Beliefs Columns Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion Politics

For Christian conservatives, it’s all about sex . . . and it’s been that w …

This week’s stunning news about the Alabama election brought certain issues into sharp relief — namely, that conservative Christians had to choose between a candidate who allegedly molested teenage girls (very bad) and a candidate who does not want abortion to be outlawed (also very bad).

But Christians have a long history in this country of debating — occasionally politely — every possible issue surrounding sex. That’s the story of the new book Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics, out this week from Basic Books.

As you can see from the interview below, author Marie Griffith thoughtfully answers the question of why conservative Christians have focused so heavily on sex, reaching back a hundred years into American history. (Remember when Christians were as terrified by birth control and interracial marriage as they are today about gay rights? No? Read on.) — JKR

RNS: What’s the book about?

Griffith: Sex and power! The question I started out with was why so many Christian leaders have seemed so fixated on sexual morality and sexual rules—especially when, for instance, Jesus didn’t talk much about sex at all. It’s not part of the Sermon on the Mount or put forward by him as something Christians are supposed to care about first and foremost, over helping the poor and needy.

It’s also a question that came to me from my own childhood, and the Baptist church setting that I was raised in. I started thinking about how we got to this place, after a century of some conservative Christian groups being very consumed with sexual morality and rules. The book starts with the birth control movement and moves to the present through a range of issues that Christians have helped to politicize, all having to do with sex and gender roles.

RNS: What have some of those fights been?

Griffith: Obscenity and censorship laws are some, so I looked at books and films that have been censored over time, and some of the activism that Catholic and Protestant groups have engaged in to restrict certain books and movies that they deemed obscene.

Another issue is interracial sex and marriage, so I look at that particularly in the Jim Crow South in the 1930s and 1940s, where race had been so important in these struggles. Also sex education controversies, abortion politics, and gay rights and same-sex marriage. These issues are not only about sex of course, but they are also about sex, whatever else they’re about. And I write about sexual harassment, which of course is in the news right now.

Historian and author Marie Griffith. Photo credit: Randall Kahn.

RNS: What surprised you?

Griffith: I suppose it is perennially surprising that so many women have fought in favor of gender hierarchy and sexual restrictions. It’s not just men, or simple misogyny. Women themselves have often participated in upholding patriarchy and “traditional” gender values.

The other surprise, I would say, is how deeply entwined I came to realize these ideas are with patriotism and American nationalism. The folks I’m studying on the conservative side really believed that God gave America a destiny: America is exceptional, and it’s divinely ordained to lead the world. That’s a deeply ingrained idea that has permeated our nation’s history. And they also see loosening sexual morals as deeply threatening to that divine place. There’s something about changing gender roles and sexual behavior that feels like it’s deeply against God, and those changes make God gravely displeased with the nation. So sex kind of stands in for so much else about national destiny, and that’s why those issues get so much attention and have so much political weight.

RNS: When you put same-sex marriage up against these other issues from the last century, is it surprising that acceptance of same-sex marriage is happening relatively fast?

Griffith: If you compare changing attitudes toward homosexuality with attitudes toward traditional gender roles, it is astonishing how fast attitudes have changed on the first compared to how stagnant they’ve often been on the second. It was very strategic for some LGBT leaders to focus on marriage, and to really present the queer community as wanting to live in stable families and to be parents. That eased some of the fear that non-queer Americans had towards LGBT people. And of course, some LGBT folks think that that marriage was the wrong issue to focus on, that it has kind of domesticated the queer community in an unfortunate way. I’m not advocating one or the other, but I think that the marriage focus helps explain the rapidity of that acceptance.

RNS: What will surprise readers?

Griffith: The ferociousness with which some conservative Christians have long fought against feminism may surprise some readers. This isn’t something that started in the 1960s; it has been a century-long battle against women’s freedom and equality. You can see that battle play out pretty clearly in the book. Feminism has been perceived as so evil, and so undermining of God’s plan for the nation, and it’s really amazing how much money and time and energy have been put into that fight against it. All the hungry people who could have been fed with that money . . . that animus is really something.

RNS: Protestants used to totally oppose contraception but did a 180-degree turn. How did that shift?

Griffith: There’s a very specific reason why Protestants became friendly toward contraception, and that was because Catholics so strongly opposed it. Margaret Sanger skillfully utilized Protestants’ anti-Catholicism to promote her cause, which she presented as increasing happiness in marriage.

It’s also true that Protestants had no real religious or theological objection to it. Their objection was to sex outside of marriage, but if you could restrict contraception to married couples that was OK. Opening it up to non-married people took a couple of decades.

So Protestants shifted, and ordinary Catholics, we know, have since the mid-1960s practiced birth control at the same rates as non-Catholics. But some members of the Catholic hierarchy have continued to speak strongly against birth control, and they have been joined recently by very conservative Protestants like the Green family of Hobby Lobby. The debate over the so-called contraceptive mandate in Obamacare is about money, of course, but it’s also about sex. There’s an unspoken but real attitude in some conservative quarters that people should pay the consequences for their sins, and so if you have sex outside of marriage or before marriage, and you get pregnant, you have to accept that consequence. That’s part of the reasoning against birth control as well as abortion, the idea that women shouldn’t escape punishments for their sin.

That’s another surprise of the book—that issues we once thought were settled turn out not to be settled when it comes to sex and gender. The fights continue. I don’t think the attackers will win all of these battles, but only time will tell.

 


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

153 Comments

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  • One thing that isn’t being discussed in this interview is the obvious: the absolute obsession evangelicals and Christian conservatives have with sex, as if there is nothing else in the Bible except sex, and what it might actually mean. 1st Corinthians is used to damn gay people to hell. Yet the very same passage that allegedly condemns gay people clearly damns the lies, slanders, and viciousness with which s0-called Christians damn gay people. And no one calls them out on it.

    But back to the article.

    First, there is the obvious meaning: if you control people’s sex lives, the most personal, non public, deeply symbolic and meaningful to the psyche of a person’s life, you control that person. And one of the most obvious issues in the gay rights and abortion battles is simply that: control. when it is politicized, it is dominionism.

    Second, there is the hidden meaning: Sex is on of the most personal, non public, and deeply symbolic and meaningful to the psyche aspect of someone’s life. You teach someone that his or her sexuality is inherently dirty, something sinful and wrong, and you teach THEM that there is something wrong with them. And if that is how they see themselves, then that is how they will act.

    I have become increasingly convinced that the most virulent opposition to ending this vicious and ancient prejudice against gay people and our participation in society, fully and authentically, as we are made, comes from the homosexual hating homosexuals who infest the conservative e religious movement like cockroaches. They work out all of their own issues by attacking those of us who live our lives openly, freely, and courageously, fighting for our rights, and the rights of all of those kids who are our spiritual children.

    There are so many many examples of this. ted Haggard is one of the best. On and on and on and on about gay people, went ol’ Ted– all the while was having meth fueled sex parties with a male prostitute. (Oh, well! At least he wasn’t a minor!) The people who post on these very pages, on and on about dirty homosex in all that graphic detail they so love, are another. Ralph shortey, another family values hypo…errr, umm, Republican… who constantly railed on and on and on about Dem Evillll Geyz was caught with his hands down an underaged boy’s pants, and sent to prison for it. I’ve never molested a boy, never had the slightest desire to. In my entire life, of the thousands of men I would describe as gay that I have known, I have known only ONE that had any interest in minors.

    But let’s look at heterosexuals, especially the family values hypo…err, umm republicans that have been implicated in adultery, sexual harassment, and moore or less pedophilia. Their own obsessions with sexuality are obvious. Yes, I am aware the democrats aren’t perfect either. But they are generally not the ones proclaiming their faith, their morality, and their holiness, and telling other people how to live their lives and to get right with god. From what I have seen in talking to Catholics, the priestly abuse scandals have done moore to damage the church than anything else.

    If you obsess about sex, don’t be surprised if everyone thinks you’re obsessed about sex. If you claim to be the party of faith and sexual morality, but are continually caught with your hands down the cookie jar’s pants, don’t be surprised if people think you are a hypocrite.

  • The people who post on these very pages on and on about dirty homosexual in all that graphic detail they so love are another.

    Thank you, Ben, for these valuable reminders.

    I’ll add another one, as someone who has seldom posted here until recently, when the toxic lies of some of these folks just became too much for me to pass over in silence:

    Not everyone who posts in these threads is who he/she purports to be. Not everyone who says she’s female actually is female, or vice versa. Not everyone who claims a certain racial identity here is being honest about that identity.

    And I suspect some of the persistent, and persistently poisonous, folks who post here constantly are not being forthcoming about who’s paying them to post at this and other similar blog or news site, to spread fake news and lies.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised. But I think a majority of the people who post are indeed who they say they are. They are just not ashamed of it and have no interest in anything remotely resembling truth or compassion.
    unfortunately, they are not ashamed of that either.

  • Can we talk about joe Barton, virulently anti-gay, virulently family values, virulently bible believing, virulently republican? Not that it is just a republican issue, but he’s perfect.
    Turns out that the family values he claimed to value so much were really for other people, not himself.
    If you think I am talking about hypocrisy, you’re wrong. Well, not JUST hypocrisy.

  • Curiously, there’s NO questions asked — and NO answers given — about what the Bible specifically says. Yet this interview is supposed to illuminate why Christian conservatives believe what they believe?

  • Actually, now that Omarosa’s gone, I was hoping to persuade Trump to re-imburse me a few cultural bucks for all this time I’m spending here at the religion circus.

    But he says I gotta go thru Gen. Kelly first, and the General insists I do one of those fancy DNA Genealogy tests. Checking the percentages to make sure I’m not Russian or something.

  • Some people believe religion is all about power, politics, and money. For them, the Bible, Church dogmas and traditions, etc., are just rationalizations and window dressing, so no need to take them seriously. This imparts a certain shallowness to their approach.

  • Pot. Kettle. mirror?
    The bible is “clear” about all kinds of things. Much of which is ignored. You might say that it imparts a great deal of shallowness to their approach.

  • Oh yes, I agree with you that the Bible is clear about all kinds of things. If any parts of it are “ignored”, Christians do it at their own peril and will have to answer for it at the dread judgement seat of Christ if they do not repent. This does not necessarily invalidate the correctness of their beliefs.

  • Well, since you know what the bible says, will you tell me what it says about divorce? divorce for any reason except adultery? Remarriage after divorce? Remarriage after divorce for any reason except adultery? Remarriage after divorce after remarriage after divorce from one’s first wife?

  • The obsession of religion with sex is a glaring example of how religion is man-made, as in made by men to control women (and others).

  • The Nashville Statement that appeared this summer is a good example of Evangelical/Conservative Christian obsession with sex. In the opening discussion a serious (as in critical) readers is left with the impression that they consider our Humanity, what it is that makes us human is tied to our sexual organs, identification, orientation AND most importantly ability to procreate.

    I wrote an essay about the flaws with the Nashville Statement for the Religious Tolerance organization in October. http://www.religioustolerance.org click on the new essays tab on the left then scroll down to the October entries.

    I think the statement is their last grasping effort to hold onto what they know they have now lost!

  • I suspect that the very same culture that has given us the beyond-shame, post-truth White House and Congress with which we’re now saddled lives in a beyond-shame, post-truth world in its religious institutions and religious views.

    In fact, I know that’s the case, since I see it on full display in these threads on a daily basis. Many of the people supporting that culture in the White House who post here have absolutely no regard for basic truth or basic truth-telling, and lie shamelessly.

    They are shameless about identifying themselves with God, Christianity, the bible, shameless about superimposing their own preconceived ideas on biblical texts of which they claim exclusive ownership as they read out of Christianity a majority of Christians who do not agree with them about issues like how LGBTQ human beings should be treated.

    Takes a lot of chutzpah, a lot of shamelessness, to behave this way.

    I do think some of these folks are hirelings, and I think some of them are not who they say they are.

  • I don’t disagree with anything you are saying, but I will add to it.
    As I see the problem with some of the more shameless, rabid, and dishonest posters who show up regularly, the problem is not so much that they think they speak for god, but that they think they ARE god. Because they think they understand something they read in a book, they are in a position to know the relationship of god with any other soul on the planet, and are qualified to comment on it.
    It’s megalomania. And it isn’t pretty. But it is what allows them to be completely shameless, completely dishonest.
    The Jones Moore thing is a case in point. Even without the sexual allegations, Moore was removed TWICE from the bench, showed a flagrant disregard for the rule of law, but promised to get the gays. That was enough for them. This very well off man says that materialism, sodomy, and abortion are the problem with America. Jones is a very decent man who believes that people have the right to make their own decisions. but he’s a democrat, and thus has been slandered by so-called Christians with BABY MURDERER, over and over and over– 60 million times. But he’s a democrat, and not the right sort of Christian– according to that sort of Christian. .
    Thanks for your comments.

  • “The problem is not so much that they think they speak for god, but that they think they ARE god.”

    Yes, exactly, Ben. The “God” they keep invoking is themselves — a little controllable “god” who is themselves writ large.

    When they say they want “Him” controlling things, what they are really saying is that they have a ravenous need to control the rest of us — and call that holy and divine.

  • I would be happy to explain it for you.

    Jesus said: “…whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 9:9).

    Jesus also said: “…every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart ” Matthew 5:28).

    Yes, adultery is the only justification for divorce, but as the second reference indicates, Jesus expanded the definition of adultery to include far more than just a physical act, expanding it to giving one’s heart over to another, to making one’s spouse no longer first in one’s desire and commitment. In line with this principle, one may thus commit adultery by giving one’s self over to alcohol, drugs, work, etc., which then could become valid grounds for divorce, though the Church would prefer to save the marriage if at all possible.

    That being said, the Church does not permit infinite remarriages and divorces. Since the time of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI (866 – 912 AD), only a grand total of three marriages are permitted. It should be noted that the rite for second and third marriages is distinctly penitential in tone, and are only permitted as a concession to human weakness.

  • sounds like you are orthodox. We have fundelibangelists on these very pages claiming it isn’t adultery.
    the question was intended as a little shot at Floyd, who claims otherwise. you’re not committing adultery if you marry after divorce, or are only doing it once, for which you can be forgiven. or not doing it forever. Or something.
    It sounds pretty clear to me. No divorce, except for adultery. No remarriage, because that is adultery. But you say up to three times if you are really, really sorry.

  • Yes, no divorce, except for adultery. The question then is: what constitutes adultery. Following the precedent of Jesus in Matthew 5:28 makes a somewhat broader interpretation possible.

    The limiting to three marriages is indeed an arbitrary number, only finally decided upon in the Christian East in the wake of the marriage controversy surrounding Leo VI. The primary purpose, of course, is to prevent the utter lack of seriousness about marriage engendered by endless remarriages (such as we commonly see today). Even in baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out!

  • Just gotta watch out for that Ben fellow. He’s Kirk and I’m Kang. (Or am I Kirk and Ben is Kang? Well no matter, Ben’s half Klingon anyway.)

    However, on a more serious note, Jesus got it right but Ben got it wrong. If you examine Matt. 19:9 and 5:32 (see link below), Ben’s got himself an extra requirement stuck in there, that Jesus never commanded.

    (If you’re remarried, and your 1st divorce was not biblically excused, Ben wants you to divorce again, RIGHT NOW. That’s how you will prove to Jesus that you sincerely repented of your 1st divorce…by getting into yet another divorce.)

    Obviously I disagree. So I found a gig that says what “Re-Marrieds” should and should not do, and why. https://www.gotquestions.org/remarriage-adultery.html

  • No, I don’t want you to divorce. I frankly don’t care. What I want is for you to follow your lord’s instructions on the matter.

    One would almost think you were married before your current wife.

  • I appreciate your reply, Ben. I’d love to know a lot more about YOUR immediate family too, trust me. (Including parents!)

    But maybe we should limit **this** conversation to the issue at hand, so that we’re mutually remaining in a non-invasive, respectful debate setup with each other. Even Kirk and Kang had their limits.

    So I would like to ask Father Schick to evaluate my explanation of the current issue from his perspective, if he is comfortable doing so (and it’s entirely okay if he is not okay with it, by the way.)

  • Indeed, the Bible is clear about slavery – “Slaves, obey your master” – and it was the orthodox Christian position that slavery was part of God’s ordered world. Then Christianity completely flipped on slavery, and now they ignore those verses in their Bible on it (or explain them away).

    Christianity has always picked and chosen what parts of the Bible they follow or not. Look how they’ve flipped on divorce and remarriage in recent times. Even multiple divorces and marriages are not a deal breaker. If they booted everyone that’s divorced and/or remarried, their churches would be empty.

  • It’s funny how the personal is suddenly off limits when you are at the same time always talking about the sins of other people, and not those clear biblical passages that apply or might apply to you personally. Like bring divorced and remarried. So you go and find some guy who gives you his personal opinion and tells you it’s ok.

    I personally don’t care. I don’t think it my business to mind other people’s
    Iives for them. But Jesus was quite clear: no divorce except for adultery. And remarriage is adultery. So you can convince yourself it’s a one time thing instead of a permanent state.

    I also find it interesting an orthodox priest can come to the same conclusion, even while admitting that he shouldn’t be. Y

    You will ALWAYS, ALWAYS find a way to ignore what your bible says when it comes to your own moral convenience. Thus you can support Grabby McP as an adulterous fornicator. If he were gay, but otherwise exactly the same immoral creep he is, you would be screaming about the gay menace.

  • “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott

  • “There’s an unspoken but real attitude in some conservative quarters that people should pay the consequences for their sins, and so if you have sex outside of marriage or before marriage, and you get pregnant, you have to accept that consequence. That’s part of the reasoning against birth control as well as abortion, the idea that women shouldn’t escape punishments for their sin.”

    As I have said, It’s becasue Christianity’s DNA isn’t grace, but violence.

  • To paraphrase Christpher Hitchens, I don’t care about your toys. You can play with your toys in your own house all you want. Just don’t insist I have the same toys or that I play with yours.

    After writing that, the double entrendre is glaring. But as a golfer, I live in that world anyway.

  • I think you meant Matt 19:9. But you need to keep reading because in line 11 Jesus says “not everyone can follow this”. Taking one line out of a passage gives a person a misleading understanding of what the full passage means.

  • Ben, think, too, about the attitudes of repressive governments towards sex. They, too, are afraid of sex. I have no doubt there’s a strong relationship between the views of those govts–or more specifically, their motivations, their reasons–and the positions (hmm…) that konservative Kristians take.

  • “Yes. Or else the Book of Armaments”

    So, I’m till not clear. Divorce, except for adultery, is a sin. Yes or no?

    Remarriage after divorce, possibly except for adultery, is a sin. Yes or no?

    Orthodox believe it’s a sin to divorce and remarry, but you can still do it up to three times, and you will get a stern finger wagging for it. Yes or no?

    The three times figure is totally arbitrary, and nothing jEsus or Paul said. Yes or no?

    I understand the orthodox principle called, I think, economy. Is this simply an amendment to what Jesus actually said created by man for his convenience? yes or no?

    And the big question: so, you get divorced, and remarried, are you living in a state of unrepentant adultery? Yes or no?

    And the bigger question? Does it really matter what Jesus said, since whenever the Bible says something inconvenient, it doesn’t matter?

    Yes or no?

  • Let me assure you that I come from a long line of the distinguished Priestly family.

    I’m not being paid, but various god’s, deity’s, saviors, devilish-adversaries, prophets, etc, have promised me salvation in return for my support here in the RNS comment section.

  • Why the concern about sex? One very disturbing reason:

    Putting some numbers into the discussion about those who do not practice safe sex.
    The CDC estimates there are on average 19 million cases of STDs in the USA every year. That is 190 million cases in ten years and 380 million cases in 20 years showing that either many citizens get more than one STD infection or that almost every citizen has had one STD infection in their life as the USA population is ~320 million. And in most cases such infections could have been prevented by the proper use of a 50 cent condom. And of course those same condoms could have prevented most of the unplanned pregnancies many of which resulted in abortions. (Of course, there is always masturbation or abstinence as other means to reduce the number of STD infections and abortions.)

  • So, you’re okay with dragging family members into our daily debates? I am very sorry to hear that, Ben. I really wish you weren’t.

    Again, for what it’s worth, I really prefer some boundaries, some limits here. Do we REALLY have to make family members part of these discussions?

    If so, then okay. No worries. See, MY marriage, MY wife (female wife!) is in line with Scripture, in line with Jesus, in line with God, in line with the biblical standards set by the local church leaders who keep me accountable to behave in accordance with the Bible. I can even spell it out and prove my integrity literally Bible-text by Bible-text, event-by-event, confirmation-by-independent-confirmation. There are no devils in my details.

    (In fact, it would be no different than talking to reporters or senior pastors, except the senior pastors are usually tougher.)

    But as for you? YOU? After all the personal, heartfelt information you’ve shared in THIS forum about your mother, your daddy, your siblings, your “spouse”, and the sobering effects of your stuff on your family relationships, you want to start discussing personal family business in light of Bible texts and hypocrisy?

    Please give it a little more thought, Ben.

  • No, it is not dragging ANYTHING into a debate, but a simple statement of fact, which you still continue to evade.

    You can claim “MY marriage, MY wife (female wife!) is in line with Scripture, in line with Jesus, in line with God, in line with the biblical standards set by the local church leaders who keep me accountable to behave in accordance with the Bible. I can even spell it out and prove my integrity literally Bible-text by Bible-text, event-by-event, confirmation-by-independent-confirmation.”
    but it still doesn’t answer the simple question, which is are you divorced and remarried.

  • Sure, Ben. No worries on my side o’ the fence. I am divorced and remarried, with an independent senior pastoral confirmation that the Bible’s specific conditions were indeed met.

    We’ll discuss some more family business soon, I’m sure.

  • Like they say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”
    “You’re welcome”. There, I fixed that for you.

  • Yes, thank you for correcting my typo.

    I did not quote the whole passage as I was responding to Ben concerning adultery and divorce. Please explain in what way you believe I gave a misleading understanding of the passage.

  • “Not everyone can follow this” does not refer to the teaching on divorce, but to the disciples’ immediately preceding statement that “if such be the case, it is better not to marry.” Jesus basically said, perhaps so, but not everybody can get on board with that, although there are some who DO have the capacity for celibacy and more power to them!

  • I thought so. You needed a confirmation form MEN, not the bible, which seems to be clear on the subject, that your divorce and remarriage is OK. No skin off my nose, but you are simply admitting that the word of god isn’t quite so clear as you always claim it is, especially when it applies to you. So you find another guy–your citation– that its perfectly OK to do what you want to do. your pastoral commission– same thing. I wonder how many of THEM are divorced? No, I don’t have to wonder at all.

    Same thing with Sandimonious on exactly the same subject. She also hid behind privacy, but at east she admits she is bothered by it.
    I’m not bothered by it. Anita Bryant wasn’t bothered by it either, even though she claimed it was against everything she believed. she still got a divorce, because that was what SHE needed. But gay people needing what we need– love, romance, sex, companionship with one of our own sex– is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, because it is us and not YOU.

    The catholic church is bothered by it, but allowed Newtie his third marriage in the Church. The Baptist church is bothered by it so much that they will even wink at it.

    Christian hypocrisy on full display.

  • Not about sex. It is about preserving God’s morality as standard for societies. God’s morality protects humanity.

  • Anne Lamott statement does not correctly describe the Creator and Redeemer God of the Bible. If Anne thinks she describes the God of the Bible she must have a distorted/falsified knowledge of God of Love in the Bible.

  • Hmm….Matt. 5:28 is Matthew reporting the *alleged* words of Jesus; as we know, GMatt was written long after the death of Jesus. This is a very suspicious verse, to me….if Jesus was the son of god, then surely he was smart enough to know the difference between thought and action.

    To look on a woman with lust in one’s heart is perfectly normal behavior for most men, and totally unobjectionable–indeed, totally unavoidable, for many women. This verse deliberately blurs the difference between *thought* and *action*.

    Hmm….now, why would someone want to blur the differences between thought and action? Hmm…..

  • I disagree. Real Christianity is rooted in the Creator and Redeemer God. Genuine religion of the Bible protects families, all genders, societies, and nations. See the Anti-Corruption index to see an example of the benefits of Christian religion.

  • Gay and same-sex union is a result of sin. Sin denatures genes, biology, physiology and psychology. Gay and same-sex unions are sinful lifestyles. Sin destroys humanitu. Love sinners but hate sinful lifestyles.

  • Awww. Isn’t that nice. Have you taken care of your own sins yet, or are you still complaining on ours?

  • Wrong. The Bible is about God’s love and the plan to save humanity from sin. Sin that even destroy the original marriage between male and female and glorify sinful lifestyles such as LGBGTQI, gay, and same-sex union.

    Nevertheless, God is love. God loves Sinners but God will destroy sin.

  • No. She isn’t talking about god, but about YOU.

    She has a very clear view of Christians who hide behind their faith to attack others, who are “do as I say and not as I do” believers, who conflate their own desires with the god they claim to worship.

  • If god wanted o save humanit6 from sin, he’s had plenty of opportunities. In 2000 years, he hasn’t managed to save anyone, because sin is still here.

  • Help me out here, padre…regarding Matt 5:28, aren’t there other verses in the bible in which Jesus recognizes the difference between outward behavior and inner thoughts?

  • Glad you’re not bothered by anything, Ben. Glad there’s no skin off your nose. Glad you’re standing up for Christian integrity and straight living (umm, I’ll rephrase that one later.)

    But you sound like you got stress or something. I do oppose bringing family members into RNS debates, but I’m not going to freak out about it. I’m still blessed, still okay. Aren’t you?

    You got the information you wanted, I’m sure. So why not just say “thank you” and let it go? Don’t let “Christian hypocrisy” bother your nerves so badly. Take comfort in atheism (heh!!).

  • I will always be bothered by christian hypocrisy as long as so called christians use the bible as their excuse to attack others, but refuse to apply it to themselves if it is inconvenient.

    It wasn’t i who condemned scribes Pharisees and hypocrites 2000 years ago.

  • You assume the prefix ” Father ” in caps. May I ask how and why ?
    Or do you use that prefix as an indication of rank ?
    I could be petty also – President Patrick and Director Patrick are 2 of my titles.
    Or father Patrick also. I have 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren.
    Are you further – equating marriage to baseball ?

  • Jesus didn’t mention sex in the Sermon on the Mount? That section about adultery and lust isn’t about sex?

  • I did not assume that nomenclature, it is given to me by others, and it is how I am commonly known and addressed.

    Being like yourself the father of several children, I could also be called “father”, and am by my children.

    Being an Archpriest, I am called “Father” by the spiritual children of the Church. It is conventionally capitalized in English usage, but that is not necessarily so in some other languages.

    The reference to baseball was a humorous reference in light of a similar “three strike” policy. I did not intend to equate them in any other way, although, come to think of it, I suppose I could describe my own marriage as a “home run”!

  • Yes, it looks like she went off the rails by applying Jesus’ words about celibacy to divorce instead.

  • Shakespeare was correct when he said “even the devil can cite scripture for his own purposes”. There are plenty of passages that are never read at Mass…The final verse of Psalm 137 ends with a wonderful “God is pro-life” passage: “Happy those who seize your children and dash them against a rock”!

  • If you people would attend church then you would know that Christians don’t talk about sex much at all. It’s the gays out in the marketplace who are forcing the sex discussion down everyone’s throats.

  • ..Adultery for Catholic politicians is a definitely not a problem! In defending Donald Trump and others, nationally-known politician and former New York mayor, Rudy Guiliani said the following on a national Sunday morning news program regarding Adultery, “Everybody does it. I’m Catholic. I confess my sins to my priest.” Isn’t it wonderful: Who cares what Jesus said about adultery. Do what you want because “everybody does it” and as long as I “confess” it, I’m good with God!

  • The rest of the passage says I paraphrase here “let those who can abide by this teaching.” I hope that answers your question. BECAUSE that passage is used as proof that God meant marriage to be between one man and one woman, as well as to discriminate against divorced people. The final words are vital to understanding, that all teachings, don’t apply to all people!

  • “Divorce, except for adultery, is a sin.” Yes. And remember what I said about Jesus’ concept of adultery.

    “Remarriage after divorce…except for adultery, is a sin.” Yes

    “Orthodox believe it’s a sin to divorce and remarry, but you can still do it up to three times, and you will get a stern finger wagging for it.” No. Orthodox believe it’s a sin to divorce and remarry FOR A CAUSE OTHER THAN ADULTERY. If you do that, excommunication should ensue (much more than a stern finger wagging!

    I already alluded to the historical origins of the “three times figure”. I never intimated it had anything to do with any sayings of Jesus and Paul.

    Oikonomia refers to the application of Canonical regulations, as opposed to Akriveia.
    Akriveia is the strict application of a specific Canon; Oikonomia is the mitigating of a Canon for valid pastoral reasons. For example, a Canon might prescribe excommunication for 10 years for some sin, but due to reasons of extreme repentance, bodily illness, etc., that time period might be shortened by the application of Oikonomia.

    “…so, you get divorced, and remarried, are you living in a state of unrepentant adultery?” Yes, if you divorced for a reason other than adultery. You should also not be admitted to Holy Communion.

    Yes, it matters what Jesus said. But what the Bible says is not a matter of “private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).

  • I wouldn’t know about what is read at Roman Catholic Mass.

    Psalm 137 IS used, however, in its entirety, in some Lenten services in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is understood as the poignant lament of the soul banished from paradise. It has been set to some moving musical settings. In the final verse, the “little ones” that are to be dashed against “the rock” is taken to refer to taking the little incipient beginnings of evil thoughts (anger, hatred, etc.) and routing them by dashing them against Christ, “the rock”.

  • Says the man who brings up sex every chance he gets and…teeheeheee… forces it down everyone’s throats.

    Projection, projection, projection.

    From your own comments, just the few visible from ONE article here.

    When it’s males having sex with males then they are gay as the day is long.
    Reply View in discussion
    Jeffrey Hicks
    Jeffrey Hicks Ben in Oakland 5 days ago
    On this planet, a male who engages in sex with another male is gay.
    Reply View in discussion
    Jeffrey Hicks
    Jeffrey Hicks Susan Sarapin 7 days ago
    Men who sexually molest boys are statistically 100% gay.
    1 Reply View in discussion
    Jeffrey Hicks
    Jeffrey Hicks 7 days ago
    Usually they are gays. Homosexuals have a problem keeping their hands off children.

    Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex.

    Projection projection projection.

    Gawdamighty, are you people sick. And obsessed.

  • Well, doc, now you get to read Father Schicks comments below. all about divorce and remarriage, the very word o’ god itself coming from an ordained man from a tradition far older than COGIC.

    Remarriage, following a divorce for any reason except adultery, is living in UNREPENTANT ADULTERY. That is, unrepentant sin. Just what I said, without needing a commission of (probably divorced themselves) ministers telling me that whatever I want to do is ok.

    So now you and Sandimonious can take all of your arguments about marriage after divorce being OK according to jesus or COGIC commissions and have a grand old auto da fe over who is actually speaking for god., and what’s god word on which subject and how you you and only you have to the correct interpretations.

    I’ll get popcorn, or wouldif I actually cared about the subject beyond this. You are entitled to believe whatever you like. You are not entitled to use your beliefs as a weapon against others, or claim that others need to follow your interpretation of your holy book when all your holy book is, is a matter of interpretation, convenience, and whose ox is getting gored.

  • Thanks for your input. sincerely.

    But as the comments go, it shows that It is a matter of private interpretation, as well as how many people one can convince to go along with thAt interpretation.

  • That is the thinking, isn’t it.

    Divorce is one of the few completely avoidable sins. It takes time,money, and energy, contemplation and intention, to get a divorce. You don’t just “do” it.

    So you spend months and months thinking about and enabling your divorce, and then you get divorced, and then you say I’m sorry Jesus for committing this sin. And Jesus the sock puppet will always forgive you for it.

    Being a bible believing Christian is so easy!

  • Been too busy to reply earlier.

    I dispute that the Gospel of Matthew was “written long after the death of Jesus”. Papias, the Bishop of Hieropolis ( 60 – 130 AD), was personally acquainted with John, with the daughters of Philip, and others from Apostolic times. He and they testified that Matthew, Mark, etc., were responsible for the Gospels that bear their names. Only some academics today, writing “long after the death of Jesus”, would maintain that they were written “long after the death of Jesus”. Those ancient Christians with access to first hand testimony knew otherwise.

    “To look on a woman with lust in one’s heart is perfectly normal behavior for most men, and totally unobjectionable…” It may indeed be very common, but that does not make it in any way right or normal. Lust, like all other sins, is abnormal, darkens the soul, and is totally objectionable.

    Jesus understood the relationship between thoughts and actions very clearly.

    Matthew 12:34 – “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.

    Luke 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil”.

    Jesus understood that there is an unbroken continuum between thoughts and actions. Evil thoughts defile and harm us, just as evil actions do. The spiritual Fathers typically spelled it out in this way:

    Consciousness of a thought. If not immediately rejected, this leads to:

    Conversation with that thought. If still not rejected, this leads to:

    Acceptance of the thought.

    Unless circumstances intervene, this leads to action on that thought.

  • Yes, that is a fair point. What is “private interpretation” vs. “mind of the Church”/”consensus patrum”.

  • PS I went to look for a couple of your other comments on sex sex sex sex sex– like the one you made about ejaculations on other men’s faces and in their rectums.

    Comments made apropos of absolutely nothing, but you just had to go there.

    and guess what? Those comments had been deleted. By you? By the moderators? Who knows? Who cares?

    projection projection projection projection projection projection.
    .
    As I said to you in response to one of those comments: that’s all you think about.

    you really need help dealing with what is clearly going on in your head, and the bible is not going to provide you with it.

  • Thank you for the usual religious linguistic gymnastics in explaining away the horrid passages in the bible. What you said is beyond absurd to any rational thinking person.

  • That was in response to the article about the new Alabama senator being a great Christian…yet he supports homosexuality. Those two are mutually exclusive.

  • Nope, they aren’t mutually exclusive. They just aren’t your kind of christian. But then they would say you aren’t following christ either. All of these denominations disagree with you, and are happy to marry and ordain LGBT people:

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    The Anthem Network
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    AXIOS – Eastern and Orthodox Gay and Lesbian Christians
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    Community of Christ
    Ecclesia Gnostica
    Ecumenical Catholic Church
    Ecumenical Catholic Communion
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Anglican Church In America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
    The Evangelical Network
    Friends General Conference
    Friends of Jesus Fellowship
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Inclusive Orthodox Church
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Old Catholic Church
    The Presbyterian Church
    Progressive Christian Alliance
    Reconciling Pentecostals International
    Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) — a Latter Day Saint denomination
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ
    United Church of Canada
    Unity Church

    Oh, Sweden had a state church until fairly recently. It was Lutheran, and it’s head, the Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden and Primate (prima inter pares) of the Church of Sweden, is a lesbian, Antje Jackelén. She was elected the 70th Archbishop of Uppsala and formally received through a service in Uppsala Cathedral on June 15, 2014.

  • My father was a devout Catholic and raised his six children to be so. He left the Catholic church after my mother’s death. He wanted to marry an Episcopalian who was divorced because her husband beat her, badly. The Episcopalians don’t do annulments, and his parish priest would not perform the wedding. Only adultery, he said, her getting beaten close to death, was no cause for divorce. Neither he, nor any of his 6 children are Catholic any longer. 4 aren’t even any kind of religious, christian or otherwise. But we are people who take care of the poor, the sick and the needy and do our best to leave toe world a better place than we found it.

  • Lifestyle is how you live your life. Newspapers have whole sections on it. Do you party, go on vacations, like movies, eat out, or do you like to be home, garden, hang out with friends? Those are lifestyle choices. Gay people have as many different lifestyles as any group of humans.

    While lesbian, my lifestyle is no different than any of my other 5 siblings.

    Being lesbian is part of my life, my genetics. It isn’t a lifestyle.

  • Well, padre, in saying “Only some academics today, writing ‘long after the death of Jesus’, would maintain that they were written “long after the death of Jesus'”, you’ve told us how much respect you have for scholarship, and much knowledge you have of how scholarship is done.

    Matthew does not claim to be an eyewitness, nor does he tell us how he knows the things he writes. IOW, he’s writing hearsay.

    The idea that *looking* on a woman with lust” is *the same as* acting on it reveals an enormous amount about those who believe that. The US Constitution, for example, clearly distinguishes between thought and action. Equating the two is an attempt at inducing unearned guilt in individuals, thus making it easy for some folks, e.g. clergy, to manipulate those who fall for this crap.

    Saying “…[thought] …leads to action on that thought” reveals incredible naivete about human behavior.

    Here’s a link to somev material on that well-known ultra-liberal cite, bc.edu (Boston College) that indicates the GMatt was probably written around 80–90 AD and is derivative: http://www.bc.edu/schools/stm/crossroads/resources/birthofjesus/intro/the_dating_of_thegospels.html

    I was hoping to learn something from you, but clearly that will not happen–for one thing, your words suggest disrespect for scholarship.

  • What I told you was how we have understood the passage since ancient times. It is how the ancient patristic writers understood the passage; it is how we understand it today. If we all tried to eradicate sins like hatred, greed, and the like, the world would be a much better place! But you would prefer that we interpreted and followed it in a carnal literal sense? Now THAT would be “absurd to any rational thinking person”!

  • Reread my comments regarding Jesus’ widening and deepening of the concept of adultery. I do not not the full circumstances of the very sad situation that you described, but had he been Orthodox and gone to an Orthodox priest, I believe he may well have married them.

  • It is because I HAVE studied modern Biblical scholarship, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Hebrew and Koine Greek, that I have so little regard for it. I read some of the pages on the bc site you provided and found there nothing that I have not heard before. Like much modern scholarship, it builds up a vast edifice on shaky presuppositions, becoming less and less probable the further it is developed. All in all, the early testimony of Papias seems more probable. You are, of course, free to disagree, but that is how it seems to me (and not from lack of knowledge of modern scholarship).

    If would, however, prefer you not to twist my words. NOWHERE did I say that looking on a woman with lust is the same as acting on it. Although they are easy to knock down, please resist the temptation of setting up a straw man. Reread what I wrote. It is undeniable that there is progression from the appearance of a thought in the mind, to a consideration of that thought, to the acceptance of that thought, until it finally issues in action. Or do you believe that people act completely randomly, without any conscious thought? In no way is the appearance or acceptance of a thought the same as an action. The action is the final outcome of the acceptance of a thought, and hence different than the thought itself. Sin/guilt only enters when one consciously accepts a sinful thought, not when the thought is first presented to the consciousness. Hence, the idea of “unearned guilt” is inappropriate here. You are only guilty for what you have done, in this case assented to a sinful thought.

    I do not believe the US Constitution is especially relevant, except as an instrument of governance.

  • …Since we are not to interpret this particular passage in a “carnal literal sense”, do you seriously believe in the doctrine of the “virgin birth”??…What is the “understanding” of the “patristic writers” on “virgin birth”?

  • I did not, and would never, assume the title of Archpriest on my own. It was bestowed on me by the Bishop; take it up with him. And I will not lie about my rank simply because you have a problem with it.

    May God grant you a blessed Christmas this year, Suzy!

  • The Fathers taught that the Word was born from all eternity of a Father without a mother, and was born in time of a mother without a father. We celebrate and proclaim this on Christmas. May you have a merry one!

  • AXIOS is not a denomination. It does not, to my knowledge, marry or ordain anyone.

    The Inclusive Orthodox Church is not a canonical Orthodox Church.

  • As strange as it may seem, most Christians aren’t all that concerned with what the Bible says. At best, they pore through it looking for bits and pieces that rationalize whatever it is they want to think, say, or do — whatever they find convenient, profitable, or empowering. But they don’t actually read it and then do what it tells them to do. 

  • Dont ‘care about canonical, I already know how every one picks and chooses who is christian and who isn’t. Said I knew you wouldn’t agree in my post.

  • The readership here should at least be properly informed, lest they think that the “Inclusive Orthodox Church” is an actual Orthodox Church. They are yet another Protestant denomination.

    The appearance of AXIOS on your list of “denominations” that “marry and ordain LGBT people” is simply false, as they are not a denomination/church, nor do they marry and ordain anybody. Including them in your list is like including GLAAD and claiming that they are a denomination that marries and ordains people.

    You claim you knew I wouldn’t agree with your post. How? I don’t agree with your post because it is factually inaccurate. So you knew you were posting inaccurate information and that I would therefore be bound to disagree with it? Because that is the sole reason I disagree with it.

  • 1. The relevance of the US Constitution is that it is about human behavior. It is a statement of belief by the Founding Dads about everyday human behavior.

    2. I agree that –**in general**–there is OFTEN–not always, not even >50%–a “progression” from thought to action. Except that regarding certain behaviors, such as murder, physical aggression, and especially SEX, that progression happens very infrequently. If it happened frequently, there would be much more of those behaviors–and in particular, by “ordinary” people, and not folks we label “criminals” and “cheaters”.

    3. If you want to talk about “shaky suppositions”, how about we start with ideas like god, god loves people, the soul exists, there is an afterlife, and so on.

    It is no accident that not a single one of .the major beliefs of Christianity is testable.

    4. It will not take you more than 2 sentences to address my statement that GMatt is not Matthew’s first-hand report, but is, rather, hearsay.

    My suspicion at this moment, pending further research, is that the notion of when GMatt was written, depends on which sect you ask–Lutheran, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and so on. Does that sound plausible to you?

    More later. Have a pleasant day.

  • You haven’t even attempted to address the specific points and nuances Fr. Schick has put in front of you after all your dog-yapping. I noticed this 3 days ago when he gave an expanded definition of adultery.

    People try to take you seriously & answer your questions, but you ain’t looking for any. You trapped hard.

  • Regarding the date of Matthew:

    Below is a link to an article about GMatt in Wiki. Wiki is certainly not a scholarly source, but to its credit this article is heavily footnoted and the tone appears to be at least near-scholarly.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

    Note this sentence from this article:

    Most scholars believe [GMatt] was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110 (a pre-70 date remains a minority view).[2][3]

  • So now you’re qualified to tell us humans what God Himself has FAILED at doing in 2000 yrs, despite having “plenty of opportunities”?

    You must be a very heavy (or a very deluded) dude!!

  • Dog yapping? I guess you’re not so certain about your lack of sinfullness as you would make out. And “expanded definition” of adultery is yet another consensus item. I’m not the one insisting the Bible says exactly what it says and nothing else, except when it does or when I need it to.

    Did you divorce for a reason aside from adultery. Is that the reason you needed a commission to tell you it was all A-OK?

  • Yes Ben, Dog-Yapping. Not a junkyard dog, but still it’s yapping. Fr. Schick put out 4 you, you gotta act like he did.

  • Of course he did. so tell me, are you divorced for any reason except adultery– from your first wife, of course.

  • Denominations aren’t the Word of God. God’s Word condemns sexual immorality which includes homosexuality. See, this is why we talk about it because you gay sex people keep shoving down our throats that it’s a virtue instead of a vice that God detests.

  • Yes, I find the arguments advanced by R. T. France in footnote 3 for an early date compelling.

  • I see. So although Duling and France appear to be in the minority of scholars who believe in an early date, you accept their claims nevertheless.

    What is it about the work of France and Duling that you find more credible than (according to the text) “the majority of scholars”?

    And will you address my statement about GMatt not being a first-hand account, or will you continue to ignore that?

    And what about my statement that different sects within Xianity believe in different dates?

  • You gay sex people you keep shoving down our throats…

    Says the man who keeps bringing up gay sex, over and over and over again, and then refers to shoving gay sex down people’s throats, over and over and over. Teeheehee.

    Freudian slippage much?

    God also hates sexual immorality, which includes divorce for any reason accept sexual immorality. But funny how that is a subject you don’t go on and on and on and on about.

  • Am I correct in assuming that you condemn adultery, and regard it as a serious sin?

    And am I also correct in assuming that you agree with the punishment for adultery prescribed in the Old Testament?

    If my second assumption is incorrect, perhaps you could take a few moments to explain why it is incorrect.

  • Gee whiz!

    Another pronouncement ex Cathedra from the belly button of the pope of wherever it is that hicks come from!

    And about who, in his expert religious opinion, is a true Christian or not!

    Quelle surprise!

    On to the graphic descriptions of gay sex so that we can really know what this is about!

  • Yes, I consider adultery a sin.

    No, I would not want to impose the punishment for adultery prescribed in the Old Testament. Neither did Jesus (John 8:1-11). Like Him, I would tell the adulterer to “Go, and sin no more”. (Come to think of it, I actually have done that.) Bringing a sinner to repentance and spiritual health would be my goal, as it was His.

  • So you still want more fishing expeditions with my family, Ben? Seriously? You didn’t even say “thank you” the first time around.

    (And your question still displays raw ignorance of Fr. Schick’s expanded definition of adultery, and likewise of the Scriptural info I provided that shows the NT has more than one exemption.)

    So let me make this easy for you, Ben. I genuinely oppose dragging family members into RNS debates. You’re the only poster that I’ve made even a small exception for, and I see NO evidence that my decision was respected by you.

    Nor has the info changed your position or even your tone. Nor does the senior clergy affirmation — leaders I respect — make any difference to you.

    Yes, I could easily explain all the exact details to you, for me and the missus have nothing to hide and am not embarrassed. The details could be openly given to a reporter, even. Unlike you and that other guy, WE are in line with the Bible and with God on this thing. We didn’t sow relational confusions and wreckages into our family like you did. But you’ve convinced me that there’s no reason to give out more family details.

  • OK, thank you for that info. But what about the test for adultery prescribed for women in the OT?

    And come to think of it, is there any test prescribed for men suspected of adultery?

    Oh, and I hope you won’t forget about my question about whether Matthew was a first-person witness to the material he writes about.

    It’s a simple question, don’t you think? Either Matthew is writing about things he heard and saw first-hand, or he’s rehashing what someone else wrote.

    You *do* know what people think when a person will not answer a simple question addressed to him or her, don’t you?

  • No reason to tell me at all. I agree with you.

    But you’re missing the point spectacularly. But you knew that. But just In case…

    The issue is, once again…

    the use of the Bible by people who claim to be bible believing Christians, and who also prefer to apply what they believe to other people, and not to themselves.

    THE PEOPLE WHO USE THE BIBLE AS A WEAPON.

    I don’t really care about your divorce, or the reasons for it, or whether Jesus would approve, did approve, or is even weighing in on the subject. I’m sure if you got divorced, it was a for a reason that hopefully made your life better, and the life of your ex-wife better.

    I don’t really care about Anita Bryant’s divorce 36 years ago, either, except for her relentless, vicious, and lying attacks on gay people because of her Bible, and her getting a divorce DESPITE her Bible.

    Hypocrisy is the issue. Bigotry is the issue. Your divorce is most assuredly NOT the issue. not for me, but it appears to be for YOU.

  • And again, many many other christians disagree with you as to what god thinks, as these denominations you are trying to minimize, do. You are the one writing laws to hurt us, we aren’t hurting you in any way. Except perhaps you don’t get to call us nasty things in public without getting called on it as much any more. Have to keep to your own special one true church for that.

    Many gay people have great relationships with god. 7 billion people on the planet, god finds a way into everyone’s heart that is open.

  • Nobody’s gonna re-write the Bible to bless yo’ mess, Ben. The Bible’s clear words on homosexual behavior, is what you’re stressed out about on nearly every thread. You know what God says. You know what the Bible says. You ask Fr. Schick about divorce but NEVER ask about your gay marriage. Which you know you were spitting in God’s face, and messing up your own mother and siblings.

    That’s all on you, and I’m officially lifting my respectful and empathetic silence about YOUR family situation until you change your tactics.

    If every Christian in America, myself included, suddenly all announced “Hey Ben, we all agree coast-to-coast that God makes people gay and your homosexual marriage is A-Okay”, that wouldn’t change the words of the Bible. God offers you great and gracious promises, new life new peace even now, but all you can do is keep pampering and preaching your personal devils. You gotta change course, Ben.

  • http://www.eskimo.com/~nickz/axios.html

    You are correct that Axios is not a denomination, is an organization for Orthodox people and yes, they will find someone to marry you and some groups do ordination.

    I knew you would disagree with me because that is the standard answer every time I post anything like this, see Mr. Jeffery Hicks above. No one who is REALLY christian will marry or ordain us, according to him and most others on this board. I apologize if I misread you.

  • What about you, Dauphin? You got a great relationship with God too? Got a great relationship with God’s Word? God’s Son?

  • Have a wonderful relationship with god, as does my wife. That our spiritual paths are the primary motivating factor in our lives was what brought us together 25 years ago.

  • No. I’m not stressed about it. First projection.

    I don’t care what you think your god or your bible says about what might possibly be homosexuality. I care about what religious bigots do with it. Second lie.

    YOU care about it, though. so much so that you had to go to a commission of (probably divorced themselves for less than sterling reasons) pastors to get their permission, as well as that citation you keep bringing up…

    even though, as father Schlick observes, divorce for any reason except for adultery, is a sin, and remarriage after divorce for any reason except for adultery is UNREPENTANT ADULTERY. That much is really clear on what both Jesus and Paul had to say about marriage, divorce, and remarriage,

    So, you really don’t care what the Bible says about it, because that would be a severe inconvenience to you, as well as a spectacularly unrepentant sin. Any more than Anita Bryant cared about it. While she was busy getting her divorce, she should have changed her name to Anita Martini— or five.

    As for your last point a lot of Christians, Jews, and everyone else coast to coast simply don’t share your fixation and obsession about all things gay, don’t share your bigotry, don’t share your willing ness to lie, distort, and demonize.

  • Hey Ben, you are free to believe and preach whatever you preach and believe, and you do that nearly every day. I’m just here to provide another perspective.

    YOU are the guy who is trapped, YOUR surviving family members are the ones who have had to deal with this thing. Your life is almost over and decades — and vital relationships — have been lost in a long gay tailspin which you nurtured and pampered. (Try asking Fr. Schick about whether your choices may have violated the Fifth Commandment regarding one or both parents.)

    Don’t worry, I’m going to go back to “grace” mode soon. But right now I’m doing “truth mode” with you. You are trapped hard and only God can pull you out.

  • There are 7 billion people on this planet, you don’t think god can find a way into each of our hearts, if open? I do.

    I don’t find anyone’s holy books particularly wholesome or illuminating. Kill your son to prove your love of god? Not on my watch. Demand a human sacrifice to forgive the humanity he supposedly created, from behaviors that, being omnipotent, “he” should have known they would do? God is on our side in this war? Kill everyone on earth for one groups sins? Sorry, it’s non sensical. Not even we humans reach to those lows very often.

    Your willingness to believe it is fine with me, my non belief in it has nothing to do with a relationship with god. No one needs a book to find god. One needs to stop, look, and listen to the world around you and the people in it. Empathy and compassion are all you need. Nothing is more important than loving kindness to others, Floydlee.

    No one’s interpretation of a book they have read has anything to do with experiencing the divine. It becomes a thought, and idea, a part of an identity to defend. No longer connected to the experience of being one with god. Something which is indescribable, and can only be suggested with words and ideas, never actually represented. And that experience is intensely personal, and can be quite awful, in the sense of inspiring such awe there are no words for it.

    And everyone interprets everything they read differently than other people do, or there would be no such thing as book groups or other bible studies, or the many many denominations of Christianity, sects of Hinduism and Islam, Zen and Shinto.

  • Absolute effing nonsense, beginning to end. Especially about grace mode.

    But nicely desperate to change the subject about what Jesus said about divorce. Keep trying.

  • “Loving-kindness” is real, Dauphin. We both agree on that. Seen it, received it, done it.

    But you already know which Book calls top-level attention to that compelling phrase, and you know where — or more accurately, from Who — that Book says “Loving-kindness” actually originated.

    And you know what else that Book says. You reject what it says, I do get that, but you’ve never forgotten what it says. Nor is it likely that you ever will.

  • Millions of books are written on that premise, novels, non fiction, self help, in every language you can think of. The golden rule was around long before Christianity was.

    Nice try at the guilt, and stating I learned that from your book, which I did not. I learned it from my atheist great aunt, before I was 5. There are three versions of the Bible on one of my bookshelves, along with several each of the Tao de Ching, Bhagavad-Gita, the Vedas and many others. It holds no more or less reality/truth than any of the others, all of which I remember as much of as I do the Bible. Which isn’t much any more, as I don’t place any particular importance on any of them.

  • As a lesbian, I have never shoved anything down anyone’s throat, nor is it an expression I use. You seem enthralled with the idea, however. At least you repeat it often.

    You don’t seem to realize that we have as much or as little sex as all couples do. Nothing different about our lives or marriages in any significant way, we just aren’t born the way you were.

  • Some do, some don’t. Plenty of examples of both.

    But that’s the kicker. You CAN locate plenty of examples of both, either at local churches, or schools/colleges/workplaces, or online/radio-TV/print media.

    Which leads to the question, (whether a person is Christian or Non-Christian), which example will a person choose to emulate?

  • Re: “You CAN locate plenty of examples of both, either at local churches, or schools/colleges/workplaces, or online/radio-TV/print media.” 

    I can safely say, the number of Christians in history who’ve actually lived out Jesus’ admonition to “turn the other cheek” — i.e. to never defend oneself, and not even defend oneself in court — is infinitesimal. Christians quite simply will never obey Jesus to that extent. 

    Now, one can say this instruction is absurd, unreasonable, and impossible to live out. One can further say it’s the product of an apocalyptic mindset, i.e. the End of the World was coming in a matter of weeks, hence, it was pointless to “resist an evil person” since whatever that person did would be avenged by the Almighty in short order. One can say all of that. Nevertheless, that instruction IS included within Christians’ holy texts, and Christians themselves report the founder of their religion DID say it. So it’s not unreasonable to conclude they should obey it, no matter how ridiculous or impractical it might be. 

  • For me, the one that picks kindness, compassion, understanding, intelligence, logic, facts and experience, of course.

  • Francis Collins, super duper scientist and super duper Christian,
    Abeles the gospels as “near eye-withness” accounts.

    Rather a large loophole.

  • “Abeles”? ?= labels?

    As you say, he is a distinguished scientist, but also an evangelical, I believe, thus his views on religious matters are necessarily warped–as illustrated by his belief (assuming you’re quoting accurately) that they are “near-eye-witness”. I suppose that’s like being a little pregnant…..

    Distinguished scholars believe the gospels were written long after the death of Jesus. In any case, there is no doubt that (1) they are hearsay, (2) they all originate with the gospel called “Q”, (3) numerous copyists over the years thought they could improve on the gospels and were not averse to inserting their own ideas, (4) even though they all originate with “Q”, they differ significantly, e.g. the details of Jesus’ genealogy, and perhaps most importantly, (5) we know now that eyewitless testimony is notoriously unreliable.

  • Labels indeed. My iPad does strange things as soon as I hit post.

    That was indeed his term. I think it was in Religulous, the movie by Bill Maher.

  • Umm, I haven’t commented about “morality” per se, (we were talking specifically about “loving-kindness.”) But if you do want to talk morality, then know that it, too, is the “sole creation” of God.

    “He hath shown thee, O mortal, what is good,” (Micah 6:8a).

    So, are you inclined to do kind, good things for others? That’s a gift on you, a blessing. There’s intelligent, tech-savvy people out there who would just as soon show you their new computerized Power-Drill in an online Red Room, but you ain’t one of them.

    Therefore consider the ultimate Source of your good and empathetic people-skills. (Maybe even tell Him “thanks”?)

  • Sorry, but it’s VERY okay with Jesus in some cases, to defend yourself. You were NOT created to be some devil thug’s or bully’s *****. You will need to “Resist the devil…” (James 4:7), no matter what that resistance might entail. Don’t just stand there and let the devil do you up like a scrawny road-kill dog.

    I know a Christian woman, she was heavy-set and NOT an athlete, who was jumped by two guys at a remote railroad area she was walking. You know how the cops found out who did it? Because she didn’t just lay there and give it up to those demon-pooped worms. She fought ’em back with everything she had. She got punched hard and then they tried to take out her eyes. She did get injured and traumatized.

    BUT… in her desperation, she forcefully grabbed the leader’s knife right out of his hand, and put a second exit hole in his hot dog. The hole was not permanent, no amputations, but it absolutely hurt and bled like Hell, so both clowns decided they needed to rape an easy woman who didn’t slice up dirty wienies when she’s provoked. They ran away, but that “new extra orifice” wouldn’t stop bleeding, so the leader HAD to go see the local emergency room, and that meant police walking in and nailing both clowns while the doctor practiced his sewing skills.
    Got caught. Reap what’cha sow, worms.

    The Christian lady kept her eyes from getting blinded, and she saved her lower body from rape or stabbing or both. Did Jesus approve? You betcha, baby!!!!!!!

  • Re: “Sorry, but it’s VERY okay with Jesus in some cases, to defend yourself.” 

    Nope. Not so. At all. Jesus was very clear about this. Here are his reported words:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Mt 5:38-41)

    There are no caveats of the sort you claim exists. None. They are not there. Period.

    Re: “The Christian lady kept her eyes from getting blinded, and she saved her lower body from rape or stabbing or both.” 

    I’m sure she did. I also never said Jesus’ instruction was a good idea. In fact, I admitted it’s impractical. Nevertheless, it IS what he supposedly taught, and it IS found in Christians’ revered, sacred texts. I get that teachings like this — which are absurd, and insane, if followed to the letter — are problematic. But, they remain part of Christianity, a religion Christians have chosen to follow. If they don’t wish to follow the teachings of Christ, they ought to have chosen another, different religion. 

    Re: “Did Jesus approve? You betcha, baby!!!!!!!” 

    No, he didn’t. Those actions contradict his clear, unambiguous order to “not resist an evil person.” 

  • I guess there are different ways of looking at the source of morality. Perhaps it is an evolutionary trait which favors people who are civil and cooperative. If the source is a god the question becomes which god.

  • Religion is fiction. Your god is not real. The bible is fictional. Religious prudes like you are trying to tell people they are wrong for having sex. Religious morons are also trying to hijack sex ed and spread lies and use fear tactics. People need to get with reality and abolish religion.

  • Women control men. In America at least. Female privilege to abuse, rape and beat boyfriends and get away with it by saying HE beat HER.

  • false .God is hate. God has always been hate. Anyone who doesn’t know that has not read their old testament bible.

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