They’re still here: The curious evolution of Westboro Baptist Church

Westboro Baptist Church members demonstrate outside of Olathe North High School on May 20, 2018, near Kansas City. Nearly all WBC signs now contain biblical references. Photo courtesy of WBC

(RNS) — No single congregation in America has had the kind of recognition, or notoriety, that the Westboro Baptist Church achieved in the 1990s under its controversial founder, Fred Phelps Sr. Protesting chiefly what they perceived as America’s acceptance of homosexuality, the members of the small Topeka, Kan., church haunted gay pride parades, federal courthouses, even military funerals, wielding picket signs blazoned with slogans such as “Thank God for 9/11” and, most famously, “God hates fags.”

I first met the Westboro Baptists in 2010, visiting Topeka and interviewing dozens of church members. As a professor of comparative religion, I wanted to understand the ethics in this community so dedicated to a cause that offended so many. Personally, I wanted to know whether I could connect with them. Since so many outsiders hate, mock or ostracize the church, I committed to suspend my moral judgment and approach them as a scholar, with respect and curiosity. In a world so polarized and divisive, I found it meaningful, and still do, to reach out empathetically to even the most intense and oppositional of religious groups.

Since Phelps’ death in March 2014, some speculated that the church would dissolve. Nearly all of the congregants at the time belonged to the extended Phelps family, including nine of his 13 children, their spouses and their children. Ostracized by other Christians, they rarely dated or married outsiders; young adults were more likely to leave than find spouses and settle down in the church.

Pastor Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., looks to the sky as he wields placards protesting homosexuality outside the Albany County Courthouse in Laramie, Wyo., on April 5, 1999, where one of the defendants in the beating death of a gay University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, will stand trial. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

But the Westboro Baptists are an incredibly tightknit community that has bounced back more than once from adversity, like the $10 million judgment against them for defamation that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. They’ve weathered the departure of numerous members, including many who grew up in the church, and the death of their founder.

Meanwhile, the church’s visibility in the public eye has declined sharply of late. News coverage of the church in 2018 has been just one-fourth what it was during the same period in 2015.

But the Westboro Baptists have not gone away. Their daily picketing campaign continues, in Kansas and across the country. Westboro Baptists remain active on social media, with dozens of accounts on Twitter and Instagram taking note of trending phenomena like National Ice Cream Day, only to denounce sinful behavior in their accustomed terms.

In the last few years, membership has even broadened beyond the Phelps clan. The newcomers include a family from the Southwestern United States, a man from England who married a Phelps granddaughter, and a college student from Ohio, who was later followed by his mother. Perhaps the most unexpected “new” member is Katherine Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps Sr. who had been estranged for decades.

The face of the church has changed as well. For the past four years Westboro has been led by a council of elders, a handful of married men who preach in rotation, and media relations have shifted to Steve Drain, who joined the church in 2001.

This new blood has had an impact. There is a gentler tone, at least internally, members say. The church has even started proselytizing, producing a video titled “The Gentile Church Age Is Coming to an End: Get to the Church!”

There has also been a subtle shift in Westboro Baptist’s messaging. Many new signs inject ideas about Jesus and love, clarify doctrine, diversify the sins to be protested and invoke more positive language. Likely in response to past criticism that their protests were not biblical, the new signs always include a biblical citation. Church members have also reduced the visibility of their famously succinct insults.

Make no mistake, Westboro Baptists’ anti-gay message is as blunt and offensive as ever, and the new signs seem designed not to move toward the mainstream, but to more fully reflect the church’s Calvinist theology, which appears unchanged.

Asked if the WBC has intentionally changed its signs, Drain said, “The overall number of messages has probably widened over the years, but some have been retired, either because we were responding to some phenomenon that was temporally limited, or because we became aware of some better, more clear way to express a Bible concept.”

Given the pithily outrageous slogans of the past (“God hates you”), the new posters are almost ironically detailed. Many counteract Arminianism — the suggestion that everyone, not only an elect, can be saved and that all of us have some responsibility for our salvation. “Christ died for some sinners saved by grace, Tim 1:14,15,” reads one. “Most people go to hell, Mt. 7:13,” and “Few people go to heaven, Mt. 7:14.”

Others look strangely like self-help: “Thanksgiving should be a continual frame of mind, friends!” On examination, however, the gratitude message comes from the Westboro Baptists’ increased attention to different facets of God: “Thank God for everything, Col. 3:15, 1 Thes. 5:18” and “God’s word endureth forever, Ps. 119:160 1 Pe. 1:25” are not uncommon sentiments. Jesus is recognized in their pickets now — “Christ our salvation,” “Christ our righteousness,” they read — where only a punitive God used to reign. A recent social media montage, titled “How firm a foundation,” showcases a series of Christ-oriented posters.

With Christ has come “love,” a word virtually absent from signs in Pastor Phelps’ day. The word appears on roughly 5 percent of all recent posters.

Westboro Baptists have always understood their anti-gay exhortations as a kind of “tough love.” In a 2017 interview, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of the deceased pastor, said of the protest campaigns, “Hon, it is only a great kindness.”

Scripture, she said, “says get in their face and show them.”

In the past, “showing them” came in the form of abrupt rebuke. But signs such as “Gospel preaching is love” and “Truth = Love, Gal. 4:16, Eph. 4:15” repackage the rebuke as love, often in juxtaposition with harsher signs in a way that may be designed to prod the reader to curiosity.

Nor is homosexuality the sole obsession it once was. Divorce, remarriage and same-sex marriage are all branded as sins, as is adultery: “Adulterer in chief, Mt. 19:19 Mk. 6:18,” reads one pasted with an image of President Trump. “Racism is a sin, Ac. 17:26 Jas. 2:9,” preaches another.

A major factor in these changes is Phelps’ death, of course, though some came earlier, after his granddaughter Megan Phelps-Roper challenged a sign indicating that gays could not repent or be saved. Megan was seen as rebellious and subsequently left the church, but it was agreed that the sign did not adequately reflect church doctrines. These discussions have seemingly snowballed into a re-evaluation of the church’s outreach.

Drain said nothing had changed in the approach to what Westboro Baptists call their “publishing ministry” — except in what has come from above.

“To the extent that we are given, from time to time and by the grace of God, better light on any piece of Scripture and how it speaks to the situations we see on the ground in the world, we are always only interested in preaching the truth of the Scripture,” he said.

Whatever the cause, the evolution of Westboro Baptist’s signs suggests the group has become responsive to outside reactions: if not to lessen public condemnation, then at least to address misconceptions about the church. We can only wonder if the gradual reworking of the messaging might point to a day when outsiders think of the church’s members not as irredeemable sociopaths, but as sectarian Christians already in conversation with the broader society.

(Hillel Gray is a lecturer in comparative religion and coordinator of Jewish studies at Miami University of Ohio. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

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  • It’s ironic that outliers and nut cases often enjoy more “freedom of speech” than people who actually have consideration for other people or people in such positions of responsibility that they are obligated to behave themselves.

  • Jesus told us that the poor we would always have with us. He never said anything about crazed loons who create a business hating on people while calling it Christianity. I’m just glad he had this to say:

    Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:12

  • Irony of it all is that as climate change wipes us all out, these folks will be accused of upsetting GOD. Perhaps they were just a little ahead of the times.

  • They’re doing a fine job of discrediting Christianity and demonstrating that religious fanaticism = insanity and hate. So I’m happy to support their right to keep right on doing that.

  • What a shame that Steve Drain has become so prominent within the WBC. He is unintelligent, inarticulate and charmless. Shirley is intelligent, charismatic and interesting – it’s WBC’s loss that she’s been pushed to the side in favour of that bore of a man.

  • You know that Goering fellow is awfully pushy and not really a good representative of our views. Now that Himmler guy, really knows how to make our views known. (upvoting yourself is tasteless)

  • All of them are unintelligent, inarticulate, and charmless, not to mention vile, disgusting, and repugnant. If you find a member of the WBC charming and interesting, then you’re a terrible human being.

  • WBC just provides other “mainstream” Christians with an excuse to not examine their own prejudice. There are a few dozen congregations that are 100%, no questions asked, accepting of gays. All the rest are exactly like the WBC except they are not as obnoxious and “in-your-face”.

  • ” There are a few dozen congregations that are 100%, no questions asked, accepting of gays.” All churches should allow homosexuals to attend. How else are they going to understand how badly they sin against the One who loves them?

  • I actually feel sorry for the second and third generations of the Phelps family. It’s hard not to be screwed up when you’re raised in a compound as a member of a cult, especially when the leader is the family patriarch. Look up two members of the family who broke away, Nathan Phelps and Megan Phelps-Roper. The stories they tell are chilling.

    Of course, none of this excuses the hateful behavior of those who stay. But, in my mind, it does mitigate their culpability somewhat.

  • The curious evolution of the Westborough Baptist Church? I’m pretty sure they don’t believe in evolution.

  • Why even give these creatures publicity. They are something like .00000001 of the world’s population. Who cares. Should ignore them unless you want to paint “Christians” and “Whites” with the same brush.
    Looneys everywhere. Just ignore them.

  • I find their so-called Calvinism interesting. My guess is that for them the “elect” are limited to those who are part of their “congregation.” Westboro Baptist is not a church in the New Testament sense of that word, given that it is dominated by one extended family who still make up most of their membership. (Hence, I never use the word “church” when referencing them.) Obviously, because this is the United States, they have the right to organize and do whatever they wish to do, but simply dumping Bible verses out of context on picket signs does not indicate that they take the Bible seriously.

  • At this point, WBC is way-past-their-prime. (I’m not insulting them, even the RNS article proves it). In their prime, however, they were media geniuses. The neon Day-Glo signs and soundbites were a novelty, and they indeed attracted some national attention. Unfortunately, a clever media mode was wedded to an evil media message.

    A strange theology of hatred, in which God hates you so much that you can’t even choose plain old repentance, salvation, and healing in Jesus Christ even if you WANT to choose it — such a theology can never help anybody, gay or straight. It can only pour salt in wounds, and there’s a lotta wounded people in the house.

    So anybody who believed in John 3:16, of any flavor, HAD to repudiate the WBC message. The very few good things WBC did — (the WBC helped persuade authorities to restore order to one city’s local park that had been so wildly overrun by illicit gay “solicitation” that it was actually listed in Damron’s Address Book!) — were quickly forgotten or ignored. The “God Hates” message was just wrong.
    So it’s good that the colorful signs have changed a little. That IS helpful, for real.

  • “I’m standing behind Christ.”

    No, you’re not.

    Jesus is running away from you as fast as he can, and he’s not looking back.

  • You should realize that the word church has no special meaning in Greek, it just means an assembly, a meeting.

  • That is your personal view of their religious beliefs, but not an assessment of the individuals themselves. Shirley Phelps-Roper and Margie Phelps certainly are intelligent and articulate, and can be very interesting to listen to. Megan Phelps-Roper is also the same, although she left the church.

  • Megan Phelps-Roper has not reported any ‘chilling’ stories. She said she enjoyed her time there, if you care to listen. I don’t think you’ve listened to any of her interviews. Furthermore, it’s not really a ‘cult’ – if this is a cult then so are the Amish, Mennonites, Unitarians or Orthodox Jews.

  • They adhere to Calvinist theology, so their interpretation of John 3:16 takes into account everything else in the Book of John where Jesus says he only came to save those God chose, and the rest will be burned in hell. Reprobation and election are written about in the Bible at length – and most would characterise rebrobation as a form of hatred, so the ‘God hates ***’ is not necessarily wrong.

  • I’ve noticed that you’re quite an apologist for the Phelps family. Are you a family member?

  • This verse is also the kind used by Westboro Baptists to give meaning to how WBC is despised and ostracized.

    So there’s a sense of two opposing sides, both feel persecuted.

    Hillel Gray

  • They don’t take contributions. There have been LGBT advocates who did seriously argue that WBC aided their cause and talked about contributing.

    Hillel Gray

  • Yes, important point you’ve made, key to understanding Westboro (and other such Calvinists)

  • Yes, they have a creationist theology.
    The headline wording wasn’t my first choice but it should work for general audiences.
    HIllel Gray

  • Hi. Why do you think the term “church” wouldn’t rightly apply?

    They are open to the idea that there are others from the elect outside their group, but they wonder where they could be and why they aren’t doing the right thing, ie, picketing etc.

  • I think it’s useful to understand even small subcultures. In this case, given our polarized society, I’d like to know why people (including you?) readily write them off as mentally imbalanced or evil, etc.

  • Don’t you think that, by making Christian homophobia look extreme, they forced many Christians to actually examine their prejudices and *differentiate* themselves from WBC?


  • Have you had conversations with Steve Drain? He strikes me as quite intelligent.

    I do agree that SPR is very effective w media. What’s helped you assess her intelligence?


  • Agreed. The stories by the older ex-members (Nate, Mark) are much worse. Yet one of them has returned.


  • This is inaccurate. Women can’t preach in church, but they have other teaching opportunities. Margie also spoke for the church before the highest (temporal 🙂 court.
    Hillel Gray

  • Oh, yes, but in doing so the christians are able to maintain biblical standards of sexual morality but say – look, we are not as disgusting as WBC. But in reality they still base their sexual morality on the same book (bible), just a different interpretation. Hard to say actually whose interpretation is correct! But even most progressive Christians only really accept and love the gays who want monogamous, heterosexual-like relationships.

  • Many denominations and churches seem to bring in factors besides scripture, such as (arguably) a bourgeois sense of respectability, equality of civil and political rights, and broad discretion for consented behavior.

  • Honey, they hurt themselves far worse than I could ever hurt them. I want them to belong to Christ and that doesn’t hurt.

  • Because there is like 15 of them. Why ‘wouldn’t’ you just simply ignore them. Do you remember this phrase — “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

  • As a scholar, I’m happy to study small groups, especially those with disproportionate impact. WBC has been probably the most well-known single church in the U.S., targeted by many legal efforts to restrict it, and winner of a Supreme Court case.

    It is true that many people react to the WBC because they feel hurt by WBC’s words. The ADL does recommend, as you say, to ignore them. But many Americans seem to lack that kind of impulse control and WBC has been good at pushing their buttons.

  • I’ve never personally spoken to any of them, but have just listened to interviews. Perhaps it’s unfair to say Steve Drain is unintelligent, but I don’t think he’s as effective at articulating their views, and I found he often said things to deliberately shock people. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he didn’t believe in WBC’s theology when he first joined, because he strikes me as someone that just thrives off conflict and being contrarian, and he thought WBC was the best place to be to nurture that part of his personality.

    I watched several interviews of Shirley, which is why I think she’s smart, charismatic and well-spoken. I was also impressed that she works as a lawyer while raising 11 children and managing the church and all its media relations – I think only a very competent person can do so many demanding jobs at once. Margie Phelps also seems highly intelligent. Those two seem like the smartest of Fred Phelps’ children, but I think they’ve been pushed to the side for being women?

    Also I wasn’t impressed by the performance of Steve Drain and Tim Phelps when they appeared on the Russell Brand show. They just lack the charisma, wit and Bible knowledge that Shirley and Margie have, and it’s a shame they were chosen to do that appearance with Russell Brand. At least with a Shirley-Margie duo people would have come away not thinking the WBC was made up of idiots. I think Steve and Tim made an embarrassment of the WBC when they went on the Russell Brand show.

    Have you interviewed Tim Phelps? I am curious, what is he like? Is he an intelligent person from your experience?

  • You want everyone to follow your specific religion. The 1st Amendment doesn’t work that way, FYI.

  • You do know that the founders of this country specifically forbade the government from favoring any one religion over another, right?

  • I’ve interviewed Tim at least 4 different times. He seems like a regular guy, down to earth, comfortable w himself. He teases me a bit. He cares about his family and felt hurt by some departing, though he’s also committed to the program.

  • Gender comes into play in many social groups. Still, there were apparently substantive concerns w Shirley’s efforts. The departures of Megan and Grace might also have been relevant. I’m not sure other women faced thevsame concerns

  • Sorry to interrupt, but while working on Saturday laundry, it occurs to me that the 1st Amendment can’t stop individual citizens from doing evangelism. Government doesn’t get to silence religion, no matter what the Democratic National Committee thinks.

  • I would not say Calvinist theology — certainly the Calvinists are not responsible for the “God Hates Gays” campaign — , but much more like Hyper-Calvinist. (But some say, don’t put all this on the Hyper-Calvinist folks either.) RationalWiki says,

    “The Westboro Baptist Church is said by some to be Hyper-Calvinist (certainly they endorse all the beliefs of Hyper-Calvinism). Others object that this as unfair to Hyper-Calvinists; Westboro Baptist Church’s beliefs are far more extreme than that of historic Hyper-Calvinism.”

  • I just read an article about a fire in Westboro but unfortunately it was not this church. I had hoped it was this church with everyone in it burned to the ground. Won’t it be a shock for these idiots to arrive at the Pearly Gates and find out that they are sent to Hell!

  • The Founding Fathers also did not want the government to attack religion and to favor only those with no religion. Now let me enlighten you, most immigrants of Muslim faith should never be granted citizenship. The oath to become a US citizen requires the oath taker to swear to uphold the US Constitution. So anyone that does not uphold the Constitution but swears allegiance to Sharia Law is automatically found falsely swearing to uphold the Constitution. So in fact in this narrow regard there is in fact a religious test for US Citizenship and it should be strictly enforced unless you are in favor of honor killings and support of Islamic terrorists.

  • Surely you do not think that most Christians are anti LGBTXYRZ or whatever letters you put there. But here is where they lose my support, when the LGBTxxx decide to force their beliefs on to everyone else with an in your face lawsuit heavy approach. I have been a supporter of LGBT rights for a long time but my support begins to wane when I see a gay couple try and destroy a small cake baker business because they refused them as a customer when there is another cake shop down the street which would happily accept their business. All of a sudden I see bullies where I use to see gay couples willing to get along. This kind of crap seldom happens outside the US, I have and do live outside the US often and that is not what I see in typically more liberal communities, there the gay couple would simple take their business elsewhere and tell all their friend to do the same thing. I guess my message comes down to don’t be an ass and don’t tarnish the gay community with your behavior. Sometimes winning the battle means losing the war!

  • Stop playing the victim for attention. Christians don’t get bullied to death by gay people in schools. Go ask Jamel Myles.

  • You are in favor of honor killings of LGBTQ+ people, like Giovanni Melton, and you support Christian terrorists, like Liberty Counsel.

  • Yes, because it’s so horrible for a legally engaged couple to want a wedding cake. Don’t put this on honest law abiding people of faith here, this has nothing to do with some random cake baker’s right to religious freedom. It’s about one ignorant bigot attempting to use religion as a shield for his antiquated homophobic so called “ideals”. If this had been an interracial couple being refused service because someone “morally did not agree with it”, yeah it wasn’t all that long ago where so called Christians tried to stop blacks and whites from finding love, then that baker would have been burned at the stake.

  • My point is totally lost on the win or nothing else mentality. I think this couple would have made a much stronger statement by going somewhere else for a cake and then writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or somewhere else that would publish the story.

    This is one aspect of the United States that I really do not like. Far too often members of our society prefer our solutions coming from the court system rather than seeking other less confrontational solutions.

    Now I wonder how this couple and their wedding will proceed? They have sacrificed their wedding plans on this fight against a small bakery. Will they also mount fights against a limo rental agency, or maybe a florist, and the list goes on. Is this a sign of what this couple is all about, they have chosen to use their wedding as a tool to hammer away at someone else narrow mindedness. I have to question their commitment to each other given their response to a fairly insignificant issue. This couple needs to focus on the event and what it means to each other.

  • They were forced to procure a new cake at the last minute, because their baker chose to use his public-serving business as a platform to promote homophobia and humiliate this gay couple. Litigation is the only language you people understand: you can’t treat people this way.

  • Oh give me a break. No one is going to leave stuff like the cake to the last minute of wedding planning. If they were leaving the cake to the last minute then I am sure virtually all wedding couples will have very little sympathy for them.

  • Jesus Christ came to save the World… ALL of the people of the world, not just an “elect few”… He taught us to love each other as we love ourselves… By contrast, Satan loves to twist scripture to lead people astray – the people of this church should re-examine their doctrine as I believe parts of it no-longer reflect the truths of the Bible…

  • Is it only for the “prideful” notoriety that these odd Christians “protest” at locations of innocent people who do not care what these overly “faithful servants of God” are saying? Is it just that they are cowards, wrapping themselves in pious fake religion, and trying to bully people back into the closet to make themselves feel better? Control freaks all, these weak people are in crisis that their world is not forced upon everyone else. This prideful show is only to satisfy their shallow fears. They long for certainty and obviously will do anything to “shame” others in a vain effort to try to control their tiny world order. “MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS” is what I ask them and work on your own salvation. You are straying far from the God you claim to serve. I will end my sermon with a quote from Max Born, German physicist: “The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.”

  • Not a sin bitch but since you follow and believe in your fairy tale book so much that means your ok with daughters raping their father, or with murdering women and babies and raping women from other cultures and making them slaves because all of that in your book.

  • As a Christian I know that the most important thing to do is to show love to others. I may believe homosexuality itself is a sin, but dude, I love gays. I treat them no differently than anyone else, because homosexuality is no more a sin than anything else. And we all have that.

  • But see homosexuality is not a sin. You may have sins but please don’t put my homosexuality on par with your lying habit or stealing tendencies. Therein lies the christian’s problem. They don’t understand gay people and what is or isn’t sin. Bunch of judgmental asses.

  • If Christians are being judgmental, then they’re doing it wrong. Whether homosexuality is a sin or not ISN’T the issue. So what if it’s on par with lying or stealing? Even homosexuality aside, we all make mistakes and are imperfect. What I am saying is whether it is or isn’t, it shouldn’t affect how we treat you. Can we agree on that much?

  • Totally agree that we should all treat each other nicely. Only ethical humanism really gets that right. It is wrong to put something like homosexuality on par with a “sin” though. It is not a “mistake.” Therein lies the problem with Christian (and other religious) thinking. But yes, we agree that we should treat each other well. It would be even better if we talked about others well too (that actually matters believe it or not).

  • Sure. I will talk well about anyone, even if they do something against my beliefs. I take it you are an atheist?

  • I have no religion. Very much a humanist. So I definitely speak well about people and do not judge them for simply existing.

  • Nor do i judge “people”. Tell me, if a sin is an act of rebellion against God, then who are you to judge what is and isn’t a sin if you don’t believe in God? What authority do you have?

  • Nor do I judge “people.” Tell me, if sin is an act of rebellion against God, who are you to judge what is or isn’t sin if you don’t believe in God? What authority do you have?

  • I don’t use the word sin. Things are objectively right and wrong. To think an imaginary being cared about whether you have sexual alone or with someone of same sex or unmarried shows a paucity of understanding what is important to human existence. Do you eat pork?

  • You can’t be an atheist yet believe in an objective standard. It’s an intellectually dishonest position to take. If you don’t call it sin, then you acknowledge that it is a sin, but doesn’t align with your sense of morality. I believe in a God that gives me rules and guidelines for the best way to live. And it doesn’t show a paucity of understanding, it just means my beliefs aren’t the same as yours.

    Yes, I do eat pork.

  • Your god at one pint told humans they can’t eat pork! Funny. You don’t need a god for morality. A majority of atheists demonstrate that! Most of us act far better towards our fellow humans than any Christian, well at least the evangelicals

  • You need an objective reason to be moral, or else it isn’t morality. Atheists may act very civil, and I think it’s cool that they’re good people, but it isn’t really objective. You’re still presenting a weak argument here.
    Also, you know that last sentence is false. Seriously. An ad hominen attack doesn’t help your case at all, especially a blatantly false one. I can see that you have no evidence for your case, so as far as I’m concerned you just lost all credibility.

  • The main difference is an atheist humanist thinks through morality. A Christian just accepts what their preacher tells them ‘god said’. It is appealing, I get it, but I would rather think.

  • My last sentence is demonstrably true! Take a look at them. They say and do some of the most atrocious things in our society under banner of religion.
    My morality is must more objective than yours. I know it makes no sense to say it is wrong to eat pork or be gay. You were only told it was now ok to eat pork but still need to think being gay is wrong. Because your god said. That is not an objective base for morality

  • How objective can your morality be when you have so many religions and sects within those religions? All preaching different morality. You need to rethink your starting point there lol

  • Talk about ad hominem! You are saying to me: you are an atheist therefore we cannot listen to anything you say on morality. Textbook definition of ad hominem.

  • Etranger… what even. People do bad stuff under religion sometimes, yeah, but even billions have been killed under the banner of atheism! What’s your point?
    Your morality isn’t more objective if you don’t have a God or eternal standard of some sort. This is basic philosophy and you’re just blowing it off. And actually, having a God tell you what is right and wrong is actually as objective you can get… are you ok? Maybe you need to rethink you’re position, because I can literally hear your brain cells rapidly combusting. Also, just because there are multiple religions and sects doesn’t mean that there isn’t one objective standard, or that they preach different morality.

    We’re done here. I’d like to debate someone who is actually intelligent.

  • Sure right you were an lgbt supporter. Right up until they wanted the same rights. And you wonder why people believe Christians are anti lgbt. Of course most are!gay folks know that truth

  • Oh the falsehood about atheism killing millions! Love it. Was only matter of time. Any more right wing Hannity talking points?

  • Basic philosophy does not require belief in god at all. I agree we are done I like to talk to people who can hold a station so conversation and not get childish like you did.

  • I didn’t say anything about philosophy per se. I was talking about morals.
    Secondly, I will only get childish when I am speaking to a child, so you decide about what that means, that is if you have enough neural pathways in your brain to comprehend it 🙂

  • Falsehoods? Is that what they’re calling the truth these days?

    Etranger, this is historical fact. The Soviet Union of the 1940s had several specific, tangible goals.

    1. Abolish the church
    2. Abolish religion
    3. Spread atheism

    These are distinct, specific examples of what motivated billions of killings. You can chose to accept the facts or not.

  • Typical “good Christian” behavior. And you wanted me to honestly believe that you would be nice to gay people? Seriously? Also, I thought we were done? Can’t keep your fingers off the keyboard can ya? Typical lying Christian.

  • What’s funny is those who think they think actually aren’t thinking. It’s philosophically feasible that morality comes from God. So… nice try but no cigar,,

  • I’m not mean to gay people because they’re gay. Secondly, it’s pretty ironic that you’d accuse me for lying, considering you just dismissed all the logic I threw at you.

    Don’t you have a Star Trek facebook group to go to? 🙂

  • Oh really! What is the “big difference”? Atheism clearly was the influence of this crime! They didn’t want everyone to believe in a God. Sorry you can’t accept defeat.

  • Sure it is philosophically feasible. Many religious people get a morality that is very much similar to humanist ethics. But often they get caught up in thinking things are immoral that clearly are not, and vice versa, because they don’t think. Keep going, if you took a moment to think about some things without the lens of God you might see more clearly. it is hard to shake the decades of brainwashing, I know that! (seriously, I completely understand and am empathetic to that).

  • People were killed for not adhering to the communist/statist agenda which included atheism, yes, but atheism was not the overarching rational for anyone being killed (except, I will admit in the nascent USSR 1917-1922 or 1923)

  • Not sure who would have brainwashed me. I don’t attend a church and accept everything the preacher says. On my own here thanks 🙂

    Try and exercise – try (it will be hard) to think through what makes homosexuality “wrong” and why homosexuals should be discriminated against and condemned. Try to do that without bringing the Bible and God into it. It will be pretty hard to conclude they should.

  • I can say the same for religion! Even then you are conceding that irreligion and atheism was used to kill billions, even if it isn’t the main reason.

  • Some people are attracted to people of their own sex. It does no harm to anyone. It does no harm to society as a whole. Therefore it is not wrong.

    I knew you couldn’t do the exercise!!! You have to have your preacher tell you what to think!

  • You have only engaged in nasty name calling and petty childish comments. No points were made on your end yet.

  • it is funny – at the beginning you made a good comment about how you treat others nice. We agreed that this was an important thing that we all should share. Then you devolved into an illustration that you were incapable of treating people nice at least online. Kind of funny and sad how quick you negated your own belief!

  • My preacher doesn’t tell me how to think. The Bible does. My preacher delivers the message of the Bible.

    Sorry, but you still haven’t proven how it is objectively correct. You’ve simply come up with some reason as to why it “doesn’t hurt anyone”

  • If it causes no harm to anyone and it is how someone expresses their sexuality, there is no objective reason to be against it. My ethics is not a collection of random petty things that I call infractions and persecute people for. How did you decide eating pork was okay even though it is forbidden explicitly by the Bible (which you claim is where you get the basis of your morality – which in and of itself is scary as sh*t considering what is in there!).

  • Refresher – I know you have a ton of sh*tty comments since then so you may have forgotten that you started out as a semi-decent sounding person.

    “As a Christian I know that the most important thing to do is to show love to others. I may believe homosexuality itself is a sin, but dude, I love gays. I treat them no differently than anyone else, because homosexuality is no more a sin than anything else. And we all have that.”

  • The Bible claims itself to be an objective set of truths, so, in a way, it is.
    I din’t decide the rules, nor did any man decide them.
    Also, Jesus declared all foods clean in the New testament. Only Jews still believe in not eating pork.
    Yeah, the Bible can be pretty scary when you live an unrestricted life with no objective reason to live.

  • Okay, since you can’t try to think objectively about homosexuality, tell me why you consider homosexuality morally wrong? Just because of Leviticus?

  • Jehovah’s witnesses don’t eat pork either because of the Bible. Maybe their interpretation is more correct than yours? Jesus really said all foods were clean? I have studied the bible a lot, and admittedly probably focused on other things, but where did he say that? I missed it, unfortunately.

  • Yep, and I’m not treating you any differently than anyone else who gives unsubstantiated claims.

  • No – once you thought I was atheist your decency filter went out the window. If that is Christianity, then I definitely made a good choice to leave it. Very difficult to be a decent moral person if one follow that way of thinking.

  • Thank you for your honesty. That is all I need to know. Impossible to have a discussion with someone about morality if they are unable to think rationally and logically about it but simply parrot what they are taught by their preacher.

  • My decency filter went out of the window once you started denouncing my statements without giving specific examples. I know, it’s much easier to be a “moral” person when you don’t have an objective standard.

  • I assume you never look at a woman lustfully? (Unless you are using voice activated computer to help with your blindness from having poked out your eyes)

  • I denounced your statements with reasonable comments. We were not discussing anything with specific examples…you are all over the place now.

  • Thankfully though, that does not apply to this discussion. The truth is, whether you are a theist or atheist, morals are a tough subject. It’s not something you can think “logically’ about.

  • No… you didn’t. I gave a specific example of the Soviet regime, but you just shot back with “It isn’t the main reason.”

  • So is the word “context” meaningless to you? Because if you read on, you’ll find the actual meaning of that verse.

  • Ahhhh, okay. Thank you yes! Similarly, context is extremely important for understanding the Bible’s prohibition against homosexuality. Many a scholar has written on how context is very important there! In fact, many Christians now realize the context in which “homosexuality” (a misnomer really in the Biblical context) is mentioned in the Bible reveals that there is no prohibition against homosexuality as we see it today.

  • Thank you for this comment though – confirms what I see with most Christians – most are nice for an hour on Sunday but despicable low lifes the rest of the week. Nasty SOBs for the most part. Very excellent illustration of that in Nathan Jessen!

  • Care to provide a specific example of that? Because homosexuality was condemned alongside lying, stealing, and other common sins today.

  • Glad you got a laugh. Meanwhile you will still continue to be childish and infantile and rude (and think that is fine). Nice (well not really) chatting. I have better things to do with my day.

  • Of course. I want you to know that I don’t take any of this personally and I will always be sure to talk in the exact same way I am being talked to.

  • I have. I also know the context of the times when they happened. We can both agree that, in the times, the renaissance humanism was one of the best things that could happen to the culture because individualism wasn’t recognized very much.

  • Well maybe don’t stop proselytizing, but don’t be idiots about it and don’t condemn people, because that never made anyone a Christian.

  • You have no proof of that and you never will. This is definitely an issue of religious freedom, and homophobia has nothing to do with it.

  • Me? Arguing in bad faith? And this is coming from the atheist that thinks that there can be an objective standard without God? You’re hilarious.

  • They already have the same rights. It maybe accurate to say that Christians are anti-LGBT, but not against the people who represent those kinds of organizations.

  • They have most of the same rights. But clearly if we still have businesses/organizations firing people because they are gay, refusing service because they are gay, then they do not enjoy the same rights that straight people have 🙂 I have no idea what the second part of your second sentence is referring to… (“but not against the people who represent those kinds of organizations.”)

  • Everything you’ve stated is the exception but not the rule. In western society, we all share the same rights. I could mention Affirmative Action (an appalling, disgusting system) that could refuse to hire straight, white men because “there’s not enough diversity”. That doesn’t mean that straight white men are losing their rights.

    Also, by my last statement, what I meant to say is that just because you are anti-LGBT, doesn’t mean you hate the people per se that are part of it.

  • Wrong. The rule was that it was always acceptable to deny LGBT the rights I mentioned (and more – I didn’t bring up housing discrimination, etc.). Through legal battles and social movements LGBT have gained more rights. They did not have the same civil rights as heterosexuals until recently. That is why I was able to call out the Will Smith character in my original comment. He was fine with gay people existing but did not like them asserting any rights. Much like a Billy Graham – Blacks were fine but he didn’t like them marching for rights.

    Being anti-anyone inherently means you hate them. Sorry, pretty difficult to prove others.

    Affirmative action really doesn’t operate as you describe. That is a discussion for another time when the article is about that.

  • Being anti-LGBT doesn’t mean you hate the people; you just hate the organization.

    Also, please give me a good list of rights (with citations) that only heterosexuals had in recent years that LGBT have been able to “fight back.”

  • There is no “organization” to hate….LOL

    Have to catch the train right now – so will give you some facts later. To start with though – it is still legal in 28 states to fire someone because they are gay. Straight people do not get fired for mentioning their spouse.

  • I know what you’re getting at, but if it’s still legal to fire people in 28 states for any reason the employer wants, then that issue is irrelevant. However, if the legal issue is targeted directly at gay people, and specifically says that they can be fired if they are gay, then I stand with you in saying that it is a problem. Employers should be allowed to fire people for whatever reason, but a law that targets certain people should NOT be in action.

  • Good we agree on the job discrimination problem then. Will get back to you on the other areas where gays do not have the same rights.

  • I’ll look thoroughly into it. If people are discriminating when nondiscrimination laws are in place, then I might agree with you.

  • Please do. It’s important to note that there is a huge difference between “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” and “We reserve the right to refuse service to gays.” The latter is what I am against.

  • That would definitely be a problem. The other issue is when people are discriminating because there is no protection for gay people. When gay people fight for the right to not be subject to discrimination, the “anti-lgbt but not lgbt hating people” get up in arms LOL.

  • Well it’s true. You CAN be anti LGBT but not anti LGBT people. I dislike Antifa but don’t personally hate the people who are in it.

  • Better example would be you can be anti gay pride parades (depending on your reasons…) and not be anti lgbt people.

  • What do you mean “Try again”? My point still stands. Antifa is a political movement, LGBT is a community. Not that much difference, since they can both present themselves to the public eye in the same way.

  • Big difference. Antifa is defined by specific political ideology and violent tactics. Lgbt is not. Lgbt simply means one has a different sexuality. Can you be anti-black and not hate black oeople? Anti-French and not hate French people? It would be absurd to think you could.

  • You’re using LGBT as an adjective to describe how someone isn’t straight or asexual, but I’m using the definition that applies to the community, which often presents itself as an organization, since it is sometimes used to spout left-wing political ideologies. Not all gays are part of LGBT.

  • Well your use is incorrect. You could say lgbt organizations such as HRC or something. Like I would say AFA not Christians to describe an organization. Sorry there is no such thing as LGBT as a group or organization that spouts left wing politics. Most gay people are usually for their own rights but isn’t it sad that is actually considered political!

  • LGBT has become more than a community, Etranger, even if you don’t want to believe it. As a college student, I see proof of this all the time. And it isn’t the outliers’ fault that it has become more of a political movement than a simple adjective.

  • Yes lgbt community is often political (have to fight for their rights). But if one says they are anti lgbt that means one is against the people. There is no two ways around that from a basic language perspective. One has to be specific about what organizations one is ‘anti’. As an aside it always amazes me how religious people seem to have the most ‘anti’ sentiments in their heart….kind of have to wonder how effective that Sunday service is lol

  • Etranger, since we both have agreements on what shouldn’t be happening in regards to discrimination, i can tell you with full confidence that it isn’t just about “fighting for their rights.”

    I try not to be anti- about very many things, but the truth is, you can still be against a community/organization without hating the people. Think it isn’t possible? Boom. I’m proof that it is. This is an obvious fact. An organization has people in it, and a community has people in it. If you can hate an organization without hating the people, then the same applies to a community. You can even hate a country without hating the people in it.

    Also, please cut the sweeping generalizations. It’s not logical and it certainly doesn’t apply to “religious people” as you say.

  • Thank you for understanding my point. You cannot make sweeping generalizations. I should only be able to say conservative Christians. Progressive Christians preach love. You now know the problem with your premise with lgbt! You can be against an organization. You cannot be against a group of people and claim to like them. I think you are anti certain lgbt groups. That is different from saying anti lgbt. Like I am anti evangelical Christian. But I still love them. Just disagree with their political activism against lgbt people and others. But I am not against them as people just because they are Christian.

  • Ok first of all, both conservative and progressive Christians preach love. Progressives just preach the version you want to hear.

    Secondly, I have no problem with my premise. You’re skewing the definition I gave here. Conservative Christians are people. LGBT (proven by the very fact that they had to make an acronym for it, and why isn’t it just gays? Why are they adding transgender people to the name? Because it’s an organization, more than a community) is not just a demographic. Like I said earlier, some people who are gay or bisexual do not associate themselves with LGBT. Why? Because they know that LGBT has a political agenda. Some gay people aren’t liberals.

    And as I reiterated, you can even hate a country but not the people because the country as a UNIT does not directly refer to its citizens.

  • LGBT is vocal about things that are even outside rights for gays. Some use it as leverage to press their political beliefs.

  • All gay people are lgbt. Ugh it is NOT a freaking organization. Seriously it is grammatically, logically, demonstrably impossible. You are correct about the country, etc. yes not all gays are liberal. Which proves my point that lgbt is not an organization lol.

    I have read a lot of evangelicals writings and I assure you they preach a lot of ‘anti’ Messages. They tend to worry a lot about things and people that have nothing to do with themselves. But point taken I shouldn’t bring up conservative versus progressive Christians.

  • I think you actually don’t know what you mean when you say lgbt. It is an adjective. You need a noun after it…

  • Some push for extreme political correctness, some like to take the climate change stage. Just take any ideology that doesn’t resonate with everyone.

  • So gay people are allowed to be involved in political issues that affect everyone?

    But again, certain groups are for those things. Not all lgbt individuals.

  • “We live in the US.” “They saw US troops.”
    Yeah, it definitely is. I even hear LGBT people use it as a noun, no kidding.

  • I don’t know who grammarly is. But no…I assure you it is an adjective only. That is why one cannot say ‘the lgbt’ but has to say ‘lgbt community’ for instance.

  • Grammarly is a highly advanced spell checker that I use for all my typing. You can even say, “The LGBT.”

  • Right. Irrelevant to anything. There is no unified LGBT group or organization. Therefore if you choose to say ‘I am anti lgbt’ you are referring to the people not a group. The only time I have ever heard lgbt as a noun might be…’there are a lot of lgbt in this part of town.’ Although most gay people would say there are a lot of gays and lesbians or lgbt people.’

  • Ok, so I think we’re devolving into a very insignificant issue. Just my gut feeling. My point is, I can dislike the LGBT community without disliking the people in it, just as you can dislike the church without disliking the Christians in it.

  • Nope. Still different. I can dislike a church but like the Christians. I cannot say I dislike Christians and then turn around and say I don’t dislike Christians. But that is exactly what you are saying about gays.

  • The lgbt community is another way if saying gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender. So it just refers to people. It is not a political or social group. Just an identity.

  • Ok, so if it isn’t unified, then there is no community in the first place, so that’s kind of ridiculous to say. However, since you insist on being right, I’ll just fess up to what you want me to say: I hate LGBT. Which means I personally hate you and everything you represent. Nothing personal kid 😀

  • I think you are unclear what you hate. There is no unified Christian Church, black community, college men, etc. but we refer to them that way and it makes no sense to say you hate them if one does not hate all the members of the group. Basic logic.

  • Actually, there kind of is a unified Christian church. As Christians it is part of our beliefs that we are all of one body, so when you hear one of us say “the church,” we are using a SINGULAR unit to refer to all Christians. Here’s basic logic: You can say you hate the church because you’re an antitheist, you don’t like what they believe, what they represent, etc. but it doesn’t necessarily mean you hate every individual Christian. That’s basic logic.

    However, I can see that you aren’t interested in that, so I’ll just play along with your narrative that I hate you just because you’re gay 😀

  • Perfect. I will say you started off this conversation better than the last but then showed your true colors and lack of good faith again.

  • I have said I hate the church before. Of course I meant the Catholic Church though since I was raised in that tradition. By saying it I meant I hate what the church does and how it harms people. Has nothing to do with hating individuals. The equivalent for gays would be to say I hate the gay club down the street. Doesn’t mean you have gay people.

  • I’ll have to disagree with what you’re saying about evangelicals. Having been to numerous evangelical churches across the country, I can confidently say that they have a common theme about reading through the word topically and spreading the love of God. They don’t mess around with things like politics or inconsequential things. Perhaps you’re getting them confused with another kind of denomination.

  • And I will say that your arguments still totally suck like they did in the previous argument! No improvement and no good faith at all! XD

  • So that means, by YOUR logic, that I can hate the LGBT COMMUNITY as a whole because of what they stand for and not hate the individuals in it. Ok.

  • No. Lgbt community is not an organization. The only thing they ‘stand for’ is that gay people exist.

  • Yeah we have to stop. If you haven’t heard of evangelicals being political…Franklin graham? Falwell? The ADF? Focus on the family? Seriously?

  • Even if it isn’t an organization, the logic still applies as a community is a singular term. No, it’s not the only thing people stand for. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have gays disassociating themselves with that community.

  • There’s nothing wrong with evangelicals being political. Everyone can be political, and that’s ok.

  • If one is against a community one is against its members. There is no logically way out of that. I do not know of many gays, if any, who deny being LGBT/gay.

  • I didn’t say that there are people who are gay and deny it, I am saying that there are people who are gay yet disassociate themselves from the LGBT COMMUNITY. Which by the way, you can hate without hating its members. If what you’re saying is true, then the same thing applies to an organization.

  • Yes, it applies to an organization. So for instance, there are many gays who distance themselves from the Human Rights Campaign or some other political LGBT group. You can be against the HRC and not be against gay people. Just like in my previous example, I can be against the Catholic Church and not be against individual Catholics. I cannot be against “the Catholics” and turn around and say “but I love Catholics”.

  • Likewise, I can be against the LGBT community and not hate the people. Saying “the Catholics” is a plural phrase. “LGBT community” is not. It is a singular, GROUP term. There is a difference between “I hate gays” and “I hate the LGBT community.”

  • Tell me about the time you were forced to marry a man because gay people were trying to establish the right to exist freely.

  • Marriage. I assume you’re old enough to remember that very recently, lgbt folks didn’t have the right to marriage on a national scale.

  • Really? So, Trump didn’t just try to issue a ban on trans soldiers? Mike Pence and his ilk aren’t trying to roll back legislation to protect lgbt rights?

  • Right!!! And many rights we didn’t have (able to file wrongful death suits, plan medical decisions and funeral benefits, etc.) finally were available with that decision. But there are folks like Kim Davis and pedophile Roy Moore who wont even follow the law and marry GLBT couples!!

  • Even though I have already told you that gay people (even if they are now married) can still face job and housing discrimination just because they are gay?

    Discrimination in healthcare is also something LGBT face (and many women too!): https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/07/23/you-dont-want-second-best/anti-lgbt-discrimination-us-health-care

    And of course just ordering a cake and flowers for weddings can prove to be difficult in this great nation of ours…

  • Even though:

    The attorneys said the military’s decisions on transgender service “were based on bias, not military judgment,” and were driven directly by the president’s tweets. Since the ban was first announced, every service chief has stated publicly that having transgender personnel in the ranks does not negatively affect military readiness. (source: military times)

    Makes you wonder. Come, do you honestly believe Trump thinks before he tweets? Seriously? (if he does then that probably is even a worse indication of what poor leadership he is providing the country!)

  • Ok first of all, thanks for the comment. I know that, despite our differences, we can both agree that even if Trump is wrong, the logic behind the decision presented in this article is enough to prove that he isn’t driven by transphobia. People are divided by this issue (I’m kind of a bystander so I’d appreciate any info you could give me). I just think it’s quite a stretch to suggest transphobia is the cause for this, since many people like to play the victim game. Perhaps, to an extent, Democrats may be right about awareness being the key to making a well-informed decision.

  • Just thinking through it logically though…. we lifted the ban on transgender serving in the military in 2016. 15,000 transgender serving in the military currently. No issues since 2016 with openly transgender serving individuals. Just like there is no reason to ban gays from military anymore. Trump might try though. He is just trying to get his right-wing religious folks to come back 100% behind him! So, since military leaders saw no reason for the ban, what else could it be?

  • Etranger, I have read the article you presented, with an open mind, and even dug into the 2017 Research Experiment referenced towards the end, but it provided absolutely no concise examples of what kind of “discrimination” that the experimenters experienced.

    There also isn’t any kind of context given in the second article. It mentioned a report, but there are no statistics whatsoever on the difference it makes when an LGBT has to settle for another doctor because the other one refuses for religious reasons. It seems to me, that there are enough people in the medical field where these decisions will hardly have any effect.

  • Sorry, you really don’t have me convinced yet. Check out this article:
    So Donald Trump has no objections to people who may openly identify as transgender, but not people who have undergone physical transformations. Why? Certainly not homophobia.

    The military isn’t a social experiment. It’s for people who not only are physically capable to fight, but are in peak mental health and can stay 110% dedicated to the mission. Honestly, if you’re feeling so displaced by your current gender that you decide to go through transgender surgery, then you’d be better off spending time in therapy than the military. They aren’t concerned about whether you aren’t “feeling your gender”, so they don’t need to put up with people who are. And adding up the anxiety, depression, heart disease, inconvenience to get silicone/testosterone shots, disproportionate costs and suicide stats for transgender people, you have a pretty logical, scientific case for Trump’s ban that doesn’t involve homophobia of any kind. People who are confused about their gender have no place in the military. It’s common sense.

  • Sure, because openly stamping down the rights of a segment of the population is the right thing to do. Everybody knows that spreading pointless bigotry and oppression is the noble path. Also, Pence is his VP. Of course he hates trans people.

  • Ok then, you obviously want to blame the world for your problems and never take responsibility. Keep playing the victim card. Your hatred is clouding your sense of logic and rational thought.

    First of all, joining the military is A PRIVILEGE AND AN HONOR. NOT A RIGHT. I quote a journalist on thenewsrep.com:

    “There are many, many Americans who were unable to be admitted to the military for all variety of physical or mental ailments well beyond their control. Color-blindness? You can’t get in. Asthma history? Nope. Got an ulcer? Sorry. The list goes on. Bad hearing, hernia, even poor dental work is all cause for rejection. Indeed, this author, after undergoing one of the most grueling military training pipelines in the world, had his own medical problems and was forced to leave the service early. This happens daily, to many other service members. It is a harsh truth, but an understandable one: The U.S. military is not in the business of keeping people on active duty who require medical care. ”

    Read both of these articles below, then think before blaming the President or VP of “pointless bigotry and oppresssion.”
    Finally, please read my response to Egranger pertaining to transgenders in the military.

  • Seemed like all the recently passed laws gave quite a bit of latitude for people to discriminate against gays, especially in health care, which makes absolutely no moral sense. I am fortunate to live in a metropolitan area but no all LGBT people do. Imagine having a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription because they feel the gay person deserves the disease or ailment they have.

  • Nah, son. I’m a straight, white guy. I don’t have anybody diametrically trying to take my rights on the basic of race, gender, or sexuality. I’m not oppressed on any of those levels. That being said, I’ll be damned if I support the violation of others’ rights. You’re supporting government sanctioned discrimination. Period. You’re the bad guy here.

  • Empathy for others is very difficult for right wing Christians. If you speak for gay rights you MUST be gay!!! Lol

  • Then job hirings are discrimination. Qualifications on resumes, by your logic, should be abolished because they are forms of discrimination.

    Also, you keep referring to joining the military as a right, even though I just proved to you that it’s a privilege and a right.

    I’m the bad guy? What? Who said anything about that? Sorry, but you have absolutely no proof that I’m the bad guy. If you want to stick to that narrative, then I just proved that you’re the bad guy. And as I’ll say one more time, it isn’t on the basis of race or anything inconsequential like that. It’s only as discriminatory as the health requirements they have. Don’t agree? I’m just the messenger. You’re the one challenging the science, not me. Somehow i feel like you’re not going to win against the entire institution of science.

    Also, noting Etranger’s reply to your comment, I do have empathy, but I don’t let it have the upper hand over logic and reason, as I show in my comments.

  • Oh yeah, I can imagine that! I’d be totally hopeless and dying, because literally NO other doctor in the world could possibly solve my problem!

  • Job qualifications are not discrimination as is being discussed here. The transgender individuals in the military have met all the job qualifications. The only thing the government is doing now is saying, even though you are completely qualified for the job and have caused no reason for concern, we are going to say that you identifying as transgender is a problem and we are going to discriminate against you. On the basis of something that has NOTHING to with the job. That makes it discriminatory.

  • Oh, you’re right! Now that I’ve considered your viewpoint, it’s become apparently clear to me that once one doctor says no, you have NO OTHER DOCTOR in the world to turn to, and you get closer to death for every heart beat you take without a doctor that doesn’t have religious obligations!

  • That’s a shame, because your logic and reason are flawed. Thinking like yours is one of the many reasons why I abandoned Christianity. Disregard for the rights and dignity of others is an egregious flaw, man. By logic and reason I know that most of Christianity is a cancer on society, but by empathy, I can respect your right to faith, right up until it calls for the violation of non-adherents.

  • And thinking like yours is definitely why I abandoned atheism. You have no logic and reason.

    The fact alone that you keep referring to joining the military as a “right” instead of a privilege as it really is is enough for me to decide that I’m blocking you. I’m only responding to productive content. Bye bye!

  • Ah never mind…there’s that right wing empathy I was referring to. So if a pharmacist refuses to fill my prescription because he claims his god says no , I have to drive 60 miles to find a guy who will? See you can’t imagine that is a problem because you will never ever face such a dilemma. Imagine an emergency situation. Yes it could actually mean death because doctor A says Jesus tells him to hate me for being gay.
    I truly appreciate your last comment; it completely validated my claim and makes the case that lgbt people need to continue to fight for protections against discrimination.

  • Here’s the thing though. Transgender people in general do not meet all the job qualifications. Having gender dysphoria- being confused about your GENDER- is definitely enough to disqualify someone from service. It is certainly a cause for concern.

    Also, this has everything to do with the job. Do you know what it’s like to be in battle? It’s something that effects every part of you- your body, your mind, soul, and well-being. This is indeed a job for only the physically and mentally capable ones.

    If you were right about it making no difference, then I’d be in full support of transgender people being in the military, even as soldiers.

  • Funny military commanders didn’t seem to think there was a problem with the transgender soldiers. Being transgender doesn’t make one mentally and physically incapable of service. Probably would be a good idea to find out about those who serve. I know two transgender military servicemen who would definitely kick ass in battle! They didnt invent ailments to avoid service like their commander in chief lol

  • I doubt you’d have to do anything like drive 60 miles…. you could just get another doctor that works at the place.

    Sorry, but life and death hasn’t been shown by statistics. Even in that HRW link you gave, there are no specific examples of life-or-death scenarios. Just… saying it happens. However, I think I could be easily convinced if you could get me a good scenario on this actually happening. Has it happened to you before?

  • So the fact that it could happen doesn’t matter to you? Also there are towns and cities where my hypothetical could happen easily. When I lived in Indiana I would have had to drive 45 miles to another pharmacy….

  • I’m sure that many trans people in the military make exemplary servicemen, and even excel far above their peers. However, being trans, like i said earlier, is definitely a cause for concern.

    Also, are you seriously going to bring up the Dodge Drafting? Really? The thing that 11.5 million Americans did out of principle because they didn’t want to be controlled by the government? Not a very good argument.

  • Specific examples from other people?
    Also, are you just going to assume that the situation wouldn’t be any different if it was in a more heavily populated area?

  • It is usually easier to find more pharmacies and doctors (and bakers and videographer and florist) in populated areas. Of course it doesn’t excuse the fact that a gay person has to make extra efforts to get exactly the same thing a straight person does….
    I bet in the 50s you would have been on the side of those saying – well the black people just have to go across town to their own shops and doctors….

  • First of all, I wouldn’t have been on that side in the 50s. I would’ve just kept my mouth shut. There is definitely a difference between being a minority race and being transgender. Also, I would refrain from using present tense here, since this is thankfully an exception and not the rule.

  • Why don’t you keep you mouth shut on the lgbt discrimination now? Perhaps you want it to be more rampant.

  • While this DEFINITELY isn’t life-or-death, and you do not have me swayed to the other side, I must admit that there is a difference between “He looked at me funny so he’s transphobic” and “He humiliated me in front of everyone.” If her story is true, then I am certainly appalled and a bit disappointed. Obviously, the actions of that doctor were unacceptable and had no place at all in a professional setting, and I personally would consider firing him for doing something like that.
    But you still have a loooooooooong way to go before you can convince me that healthcare is a struggle that LGBT people face as a whole. Especially since you just gave me two links about the same exact thing.

  • I might consider that when I find sufficient proof that there actually is a problem with LGBT discrimination. So far, I have none.

  • Both links discussed that story. One talked about other instances as well. The point is that doctor can’t be fired in many states. You know because Jesus lol

  • And by “Jesus lol” you mean “we respect people’s consciences as well as their religious beliefs and should always make sure that those are a priority”? If so then yes I agree.

  • Yeah, the first one I’m willing to believe. I also know that Christians are sometimes targeted too. So that doesn’t say very much.

    As for the second one, any law that supports religious freedom I support.

  • Christians are targeted for what? If they face discrimination they have legal options. That is the point: lgbt people don’t depending where they live. You value discrimination over freedom actually if you support religious freedom laws.

  • No… it means “we believe we are right and our belief is more important than your right to services, a job, medicine, rights, etc. we believe that even though you are not the same religion you have to abide by our rules. Amen”

  • I support freedom over discrimination Etranger. That’s what… religious freedom is… it has the word “freedom” in it.

    Christians do sometimes face discrimination (not at all a national problem but it has as many examples as LGBT discrimination) from certain establishments such as Starbucks, which is staunchly anti-Christian. A group of four Christians have even been refused service because the waiter just “didn’t like the sight of them”.

  • Religious freedom is great. I support it as well. No one should be restricted from believing what they want. Forcing that belief on others is not religious freedom…would love to hear more about that supposed anti-Christian Starbucks lol.

  • Haha, no. Silly Etranger. America definitely isn’t a theocracy and it never will be. Not as long as there are people of diverse belief systems that all have religious obligations that we should respect. You just wouldn’t understand as an atheist. Let me show the importance of each side to a person, since you want to play this game:

    Gender/sexuality: “Yeah, it’s definitely part of me, but I mean, it doesn’t define my entire life. I’m much more than just a gay person lol”

    Religion: “My religion is how I see the world, life, God, and morality. It is even how I choose to worship God. Everything I do is based on my faith system.”

    Which is more important? Obviously, religion is.

  • Religion is a belief system. It can be changed at any time. I was religious for 20 years. Supposedly you were a non-believer at one point. I have been gay my entire life and it actually DOES shape my being and views and defines my life. Just as sexuality defines straight peoples lives. Which is more important people or religion? Obviously people.

  • I am happy to hear you don’t think we are a christian nation. Most evangelicals do think this is a theocracy. You should find most of these ‘license to discriminate ‘ abhorrent however.

  • Of course. Now, people refusing to serve someone when it is against their conscience is NOT “forcing religion on them”, let’s just make that clear.
    In addition to small things like removing the phrase “Merry Christmas” from their holiday cups, and even throwing in philosophical propaganda that challenges the Christian belief about Heaven and Hell, this incident also occurred.

  • I didn’t say we aren’t a Christian nation, but there’s definitely a difference between saying that and that we’re a theocracy. I don’t believe that there exists a “license to discriminate.”

  • Sure. But sexuality/gender is equal to people only as much as religion is. Man is what makes religion, religion.

  • Sexuality is part of one’s being. Religion is fleeting and a belief. Not part of one’s being. Without being indoctrinated one would not have religion. One will always have sexuality

  • I read all the time on evangelical blogs and in their published books that they think the us was founded as a religious nation. It is a complete misreading of history.

  • Oh god The Christmas cup thing? You’re that commercial? A good Christian would be more offended by a company commercially exploiting Jesus. But regardless, changing coffee cups is not anti Christian. I have no idea what the heaven and hell thing is. And the articles about christians being thrown out of the coffee shop isn’t about Starbucks.

  • Religion is of greater importance. You can go on and on about which one you’re born with or which one you needed to be… “indoctrinated”(weird flex but ok), but religion contains a moral structure. Sexuality does not. Both affect how you see life, but religion certainly covers more bases.

  • Our nation was founded on religious freedom but not as a Christian nation. The founders made sure not to mix religion in with the nation’s official documents because they were very much cognizant of the harm theocracy causes. Christians today want to have a theocracy. That is proven by the laws they try to pass these days giving them free reign to treat certain people like second class citizens because they don’t like them.

  • Granted that makes sense. But it is undeniable that one is part of you and one is learned and acquired. Being polyglot is definitively part of my identity but it is something I acquired.
    Regardless neither sexuality or religious belief should be a reason for someone to face discrimination. Religion should not be used to defend discrimination though.

  • I agree with your definition of a Christian nation. And no, Christians don’t want a theocracy. They just want to be able to obey their conscience and have the freedom to not always serve LGBT people if they have religious obligations saying otherwise. Even with Muslims serving Jews and Christians I’d say the same thing. Sorry you can’t understand that.

  • How is that a good society though? So you think it would be okay for gay people to have to search for a store that will serve them? We live in a society where many different people coexist. Christians need to figure out how to survive in such a world. It is sad they want to bend the rules to suit themselves and harm others.

  • It is scientifically possible that some of our genes at birth may affect our attitude towards religion, though our choices will ultimately be realized over time.

    Secondly, I do not consider it discrimination if it is a matter of A) Serve customer or B) Don’t Serve Customer. I know what you’re getting at though and understand that religion has been used as a defense for many things under the sun, both bad and good.

  • Well first of all, not that many people with religious obligations like that are even in customer service roles or any other where a decision can impact them, because if it’s an important part of their work ethic, they know to get jobs elsewhere. That’s the same case with the Colorado bakery, which was a known religious bakery.

    Also, how have they bent the rules? You’re making it sound like the traditional approach to gay customers is a new development that they decided to adopt for no reason.

  • It is a new development in a lot of ways. Until recently not many gay people were out in stores, etc. But are you seriously arguing that just because it was always an anti-gay environment it should remain so?
    But yes back to my point they are bending the rules. With states and cities granting protections for its lgbt citizens to be able to go about their lives buying goods and services and seeking medical care free from discrimination, Christians have tried to get around following the law and doing the right thing for their fellow human beings by enacting religious freedom laws.

  • If I go to get marriage license at my city hall and happen upon a Kim Davis clone, and she refuses to give me one because I am gay, that is not discrimination? I am entitled to get one under the law. I took the bus and train downtown with my husband to be. Took an hour to get there at cost of $12. Now the lady says no (my taxes go to pay her!) and I am supposed to come back on her day off when hopefully there is a decent person working?! That is not discrimination?!
    Why is there an expectation and acceptance on your part that I should happily endure extra hurdles to get the exact same goods and services you do?

  • I don’t want an anti-gay environment. I want there to always be someone there to serve a person who is LGBT if someone else is unable to. This, if it can be done, would solve the problem.

    And no, my “religious freedom” is not a counter to your LGBT rights. That’s pretty insulting. I want an environment where both my beliefs and your beliefs are tolerated.

  • The situation you have set up for me is pretty comical. Obviously, those giving out marriage license would be serving LGBT people or else they wouldn’t be fully qualified for the job. It would be even more wrong with you paying your taxes to her. I think these things differ with goods and services.

  • Did you ever hear about Kim Davis? Roy Moore? My situation descrbed is not comical – it is not even hypothetical!!!

  • Ah yes before the end of Jim Crow southern blacks had their own businesses and shops and schools. Everything was fine and as long as they got goods and services at their own shops it was peaceful. No inconvenience for them…

    Your beliefs are tolerated. Your actions are not always tolerated nor should they be. I should not have to go to a second rate bakery because an ass thinks he cannot sell me a cake because I am gay. Or have to find a pharmacist who will sell me condoms. If folks only want to serve certain people they are the ones who should open private religious shops. They cannot put themselves out there as a public business if they don’t serve the public.

  • When I say “religious bakery” I simply mean that all the workers there were religious. In that example they were the only one in town.

    Yes, I think everything you are saying here can and must coexist with religious freedom, and I believe that is possible.

  • Ah okay – well, they might all be religious but they are open to the public. That comes with other requirements regarding complying with laws and ordninances and serving the public when it is not unreasonable.

  • Of course. And they did stay within reasonable guidelines. What happened was that the gay couple went out of their way to get a wedding cake from the only religious bakery in town.

  • There is actually no evidence of that. First, I had actually bought a small set of cupcakes from Masterpiece about 7 years ago. Had no idea it was a “religious bakery”. Second, no evidence that these guys went out of their way to get a wedding cake from the only “religious” bakery in town.

  • Oh….well I set up a hypothetical based on what actually happened in other parts of the country. You acted like my scenario was “comical” and outlandish. I agree it seemed outlandish and comical when I first heard of Kim Davis but then when I learned it was reality…wow. So point being, my scenario happens. So if you find it comical…well, nothing I can do to get you some of that empathy I was talking about earlier 🙂

  • There is definite evidence that they did just that. When this incident occurred, the state of Colorado had not yet recognized homosexual marriage. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I don’t like believing in conspiracies, but this was definitely a setup. Just add that to the fact that the bakery was owned by Christians and they had the right to refuse service. It’s pretty hard to refute.

  • Well, he does not have the right to refuse service willy-nilly. No law in Colorado allows that. Again, your conspiracy theory is not evidence. So, there is not “definite evidence that they did just that.”

  • I don’t think it has anything to do with empathy. I don’t like hearing about situations like the doctor who acted unprofessionally in front of the other patients, and I will always stand against that kind of action, but I don’t believe the problem is as rampant as you might think it is.

    I think we’ve had a productive conversation thus far, but I don’t think we’ll really get anywhere because we apparently have much different presuppositions and viewpoints. All we can do is state which side we’re on.

  • He… actually does. He’s the business owner. He can decide whether or not to support something that’s illegal in the state or not. He shouldn’t be forced to do something like that. This isn’t a conspiracy, and this is evidence enough. I would suggest you see for yourself what I mean. I’d rather not you just take it all from me.

  • Who said I’m an athiest? See, it’s not dichotomy of either Christian or Athiest. There’s a whole rainbow of ideologies and superstitions. Some are more logic based, and some are more faith based. However, let’s not kid ourselves: Christianity is definitely not one of the logic based perspectives.

  • You accidentally typed “not”. Otherwise, you’ll have to provide some solid proof instead of antagonizing the Christian faith.

  • No accident. Dude, the Christian ideology relies on miracles and the supposed past direct speach of God to man. That is not an evidence based theology. There are literal passages decrying doubt. Christianity has literally nothing to offer anyone that any other religion does not. So, why do you think that Christians have the right to force their beliefs upon others?

  • Ok, none of that is even remotely close to solid proof, so I hope you weren’t expecting me to crumble because of what you said. I’m going to address all your falsehoods and then answer your question:

    1. “Dude, the Christian ideology relies on miracles and the supposed past direct speach of God to man.” FALSE. Not just because of your misspelling of “speech” but also because of its factual error. Christianity doesn’t “rely” on miracles. Christianity’s big ideology is grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus is what makes Christianity, Christianity. Also, God’s direct words to His people are only a small part of it. This is the way God chose to speak to them, but He could’ve done it through other ways. They didn’t need to hear the audible voice of God.

    2. “Christianity has literally nothing to offer anyone that any other religion does not.” This is even more FALSE. Christianity is the only religion where God wants a personal relationship with His Creation, gives His followers a guidebook to help get to know Him, came to the earth to die for His own creation, and even gives GRACE to where you don’t need any sort of religious rite-of-passage to follow Him. That means you don’t need a special shrine, a rosary, a philacteres, or anything like that. You ask God into your life, and He is there.

    Now, onto your question.
    No, I do not believe Christians should force their beliefs on others. I think Christians, above all else, should show the love of God to other people, and set an example for people who unconditionally love, selflessly give, and always holding fast to the Truth. Hope this helps.

  • Dude, you absolutely need a right of passage in most forms of Christianity. It’s called baptism. Hell, in the Pentecostal sect, one has to undergo an event in which they speak in tongues to receive salvation. Also, Christianity is one of the primary religions that use rosaries!
    Next, what’s all this about Christianity being the only religion whose diety offers a personal relationship with its followers? In some Kali worshipping sects of Hinduism, Kali is seen to have a maternal relationship with her followers. In ancestor worshipping beliefs, the worshipped are literally family. It seems like you’re completely ignorant of others’ beliefs, as well as, perhaps, even your own.

  • No, you’re definitely ignorant about Christianity. Two sentences in and it’s pretty clear to me that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    1. Baptism is not a rite-of-passage. You don’t need it to be saved into the kingdom of God. It’s simply a declaration that you are already saved.

    2. That Pentecostal sect you’re referring to? Definitely a fringe minority. The Pentecostal church as a whole recognizes faith in Jesus Christ as what saves you.

    3. Christianity does not use rosaries. Catholicism does. Please get your terminology correct. Your ignorance is upsetting me a little bit.

    4. Christianity is the only religion that fits ALL the criteria I mentioned. I don’t doubt that some religions teach that their god can have a personal relationship.

    Please do some actual research about Christianity before making another statement. I want to have a productive, useful, beneficial conversation about this, but right now you’re not making things easy. You’re acting like a goldfish in a bowl telling the others that water doesn’t exist. DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. I actually don’t want to ignore you and I hope you can express your beliefs in a civilized fashion instead of acting childish like you just did 🙂

  • Catholicism is a form of Christianity! In fact, it’s the oldest form of Christianity! Your branch of Christianity is not the only one that exists. As for Pentecostalism, you’re just dead wrong. I was raised Pentecostal. Belief without a specific form of baptism and “receiving the Holy Ghost” via speaking in tongues does nothing to attain salvation according to their faith. Your certainty does not equal accuracy.

  • First of all GoatForest, I have only been to two Pentecostal churches in my lifetime. Both, however, did not consider “speaking in tongues” necessary for salvation, so you may be right about the Pentecostal church as a whole. However, this does not take away from the fact that Christianity is the only place you can find all those parameters I brought up, including salvation by grace.

    Catholicism is not the same thing as Christianity. Also, you are dead wrong about Catholicism being older than Protestantism. Catholicism started at 380 AD, but orthodox (protestant) Christianity was exceedingly popular during the times of the Roman Empire.
    Also, do you have a main point to give or do you just like to quibble? You seem to be the latter.

  • Dude, Orthodox Christianity is NOT Protestantism! Protestantism was formed by Martin Luther, a disgruntled Catholic priest in the 1500’s. Also, Catholicism is absolutely a form of Christianity. A cursory research will prove my statement. As to my point, you should learn to doubt yourself. Your arrogant certainty is causing you to deny yourself both empathy for others and the ability expand your knowledge base.

  • Ok, then explain the difference to me between Orthodox Christianity and Protestantism. If what you’re saying is true, then I’m definitely an Orthodox as opposed to something that stands against Catholicism (which is not something I want to be a part of).

    We will disagree on whether or not Catholicism is actually Christianity, but regardless of that it doesn’t take away from the points of Christianity that I already mentioned, so your Red Herring Fallacy is still ineffective.

    GoatForest, I do question myself about my own beliefs, and I am ALWAYS expanding my knowledge base. Strange as it seems, I am a liberal thinker who is also a conservative Christian. I hold fast to my values but I am also open to what others think. That is why I even decided to open this conversation with you in the first place.

    Finally, you could have left out the last sentence. That sentence at the end shows me that you are in fact stubborn, willfully ignorant, and definitely arrogant. Sorry, the truth hurts. You can deny it if you want; I have no problem with it. However, let this be an even more important lesson to you: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Right now you aren’t doing that. Making arrogant statements and unsupported falsehoods haven’t helped you. I would suggest changing the tone and message of your comments so you don’t turn this into a fight. I only get involved in intelligent discussions.

  • Do you believe in the tenant of Theosis/Deification? Do you believe in the Seven Sacraments? Do you believe in the Nicene Creed? Do you partake in the Hesychasm? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you are not Orthodox. May I assume you are Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist?

  • I do not believe in Theosis, I do believe in the Nicene Creed and the Hesychasm, although these I do without feelings of obligation. And I’m pretty sure the Seven Sacraments are Catholic.

    Also, I am non-denominational.

  • There you go. You’re not Orthodox.
    You’re a Luther-descended protestant.
    By the way, the Seven Sacraments may be also be Catholic, I’m not gonna claim to know that. However, they are definitely Orthodox.

  • Only Orthodox Catholic.

    So now that you’ve classified me, for your own comfort and enjoyment, is there any other rage you just want to get out or is that it? It seemed like you were going to trace this back to a main point or something, so I guess you just want to feel like you won something.

  • Nah. I’m not angry. I don’t even care what branch you belong to, as I’m not Christian. I was pointing out that you should take care when you declare someone ignorant as they may be far more educated on a given topic than you assume.

  • Of course, I take care every time. However, the scenario you are describing does not apply to this situation.

  • Dude, you didn’t even know that Orthodox Christianity isn’t Protestant. You’re also claiming that Catholicism isn’t Christian. This is textbook example of what I’m talking about.

  • Orthodox Christianity, by and large can be categorized into Protestantism when you look at most of its theology, although I’m sure you could find a few differences. Also, we may disagree about Catholicism, but my reasoning is based on who they worship. Christianity focuses on Christ, but Catholicism focuses on Mary. This is why I don’t consider it Christianity.

    Thus far, I haven’t learned a single new thing from you that I don’t already know about and I haven’t gained any new knowledge from you. I would definitely say that you’ve made yourself a textbook definition of what I’m talking about, “Dude”.

  • Bask in your beliefs, then. Who am I to change your mind? What do I care whether or not you learn anything?

  • You were caring for the past… I dunno, 5 comments. It’s funny how you just started out with “Why do you think Christians should force their beliefs on others?!?” and definitely acted angry about something and now… you’re just like “It’s ok dude. I don’t care what your beliefs are.” It’s a real twist from your original comments, so I guess I like the change of attitude.

  • Nah, I was never angry. I just realized that you’re not the sort of guy to let anything interfere with his perspective.

  • Interfere with my perspective? You’re quite wrong on that. I love hearing other people’s perspectives, especially when they give me stories on how they came to a certain decision. 90% of the stories I hear I definitely disagree with. If it’s a matter of hearing someone out, I will always be available to do that, although nothing people say will change my personal beliefs, nor will they ever be able to do that.
    There are some people who constantly change their beliefs at the drop of a coin and some people who don’t even listen to others because their personal beliefs are the only thing they ever focus on (which I’m ok with to an extent, but I have decided that it’s pretty unreasonable to just shut people out).

  • A swing and a miss, manbaby. It’s weird that you’re stalking me, though. We didn’t quite develop that kind of connection. It’s flattering that you think I’m pretty, though.

  • Jeez, I nailed you real good, didn’t I? You really DON”T do anything else, do you? How pitiful to be in your situation. Get off the computer once in awhile, don’t be a shut in. Sad. Sad, angry little child.

  • Your posts are all gibberish, Mr. Satan. And no, my life is pretty good, unlike you, I live in one of the civilized states.

  • Oh no! You’re ragging on where I live?! How ever will I live with the shame? That says a lot more about you than it does me. You’re nothing more than a nationalist fool, just on a more localized level.

  • People have stopped listening to the Westboro Baptist Church.
    It all got boring and they never mattered anyway.

    George Vreeland Hill

  • GHF has been a controlled op since it’s inception. Fred Phelps said as much on his deathbed. These are actors who work to discredit decent Christians and they work for the Homosexual agenda. It should say quite a lot that the gay community is willing to fund a group like this. Make Jussie Smollett’s little tale seem like a white lie.