Opinion

Q&A: Rev. James Martin contemplates reaction to his book on LGBT Catholics

“Building A Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity” by the Rev. James Martin. Images courtesy of Harper Collins

(RNS) — Since its publication in June, Father James Martin’s book on LGBT Catholics and their church, “Building a Bridge,” has initiated widespread and occasionally heated discussion.

In his book, Father Martin, a Jesuit priest and best-selling author, calls for LGBT Catholics and the Catholic hierarchy to treat each other with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.”

The book has been endorsed by several bishops and two cardinals, including Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a Vatican official who called it “welcome and much-needed.” A recent discussion of the book at Fordham University with two theologians prompted this interview with another Fordham professor, Charles Camosy.  

A recent discussion of the Rev. James Martin’s book at Fordham University. Photo courtesy of Charles Camosy

Your most recent book has caused quite a stir. Can you share some of the more positive reactions? How do they correspond with what you hoped the book might accomplish?

Well, the positive reactions vastly outweigh the few negative ones, which are mainly confined to online responses, and even those mostly confined to far-right websites.  The most common responses, though, are typified by those that come when I speak at parishes, retreat houses and at other Catholic venues. And it’s been overwhelming, to be honest: LGBT Catholics, their parents and grandparents, and their brothers and sisters, hug me and cry when they tell me what the book means to them.  

For a long while I was confused about the intensity of the emotional reactions, since the book is pretty mild. But the more I thought about it, and asked friends about it, the more I realized has to do with the fact that it’s a priest saying these things. 

My main hope for the book was that it would start, or at least continue, a conversation that needs to happen about how the Catholic Church treats its LGBT members.  I also hoped to invite church leaders — bishops, priests and lay leaders — to consider the ways that the institutional church reaches out to LGBT people.  Or doesn’t reach out to them.  

And I know, from a number of public statements as well as private communications from cardinals, archbishops, bishops and even a number of people in the Vatican, that the book has prompted that discussion.

What about some of the more significant negative reactions? 

Any book is bound to get some criticism, especially one on a topic like this. “Building a Bridge” was meant to start conversation, after all, so I’ve been grateful for the thoughtful critiques, like David Cloutier’s insightful piece in Commonweal, for example. 

But some of it has been vicious: hateful comments, ad hominem attacks and deeply un-Christian reactions, apparently animated by homophobia. But it always reminds me of what many LGBT people put up with daily, and the need for advocacy for LGBT people. 

The most common noncrazy critique is that there wasn’t more focus on chastity, which the catechism requires for LGBT people. But the book is not a book about sexual morality, or a book about moral theology or a book about how LGBT people are supposed to lead their sexual lives. It’s an invitation to dialogue and then to prayer. It’s about welcoming LGBT people with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.”

The LGBT community is the only one that some Catholics view exclusively and entirely through the lens of sex. But what most LGBT Catholics want first is simply to feel at home in their parishes, and not be treated like dirt, which many of them are.

On the far right, though, even the notion of listening to LGBT people seems anathema. The hatred and contempt are just astonishing. And I wonder, “Do these people know any LGBT Catholics? Have they ever listened to them? Do they even think they’re human?” Again, it’s a reminder of the sheer hatred that some people have. 

Much of this is based on fear. Fear of the LGBT person as the “other.” Fear of listening to someone who might challenge your stereotypes. Fear of their own complicated sexuality. As St. Paul said, “Perfect love drives out fear.” But perfect fear drives out love.

I’ve noticed that in recent days the attacks on you have been ramping up and become particularly nasty. 

Yes, a few days ago one prominent Catholic said that I was “pansified,” which I suppose  is a way of calling me a “pansy,” a slur that I know many  gay men have had to hear. When I pointed out that is the kind of insult that LGBT people have to hear every day, and an illustration of homophobia in the church, rather than apologize, the attacks continued. And there have been other attacks, of course, sometimes near-hysterical ones. One far-right website has produced a whole series of attack videos on me.

Another  seems obsessed with attacking me, and LGBT people, every day. Sometimes every hour. 

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. As I’ve said, there is a lot of hate around, even in the church. And most of it seems motivated by a blinding anger. But, again, the hatred only serves to remind me that advocating for LGBT people is necessary. The hate reminds me of the need for love. 

But criticism has also been directed at you from people who are strong LGBT allies, yes? For instance, just a few days ago you had a public conversation with my colleague Patrick Hornbeck in which you faced some criticism along these lines.

Yes, that conversation with Patrick and Natalia Imperatori-Lee, who are both theologians and also friends of mine, was very helpful for me. But I would say that anticipated the kinds of critique that Patrick advanced in our conversation. I expected that a few LGBT Catholics would say that I hadn’t gone far enough. Some wanted me to promote same-sex marriage or challenge church teaching, which the book doesn’t do. Nor would I do. 

Patrick also feels that the listening and dialogue that I’m calling for isn’t enough, and that LGBT people have to push more, in order to effect a change in the way that the church treats them. I understand his perspective, but I think that we’re still at the very beginning of the conversation. So calling for listening and dialogue — on both sides — is the first step, and, as we’ve seen from some of the hysterical reaction on the far right, certainly challenging.

The Rev. James Martin, center, in Hoboken, N.J., for a recent discussion of his book. Photo courtesy of Charles Camosy.

It’s also challenging for LGBT Catholics to be invited to treat their bishops with “respect, compassion and sensitivity,” as the book does. That’s understandable. Many of them have been marginalized, excluded and insulted by church leaders. I’ve heard, especially since the book was published, some of the most incredible stories from LGBT Catholics about mistreatment from church officials. Still, part of being a Christian is loving those with whom you disagree, and praying for them, and surely that’s part of “respect.”

Now, I want to make clear that the onus for this bridge-building is on the institutional church — because it’s the institutional church that has marginalized LGBT Catholics, not the other way around. Nonetheless, it’s a two-way bridge. We’re all Christians.    

One of the many things I’ve loved about your public interventions is that intellectually honest people could never put you in a “right” box or a “left” box. One day you’ll be calling out Paul Ryan for a position on health care that’s contrary to Catholic teaching, but the next day you’ll be calling out Justin Trudeau in a similar way for his pro-choice position on abortion. Has it been difficult to inhabit this Catholic space?

Not really! The Gospel transcends all those categories. Being pro-life, as I am, means supporting all life as a precious gift from God. That includes life in the womb, of course. And most people would expect, and should expect, a Catholic priest to defend that. 

But it also includes the life of an inmate on death row. The life of an elderly person in a hospice. The life of a refugee on a crowded boat in the middle of the sea. And here, the life of an LGBT person, who also deserves to have his or her or their life raised up as holy, precious and unique. Pro-life is a lot broader than people might think. So my “box” is the Gospel.

Church politics can be even more nasty than secular politics. You’ve been at the center of some biting criticism in recent weeks and months, but you are also a hero to many serious Catholics in the United States and around the world. As someone who cares very deeply about the church’s unity in the midst of its diversity: How do you gauge the level of polarization in the church at the moment? 

The level of polarization is the worst I’ve ever seen in my 30 years as a Jesuit.  And I think a lot of it has to do with the pushback, opposition and downright contempt for my fellow Jesuit, Pope Francis.  His emphasis on mercy, on accompaniment, on encounter and, especially, as in (his apostolic exhortation) “Amoris Laetitia,” on discernment, has driven some people into near hysterics. 

The crashing irony is that the same people who were saying during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI that any disagreement whatsoever with a pope was equivalent to dissent are now disagreeing with the pope all over the place. 

To that point, a bishop friend who works in the Vatican said to me: “It’s not surprising that you’re getting so much criticism. They can’t attack the pope all the time, so they’ll attack you.” Social media just intensifies all of this.

Some of this spills into parishes, but not much. In most parishes, people ask if the book is getting much pushback, and I’ll say, “A little bit — mainly online.” Then they’ll ask me from what people, and I’ll tell them and they’ll say, “Who?” So it’s not much to worry about, much less fear. 

(Charles C. Camosy is associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University and author of “Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation.” The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service)

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Charles C. Camosy

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  • “The most common responses, though, are typified by those that come when I speak at parishes, retreat houses and at other Catholic venues. And it’s been overwhelming, to be honest: LGBT Catholics, their parents and grandparents, and their brothers and sisters, hug me and cry when they tell me what the book means to them.” 1 Timothy 4:3 – English Standard Version
    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”

    “Some wanted me to promote same-sex marriage or challenge church teaching, which the book doesn’t do. Nor would I do.” 1 Corinthians 7 – Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

    “We’re all Christians.” God would not barr Christians from the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Homosexuals do need allies. This world is lying to them that they are doing good, the sin is innate and that God will wink at their sin. They need someone to tell them the truth and that is where the church faithful come in. They help the homosexual.
    2 Timothy 4 – English Standard Version
    1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

  • What is the ultimate goal here? What is this bridge suppose to gap? If this is about compassion, mercy in the sense of everyone is entitled by our creator to be treated as we would want to be treated in kindness and respect, that I believe is what we are called to do. I would never shun, belittle, ignore, be mean to anyone I meet or serve in whatever capacity. If however, this is about changing what has been held as an absolute in terms of sin, it is not our place to change God’s law. This does not mean that people should be prohibited from attending Mass, or church activities, as we are all sinners in need of salvation.

  • “Homosexuals do need allies. This world is lying to them that they are doing good, the sin is innate and that God will wink at their sin. They need someone to tell them the truth and that is where the church faithful come in. They help the homosexual.”
    So, the same world is telling abusive Christian leaders that they are doing good?
    I’m baffled at the lack of legislation to control the harm and devastation dished out at the hands of bible worshipers. Christianity has yet to atone for crimes against humanity perpetuated on this continent. Probably never will.

  • You perfectly exemplify

    2 Corinthians 4:4 – English Standard Version
    In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

    Homosexuals need our help to become children of God who will go to Heaven.

  • Yet the shunning, prohibition, and viciousness continue apace both in church, the public square, and various legislatures.
    When will the adulterous be subjected to the degree of persecution? Where are the hide bound county court clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses to divorcees?

  • You have dodged the question. Why does it take the light of reason to point out the dangers of blind obedience? Why focus so vociferously on homosexuality yet become mute when unrepentant adultery is allowed to prosper, encouraged to succeed from the pulpit.

  • Why be willfully blind and mute to the atrocities currently committed by the “churched” and bible bound?

  • Charles Camosy’s interview questions leave much to be desired. Every author is open to criticism, and one question on that would suffice. Here are some other questions that could move the “dialogue” (I’m unsure there was a dialogue) forward.
    1. How do you propose that Rome can be a bridge to this community in America?
    2. Should there be another forum, would you invite Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Joseph Tobin and ask them what concrete steps they would be willing to take to reach out to this community?
    3. What are some things that LGBT individuals can do to help educate their own parish priests and bishops about being LGBT?
    4. Using the parable of the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11+) as a backdrop, what might it look like for priests and bishops welcoming members of the LGBT community into the faith community?
    5. What are some of the building blocks necessary for the LGBT to help construct the bridge?
    6. What are some of the building blocks necessary for priests and parishioners to help construct the bridge?
    7. How can we as a church reconcile the treatment of the LGBT community with the opening words of Gaudium et Spes:
    The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.

    The Church needs to be a beacon of understanding, rather than a sluice for salvation. Individuals who feel understood and welcomed can take care of their own salvation.

  • Well dear, I was under the impression from Christians such as yourself that a sin, is a sin, is a sin. So…why isolate one sin for enhanced abusive handling IAW a bible?

  • Because the LGBT community is different and fundamentalists are afraid of anything different (e.g. Muslims). There are many more straight fornicators and adulterers but they are of us and not “them”.

  • The bible has an answer for everything, sparing you from having to think for yourselves. Reason is the enemy of faith.

  • I would suggest not using the Parable of the Prodigal as a backdrop. That is an incredibly loaded image. LGBTQ folks don’t need to be viewed as having strayed, having been broken and now crawling back. That approach would be dead in its tracks before it started in my book.

    Perhaps a better background would be to approach the situation, based on the Middle Eastern historic emphasis on hospitality, as The Stranger at the Gate.

  • If however, this is about changing what has been held as an absolute in terms of sin, it is not our place to change God’s law.

    Why is that always were you and everyone else goes? What’s wrong with assuming that the bridge is being built for exactly what you suggested first and that we will agree to disagree on the rest?

  • “LGBTQ folks don’t need to be viewed as having strayed, having been broken and now crawling back” Why not? That’s how Jesus portrayed all of us when He told this parable. Repentance and reconciliation, which the parable portrays, will never be “dead in its tracks” for it will always be the heart of the gospel. Whether it’s dead in your book, whatever that may be, is something entirely different.

  • 100% bang on.

    On this issue, more than most, bigots hide behind religion and and yak about god’s law.

  • The issue for gay people is not what your religion says or doesn’t. It’s about your religion being used as a weapon against us for 2000 years, and used to justify every bit of harm done during that time.

    The real question is, why can I reject the entirety of Christianity, and this invites no lies, no punitive laws, no massive political campaigns to to disenfranchise me from participation in society?

    But let me say I am gay, and reject this itty bitty little part of what calls itself Christianity, and yoikes! The sky is falling and society must be protected by any means possible?

  • Yes there are plenty of people who have a hard time being decent christian people to others. I am in no way negating that LGBTQ individuals face this more often than non-LGBTQ. I will whole heartedly agree that there is plenty of adulterous people who are not subjected to the same aggressive behavior by people as LGBTQ, but that does not make them any less adulterous. They however can hide behind a false mask/wall rather than be publicly attacked. I will agree there is a duality in christian beliefs and doing ones job. However, the marriage license issue has been rectified if your referring to Kim Davis. I will also state that if a person finds conflict of whatever nature in their job that they cannot do that job, then they must find another one. I’ve left jobs for a variety of personal reasons (not related to this topic) because I knew I could not do what they ask of me.

  • I don’t condone or support anything harmful to people no matter what the perceived justification. In fact those who think it is their job a Christians to persecute anyone does not understand the faith. However, we live in a society that is made up of countless differences and we must all find a way to live together and get along together.

  • It wouldn’t hurt to simply acknowledge that the proposed bridge is never going to get built on a “let’s agree to disagree” basis.

    That’s really why Martin left off any real discussion about what his own Catholic Catechism says about chastity, not to mention the **rest** of what the CC says (which is very specific!).
    Some folks just wanna leave important stuff off the table and pretend it ain’t there, (“agree to disagree”), but that doesn’t resolve anything.

    Now I don’t know the best way to deal with this gig, but in the dialogue situations I’ve been in, all sides at least were willing to openly acknowledge what they really believed or didn’t believe — no jive, no junk, no oatmeal. Honesty is your friend.

  • You know Jim – looking at some things today and some things about myself, it isn’t always easy to see things they way the Lord laid it out, but, that said, He’s given me the measure of faith needed to trust Him and not our culture. Some times it takes reasoning to believe God when things look the opposite, but, you either trust Him, or you don’t. I choose to trust Him and your quote about “reason”, just isn’t true. That’s just a liberal response to something they choose not to understand.
    Ask any Christian parent who’s child is dying about reasoning.

  • I was involved in fundamental Christianity and even did a door-to-door ministry so I knew the biblical response to almost every challenge – we were good parrots. Fortunately my intellect overcame my emotion and I left at 19, forever embarrased. But I do understand.

  • “…that which you don’t understand, you condemn.”

    Sounds like the fundamentist view on LGBT and a host of other issues.

  • And that I sincerely thank you for. It is all we gay people ask. The same rights as everyone else, the same equality before the law as everyone else, the same treatment by others that they would expect for themselves.

  • The proposed bridge will never be built as long as it is on the “let’s agree to agree with me only, and who cares what happens to YOU” basis that you always advocate.

    As for acknowledging what both sides believe– we’re honest about that. It’s you that hides behind sanctity and faith, not us.

  • Hmm. You were involved in the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and apparently a very intelligent Bible reader and theistic worker, not a mindless “parrot”).

    To give credit, you could have done a lot worse. Certainly you had NO business (especially on an intellectual level), trading in JW for any Atheism.

    But honestly, you really were NOT into Christianity back then. The respective claims of the JW Watchtower and of biblical Christianity, especially on Jesus and salvation, are flat-out irreconcilable. One or the other, is flat-out wrong.

    JW is a DIY self-effort “works” religion that disbelieves John 3:16, Rev. 3:20, salvation by faith (Rom. 10:9-10), and many other texts. Why don’t you leave behind both JW and Atheism, and explore what it means to experience being born again in Christ?

  • And there you go, quietly telling Yoikes that:

    …he or she better NOT be publicly opposing legalized gay marriage,

    …nor EVER refuse a gay wedding/reception participation-request of any kind,

    …nor ever take a public stand in defense of any Christians who dare to refuse such a request,

    …or else there simply won’t be any “find a way to live together and get along together.” The standard gay-activist position.

  • Thank you, but Christ has shown us that homosexuality is a sin that will keep them out of Heaven. He also taught that He will forgive and heal us of our sin should we repent. He loves us and wants what is best for us. Thanks though.

  • Yes I agree totally. My personal mantra is never be mean to anyone. I don’t understand why it is so hard for people to love one another even when one does not like or agree with what another does. God loves us all regardless, long suffering for any one of us to come to Him right up to the very end. God never rejects anyone regardless of what they do, so why can’t those who claim to follow Him at the very least acknowledge that and do the same. It really isn’t that hard either.

  • “a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.”
    Google’s dictionary 🙂

    Your mileage may vary as to which groups you may consider as such. But I generally go by whether they identify as Christian by their own volition. 🙂

    The only exception being Messianic Jews. They are a branch of Protestant Christianity pretending to be otherwise as a proselytizing ploy

  • Well, let me offer at least a partial answer, based on experience. (You may not like some of it though.)

    You ARE being asked two requests here, as a Christian. And yes, Ben’s doing the asking.

    First request, is to love everybody the same, gay or straight, with real empathy & caring. NO problem with the legitimacy of that request. Indeed your 4th sentence there, explained it perfectly.

    Second request, however, is the problem. Suppose the only way you can demonstrate God’s love to LGBT folks is to either (1) express some support for legalized gay marriage, or else (2) keep totally silent on that issue.

    (Plus, don’t you dare say one word *endorsing* any biblical prohibitions, nor Jesus changing or healing any LGBT folks. Not one word. That’s what gay activists are demanding.)

    Everybody gotta decide their own positions, but even a tacit, implied tolerance of gay marriage, not only bucks the Bible, but pours gasoline on young men & women who are burning up on fire with SSA pain, loneliness, and temptations. If love is the deal, then the Christian reply to Request #2, MUST be a public “No.”

  • “They [LGBT folks] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”………..The Catechism of the Catholic Church, part of number 2358

    Of course.

    ‘In everything’, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets………Matthew 7:12

  • Perhaps put yourself in the shoes of the LGBTQ community.

    When you are the only folks viewed as having strayed, having been broken and now crawling back, then you are not being asked to a dialog on level ground. There is no equal footing. When you are the only folks in the group being viewed as needing repentance and reconciliation, there is no hospitality being offered.

    The unbalancedness of the situation is what makes it dead in its tracks. Because that isn’t what Jesus called us to in the parable. And that is why it won’t be acceptable to most GLBTQ people.

  • Gang, it’s a waste of time to spar with her. She knows that she has the only truth, so you are wrong and she is right and that’s the end of it. It will be a broken record repeating the same things over and over. There is no opportunity for an intelligent conversation because she has all of the answers and no one else knows anything.

    It’s best to treat the troll as the troll it is and stop giving it the attention that it craves. If people just ignored her, she wouldn’t have an opportunity to continue posting her hate. As long as folks continue to respond to her, she responds back.

    Ben, this isn’t actually pointed at you.

  • The other thing that I’m hoping that Father Martin isn’t doing here is playing the Catholic role of the Protestant Andrew Marin and his Marin Foundation. Marin’s catchphrase is, BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND COMMUNITIES OF FAITH. He and his cronies go out to Pride Parades/Marches or other LGBTQ events and give everyone hugs, while inviting them to the Marin organization. But what they are actually doing is trying to get unsuspecting LGBTQ folks to trust them so that they can slowly “bring them to Jesus” where they will see the error and sinfulness of their sexual or gender orientation. They are wolves in sheeps clothing preying on LGBTQ folks.

  • As far as I know, you can’t agree to disagree until you have both put what you believe out on the table and you know what it is upon which you disagree. Which has already been done many times by both parties. The Roman’s know what their LGBTQ brothers & sisters believe and vice versa. There isn’t really anything to discuss any further. The issue is are they going to continue to ostracize the LGBTQ community or are they going to at least recognize one another’s humanity and Christian faith, the things that they do have in common.

  • Well, it’s true that I HAVEN’T ever been a part of a congregation where almost no one was viewed as being in need of repentance and reconciliation. That speaks of a generalized apostasy rather than a specific one.

  • I know that.

    I don’t bother to engage our girl very often, except to point out her absolute, utter, despicable hypocrisy and ignorance.

  • To believe that some are in no need of repentance is apostasy, pure and simple. It is a denial of the gospel.

  • Sadly that is how the Roman Church deals with everything. Their concept of ecumenism is that everyone will eventually recognize that the Pope is the Supreme Pontiff of the Church and come home to Rome. Superior to all other bishops in the Church, the Vicar of Christ and infallible in his dictates when spoken ex-cathedra (from his throne). Anything less is unacceptable.

  • I personally would tweak that definition to “a follower of Jesus Christ, striving to follow his teachings as the Spirit gives them strength and guides them.”

  • We acknowledge “that all sin and fall short of the glory of God,” including us, we just disagree with your misinterpretation of scripture that our gender and/or sexual orientation is sinful.

  • What kind of “legislation” did you have in mind? Government has no power to legislate on the subject of religion.

  • On the subject of religion no, on the behavior of those claiming a faith, yes. Those claiming religion as reasoning behind legislation providing protection not granted to the population at large are flouting the civil rights laws. An atheist is not protected when refusing to bake a cake for a religious ceremony. Exercising the right to refuse service to anyone offers them little to no protection. When a retailing company is allowed to exert religious control of health care coverage, civil rights of atheist employees are violated. The canard of “just go find another job” as a solution is disingenuous.

  • “To believe that some are in no need of repentance is apostasy, pure and simple. It is a denial of the gospel.”

    So, apparently you view apostasy as a bad thing when in fact it is usually the result of rational thinking that should be respected and encouraged.

  • So (a) not getting a cake made by a particular baker, and (b)not getting free birth control, is your idea of harm and devastation needing immediate legislative action?

    Wow! I paid for my own birth control for twelve years after our last child was born without it ever occurring to me that I was being devastated by doing so. Who knew?

  • The reality is that there will be no reconciliation. The Christian Right’s identity is based upon LGBTQ+ people existing as a pariah group. In fact, conservative targeting of homosexuals caused them to come together and ended up creating them as an identity. But this is understood. Conservative religion creates social cohesion through the strict and sometimes brutal enforcement of narrow social norms, which requires the identification of an out-group – the pariahs. And gays right now are that group.

    And now that the general culture does not confirm LGBTQ+ people as such an out-group anymore as Christian cultural hegemony has waned, segments of the Church whose identity is founded upon creating boundaries between themselves and those whom they ARE NOT, is threatened. Thus we are seeing such a vitriolic response in reactions to Fr. Martin and in things such as the Nashville Statement. It is retrenchment. Even though they are at the pinnacle of their political power, they are free-falling in the culture. They feel terribly threatened. If Jesus Himself were to return to Earth and command them to stop, they would refuse. What’s really ironic is that the first time He came, He did just that. Have they listened? No. Over and over again they sit and create excuses as to why it is perfectly acceptable to treat a certain class of people like absolute garbage.

    Don’t you find it interesting that condemnation of Christianity now is very, very different than when it was condemned historically? The general culture is finding them more and more abhorrent because they are NOT following Christ.

  • No. The cake thing is about extending discrimination that is lawful in the private and religious spheres of society into the public and commercial spheres of society. it is about segregation – making it so that we can choose in public to exclude and treat people differently because we don’t like or agree with them. Its purpose is to create a wedge by which they can be driven from society.

    This is a form of segregation. We tried this. If the Christian Right is going to continue to claim that all they want is for people to “flourish”, then perhaps they should learn that the segregation of society this way leads to nothing but ruin. And when we got rid of it, the current iteration of the Religious Right was born kicking and screaming.

    So yes. If you bake cakes for money for your fellow Evangelicals, you have to bake a cake for us homos. If you treat people as a medical doctor, you cannot refuse to treat homos, etc.

    As for the birth control, since when is an employer’s health plan free? When I negotiate my compensation package, the health component is a part of it. I earn every penny of it. And now when a company can be “religious” as an excuse for its leaders to impose their religion upon others in terms of what health care is available, this is just another example of you imposing your filthy religion.

    Stop your schemes and live in peace with the people around you. Stop trying to force LGBTQ+ people out of society through these thousand cuts you make to exclude them. Please practice your religion for once as Jesus Christ intended it.

  • You need to stop elevating 55 words in the New Testament above the other 200,000 and listen to what Christ has commanded you concerning legalistic religion and the fate of the marginalized. You need to obey God and stop lying that you are.

  • I do obey Christ. He asked us to make people aware of what He commanded and He said that homosexuals will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • The Christian crowd wants acceptance without holding their own accountable for the atrocities they have and are continuing to commit against innocent non-Christians.

  • Where did Jesus Christ say specifically that homosexuals will not see the Kingdom of Heaven? And where did Jesus Christ say that you will target their “sin” above all others to the point of grouping them together and throwing them en masse from the face of God? And where did Jesus Christ say that the Pharisees will make it into the Kingdom?

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    Genesis 19
    Ephesians 5:5
    Isaiah 3:9
    Jude 1:7
    1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
    Galatians 5:19-21
    2 Peter 2:6
    Revelation 21:8
    Revelation 21:27
    Revelation 22:14

  • Here is my response. You are wrong, and in danger of hellfire for doing what you do. When you group a people together, persecute them, treat them as pariahs, make their lives a living hell, lie about them, and then banish them from your families and churches and thus from the face of God, you have made their sins less in the eyes of God and you take their place in hell. Jesus’ ministry to the marginalized, his statements that they will inherit the Kingdom of God and not the legalistic religionists of the day, the Pharisees, are clear and spread through all four gospels and throughout His ministry. The gospels are drenched in them. The number of texts associated with this far exceed that of any condemnation He makes against sexual immorality.

    Additionally, none of these references quoted by you were said by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is important. Jesus’ words directives, and ministry not only take precedence over every other word in the Bible. They provide the container and lenses by which we interpret all other Scripture. Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God is Sovereign over the Bible, and over your interpretation of it.

    YOUR DIVISION OF THE TEXTS YOU OFFER

    There are three categories of texts you use:

    Sodom related texts:

    (Gen. 19; Isaiah 3:9; Jude 1:7; 2 Peter 2:6)

    Texts related to same-sex activity:

    (1 Corinthian 6:9-11)

    Texts that generally condemn sexual immorality:

    (Ephesians 5:5; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev 21,22)

    TEXTS CONDEMNING GENERAL SEXUAL IMMORALITY

    There is no dispute that God condemns sexual immorality. But again, your sin of singling out homosexuality, rounding them up, and throwing them out make them candidates for the Kingdom of God before you.

    THE STORY OF SODOM

    The story of Sodom is NOT teaching us about homosexuality. Jesus joined with Ezekiel 16:49 in referring to the sins of Sodom in the context of the abuse of strangers (Matt. 10:5-15). Ezekiel specifically says that the sin of Sodom was neglecting the poor and needy, and the stigmatizing of outsiders.

    Others refer to sexual immorality such as lust, sexual impurity, fornication, and adultery, but nowhere does it reference a singling out specifically of homosexuality. It was Augustine of Hippo and Philo of Alexandria who began to use it in reference to homosexuality. Their authority or that of the other New Testament writers does not supersede that of Jesus Christ.

    1 CORINTHIANS

    Malakoi and Arsenokoitai

    These two words occur in the reference in Corinthians. Their mistranslation and deliberate use against what we call homosexuals today is a sin.

    Malakoi is translated effeminate. This is incorrect. It refers to lacks of self-control, laziness, weakness, and even being a coward. Men who exhibited this were called effeminate because women were thought to be this way. And yet women can be saved in some cases. You are seeing a pejorative and not an identification of men who don’t agree with your gender roles.

    Arsenokoitai is more complicated as it is used rarely in greek writings except by Paul, and his use of the word is the first. Thus we must infer its meaning by contextualizing it. The uses that do survive indicate economic exploitation, not same-sex activity. In other places where it is used, it is not used in the context of same-sex activity. Overall the evidence is shaky that it means what today would be termed to be a “homosexual”. There is more evidence that it refers to someone who is being economically exploited using sex. Here we can refer to pederastry, temple prostitution, people who abused slaves, etc. It wasn’t until 1525 in the Tyndale New Testament that it began to be translated to refer to same-sex activity.

    CONCLUSION

    You have supplanted your Culture War for the Gospel. For political reasons, your leaders have decided to single out homosexuals for persecution. In doing so, you have elevated a very few words in Scripture, and NOT even those spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, to be above the commandments of Jesus Christ and His condemnations of the sins of exclusion of marginalization.

    The evidence that God is condemning of same-sex committed relationships is scant, and shaky at best. The evidence that general sexuality immorality is condemned is clear. The evidence that singling out a group for persecution will result in hellfire is crystal clear.

    Repent.

  • Yet the pulpit and the confessional are the sand in the gears of justice as soon as some brand of piety and forgiveness is declared. And then the cycle repeats generating more and more innocent victims.

  • Do you know that Jesus is God?
    It started in Genesis where there were no “righteous” homosexuals to bring out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • Actually, Christ came to fulfill the OT, not abolish it.
    The Jews still adhere to many of the things in the OT. Christ brought the moral laws into the NT.
    Women are to remain silent in church.
    You would do much better reading a Bible than a source like the Huffington Post .
    I don’t open posts from people that I don’t know.

  • Ah so your judgement and hate matches the bible. If you can honestly tell me you obey everything in Leviticus, you can talk. But I suspect you dont.

  • That is not what I learned. I learned that the New Testament is what Jesus wanted us to follow. So are you Jewish now?

  • Also I hope you are doing your ritual washing after your menstruation. Otherwise again, i know you aren’t following the bible.

  • also I thank you for spreading your hate on so many articles. I don’t know if you know, but a lesbian also has your name and she is spread love and acceptance of gay people 🙂

  • Matthew 5:17 – English Standard Version

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
    Christ is also faithful in that He will forgive and heal us of our sin should we repent, turn to Him, and follow Him.

  • so you are playing it both ways – stop quoting the OT about LGBT (which really there isn’t any – just misquotations by so-called “Christians” . So you have lost all your arguments then. Just go back to your quite life and leave others alone so you can pretend to be holy.

  • see your last comment – if he came to fulfill, and not abolish, you should be doing this then. SO which is it? Is it abolished or fulfilled?

  • And He fulfilled the ceremonial, and civil aspects of the Law. He brought the moral laws into the New Testament, Get. Homosexuality is a sin.

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