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As Cuba backs gay marriage, churches oppose the government’s plan

Members of the LGBT community walk down the main street to take part in a parade marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, on May 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

(The Conversation) — Cubans are debating a constitutional reform that, among other legal changes, would open the door to gay marriage. It would also prohibit discrimination against people based on sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in the communist nation.

The proposed new Constitution, drafted by a special commission within Cuba’s National Assembly, was unveiled in July. If the National Assembly and President Miguel Díaz-Canel approve the document after a Feb. 24, 2019 public referendum, marriage would be defined as a “union between two people.”

Cuba’s 1976 Constitution, known as the Carta Magna, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And it does not fully protect private enterprise, freedom of association or allows for same-sex marriage – despite growing social acceptance and political tolerance for such rights.

Emigrés who retain Cuban nationality have been invited to participate in Cuba’s public debate on the constitutional reform – though not to vote on it – via a digital forum run by the Foreign Ministry – a level of citizen outreach that’s “unprecedented” in Cuba, says Ernesto Soberón, the ministry’s director of consular affairs and Cubans residing overseas.

Cuba’s political process opens up

This lively, broad-based debate is a sign of how much Cuba – a main subject of my research as a professor of literature and cultural studies – has changed in recent years.

President Raúl Castro, who took over for his ailing older brother Fidel in 2006, began to open Cuba’s economy to foreign investment and normalized diplomatic relations with the United States, which has maintained its economic embargo on the Communist island since 1962.

Raúl Castro also worked with President Barack Obama to ease some economic restrictions on Cuba.

Castro stepped down in April 2018, handing power over to the much younger Díaz-Canel.

Cuba has moderately amended its Carta Magna just three times. A 1978 constitutional reform created an official channel for youth political participation, for example, while that of 1992 liberalized elements of Cuba’s socialist economic model to revitalize Cuba’s economy.

Today’s proposed reform is a complete overhaul. It would add 87 articles, change 113 and eliminate 13, even a section of Article 5 affirming Cuba’s “advance toward a Communist society.”

Beyond legalizing gay marriage, the new Constitution would protect private property, limit the presidential term to five years and introduce the role of prime minister.

Intense debate has surrounded the possibility of marriage equality in Cuba, and not just within the government’s official public meetings. Cubans are also discussing and debating gay marriage with neighbors and friends, in the streets and online – a departure from Cuba’s traditionally more top-down style of government.

The rise of gay rights in Cuba

Cuba’s nascent LGBTQ rights movement also began under Raúl Castro, thanks in large part to the leadership of his daughter Mariela Castro, a National Assembly member and president of the semi-governmental Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual, founded in 1987 to advance sexual awareness in Cuba.

A lack of opinion polling makes it difficult to measure Cuban public support for gay marriage. But acceptance of homosexuality, both within the government and in civil society, has grown appreciably.

During the 1960s and 1970s, homosexuality was considered incompatible with Cuba’s model of the revolutionary man: atheist, heterosexual and anti-bourgeoisie. Gay people, active Christians and others who defied these ideals were sent to military work camps to “strengthen” their revolutionary character.

Today, the Cuban government appears to accept homosexuality as part of socialist society. In 2008 the National Assembly approved a law allowing sexual reassignment surgery.

La Habana holds annual marches against homophobia and transphobia and cities across the island celebrate the Gay Pride parade.

The church emerges as an opposition force

But legacies of intolerance remain.

The Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical League and the Methodist Church of Cuba, among other Christian churches, have issued a joint statement opposing gay marriage.

Traditionally, religion has taken a back seat to politics in Cuba. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)

Their public letter, published on June 8, argues that such “gender ideology” has “nothing whatsoever to do with our culture, our independence struggles nor with the historic leaders of the Revolution.”

Cuba is a secular country where political ideology has historically trumped religion. Religious opposition to a government proposal is rare.

It is even more unusual for the church to attempt to mobilize the Cuban public, as some Christian leaders are trying to do now.

According to the Cuban magazine La Jiribilla, preachers on the streets have been handing out fliers saying gay marriage defies God’s “original design” for the family.

LBGTQ activists answer

Gay rights groups and feminists are responding with a creative show of force.

Clandestina, Cuba’s first online store, and the tattoo studio La Marca are spearheading a campaign called “Cuban design,” celebrating a “very original family” – phrasing that rebuts Christian claims about God’s design.

“More than anything, this is an issue of free expression,” Roberto Ramos Mori, of La Marca, said in an email. “The way to push back against hate is calmly, with intelligence – and, of course, humor.”

Cubans with internet access use the hashtag #mifamiliaesoriginal to signal their support for LGBTQ rights on social media.

The church’s powerful opposition to marriage equality reflects a strategy commonly deployed across Latin America, says the Cuban feminist Ailynn Torres Santana.

Catholic and evangelical groups in Ecuador used similar language, for example, to oppose a 2017 law allowing citizens to choose their own gender identifier, she says. In response to the legislation – which recognized gender as “a binary that is socially and culturally created, patriarchal and heteronormative” – churches called for “citizens to live in harmony with nature.”

Similar scenes played out when both Colombia and Brazil advanced LGBTQ rights, with Christian groups dismissing any attempt to change traditional gender roles as the “result” of what they pejoratively call “gender ideology.”

What’s next for Cuba

Gay marriage is not the only battlefield for Cuba’s newly empowered churches.

Abortion, illegal in most of Latin America, has been a woman’s right in Cuba since 1965. Traditionally, not even Cuba’s Catholic church publicly opposed it.

Recently, though, Christians in Cuba have begun publicly advocating against abortion.

If conservative religious groups manage to prevent gay marriage in Cuba, I believe it would be a setback for social progress on the island.

But the mere existence of alternative voices in Cuba’s public sphere – including that of its churches – is, itself, proof that the country has already changed.The Conversation

(María Isabel Alfonso is a professor of Spanish at St. Joseph’s College of New York. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

About the author

Maria Isabel Alfonso

209 Comments

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  • The more churches define themselves as primarily anti-gay, the more the next generation will be turned off. This of course is already happening with the rise of the “nones.” This latest desperate move to try to legislate morality in the public sphere will be just one more nail in the coffin for Christianity. Truly sad, especially for a religion whose founder’s main message was simply: love one another.

  • According to the National Catholic Register, what has caused homosexuality in Cuba is all those cigars they smoke. Also Vatican II.

  • Ignoring the Catholic Church has led Cuba to be the only country in Latin America with a developed nation level birthrates.

    As awful as the Cuban government is, lets not pretend the Catholic Church is on the side of free, democratic governments in the region.

    Many of the governments that church throws its support for in Latin America are as autocratic/unfree as Cuba. Governments entangled with the Catholic Church in Latin America were known for “disappearing” political dissenters and other human rights abuses

    Even democracies in the region are butting heads with the Church on such social issues.

  • The direct quote is “No one is born wanting to smoke a cigar.” They haven’t come up with an explanation for lesbians yet.

  • As usual, you have nothing to contribute to an intelligent conversation, just the usual anti-whoever-disagrees-with you nonsense.

    So, the folks at First Things are “reactionaries”, the folks who publish the National Catholic Registers run the “Neurotic Catholic Register”, and so on.

  • Except, of course, for the people that are turned on by the truth, the plain words of Scriptures, and the 3,000 years of belief behind them.

    I seem to recall you belong to a revisionist denomination.

    How are your numbers going?

  • As awful as the Cuban government is, let’s not pretend that Spuddie doesn’t hate the Catholic Church more.

    It is, after all, a church!

  • ” And it does not fully protect private enterprise, freedom of association ….” – a masterpiece of understatement.

    The author is largely persona non grata among the Cuban exile community. Eight years ago, in Miami, she headed up a protest against the awarding of a plaque by El Instituto de la Memoria Historica Cubana Contra el Totalitarismo (the Institute of Cuban Historic Memory against Totalitarianism) to Cuban exile Orlando Bosch, 84, for his anti-Castro efforts.

    https://www.themiamihurricane.com/2010/11/14/cuban-exile-sparks-controversy/

    “’I expect the university takes distance from that homage, offers an official apology to the academic community and the community of Miami and becomes more aware of the people they invite to their premises,’ said Dr. Maria Isabel Alfonso, who started the protest against Bosch’s award.”

  • People (almost all of them) believed, for many more than 3,000 years, that the sun went round the earth.

    They were wrong.

    Numbers do not affect reality – otherwise there would be no religions since all have been disbelieved by the majority of humanity.

    BlockedByBobx2

  • “plague” – Any contagious disease that spreads rapidly and kills many people.

    “plaque” – An ornamental tablet, typically of metal, porcelain, or wood, that is fixed to a wall or other surface in commemoration of a person or event.

    BlockedByBobx2

  • Of course they do. It directly contradicts their business plan.
    Meanwhile, The BBC reports:

    Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has backed same-sex marriage. The Cuban leader, who took over from Raúl Castro on 19 April, said he was in favour of recognising “marriage between people without any restrictions”. In an interview with TV Telesur, he said doing so was “part of eliminating any type of discrimination in society”.

    It comes as Cuba is in the process of updating its constitution, which had defined marriage as between “a man and a woman”. The proposed constitution will replace the 1976 national charter once a popular consultation is concluded and the draft has been approved in a national referendum scheduled for February 2019.

  • The plain words of fiction with hardly even scant evidence to support it. Appeal to the masses is a fallacy.

  • The “plain words of Scriptures” still endorse human slavery, and the Church of Rome approved of slavery for nearly two thousand years based on natural law (philosophy) and divine law (revelation). Vatican II condemned the practice in late 1965. Was God right or wrong for sanctioning ownership of human beings, including inflicting corporal punishment on disobedient slaves?

  • Here’s to hoping that the Cuban legislature ignores these religious groups. These are that same groups everywhere who oppose human rights for LGBTQ folks.

  • You are right. Christ died so that none of our sin should be held against us – taking it out of “public policy”.
    “Public policy” at present endorses sin, so your comment is moot, my friend. Also stealing and murder are sins and they are against public policy

  • “For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body” – 1 Cor 6:20

    “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock” – Acts 20:28-29.

    “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” – Rom 12:1-2

    “So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds…” – Eph 4:17…..
    ************
    “…do not become slaves of men…” — Do not embrace the things of this world. Embrace Jesus, instead.

    Nothing to do with human slavery.

  • Sandi N Windsor – I’m going to follow Mark Silk’s suggestion that we all follow the Comment Policy and direct my comments to the articles and no longer participate in the hateful back & forth that is constant here. In my heart I know that that is what Jesus would do.

    As to Hell, you are free to believe what you may and I will do the same. We’re done.

  • “According to the Cuban magazine La Jiribilla, preachers on the streets have been handing out fliers saying gay marriage defies God’s “original design” for the family.”

    Of course racist evangelicals in the United States used that argument from “God’s design” to condemn what they saw as the “unnatural” sin of miscegenation Acts 17:26 blah blah blah..

    I guess that religious bigots aren’t all that original when it comes to religiously legitimizing the oppression of a minority group.

  • “Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church has called on Cubans to reject a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation’s new constitution.” The usual “fake news” to protect the media’s dishonest reporting on Pope Francis’ anti-gay positions. See: http://www.ontopmag.com/article/45144/Cubas_Catholic_Church_Opposed_To_Extending_Marriage_To_Gay_Lesbian_Couples?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OnTopMagazineHeadlines+%28On+Top+Magazine+Headlines%29

  • Actually, when it comes to “human slavery”, the Bible doesn’t endorse it. Specific reasons why it does not, can be located from Genesis on down.

    But the skeptics continue trying to sell the falsehood, and the Christians continue to interrupt the sale. C’est la vie.

  • Hence chattel slavery was an ongoing practice for both ancient Israelites and Christians for centuries using the Bible as justification.

    We have Jesus telling slavers not to beat slaves too harshly, lest they be unable to work. We have copious references to sexual slavery with concubines and handmaidens, enslaving foreign peoples, and an entire Christian sect devoted to biblical support of treating your ancestors like livestock.

  • Slavery, per se, is not immoral.

    You avoid providing specific citations to the Scriptures for good reason.

    What IS immoral is:

    – treating human beings as less than human beings

    – exploitation

    – cruelty

    which are all immoral without regard to what it is called: child labor, coal mining, and so on.

    Slavery in Palestine in the first century was according to Roman law, and Roman law provided rights for “slaves” who existed in several strata, up to and including those who could buy their way to freedom and owned property.

  • Well, Mark seems to like you, so the thanks are understandable.

    You fit the National Catholic Reporter Comments profile of the house Catholic.

  • There is no dishonesty.

    The Catholic Church is now and always has been foursquare opposed to same sex physical congress, a position which it inherited from the Jews and shares with Islam, all of whom oppose it based on revelation and natural law.

  • So, the fact that some very tiny group of racist evangelicals in the United States used a similar argument cuts the ground out from every other religious argument anyone might make.

    That seems to support the conclusion that the existence and track record of the atheistic Soviet Union, Red China, Cambodia, and so on cut the ground completely out from under your argument from the anti-religious perspective.

    Nice work. Congratulations. No one will ever have to consider another of your arguments.

  • **Especially** chattel slavery, folks. Bible doesn’t endorse it.

    Gen. 1:26-27 says that all humans no matter what are created in the image of God, hence ALL are equal. No chattels unless somebody disobeys God and creates that mess.

    Joseph’s jealous brothers went and sold Joseph to the Egyptians as a slave. Did the Bible endorse this act? How did those brothers react when they realized Joe was now #2 in all of Egypt, and they were begging HIM for bread?

    What did God tell Pharoah? “Let My people go.” What happened to Egypt when Pharoah tried to hold on to his slaves? Very Unpleasant!

    God said in the Mosaic Law, “If you guys kidnap anybody and make them a slave, you get a nice fresh Death Penalty for it.” (Hello America! What happened to YOU when you kidnapped & enslaved black people?)

    Let”s stop here for now. We ain’t even touched the NT yet.

  • “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.-1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV”

    You were bought with a scam; do not become slaves of scammers who are using Biblical Senselessness (BS) to gain power, wealth, and/or notoriety.

  • Exactly right Sandi, and thanks. The Bible talks about slavery, but the Bible does NOT endorse slavery.

    Black slaves in America got fired up when they heard the Bible’s message of doing freedom INSTEAD OF slavery. It goes like this:

    “But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.” (1 Cor. 7:21b). They got da message.

  • It requires understanding that the English word “slavery” is equivocal.

    For example, keeping a coal miner in the 19th century tied to the company store so that he had only two escapes, one death and the other absconding, is immoral.

    Keeping a “slave” in 19th century America who lived in his own home, ran his own business, paid 5% of his earnings per year to his “owner”, and was freed on the owner’s death was not immoral.

    The term “Bobism” appears to mean “a statement which requires familiarity with something more than slogans to appreciate”.

  • The important thing is that the Cuban churches continue to stay true to Christ and the Bible. NO church support for Gay Marriage. Fight it.

    Gay Goliath is going to say and do what Gay Goliath says and does. That’s true for both America and Cuba.

    So oppose the gay marriage mess anyway, churches. Stay in the fight. Point the people — all people — to Christ’s salvation, healing, cleansing, and deliverance. Show people Christ’s overwhelming power.

    Give Goliath something to dial up Hell in tears about.

  • It’s rather disappointing that two groups that were both oppressed in recent history and sent to work camps for who they were are so at odds today. You’d kind of hope that kind of oppression would have sensitized the Church against doing it to others. Apparently not.

  • “Very tiny” group of racist evangelicals? I think not. Try “the great majority” of white evangelicals back when I was young. As evidence, look at how long it took for the majority of white Americans to accept interracial marriages. =

    For instance, this article from Gallup.

    JULY 25, 2013
    In U.S., 87% Approve of Black-White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958
    Ninety-six percent of blacks, 84% of whites approve
    BY FRANK NEWPORT

    While not broken down into religious sects, it was the laws of the white evangelical dominated Bible Belt states that were exposed as unconstitutional in the ‘Loving’ decision of 1967 which should tell you something about white evangelical’s racism of the period. The terrorists of the 1950’s into the 1960’s were white evangelicals. They turned Birmingham, Alabama into “Bombingham.”

    It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that the majority of white Americans decided maybe they shouldn’t care, that maybe it wasn’t against God’s “design” for mankind if interracial couples got married.

  • Not a word you say has been borne out by the acts and statements of actual believers over the centuries. You are just plain lying here about the Bible being used to justify slavery
    http://time.com/5171819/christianity-slavery-book-excerpt/

    Genesis IX, 18–27:
    “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. ”

    Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, VI, 5-7: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

    “God said in the Mosaic Law, “If you guys kidnap anybody and make them a slave, you get a nice fresh Death Penalty for it.”

    Quite the opposite (hence the lack of a bible reference there). If one was a foreigner or unbeliever, enslavement was not only permitted, it was a holy duty.

    “(Hello America! What happened to YOU when you kidnapped & enslaved black people?)”

    The Southern Baptists still exist. They did not even disavow their past support of slavery, segregation and racism in general until a generation ago.

    “We ain’t even touched the NT yet.”

    Because you won’t find Jesus saying slavery of foreign people or unbelievers is wrong. Jesus was rather slaver friendly. Asking slaves seek salvation in heaven rather than disobey their masters now.

  • Obviously you think not as a long-time advocate for the “down with religion!” viewpoint.

    What you think is NOT at issue.

    Your lack of support IS the issue.

    Your Gallup poll does not support your contention that the “racist evangelicals in the United States used that argument”.

    What it supports is that in sixty plus years attitudes changed.

    Next.

  • Apparently nothing has impacted the Cuban regime’s history of oppression, nor pundits’ not noting that in preference for attacking Christians.

  • Go read what racist evangelicals wrote, starting with the proslavery Evangelicals that founded the Southern Baptist Convention, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, generally “Old School” Southern Presbyterian churches etc.

    Then read what the defenders of Jim Crow wrote. They really did use Acts 17:26 and the so called “Curse of Ham” as a proof texts that God “designed” segregation and a racial hierarchy for mankind.

    Finis Dake really did publish ’30 Reasons for Segregation of Races Acts 17:26′ in his popular Dake Annotated Reference Bible, which was only removed in the late 1990’s after he died, if memory serves.

  • Or, to put it accurately, go read what a tiny minority wrote 150 years ago, but don’t read what the atheist opponents of religions said and continue to say as they were killing millions.

    Tiny minority, my myopic correspondent.

  • Ephesians 6:5-7 written to an audience today would read:

    “Employees, do your jobs while here in earth. Doing so serves the will of God as servants of Christ, rendering the work for which you are paid.”

    If you’re going to cut and paste from your usual zany sources, you ought to spend a bit of time getting the meaning correct, especially when you have been corrected on this exact passage a half dozen times in the last year alone.

  • Very true – it is an odd move by the religious to insert themselves into the public debate and to seek to keep a group of people repressed. Oh wait, it is not that odd after all! (sorry – had to be sarcastic a bit). You are exactly right – it is disappointing to see. I will say, I am not sure the LGBTQ community is necessarily at odds with the Christian community. The former does not seek to keep the latter oppressed in any way.

  • Good for Cuba. They are applying another plank of the democrat party platform. Their socialist government and economy is doing wonders for its people to the point that they now can focus on implementing man-centric social issues to really turn Cuba to paradise on earth.

  • Let’s be careful with what is cited. I quoted “Bunker Bob” referring to the “plain words of Scriptures”. He did not write “Bible” or “biblical”.

    What I wrote is correct as regards Jesus teaching the right of a master to “beat” or “severely beat” a disobedient slave, depending on the circumstances (Luke 12:42-48). As I wrote earlier, the Church of Rome — the oldest Western Christian church, by the way — justified slavery by recourse to both natural law and divine law. It did not “categorically” condemn the practice till December 1965 (per John T. Noonan, Jr. in his A CHURCH THAT CAN AND CANNOT CHANGE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF CATHOLIC MORAL TEACHING). I asked our fellow blogger if God (that is, in the person of Jesus) was right or wrong for sanctioning ownership of human beings, including inflicting corporal punishment on disobedient slaves. This question raises the larger question of evil in the world — natural disasters, sickness, bad conduct.

    If the Christian churches can condemn what God approved of, to wit, human slavery, why cannot these churches condemn doctrinal condemnations of same-sex orientation, especially in light of what we’ve learned about human psychology, etc. more recently? The discussion revolves not so much around eisegesis or exegesis but, rather, the social scientific understanding of homosexuality. Increasing numbers of Western Christians have concluded that even if the Old Testament and, for that matter, Paul condemned sexual relations between persons of the same sex, these ancient writers had no understanding of human sexuality prevalent today.

    What I wrote is historically correct. Perhaps “Bunker Bob” will exit his bedroom long enough to respond to my challenge. We’ll see.

  • first of all, the comment was directed to the article – it is about people choosing Hell
    secondly, Jesus would not endorse people putting themselves in Hell. He found us precious enough to die for so that Hell would not be our only option.
    As far as Hell, Christ taught on Hell – believe what you want

  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. English Standard Version Hebrews 11:1
    One either believes Christ, or one doesn’t.

  • Don’t forget about: But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    Matthew 5:28 ESV

  • Indeed, since sin involves an act of the will, it is the act of the will that makes the sin. Choosing evil is sin.

  • “Black slaves in America got fired up when they heard the Bible’s message of doing freedom INSTEAD OF slavery. It goes like this:

    “‘But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.'” (1 Cor. 7:21b). They got da message.”

    They got the message, alright, but from Paul, not from Jesus. This is the same Paul who wrote, “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not human beings, knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Masters, act in the same way toward them, and stop bullying, knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality” (Eph 6:5-9). Masters and slaves have their proper stations in life.

    It can be argued that slaves relying on 1 Cor 7:21b are “picking and choosing” preferred scripture. What you’ve quoted must be seen in its larger context:

    “Only, everyone should live as the Lord has assigned, just as God called each one. I give this order in all the churches. Was someone called after he had been circumcised? He should not try to undo his circumcision. Was an uncircumcised person called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing; what matters is keeping God’s commandments. Everyone should remain in the state in which he was called. Were you a slave when you were called? Do not be concerned but, even if you can gain your freedom, make the most of it. For the slave called in the Lord is a freed person in the Lord, just as the free person who has been called is a slave of Christ. You have been purchased at a price. Do not become slaves to human beings. Brothers, everyone should continue before God in the state in which he was called” (1 Cor 7:17:24).

    Again, the key lesson is to be a “slave of Christ”, whether slave or free. Both masters and slaves have their proper stations in life. If a slave can gain his freedom, he is still expected to be a “slave of Christ”.

  • Stealing and murder are against public policy because they upset the social order, not because they are sins.

  • To this day, I cannot understand how black Americans — not all by any means — can condemn homosexuality, which Jesus does not address, and insist on the moral rightness of emancipation from slavery, a matter that Jesus also did not address.

    Pickin’ ‘n choosin’.

    No consistency.

  • I recall one of my military crew mates citing holy scripture referring to black people as “beasts of the field”. In all other respects, he was a polite, unassuming, and faithfully married guy with one child.

  • With the added caveat that having homosexual inclinations is itself a result of man’s fallen state; God did not create man with such fallen inclinations.

  • Yes, which is why the Catholic Church – among others – refers to the inclination itself as an affliction, like blindness.

  • On this issue I have, which is why I can confidently tell you that Christians do not endorse sin. We want to help people stay out of Hell
    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • homosexuality is a sin. No such thing as “orientation” – just another excuse to justify sin by the culture. You do realize scientists are calling pedophilia an “orientation”? (edited)

  • Well, clergy, proslavery or abolitionist or just apathetic, were (and are) a tiny minority, but sometimes with outsized influence.

    Nevertheless, the few abolitionist Southerners, such as the Grimké sisters, usually had to flee the South if they didn’t want to be assassinated by Southern white evangelicals.

    Even in the North, abolitionists weren’t exactly popular or thick on the ground in the late antebellum era. And, even most of the white abolitionists were probably pretty racist as well.

  • Let me guess: You don’t have access to an online Bible, and you don’t have access to Google.
    Otherwise you’d run straight into Exo. 21:16 within two minutes:

    “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”

    Keep this verse in mind next time The History Channel puts on a Slavery or Civil War show.

  • Couldn’t help but notice an important portion of your Bible quotation there: “Do not become slaves to human beings.” (Which Sandi also quoted.)

    If you were a black slave in America, how would that Bible text make you feel? Make you feel like directly signing up for the Underground Railroad **tonight**, wouldn’t it? Therefore, the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery.

  • “No such thing as ‘orientation’.” Yes, there is. Sexual orientation is not sinful; it simply refers to one’s natural attraction to persons of the opposite sex or of the same sex. In other words, sexual orientation is not heterosexuality per se, nor is it homosexuality per se. In the human family, heterosexuality is most likely the natural default orientation. As to why some persons have a different orientation, science offers no definitive conclusion(s). It is suspected that sexual orientation results from some combination/interaction of *nature and nurture*. Sexual orientation itself simply is. As a scientific concern, orientation does not address matters of morality or belief.

    “You do realize scientists are calling pedophilia an orientation’?” No, I did not so realize, but thank you for the information. The purpose of diagnosis is to prescribe curative or remedial treatment for a diseased condition or problem. Homosexuality — like heterosexuality — is not a diseased condition or problem. Gays, like straights, function well in society — studying, working, paying taxes, obeying laws, worshiping, engaging in intimate relations with spouses/partners, raising children, etc. Like straights, gays have no need to seek professional help unless health needs warrant.

    Is pedophilia an orientation? Maybe, maybe not. That said, unlike pedophilia, sexual orientation per se poses no danger (or potential danger) to society. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality predisposes one to illicit activity.

  • In Matthew 19:18, Jesus says, “…You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness.”

    “Public policy” concerns itself with how a society will respond to those human acts that are contrary to the so-called “common good”. For example, a court will not require a “john” to pay a prostitute for sexual favors received; it is contrary to public policy. The “hooker” will sue in vain.

    Why did God give the ten commandments to Moses? More to the point, why did God include within them five commandments dealing with societal relations? They are:

    + You shall not murder.
    + You shall not commit adultery.
    + You shall not steal.
    + You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    + You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

    God did not proscribe the above behaviors because they are “sins”. God forbade them because they are inimical to social peace, i.e., the common good. Without laws against theft, murder, etc., social conditions would fall into chaos.

    Behaviors you identified are *sinful* (in religious terms) because they are harmful to the common good. It is their harm to people that makes them *sinful*.

  • “Christians do not endorse sin.” As a Christian, I agree.

    “We want to help people stay out of Hell.” You have no power to do so. Furthermore, God’s *unconditional* love keeps people out of Hell. Love does not condemn and, per Luke 15, will not allow us to condemn ourselves to Hell. Jesus is our Savior; his name means “God saves”, not “God saves if”.

    Your quotations from the O.T. do not pertain to homosexuality.

    You are not God.

  • Oh really? Then why don’t you quote some passages where Jesus condemned homosexuality or slavery.
    Put up it shut up Bobby.

  • Let’s see, Jesus did not specifically condemn:

    – fornication
    – masturbation
    – prostitution
    – excessive taxation
    – murder
    – extortion
    – robbery
    – child abuse
    – imperialism

    and on and on.

    The reason was that he presented a moral code which fit all situations.

    So you shut up.

    The problem with cr-p like you’re slinging is defining “slavery”, which in English is equivocal.

    In Roman Palestine it was not.

    The slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin was immoral because it violated the moral code, but so did child labor in the 19th century in England and the USA, coal mines in isolated towns served only by a company store with outrageous prices, and a host of other things.

    So, “slavery” is a red herring, and only the ignorant are fooled.

  • Nice try Bobby, but no cigar. Are you really going to tell me that the slavery practiced in Rome was more moral than the version practiced in the Christian-dominated American south?
    Also, nothing in that “moral code” he presented applies to homosexuality, fornication, prostitution, etc. Why don’t you give it another go, Bobby boy?

  • I can’t help it if you are neither knowledgeable of history nor honest enough as to how people of your faith applied scripture. But slavery inspired by Christian belief was the mainstream for centuries, not the exception. Despite the nattering of fundamentalists, the Bible is not a coherent work. Slavers and abolitionists alike draw support from it. Your statements are just about the most wildly dishonest you can bring up. You know better. You are old enough to remember how white supremacists relied on Christian appeals as an excuse to treat you as subhuman.

    Oh well. Have fun Uncle Ruckus.

  • Keep writing. Homosexual orientation does not exist. It is simply a sin. It is this current culture’s attempt to “normalize” sin. Nothing more

  • No, your argument is with Christ.

    I suggest your read:

    + Matthew 21:31

    + Matthew 18:21-22

    + Luke 15:1-32

    The Gospel is more important than other New Testament scriptures because it gives us the life and teaching of Jesus himself. Paul is not Jesus.

  • It’s because they think it is a “gotcha”.

    In particular it used by dissident Catholics to argue that the Catholic Church changes its teachings, which is impossible if its teachings are to be believed.

  • Yes, I am going to tell you that.

    I am going to tell you that because it is true.

    There were multiple classes of slaves in Roman law with varying degrees of rights and duties. Some classes were in better standing than industrial workers in the USA or the UK in 1880.

    The American South represented a worst case scenario in some cases because it inherited the Anglo-Saxon tradition of slaves as chattel, in its worst cases not unlike Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

    By the Civil War, as I noted, some “slaves” were independent businessmen, typically craftsmen, whose only tie to their “owner” was payment of a fee annually, not unlike their tenant farmer neighbors who were white and not called slaves.

    If you goal is to present an ill-informed buffoon with an axe to grind, continue.

  • Let me approach your question from a different but valid perspective:

    “For I was…a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35). Even today, too many people still regard GLBTQI folks as “strangers”. We simply cannot comprehend — to the point of denial — how a woman can be romantically, physically, sexually, and emotionally attracted to another woman, or a man to another man, or a person changing his/her sex, etc. Even the Bible condemns homosexuality, so we’re told. A homosexual, it is said, is nothing more than a heterosexual who has decided to defy God our Creator by violating Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9; and 1 Tim 1:10.

    If I were a black slave in America, I’d likely see your scriptural quote as moral justification to escape to freedom. Yet, oddly enough, too many black folks — scriptural support for slavery notwithstanding — oppose freedom for gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities by pointing to Old Testament and Pauline writings cited above. Never mind that nowhere does Jesus address same-sex attraction or marriage in his ministry. Never mind that Jesus approves of a master “beating” or even “severely beating” disobedient slaves (if a master has the right to inflict corporal punishment on slaves, it means he has the right to own them and control their destiny)

    I see a double standard applied by many black Christian ministers who forcefully fought segregation and prejudice for their own people but who, nonetheless, cite any scriptural passage EXCEPT Jesus’ own teaching to condemn same-sex attraction/orientation. Never mind that Jesus’ life and teaching far surpass all other Judeo-Christian doctrine.

    Jesus identified with the “stranger”, but too many Christians, black and white, sure don’t apply his example in their behavior toward our LGBTQI brothers and sisters.

    Another term for “double standard” is ‘hypocrite’. Some folks just can’t escape the temptation to hold other folks in contempt: [EDIT] White over Black, Black over LGBTQI; “Orthodox” Catholics over Everyone Else; “Patriotic” Americans over Everybody Else.

  • “In particular it used by dissident Catholics to argue that the Catholic Church changes its teachings, which is impossible if its teachings are to be believed.”

    “Teachings” can deal with faith or morals. Unfortunately, a relatively few Catholics — like Bunker Bob — conflate doctrine, i.e., “teachings”, with disciplinary pronouncements. They also *believe* (wrongly) that all papal pronouncements (at least those they like) are infallible, i.e., the phenomenon known as “creeping infallibility” promoted by JPII and his CDF prefect. Most church doctrine is not infallible.

    The Church of Rome has even changed some of its moral teachings. See, for example, https://www.amazon.com/Church-That-Can-Cannot-Change/dp/0268036039/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537398417&sr=8-1&keywords=a+church+that+can+and+cannot+change%2C+john+noonan.

  • They didn’t get the message that discrimination against minorities is wrong, apparently. Stop lynching gay and trans people, already.

  • nope. Jesus agreed with everything Paul would teach when he commissioned Paul to begin the Gentile Church, after teaching Paul for 3 years in Arabia
    ” For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11
    As I said, your fight is with Christ

  • Didn’t Christ say something about, “Look to the beam in your own eye before the splinter in another’s”?

    You have no business demonizing LGBTQ+ people. You are just here for the attention.

  • Didn’t Christ say something about, “Love your neighbor”?

    Your homophobia is an affront to humanity.

  • No one should ever have to read another one of your homophobic, transphobic comments ever again.

    Maybe one of these days, RNS will actually moderate their forum.

  • Nice job making a point and then undermining it in one go. Well done, Bobby.

    You didn’t address my other point at all, of course. But what else should I expect from you?

  • You made the assertion that “God condemned the behaviour because they displease Him.”

    Now follow through.

  • How do we know that “Jesus agreed with everything that Paul would teach”? Jesus acknowledged important roles for women among his followers. On the other hand, Paul tells us, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says” (1 Cor 14:34) and “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet” (1 Tim 2:12).

    (maybe Jesus changed his mind???)

  • And what else would anyone expect from you but a tapdance and a bluff?

    If you’re going to babble about slavery, you ought to learn what it is and what is over the centuries.

  • So both Jesus and the Bible was OK with slavery lite. OK, Bobby, I’ll concede that.

    Nothing in the “moral code” that Jesus dictated said anything about homosexuality. Nothing he said implied anything was wrong with it. At all. Same for prostitution, masturbation, fornication, and any number of sexual sins that modern Christians are so preoccupied with. In fact, Jesus spent a decent amount of time hanging out with at least one prostitute.

  • See above “The church emerges as an opposition force.” The author names “The Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical League and the Methodist Church of Cuba, among other Christian churches” but not the Catholic Church. This website, like all of the U.S. media, won’t tell its readers, for example, that as recently as May 24, Pope Francis said that men with “deeply rooted” homosexual tendencies, or who “practice homosexual acts,” shouldn’t be allowed into the seminary. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/05/24/pope-doesnt-want-practicing-gays-in-seminaries-reports-say/ To do so would be to admit they have given us dishonest reporting on Pope Francis’ anti-gay positions for the past five and half years.

  • Funny, I read frequently what you claim no one will report.

    Anyone who does not “get” that whatever else he’s done, this Pontiff has not reversed the Church’s position on the intrinsic immorality of same sex physical congress or reconsidered the centuries old ban on ordaining homosexuals has her or his head under a rock.

  • So there is no moral objection to forms of indenture that might be called “slavery”.

    The moral objection is to exploitation, treating people like chattel, and not loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

    To appreciate where your spin is off, let’s rephrase it thusly:

    “Nothing in the ‘moral code’ that Jesus dictated said anything about fornication. Nothing he said implied anything was wrong with it. At all. Same for prostitution, masturbation, homosexuality, and any number of sexual sins.”

    Right.

    He said he was not here to change the Law but to fulfill it.

    The moral laws, which are also written in the hearts of the gentiles, were not changed one whit.

    “In fact, Jesus spent a decent amount of time hanging out with at least one prostitute.”

    Former prostitute.

    The only examples we find of him talking to sinners involve preaching repentance from their sins.

  • You will find that Latin Americans have a much different relationship with Cuba than the US. Things are moving slowly, but the Cuban universe is bending towards freedom.

  • “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person” Matt. 15:19

    As for the prostitute, Mary of Bethany — who was likely simply a promiscuous woman, as the scriptures treat both the same: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

    What were you saying, now?

  • Yes, thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union and harsh reality setting in that eating beats Marxist orthodoxy.

    China figured it out.

    Venezuela, one hopes, and Nicaragua will also come to their senses.

  • Deary, those of us who have been in this battle for the long haul have developed tough skins when it comes to the barbs of folks with your beliefs. We mostly live and let live unless your opinions become a threat of injuring our rights and humanity through some sort of legislation. Mainly because we know that you lot is dying out. Rest in peace. Head home to Bejesus!

  • Actually they refer to it as a paraphilia; a condition characterized by abnormal sexual desires, typically involving extreme or dangerous activities.

  • Why would a loving God threaten the object of its love, its creation? That’s manipulation, not unconditional love.

  • I wasn’t aware that God “threaten[s] people with Hell” if they do not please God. Luke 15 tells us it is God who initiates finding sinners and reconciling them with God who imposes no conditions for forgiveness. Matthew 18:21-22 tells us that God expects us to forgive sinners without limit. Since God instructs us to forgive without expression of repentance, will God not do the same? The prodigal son does not express genuine forgiveness; he is gripped by FEAR and tries to deliver his previously practiced spiel. His father, however, ignores him to order preparation of a feast.

    You’re evading my challenges to your assertions.

  • The Koine Greek comes nowhere close to such a misconstruction. That’s the problem with a paraphrase, you get farther and farther from the original, until no one remembers what it actually said.

  • There is certainly a subset of Catholics — aka, “traditionalists/orthodox” — who are *blind* to Jesus’ preference for mercy over religious ritual. They are the folks who condemn efforts by the current pope to focus on mercy rather than canon law. His Enemance Raymond Cardinal Burke comes to mind. “In the course of his teaching [Jesus] said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation'” (Mark 12:38-40). The word ‘orthotoxy’ describes such Catholics’ fixation on law and ritual over mercy and forgiveness.

  • It’s uncanny how Bob attempts to divert folks from the current conversation to label his interlocutor as anti-Catholic and a poster of comments in some other online source, rather than actually dealing with that person’s actual comments. He always pretends to understand logic and its fallacies, and yet the fallacies of logic are his main fallback tactic.

  • I’m pretty sure that even in the work camps the Evangelical Christians viewed themselves as the righteous oppressed, as opposed to all those actual sinners around them.

  • I’m sure that’s what the local good ole boys rehearsed in their minds every time they got together and dressed up in their club uniform of white sheets and hoods!

  • “Slavery, per se, is not immoral.”

    “Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature ‘incapable of being ordered’ to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed ‘intrinsically evil’ (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that ‘there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object’.131 The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: ‘Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, SLAVERY, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat laborers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator 132” (caps for emphasis).

    Footnotes:

    131. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (December 2, 1984), 17: AAS 77 (1985), 221; cf. Paul VI, Address to Members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, (September 1967): AAS 59 (1967), 962: “Far be it from Christians to be led to embrace another opinion, as if the Council taught that nowadays some things are permitted which the Church had previously declared intrinsically evil. Who does not see in this the rise of a depraved moral relativism, one that clearly endangers the Church’s entire doctrinal heritage?”

    132. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 27.

    Terminology:

    “EVIL: The opposite or absence of good. One form of evil, physical evil, is a result of the ‘state of journeying’ toward its ultimate perfection in which God created the world, involving the existence of the less perfect alongside the more perfect, the constructive and the destructive forces of nature, the appearance and disappearance of certain beings (310). Moral evil, however, results from the free choice to sin which angels and men have; it is permitted by God, who knows how to derive good from it, in order to respect the freedom of his creatures (311). The entire revelation of God’s goodness in Christ is a response to the existence of evil (309, 385, 1707). The devil is called the Evil One. See Devil/Demon” ((CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, USCCB online text, glossary).

    “MORALITY: Referring to the goodness or evil of human acts. Human freedom makes a person a “moral subject” or agent, able to judge the morality (goodness or evil) of the acts which are chosen. The morality of human acts depends on the object (or nature) of the action, the intention or end foreseen, and the circumstances of the action (1749; cf. 407) (Ditto).

    “SIN: An offense against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the eternal law of God. In judging the gravity of sin, it is customary to distinguish between mortal and venial sins (1849, 1853, 1854)” (Ditto).

    And I was of the impression that Bunker Bob embraced official Catholic moral doctrine!!!

  • “Christ won’t contradict Himself.”

    Fully agree. He never contradicted himself on slavery. He never contradicted himself on the priority of mercy over religious ritual/obligation. He never contradicted himself on the important role of women in his ministry.

  • “[My] comment was directed to the article – it is about people choosing Hell.”

    Odd, there’s no such language in the article.

  • Interestingly, your observation about hell is very much like that of JPII although he was addressing the afterlife. He spoke of hell as a “state of being”. If I recall, JPII observed that we make our own hells. In light of your comment, I would simply add that minorities often live in hell because of the efforts of so-called Krishtuns to make others’ lives living hells.

  • Bishop John England of Charleston, SC ” [asserted] that the Catholic Church had always accepted domestic slavery; it was ‘not incompatible with the natural law’; and, when title to a slave was justly acquired, it was lawful ‘in the eye of Heaven'” (John T. Noonan, Jr., A CHURCH THAT CAN AND CANNOT CHANGE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF CATHOLIC MORAL TEACHING, p. 108).

    “In 1843, in his treatise on moral theology, Francis P. Kenrick defended the institution of slavery in the United States, going so far as to argue that any defect in title to slaves in this country was cured by prescription: the passage of time made it too late to challenge the owner’s assertion of ownership…His ‘Theologia moralis’, written in Latin and evidently designed to educate seminarians, was the first textbook on Catholic moral theology produced in the United States; he was bishop of Philadelphia when it appeared…[He became archbishop of Baltimore in 1851], and he presided as apostolic delegate at the First Plenary Council of the bishops of the United States in 1852. His views were those of his colleagues and of the Roman authorities. The trade out of Africa was one thing; slavery as an institution was quite another” (Noonan, pp. 108-109).

  • You’re making distinctions without any fundamental difference re: slavery. As Judge/Professor Noonan has pointed out, slavery is the ownership of one human being by another human being who controls the slave’s present and future. Slavery IS NOT “equivocal”. Pure BS.

  • “The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners’ (Luke 5:30-32).

    An excellent article is “Tax Collectors and Sinners” at http://www.crivoice.org/tax.html. (NOTE: The author lumps gays and lesbians with sinners, a point with which I disagree, but I think the article reinforces your points.)

  • Francis has not prohibited gay men from pursuing ordination if they meet the conditions laid down by Rome previously. Vatican policy is fairly clear in that gays who engage in sex or are likely to do so should not be admitted to seminaries. This concern is really no different from expectations applied to straight men in light of the celibacy requirement. A male should not be denied ministerial ordination because of his same-sex orientation if he can reasonably be expected to remain celibate and otherwise faithful in his service to the church.

  • Lordy, yes. I suspect their obsession with sex may be related to their need to focus on other people’s lives because they have no lives of their own. For them, FEAR rules. Sad.

  • My mistake for not being clearer. I should have said the U.S. secular and liberal Catholic media. Although frequently? Give three American citations.

  • I never claimed it was a translation.

    I wrote:

    “(If) Ephesians 6:5-7 (were) written to an audience today (it) would read ….”.

  • Ah, so you agree that Jesus didn’t say anything to condemn those issues, but you sidestep it because you can cherry pick things that were said in the Bible before that. Nice dancing there, Bobby.

  • There is no need to “cherry pick”.

    There was essential unanimity on the moral code between first century Jews and Christians.

    All the Christians left behind were the cultic laws.

    Sodomy, fornication, prostitution, incest, murder, theft, extortion, and on and on were all accepted as immoral.

    Where the tapdancing and cherry picking occurs is in the modern era by aficionados of the Friendly Atheist, Godless Mom, Progressive Secular Humanist, and other places where the anit-religionists hang out, and share the stories of anti-religion amongst themselves, and chortle, and wiggle their fingers, and giggle.

    Where they run into problems is when they show up somewhere and try that with people who know what they’re talking about.

    Just as you have.

  • If they don’t follow what is best for them, as prescribed by the one who made them, they reject Him and choose Hell.

  • Yes, God does love us unconditionally, i.e., “no strings attached”. The word ‘Gospel’ means “good news”, not “good news if”. One cannot love whom one FEARs. Love and FEAR are incompatible, like trying to mix oil and water. God wants our love, not our FEAR.

  • One who is “lost” cannot — strictly speaking — choose anything. FEAR rules out true choice. Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17). The name *Jesus* means “God saves”, not “God saves if”. Jesus instructs Peter (and, by extension, each of us) to initiate unlimited forgiveness. What God in the Son tells us to do, God will also do. God is not hypocritical, i.e., Do as I say, not as I do.

  • Excellent. Perhaps you are going to tell us whose beloved sex partner Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter was? Oddly enough no one has been able to clear this up yet.

  • “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance” (Luke 15:4-7).

    To be “lost” is to be “lost in sin”. One who is “lost” cannot find his way out of the wilderness of sin. It requires the intervention of a rescuer, a Savior. “Jesus” = “God saves”, not “God saves if”. Repentance cannot occur until the sinner has been found and restored to life (Luke 15:32). Repentance follows divine reconciliation.

    “For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:32-36).

    Love has been defined as extending oneself (or expending one’s effort) to help “the other” without expectation of anything in return. God’s love, revealed by Jesus, is perfect and, thus, without condition. One cannot love whom one FEARs. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19). “For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).

    Your quote from Malachi is interesting because it juxtaposes *love* with *hate*. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Divine love is not indifferent to the human condition; the Incarnation is ample proof of this truth. Hate is temporary. Love endures.

    God’s love is unconditional.

  • GOD: “If you don’t love me, I’ll make your life Hell. Now love Me, dammit!” (growling divine command)

  • You’re welcome. Noonan’s treatment of church and slavery is very good. Cannot recommend it too much.

  • So it took you five days to find 2 U.S. secular media sources (CNN, Reuters)
    and 0 from the liberal Catholic media.

  • I actually posted it five days ago within minutes of your request.

    Take a fresh look at it:

    “Bob Arnzen Betty Clermont • 5 days ago”

    You need a new hobby.

  • And God’s justice is not only infinite, but also eternal. Hold the thought. Your arm’s too short to box with God…..

  • Me “boxing with God…”???

    No way. I’m relying on Judeo-Christian sacred scripture to support my “take” on matters.

  • Please complete the thought.

    Same-sex orientation is not a sin – but acting out sexually based on said orientation, which is intrinsically disordered spiritually, morally, and psychologically, IS a sin. In fact, such acting-out is a MORTAL sin.

  • Opposite-sex orientation is not a sin – but acting out sexually based on said orientation, which is intrinsically disordered spiritually, morally, and psychologically, IS a sin. In fact, such acting-out is a MORTAL sin.

    We apparently agree.

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