absurd on its face. 

    Re: “In fact, due to the influence of Christianity, slavery was rapidly declining and had all but disappeared from much of Europe when the advent and subsequent conquest of Islam brought a rebirth of the slave trade.” 

    Slavery didn’t decline in Europe because of Christianity. It declined because of the imposition of the feudal system, in the wake of Rome’s fall, which provided different mechanisms for forced labor (specifically, the various forms of serfdom) which met the needs of the ruling class without any need for “slavery” as had been practiced in classical times. 

    And it didn’t return to Europe directly because of the Muslim slave trade. Western Europe had contact with Muslims throughout the Middle Ages, many of them trade-based and non-violent, yet Europeans didn’t reimplement slavery until the discovery of the New World and the need for labor to exploit its resources. Only at that point did the Muslim slave trade come in handy as a source for that needed labor. Until that point there was little impulse to reimplement slavery. 

    So nice try at blaming Muslims for European slavery … but I’m way ahead of you and know better. Europeans wanted slavery at a time when it was convenient for them to have it … and they used many rationales (including religious, e.g. the Curse of Ham) to justify it, at that point. I would never say Christianity itself directly inspired the slave trade, as such, but it WAS certainly used to support it once it was in place. (It also, ironically, was used to oppose it. Which I’ve already admitted at least twice so far.) 

    Oh, and you ought to know I have a degree in medieval history. I suggest you stop right now telling me my own business. I know far more about medieval history than you ever will. Or, you can keep pretending to be more of an expert on a subject than those who have degrees in it, because you’re a Chrisshun and your Chrisshun beliefs automatically make you a far better expert in anything you want to be an expert in, than anyone who actually IS an expert in that field, because Jesus. Or something. Please, go ahead. Continue telling me my business. 

    Or you could act like an adult, admit you’re out of your element, and just stop right now. Your choice. 

  • As I said.

    I’ve been having that hot, sweaty mansex for nearly fifty years. I’m not sick. I have no diseases. I still run 6 minute miles at 67.

    A multitude of studies going back 40 years show that gay people raise children just fine. The entirety of human experience shows that heterosexuals have no corner, not even a good share, of the good parenting market. After all, Trump’s parents and berlusconi’s parents were quite heterosexual. Probably yours were as well.

    And yet, here you are.

    But thanks so much for illustrating the point.

  • ” And at 67, I’m still running 6 minutes miles. ”

    That’s neat. Good for you and many more years doing the same thing.

  • Thanks billy.

    My physical therapist told me that what kills older people is inactivity. I intend to be around a while.

  • The Holy Spirit doesn’t take its marching orders from scripture. It’ll do whatever it wants and to whom it wants.

    But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not, to stand up to the things that are………NT

  • “my father, signed it”

    {{{Jonathan}}}

    Always remember, you have another Father in heaven—whose sight is infinitely clearer, and infinitely loving.

  • The *presumption* that one understands the definition of “sin”, better than another, is what is sin. If you’re telling them, you’re just exposing that you’re committing this sin.

  • “correction: they released a hyper-conservative, sex and gender obsessed Christian manifesto.”

    Correction of the correction: they released a hyper-conservative, sex and gender obsessed Christianist manifesto.

  • “And lots of people aren’t discerning enough or aware that there is more
    diversity in the Christian world than these 150 represent. They insist
    they’re speaking for all Christendom, and not everybody has the time or
    inclination to find reasons to doubt them.”

    Don’t we (LGBT-affirming) Christ-followers know it. 🙁

  • Well done. You have summed up the entire article and the majority of the comments here into one deeply-flawed point. But those are just my presumptions speaking.

  • I don’t believe you and there are thousands of homosexual men who have serious STD’s and other diseases directly related to homosexual sex.

  • It’s a term of endearment. Obviously you got daddy issues or you wouldn’t be attracted to oppressive religious ideology.

  • The statement reveals that “religious Freedom” means a license to hate and discriminate against “them” (gays now, black in the past, they will always find a group to hate). It also means for Baptists the end of “soul freedom.” It also means that it is meet and just to use the government to enforce your bigotry (except against whining Christians).,

  • Some facts there, but you ignore Southern Baptists history and how the Southern Baptist sect was formed precisely to defend slavery and the hatred of blacks.

  • The city states of the diocese (a secular entity) of Gaul (France and Spain) were very well governed under their local Catholic Senates. They used taxes strictly for the public good, including the manumission of slaves and a money stake to get them started after manumission. Al this ended when the Arian and pagan German princes took over the Catholic city states and collected taxes only to enrich themselves and their relatives and favorites. They eventually also took over the Catholic Church.

  • You might wantbto read Law and Revolution by a Jewish Harvard Law professor. He was shocked to learn that only in parts of the Christian west did serfs have rights, including the right to sue their lords. This was mainly due to the Benedictine Order in thir role as large land owners. The Knights Templars also treated their farm workers as human beings and there was intermarriage across class lines. This proto-democratic form of governance was one reason for their vast productivity and vast wealth.

  • A classical slave was seen as human abd could work out and buy his own freedom. Roman citizen patriarchs could legally kill anyone in their “familias,” including their own children. The “familia’ included the slaves. In the US chattel slavery was totally different from Roam in slavery. In chattel slavery slaves are property, just like cows and could be treated as less than animals. Slavery under the more genteel term “permanent servitude” was fully allowed in the US Constitution.

  • True. And the Magna Carta, glorified as the a charter of liberty gave the barons the liberty of treating their serfs any way they wished without interference from the king’s courts. And it was Richard III, a Plantagenet (whose wife was treated as a house slave by her family, who introduced reforms of the feudal system, including the right for serfs to to a trail by a jury of peers. But then Richard was the object of one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history.,

  • It was a lot better than than the treatment of the chattel slaves of the US slave states. that was the point. Chattel slavery was the American “peculiar institution” and it was totally inhumane.

  • But those were Catholics, lol, not Christians. US fundamentalist Christians know that all Catholics automatically go to hell.

  • “Instead, you said “British Quakers” represented all of Christianity…”

    Don’t fib… I never said Quakers represented all Christians.

    “Again, you claim the actions of some Christians represent the beliefs of ALL Christians, everywhere, who’ve ever lived. That’s absurd on its face.”

    Didn’t say that; didn’t even infer that. And I never said ALL christians repudiated slavery – eg. Philemon. But who started the abolition movement? Sure wasn’t the elite in Rome… sure wasn’t the Atheists… sure wasn’t the pagans. Those who repudiated slavery were Christians.

    And just so you understand…not all Christians everywhere and at all times…but Christians who saw in the Bible that slavery was a repudiation of Biblical truth.

    “Scripture says something else. It explicitly supports slavery. See e.g. Paul’s epistle to Philemon, along with his exhortations (in more than one epistle) for slaves to willingly submit to their masters and obey them unquestioningly.”

    You may brag [lol] that you have a degree in medieval history but it is clear you don’t know your Bible.

    So let’s look at the Biblical text that shows Paul’s attitude toward slavery:
    1. I Cor. 7:21 Were you called while a servant [slave]? Do not worry about it. But if you may become free, do so.
    [Sure…so Paul supported slavery…riiiiight…not if he told the slaves to gain their freedom if they could.]

    2. I Tim. 1:8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it lawfully. 9 And we know that the law is not given for a righteous person, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and the profane, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for sodomites, for slave traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine…”
    [Paul supported slavery? “Slave trading” as Paul says is “contrary to sound doctrine.” Hmmm…doesn’t sound very supportive of slavery to me. And he puts them in the same company of sexually immoral, sodomites, liars, perjurers… Does that show he supports slavery?]

    3. That Paul told slaves to submit to their masters does not mean Paul approved of slavery – because he did approve of slaves gaining their freedom if they could, but more importantly he approved of them staying ALIVE.
    So you are ignoring the cultural context as well. And what did you want Paul to tell them? Rebel…Kill your slave masters…run away…? What would have happened to the slaves if he had done that – THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HUNTED DOWN AND KILLED! Do you not get it?

    4. As for Philemon, lets look at the text:
    Philemon 8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you to do that which is proper, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— 10 I appeal to you on behalf of my son Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, 11 who in the past was unprofitable to you, but now he is profitable to you and to me.
    12 I have sent him back. Therefore receive him as my own heart. 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that in your place he might serve me during my imprisonment for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I would do nothing, so that your goodness would not be forced, but given willingly. 15 Perhaps this was why he departed for a while, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

    Note vs. 10: I appeal to you on behalf of my son Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment,
    [Paul considers the runaway slave his “son”?]

    Note vs. 16: ” (Onesimus) …no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”
    [Paul calls the runaway slave a “beloved brother” to his master. Oh, that sounds like Paul was supportive of slavery, doesn’t it? NOT!]

    And these verses as well: 17 If then you consider me a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 If he wronged you or owes you anything, charge this to my account. 19 I, Paul, have written this with my own hand. I will repay it—not to mention that you owe me even your own self.
    [v. 17 “receive him as you would me” – This is not the way someone who supported slavery would talk about a slave.]

    You fail at making a case that Paul supported slavery or that the Bible as a whole supported slavery.

    But you’re correct…I unfairly lumped you in with others and you have made it clear you do not hold their opinions. My deepest apologies.

  • I didn’t ignore them. You can’t hold today’s SB’s guilty for what their ancestors believed and did. They have since repudiated that part of their history.

  • I will say this only one more time, to be clear: I do not follow any ideology. You may use your insipid little tautologies to define me (wrongly) has belonging to one, but in fact I do not belong to any ideology and never will do so. Even at gunpoint. 

    If any part of this is not clear to you, I’ll be happy to repeat it often enough for it to sink into your head. 

  • Re: “Don’t fib… I never said Quakers represented all Christians.” 

    Yes, you did. You said Christianity inspired the end of slavery then pointed out that British Quakers had gotten the ball rolling with Abolition. While the latter statement is true, the implication in this association is that Quakers represented Christianity, which is not true. 

    You said it. I didn’t. Just grow up and own your own words already. 

    Re: “That Paul told slaves to submit to their masters does not mean Paul approved of slavery …” 

    What it means is that he didn’t oppose it. Your position is that Christianity inherently opposes it and directly caused its demise. Paul’s scriptural position, however, is definitely not “opposition.” Rather, it’s “accommodation,” or at best, “neutrality.” Your claim about Christianity opposing slavery by definition fails, based on that. 

    Re: “Paul calls the runaway slave a ‘beloved brother’ to his master. Oh, that sounds like Paul was supportive of slavery, doesn’t it? NOT!” 

    He sent Onesimus back to his owner. That’s the very opposite of opposing slavery. What part of that do you not understand? 

    Re: “You fail at making a case that Paul supported slavery or that the Bible as a whole supported slavery.” 

    Bzzzzt! Wrong. You failed to make your case, which is that Christianity is inherently opposed to slavery. 

    Try again. This time with logic instead of your religionistic wishful thinking. 

  • No, they didn’t. A warlord with enough army and power behind him could sometimes ignore law and kill ANYONE with impunity, but not because his victim had no recognized status. A serf’s life or property could not be legally taken by the lord.

  • A slave could buy his freedom if the master allowed it; some did in the U.S, too. But the master was under no obligation to do so. The point is the a slave had no recognized personhood at all. If the law allows you to be killed with impunity, then it goes without saying that for all practical purposes you are not viewed as fully human.

    Pro-abortionists, interestingly, use the same argument today — that a fetus, while definitely human tissue, has no legal personhood and therefore no right to life that anyone need respect.

    Ironic that you are here, asserting that ancient slaves with no right to life were seen as human beings, on a board where people scream that not affirming everyone’s sexual choices is treating them as “less than human.” There are certainly few surprises left to be had around here.

  • It might seem so to you now, because you live in a modern industrialized and primarily urban society with many pathways to prosperity available. In an agricultural society with weak central governments and haphazard law enforcement there were certain advantages to living under the protection of a lord who had legally recognized obligations to you, on land from which you and your family could not be evicted or dispossessed. Try to expand your thought processes just a little.

  • I think the son would be primarily interested in being accepted by his Mom and Dad without any other details thrown in. His reasonable expectation would be…..’we love you son no matter what’.

  • God? All you have is a book of mythology that claims to speak for a god. Why would I pay any heed to that?

  • This is what I said: “British Quakers were the first organized religious group to both repudiate slavery and to forbid slave owning among their membership. They provided much of the leadership of the abolitionist movement, both in Britain and North America.”
    LOL. You’re a fibber.

    LOL! Re: “You fail at making a case that Paul supported slavery or that the Bible as a whole supported slavery.”
    No I didn’t.
    You failed to make a case against mine.
    And you neglected the text where Paul listed slave traders with the immoral and wicked of his day.
    You neglected to address the fact that Paul did subvert slavery by how he approached slavery. His nuanced approach to Philemon – “Onesimus is now your brother” – implied that you can’t believe in the One who sets men free and enslave your brother.

    Clearly what your problem here is a your bruised ego.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if your presumptions were Christ-formed? [For that matter, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone’s were?]

  • Like Ben in Oakland, I’ve also “been having that hot, sweaty mansex for nearly fifty years.” At 73 I’m still exceptionally healthy, as is my wonderful 60-year-old husband who I’ve been with for the best 36 years of my life. Part of the way we both stay fit is by working out at a gym two or three times a week.

    There is no legitimate reason whatsoever for objecting to people living in accordance with their innate homosexual orientation. If you worship/praise/glorify a god who insists otherwise, his ignorance is consistent with that of the ancient people who invented him, which is to be expected.

  • Apologies, thought you were trying to make your case from a Christian perspective. If you are a godless soul, then of course you wouldn’t.

  • And yet when serfs could get married The Lord could have sex with the bride before the groom. What a wonderful world.

  • Of course. The same impulses whereby the King and peasantry had a common enemy, the nobility. And just like now where Trump’s most fervent supporters come from the lumpenproliteriat.

  • That is a pop myth. There is no evidence that the so-called “droit du seigneur” ever existed. The first reference to it is a work of fiction by Voltaire

  • Actually it was referenced in King Lear by Shakespeare, and the actual true story of Lear which occurred BCE.

    Hobbes opined that the lives of most of humanity under feudalism were nasty, brutal, and short. It seems odd to have an advocate of christofascism argue otherwise and expect to be taken seriously. Not a great hill to die on.

  • Re: “You’re a fibber.” 

    You’re the fibber. You mentioned Quakers starting Abolition as support for your contention that Christianity is inherently opposed to slavery. The implication of that is that British Quakers represented all of Christianity. 

    Look, dude. YOU said it. I didn’t. Grow up and take responsibility for your own words, fercryinoutloud. Don’t be a sniveling little crybaby whiner. 

    Re: “And you neglected the text where Paul listed slave traders with the immoral and wicked of his day.” 

    Curiously, though, Paul had nothing unkind to say to his friend, a slave owner, to whom he sent Onesimus back, telling the latter to be a good and obedient slave for the former. What part of that epistle is not clear to you? Paul clearly and unambiguously wanted Onesimus to be owned! Put another way … consider that Onesimus had already escaped his owner. Had Paul actually disapproved of slavery, he wouldn’t have freaking sent Onesimus right back to his owner! He would, instead, have kept Onesimus hidden and on the run — which ostensibly, as a leader of a supposedly underground religion, he easily could have arranged. But, given a chance to keep Onesimus free, he did the precise opposite of that! 

    The ignorance and idiocy you’re displaying is, quite simply, amazing. You have no freaking clue about anything, do you? You can’t read the words that are on the page. You have this weird, insipid thing in your head that says, “Christianity opposes slavery” and you neither can, nor will, accept anything else. 

    Well, too bad so sad for whiney little you. I will spell it out as clearly as possible: The apostle Paul obviously approved of slavery, having done nothing to interfere with it, given at least one known opportunity he had to free at least one slave. 

    You can tell me otherwise until you’re blue in the face, but the plain words of your own freaking Bible say something other than what you do. Either you’re mature enough to admit it, or you’re not. Whatever you decide, however, it’s not my problem. The facts are on my side, not yours. Period. 

  • I quoted it. I even reproduced the quote for you. LOL. You are wrong but you just can’t admit. But I understand – I really do – you’ve got a degree in m. history and you got your medieval history ego is bruised.

    And you are projecting back on a culture 2000 years ago. Didn’t your profs teach you not to impose your culture on others? How un-pc of you. You will summarily be shamed by all anthropologists.

    And Paul clearly was appealing to Philemon to do the right thing. You’d really have to be a concrete head (or a m. history major) not to get that. LOL.

    As for the rest of your comment – you got nothing. Stick to m. history. LOL.

  • Re: “You are wrong but you just can’t admit.”

    Translation from “Dirty-speak”: “Yes, I was wrong, but you’re an insolent agnostic, so I can’t admit you know more about my religion than you do, that leaves me to just keep pitching fits and screaming that you’re wrong, even though I’m the one who’s wrong.”

    Thanks for making all that clear to me. And thanks for living down to all my expectations of Christianists. You have no idea how gratified I am to see your kind keep stumbling into the same lunatic traps of ignorance and illogic.

    Re: “And you are projecting back on a culture 2000 years ago. Didn’t your profs teach you not to impose your culture on others?”

    I haven’t “projected” anything on anyone. That, actually, is what fundamentalists like yourself do: They erroneously view past Christians, including Paul, as fundamentalists like themselves. They have no idea how anachronistic this is, though, because Christian fundamentalism was a 19th century American invention. Paul was no fundie like them — but they don’t comprehend that.
    I will explain it one more time: Paul met Onesimus, who was a slave on the run. Had Paul actually disapproved of slavery, he’d have kept Onesimus hidden and on the run. It really is just that simple! It makes no sense for you to keep insisting that Paul opposed slavery, yet he specifically sent an escaped slave back to his owner.

    It boggles the mind that anyone could ever think something so utterly asinine — but you do. And you’re pitching fits at me because I’m not stupid enough to buy into this idiotic delusion with you.
    I refuse to be the idiot you demand I be.

    Re: “And Paul clearly was appealing to Philemon to do the right thing.”

    Irrelevant. He sent an escaped slave back to his owner. He very literally cannot logically have disapproved of slavery, given that action.

    Re: “As for the rest of your comment – you got nothing. Stick to m. history. LOL.”

    Thank you for conceding I know history better than you do. QED.

  • Re: “You are wrong but you just can’t admit.”

    Translation from “Dirty-speak”: “Yes, I was wrong, but you’re an insolent agnostic, so I can’t admit you know more about my religion than you do, that leaves me to just keep pitching fits and screaming that you’re wrong, even though I’m the one who’s wrong.”

    Thanks for making all that clear to me. And thanks for living down to all my expectations of Christianists. You have no idea how gratified I am to see your kind keep stumbling into the same lunatic traps of ignorance and illogic. You people just can’t seem to come up with any new material, can you?

    Re: “And you are projecting back on a culture 2000 years ago. Didn’t your profs teach you not to impose your culture on others?”

    I haven’t “projected” anything on anyone. That, actually, is what fundamentalists like yourself do: They erroneously view past Christians, including Paul, as fundamentalists like themselves. They have no idea how anachronistic this is, though, because Christian fundamentalism was a 19th century American invention. Paul was no fundamentalist like them — but they don’t comprehend that.

    I will explain it one more time: Paul met Onesimus, who was a slave on the run. Had Paul actually disapproved of slavery, he’d have kept Onesimus hidden and on the run. It really is just that simple! It makes no sense for you to keep insisting that Paul opposed slavery, yet he specifically sent an escaped slave back to his owner.

    It boggles the mind that anyone could ever think something so utterly asinine — but you do. And you’re pitching fits at me because I’m not stupid enough to buy into this idiotic delusion with you.
    Well, waaaah wah waah, little Dirty. Waaah wah. Keep sniveling and crying all you like, but I refuse to be the idiot you demand I be.

    Re: “And Paul clearly was appealing to Philemon to do the right thing.”

    Irrelevant. He sent an escaped slave back to his owner. He very literally cannot logically have disapproved of slavery, given that action.

    Re: “As for the rest of your comment – you got nothing. Stick to m. history. LOL.”

    Thank you for — finally! — conceding I know history better than you do. QED.

  • OK, I’ve tried explaining to you that you still are wrong but are too childish to admit it and too obsessed with your dour Christianism to admit that an insolent agnostic like myself knows your own religion better than you do … but the moderators at RNS have blocked my responses. Even though they contain no foul language and no hyperlinks. 

    I guess what it takes for you to win an argument, then, is for other people to protect you from the truth. Well done, Dirty! Well done. What an accomplishment. 

    You’re still wrong, of course, but you’ll never know how or why, because you prefer ignorance and illogic to veracity and truth. And the people at RNS actually want to help you stay ignorant and illogical. Why, I have no idea, but clearly they do. 

  • OMG, always nice to go to bed on a note of merriment!

    “Prima nocte” as quoted in King Lear from the odes of Horace had nothing to do with droit du seigneur, let me assure you. It had to do with closing one’s windows at nightfall. ROFL!

  • I think Merritt makes an excellent point in stating that the Nashville Statement errs when it omits sins committed by the Church against the LGBT community.

    However, I don’t agree with Merritt’s take on Article X. The error in Article X lies in the failure to make a distinction between approving of homosexuality in the Church and supporting the rights of the LGBT community in society. Why should those of us who are religiously conservative Christians support full equality for the LGBT community in society? Such support does not mandate that we change our views on sex. In addition, we give similar support for those whose exercise in worship includes false gods and religions. And yet we support the full equality for people of other faiths in society. Why can’t we both disapprove of sex outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marital union while supporting full equality for the LGBT community in society?

  • What else is it about if not that? That is precisely what the LGBT community makes it about…hence their name. I can’t go about my normal day without someone in or sympathetic to the LGBT lifestyle bringing up sex. I would much prefer it if I was never confronted with the topic in the normal routine of my life. But sexual perverts of all sorts never seem to tire of putting it front and center. If you can’t figure out that this is a debate over what constitutes the best approach to sexuality, and therefore the conversation will be about sex, then you really should get off discussion boards.

  • Funny you should say that. I meet gay people and straight people all of the time. They don’t usually bring up sex. Nor do I. I don’t think about them having sex– unless, of course, I’m interested. (But I’m married, of course, so that doesn’t ENTER–oops, Freudian– into it).

    but even THEN, it is hardly, ummm, as you put it so freudian slippishly, FRONT AND CENTER, as you say about you,

    But with you, a day doesn’t go by where you meet someone, and you have to start thinking about gay sex.

    Your problem is obvious.

  • Thanks for the confirmation that you can’t figure out what is going on here. You can only distort and resort to the well-circulated talking points and strategies circulated by LGBT group-think leaders: ignore what opponents say and just keep implying they think about gay sex all the time. Let me know when you get out of Jr. High and then we can talk again.

  • I did figure out what is “going on here.” You’re the one that said you couldn’t go about your “normal day” without gay sex being “front and center.”

    Then you accuse me of “group think.” I don’t need group think. I’m quite capable of thinking all by myself. If you want “group think”, then the fundelibangelical obsession with other people’s dangly bits is what is obviously “front and center.”

    I’ve been dealing with people like that my entire life. As with porn use, so rampant among evangelicals and Mormons, which our friend HpO likes to bring up as an example of the hypocrisy of sex obsessed religionists, Your desire to project is as obvious as what you are projecting.

    But sure. Blame gay people. We’re used to it.

  • You apparently can not comprehend clear, concise writing if you interpret what I wrote as “obsession with other people’s dangly bits.” Nor did I ever use the phrase “gay sex.” The only conclusion I can reach is that you project those things on to me only because you are so enthralled with such things. Nice try though, but we are getting tired of the response to our posts regarding sexual ethics is that we are obsessed with genitals. Again, let me know when you get out of Jr High.

  • You’ve proven one thing about your knowledge about Christianity – that what you don’t know would fill volumes. LOL.

    And since you can’t prove not even one claim you have made about the bible you resort to name calling.
    And the only one sniveling here is a little m. history major with a bruised ego.
    Take you dollies and go home.

  • B.S., Crackpot. You don’t consider me dear and you know it. You’re a liar.

    I have two daddy issues: I am one and have one. Your daddy issue is a little different: You’re searching for a perverse version of a father under any rock you come across. Perhaps no man showed you real affection, so you’ve become just a little warped in what you consider to be love. It’s a common, albeit very sad situation.

  • Way to take it to the Kangaroo! I call that verbal jiu jitsu. Well said. [ He should really tap out at this point. ]

  • I have nothing against the guy and, in fact, wish him well. I don’t know him from Adam except for the remarks he’s made directly to me in the threads related to this article. But when he comes roaring off the porch snarling and snapping at me like an ankle-biting Chihuahua, I’m going to call it as I see it. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are so bothered by the opinions of others that they have to cause an enormous stink about what amounts to nothing, and elevate the entire affair to a personal level on round one. It’s pathetic, and frankly the tactic of a weak mind.

    He accuses me (by proxy, through “my cohorts”) of telling people how to live, then wants to sanction my “oppressive ideology,” but doesn’t see a jackbooted fascist in the mirror each morning. Huh. Fancy that.

  • Re: “You’ve proven one thing about your knowledge about Christianity – that what you don’t know would fill volumes.” 

    You only say that because your own ignorance is staggeringly worse than that. For example, like most fundamentalists, you construe Paul as a fundamentalist like yourself. That, however, is not true, and is chronologically impossible. Fundamentalist Christianity didn’t come into existence until the 19th century. 

    I could g on with your anachronistic, illogical, irrational, and ignorant nature, but will not. Your sanctimonious rage at my insolent refusal to believe as you do, more or less speaks for itself. 

    Re: “And since you can’t prove not even one claim you have made about the bible you resort to name calling.” 

    I’ve proven everything I said about it, including pointing out that Paul must have been a supporter of slavery, since he convinced an escaped slave to return to his owner. Your claim that Paul opposed slavery makes no sense, in light of this action. None. 

    Re: “And the only one sniveling here is a little m. history major with a bruised ego.
    Take you dollies and go home.”

    Wow, am I ever impressed at yet another ignorant, anachronistic fundamentalist calling me ignorant of Christian history. Can I say I’ve heard all that before? And it’s as untrue now as it was the first time I heard it. 

    You fundamentalists desperately need to find some new material. 

  • Lol. Take your bruised ego, you m. history degree, and go throw your tantrum somewhere else. And go buy a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream and charge it to me – if that will help. lol.

  • Most – but not all – of the atheists/prog libs are like that here. You handled yourself very well. God bless.

  • “Conservative Christians are quickly becoming the minority on these matters.”

    Yet somehow, the conservative church keeps growing and left-leaning “mainline” denominations keep shrinking. I think Mr. Merritt is confusing society at large, which is absolutely becoming more LGBT friendly, with the church which — in spite of highly visible exceptions — is not.

  • So you don’t think people should worry about these stats from the CDC:
    “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)(https://www.cdc.gov/std/) have been rising among gay and bisexual men, with increases in syphilis being seen across the country. In 2014, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men accounted for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases where sex of sex partner was known in the United States. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men often get other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. HPV (Human papillomavirus)(https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/), the most common STD in the United States, is also a concern for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Some types of HPV can cause genital and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancers. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to get anal cancer than heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who do not have HIV to get anal cancer.”

  • Ben,
    I don’t think you can make that case for everyone who has signed on to the Nashville Statement. Your assessment is based on deduction, but to prove your statement, you need an inductive approach. That is you need know the context each person signing is coming from and you need to understand why they signed on to the Nashville Statement.

    I am not denying that there is no prejudice is involved with some. I am just saying that we don’t have enough information to say that prejudice was involved with all.

  • I’m not playing games with the likes of you. You were the one making a false claim. It’s a common error of those who buy into Faux News and the like, though. I know a guy who was under the misconception the founding fathers were “conservatives.” The abolitionists were religious liberals by definition. I know you don’t like it, but if they weren’t liberals, they would not have been abolitionists.

  • I wouldn’t make it for everyone. But I would say that in 45 years, I have seen very little to convince me that this is not plain old bigotry hiding behind religious belief.

    Where are the concerns about heterosexual divorce, heterosexual use acltery, heterosexual illegitimacy? Why are they determined to disenfranchise gay people from participation in society? why are THeir children important, but ours are not? Why are they saying that if you don’t agree with them, you are not a True Christian (TM)

    And so on.

    This is about far more than the ostensible concerns about sex, gender, and god’s plan.

  • Ben,
    If you read through the Nashville statement, you will find concern about heterosexual illegitimacy and, though not explicitly mentioned, divorce. Some of those who signed on to the Nashville Statement have expressed being troubled for a long time over the casual heterosexual sexual relationships they see in their churches.

    My concern has always been about how we will share society with each other. Whether we sill share society as equals, which is my preference, or will we look to have a privileged position in society sot that we can set its rules. Which way of sharing society those who look to redeem society have chosen is rather obvious. In addition, some of those who emphasize natural law also prefer the latter choice.

    Some who look to control the laws pertaining to sex in society are bigoted. But many of those who want to control the laws pertaining to sex in society are just old people set in their ways and what is coming up now is severe culture shock for them.

    As for being a true Christian, they are relying on what the NT Scriptures say about heterosexual and homosexual relations. And there are some very explicit NT Scripture passages that state that sexual purity is an essential part of the Christian life.

  • So, If you had lived prior to the advent of modern medical science, I assume you would have wanted to dissuade everyone from engaging in heterosexual sex, because it was deadly. And, if you had been “successful,” the human species would not exist today.

    Or, maybe cars and trucks should be banned because accidents kill about 35,000 people in the US each year, and cause serious injuries to many thousands of other people.

    If you really wanted to make an impact on a major health issue, you should be campaigning to reverse the obesity epidemic in the US that has been spiraling out of control for years causing a number of serious chronic health consequences, and increasing health insurance costs for everyone.

    And, if you are so concerned about STDs among gay people, you should be campaigning to encourage safer sex precautions, and more same-sex marriage.

  • The only way to stop it is not to engage in it. Continue to do so and you just increase your chances of getting diseases that can harm and kill you.

  • Liberal religion is a religious tradition which embraces the theological diversity of a congregation rather than following a single creed, authority, or writing. Because it may draw resources from many traditions, it cannot normally be characterized as Christian, Jewish, or any particular religious faith. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_religion

    John and Charles Wesley were certainly not religious liberals – but were conservative religiously and I tend to identify with them theologically. Wilberforce was evangelical, too. And certainly not a religious liberal.

  • Please don’t take this as any kind of an attack. It’s not.

    I think you are making a lot of excuses for people behaving badly, Maliciously, and disrespectfully.

    Some are concerned over bad heterosexual behavior. But are they seeking to change civil law to make those people outcast or criminal? They want to “redeem” society; what does that even mean, especially since “redemption” seems to focus on controlling the intimate and familial behavior and aspirations of others who not only don’t share their faith”, but might disagree rather strongly that “redemption” means redeeming it at the expense of people who also live here. “Natural law” is religious Crock disguised as rational thought. Homosexuality is natural in every sense of the word– every society, every time, throughout the wArm blooded animal kingdom.

    Old people resistant to change is just another kinder, gentler way of saying bigot, unwilling to learn, unwilling to accept that maybe, just maybe, their beliefs and their willingness to use the law to enforce them on people who don’t share them is bigoted. After all, Jim Crow survived a long time under just thatrationale.

    Finally, the no true Christian fallacy. There are literally hundreds. If not thousands, of Christian sects, disagreeing with each other over god’s message to the world. WhY does just THIS one aspect define who is a true Christian and who is not. We have people on these pages calling Catholics, Mormons, JW’s, etc cultists, not true Christians, etc etc etc etc. but we have no delcalrations coming about that subject.

    Either freedom of religion means something, or it does not.

  • Ben,
    I understand what you are saying. But while you are want to attribute maliciousness to everyone who supports the Nashville Statement, as I mentioned before, proving that must be done inductively rather than deductively. And here I am speaking from the point of view of logic.

    One of your previous concerns was whether the Nashville Statement addressed heterosexual sins. I said that it was and so there is reason to say that the LGBT community is not being targeted. Yes, there are many Christian sects, but conformity or consensus or exception do not supply the rules being followed by those who wrote and signed the statement. Rather, the Scriptures provide the rules. And the more one moves away from the Scriptures as providing the rules, the more distance one puts between themselves and the 1st Christians so that continuing to call oneself a Christian starts to test one’s credibility.

    What I like about the Nashville Statement is that it follows the Scriptures in saying that sex outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage is sin. What I don’t like about the Nashville Statement is that it does not address how we should share society with those who disagree. In fact, especially with statement #10, it gives the impression that Christians can’t support full equality for the LGBT community in society and still be Christians. I fully disagree with that position. We must share society with each other as equals and peers.

    And while you claim that I am making excuses for those who support the Statement, I am simply speaking from experience. I’ve been a young person who sees the need for change in the system. I am now an old person who sees certain treasured values and practices disappearing. I know both ends here. Yes, some are persecuting the LGBT community out of hatred and bigotry. Others want certain standards in place because they learned to treasure those standards as they grew up. And when those standards are changed in society, there is a certain shock they feel.

    To both groups I say that there is no NT justification for opposing equality for the LGBT Community in society. That deciding to do so can be the result of applying logic to one’s theology rather than the Scriptures or it can be the result of bigotry and hatred or perhaps it can be the result of a combination of the two.

  • There’s more to both religious liberalism and liberal religion than a topic sentence from a ‘pedia. The Wesleys were co-travellers in The Enlightenment” period of thought which sought to honor the human spirit, advance the rights of individuals, and break with tradition, especially the tradition that says your value depends upon whose crotch you popped out of. The movement to abolish slavery was a movement of liberalism. Now, sure, “evangelicals” believed in religious fervor and some were naive oppressors like Katherine Hepburn’s missionary character in “The African Queen,” but they were quite different from The Religious Right Fundagelical Americans of today.

    Consider, for example, William Jennings Bryan – thrice a candidate for President, and then his life ended as he was made a national laughingstock as the prosecutor of John Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 for teaching evolution. Bryan was always a firm advocate for the worker and the farmer, and a pacifist who resigned from his post as Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State because Wilson brought the U.S. into World War I. So was Bryant a liberal or a conservative? Yes.

    One could make similar arguments about Wilson himself, Anthony Comstock, Jane Addams, etc. Whatever one makes of Enlightenment or Post-Enlightenment figures, they certainly would have little in common with the religious right christofascistic movement of today. Wilson, a segregationist, has the most in common with his fellow Virginians Falwell and Robertson. And like them he was a big government man.

  • If what you say were true then your ilk has strayed so far as to be unrecognizable as liberals. Because theologically they bear no resemblence to you and you bear no resemblance to them. In fact the Wesleys probably would first try to convert you and failing there they would rebuke you and send you on your way.

  • I think they would be doing that to you for your venom-dripping rants here. We are so much closer to Wesleys’ vision than you christofascists are.

  • Note how Trump has prevented any Muslim terrorist attacks in the U.S. since he took office? Sure is different now from Pulse/San Bernardino/Boston marathon Obama. Even the plot to bomb San Francisco gay bars was foiled.

  • Yep. Your vague and beloved clobber verses are heading down the same path as don’t pray in public, shrimp and tatttoos are bad and women must keep their heads covered.

  • It would be nice if they first ousted the perv who bragged about how great it was to own Miss Teen USA because that allowed him to stroll through the dressing room and watch teen aged girls undress.

  • .
    Article 10 of the Nashville Statement seems to me to have been specifically formulated to provide a doctrinal basis for use by Christian defendants in RIFRA lawsuits.

    Article 10

    “WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

    “WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.”

    This says what hateful evangelicals wish the Bible said, and is something a bigoted baker or adoption agency can point to and say “There it is! There’s my sincere religious belief! Hah!”

    Imo, the Nashville Statement does not even seek to “lead to lasting cultural change”. It “merely” seeks to permanently tilt the judicial playing field in their favor.

    I would not take it as lightly as you seem to.
    .

  • It’s not “odd” that they name their statements after the cities in which they were drafted. They’re obviously trying to convince people that they’re issuing genuine confessional statements, like those issued from Nicea, Augsburg, Westminster, and particularly Barmen. With respect to the latter, there’s a long-standing pretense among certain right-wing evangelicals that they are in some way in the tradition of the “Confessing Church” that formed in dissent to the Nazi regime, for which the Theological Declaration of Barmen was the manifesto.

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