Why should straight people be opposed to gay rights?

I can’t understand why people who don’t identify as homosexual are so concerned with issues like same-sex marriage and gay adoption. These things directly affect my life, not theirs. They have allowed the ingenious, politically-motivated Karl Rove to convince them that gay marriage will somehow detrimentally affect their own unions. They’ve allowed the right-wing, Republican-minded con men at Focus On The Family to persuade them into believing gay parents only want to adopt children so that they can indoctrinate them into the homosexual lifestyle.

Often, while browsing other blogs on WordPress, I run across very hateful (even hurtful) articles written about the evils and detriments of allowing gay rights. I usually ignore them, figuring it would make no difference if I responded with a comment. This morning was different.

I ran across the blog of a mother with two children who seems to have made it her life-calling to point out every advancement of the “gay agenda”. She quoted discredited work by an obviously-biased psychologist as proof that gay parents are not only substandard to their heterosexual counterparts, but are actually dangerous to the development of children. I simply couldn’t resist responding to that one.

Many studies have proven the views of this doctor to be incorrect. One recent Canadian study found that gay parents are just as good as straight parents. In fact, they even found that some children of homosexuals excelled in certain areas.

This doctor is clearly going against the findings and viewpoints of most of the medical and mental health communities. These organizations include the Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.

The American Anthropological Association released the following statement in 2004:

The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

If conservatives are so worried about the welfare of children, then they need to adopt some of the thousands of unwanted kids that are languishing in orphanages and foster care in this country. They might also consider taking a hard look at the consequences of divorce on the lives of children, since millions upon millions of children are being reared by one parent or across split households.

It is fairly common for homosexual partners to adopt children that would never be placed in homes under normal circumstances. Many of these kids are considered problem children or are infected with HIV/AIDS. All they need is love, and the gender or sexuality of the person that provides that much-needed love shouldn’t matter.

I think that people have a misguided view that homosexuals are somehow trying to indoctrinate children into the gay lifestyle. That’s absurd. If my same-sex partner and I ever adopt a child, I would hope that he/she would grow up to be heterosexual, so they would never have to endure the intolerance and ignorance that runs so rampant in the world today.

I can’t help but wonder what drives this woman (and many others) to devote so much of their time to something that has no affect on their lives in the least. I think it goes far beyond religion.

Thankfully, I have plenty of open-minded straight people in my life who realize that we aren’t out to destroy anything. We simply want to partake of the same joys and love-affirming rituals that everyone else does. It’s a shame that the elements of life that are among the most treasured and celebrated by humans – marriage and child-bearing – are considered by some to be exclusive to heterosexuals.

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Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

50 thoughts on “Why should straight people be opposed to gay rights?”

  1. Actually, your comment was not deleted.
    It is still waiting for me to moderate :) No ones comment is allowed till I moderate it please dont think your getting “special treatment.
    As to me making this my lifes work, not really, you will notice if you take the time that many Christians are posting about the gay agenda :)

  2. As to having no effect on our lives…well when our children are indoctrinated in the public schools, to now think that something they are taugh at home or at their church is morally wrong is now right and morally acceptable…I have issue with that!

  3. @ ohchicken: I hope so, too. I’m doing what I can.

    @ Karin: I’m glad you didn’t delete it. I went back and noticed that it wasn’t there, read your policy on comments, and made an assumption. You know what they say about “assumptions”…

    Honestly, though, there does seem to be a real level of distaste that you have for homosexuals and it is hurtful. We all want the same things out of life. I go to church and believe in God, I love my family, and I love my partner. How that is threatening to anyone is beyond me.

    As for the school issue – public schools are publicly-funded. I pay taxes so that other people’s kids can get an education. I certainly don’t expect the schools to teach religious creed or intolerance. Homosexuality is a fact of life and ignoring that reality in the classroom isn’t helping anyone. I don’t believe a child can be indoctrinated into a homosexual lifestyle by learning about it. If that were the case, why would straight parents have gay children? However, a child can easily be indoctrinated with hate.

  4. Brian…

    Yes, assumptions, horrible thing aren’t they ;)

    Honestly, though, there does seem to be a real level of distaste that you have for homosexuals and it is hurtful. We all want the same things out of life. I go to church and believe in God, I love my family, and I love my partner. How that is threatening to anyone is beyond me.


    Distaste in the sense I do not agree with those out there that are shoving this garbage down kids throats that gay sex is ok, gay marriage is all right etc.
    Especially when these things are “morally” wrong and condemed by the Church (Catholic) .
    I do think that homosexuals just as single heterosexuals are called to live a chaste life.
    May I ask what Church you go to?

  5. As for the school issue – public schools are publicly-funded.
    Yes they are.

    I pay taxes so that other people’s kids can get an education.
    Just as I do. (my kids dont attend public school by the way)

    I certainly don’t expect the schools to teach religious creed or intolerance.
    And neither should they teach morality.

    Homosexuality is a fact of life and ignoring that reality in the classroom isn’t helping anyone.

    How about just teaching the basics, history, math, reading writing etc.
    Lets leave morals out of it and sex ed.

    I don’t believe a child can be indoctrinated into a homosexual lifestyle by learning about it.

    Neither do I. But I would not want my kids being taught something that is totally against their faith either. Which the current homosexual teaching that is done in public schools does do!

    However, a child can easily be indoctrinated with hate.

    True. But my kids are taught that homosexuals just as heterosexuals are to live a chaste life (how is that hateful?).

  6. @ Karin: I attend a United Church of Christ. I understand that your church teaches that homosexuality is a terrible sin and I respect that as an important part of your belief system. But, I must ask if you allowed the Church to dictate that belief to you or if you came to the conclusion on your own? I’m sure that there are many Catholics who do not agree with the official stance of the Vatican on homosexuality.

    Religion has been used to oppress many different groups of people over the years, but common sense has always triumphed in the end and the Church has always realized the error of it’s ways. I believe the same will happen with this issue.

  7. True. But my kids are taught that homosexuals just as heterosexuals are to live a chaste life (how is that hateful?).

    Many parents in this country are teaching intolerance. They are also teaching that homosexuals are somehow less than their counterparts through religious teachings and legislation. That dehumanization of gays and lesbians is the first step towards hatred. Of all of the hate crimes perpetrated against homosexuals in this country, I’d say you’d be hard-pressed to find many that aren’t the result of a religious belief.

  8. I attend a United Church of Christ. I understand that your church teaches that homosexuality is a terrible sin and I respect that as an important part of your belief system. But, I must ask if you allowed the Church to dictate that belief to you or if you came to the conclusion on your own? I’m sure that there are many Catholics who do not agree with the official stance of the Vatican on homosexuality.

    Brian I am not familiar wih the UCC, is it a sect of the Protestant church?
    Actually the Church teaches that the homosexual “ACTS” are the sin. If you never act on the attraction youre not sinning
    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition

    2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices

    Actually I came to the conclusion on my own.


    Religion has been used to oppress many different groups of people over the years, but common sense has always triumphed in the end and the Church has always realized the error of it’s ways. I believe the same will happen with this issue.


    Well dont hold your breath waiting for it (the Churchs views to change)…sorry but if that ever changed (which I hihly doubt it will) then the Church would have to change their views on more than just homosexual acts.
    CCC 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved

  9. Many parents in this country are teaching intolerance. They are also teaching that homosexuals are somehow less than their counterparts through religious teachings and legislation. That dehumanization of gays and lesbians is the first step towards hatred. Of all of the hate crimes perpetrated against homosexuals in this country, I’d say you’d be hard-pressed to find many that aren’t the result of a religious belief.


    Brian…
    to tolerate something is to respect it, I dont respect homosexual acts.
    The Church teaches the following…

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition

    what is wrong with that???

  10. @ Karin: I honestly believe that the Church’s official stance on this issue will evolve. In fact, their stance on the non-practicing homosexual already signifies a dramatic shift. They have also changed their position on creationism/evolution over the years.

    In the mid-1970s, the Catholic Church recognized the difference between being homosexual and engaging in homogenital (same-sex) acts. The Catholic Church holds that, as a state beyond a person’s choice, being homosexual is not wrong or sinful in itself. But just as it is objectively wrong for unmarried heterosexuals to engage in sex, so too are homosexual acts considered to be wrong.

    The Church also teaches understanding and compassion toward gay and lesbian people. In their 1976 statement, To Live in Christ Jesus, the American bishops wrote, “Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship, and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community.… The Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care.” In 1990, the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops repeated this teaching in their instruction, Human Sexuality.

    In 1997, the U.S. Catholic Bishops released a Pastoral Letter entitled Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, directed to the parents of gay and lesbian Catholics. In this document, the bishops briefly addressed lesbians and gay men, saying, “In you God’s love is revealed.” The letter also encouraged families to remain connected when a member revealed his or her homosexuality, and called for the establishment of ministries sensitive to the needs of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.

  11. So Brian how is current church teaching intolerant towards homosexuals?

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition

  12. @ Karin: I believe there is a great difference between tolerance and respect. I tolerate many people that I have no respect for. This is the Christ-like manner for dealing with the shortcomings of others – I try not to cast the first stone, so to speak.

    The Church’s view on homosexuality is definitely light-years ahead of where it was a mere 50 years ago, but I believe that it still has a long way to go. Until they accept the scientific view that homosexuals aren’t flawed, and they realize that God doesn’t make mistakes, they have some significant progress to make.

  13. Also did you read the Preface to Letter from the Bishops?

    The purpose of this pastoral message is to reach out to parents trying to cope with the discovery of homosexuality in their adolescent or adult child. It urges families to draw upon the reservoirs of faith, hope, and love as they face uncharted futures. It asks them to recognize that the Church offers enormous spiritual resources to strengthen and support them at this moment in their family’s life and in the days to come.

    This message draws upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the teachings of Pope John Paul II, and statements of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of our own conference. This message is not a treatise on homosexuality. It is not a systematic presentation of the Church’s moral teaching. It does not break any new ground theologically. Rather, relying on the Church’s teaching, as well as our own pastoral experience, we intend to speak words of faith, hope, and love to parents who need the Church’s loving presence at a time that may be one of the most challenging in their lives. We also hope this message will be helpful to priests and pastoral ministers who often are the first ones parents or their children approach with their struggles and anxieties.

    In recent years we have tried to reach out to families in difficult circumstances. Our initiatives took the form of short statements, like this one, addressed to people who thought they were beyond the Church’s circle of care. Always Our Children follows in the same tradition.

    This message is not intended for advocacy purposes or to serve a particular agenda. It is not to be understood as an endorsement of what some call a “homosexual lifestyle.” Always Our Children is an outstretched hand of the bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family to parents and other family members, offering them a fresh look at the grace present in family life and the unfailing mercy of Christ our Lord.

  14. @ Karin: The following lines from the Church’s statement are quite moving, but I fear that most aren’t putting them to practice:

    They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

  15. Brian.

    You and I may have to respectfully agree to disagree on this one.
    I do not think that the church will change its views on homosexual acts or homosexuals.

    So you have no issue with this from the church teaching…
    ” They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. ” ?

  16. @ Karin:

    No. I have no issue with that statement in particular. In fact, it seems to have a rather gracious spirit. I wish that more people were willing to follow that commandment.

    Thank you for a very interesting and civil conversation. I will remember you in the future when I feel the need to rant about organized religion, and I hope that you will remember me when you write about the “gay agenda.” :D

    Peace and love in Christ.

    (and I think you have to cut-and-paste, unfortunately)

  17. Brian,

    Thanks for responding to my invitation. Please know that, as far as you’re interested, your comments are always welcome.

    Your brother in Christ,
    W.H.

  18. Thanks for this post. I’ve often wondered the same thing – why would people be against giving other people equal rights? I simply seems uncaring and uneducated and unamerican of them. I look back on the way many people acted during desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s, and can only imagine that anti-gay Americans will only end up feeling the same embarrassment in the future for their present stance.

    As far as the church is concerned, I’ll return to the good old question, what would Jesus do? He would accept and love everyone for who they are. That’s easy enough.

  19. I think it’s absurd that heterosexuals are allowed to follow through on natural sexual impulses within the confines of marriage, yet homosexuals, according to the Catholic church, are supposed to live their entire lives without ever experiencing sex because “it’s their calling”.

    That is sad and frightening and, like I said, absurd. So, yes, I think that asking someone to live a chaste life but not giving them any approved outlet to choose otherwise is hateful. You end up encouraging people to become humanists (whose goal is to make a good life for all humans) and leave the church, rather than encouraging people to experience organized religion.

    What is this, Karin, about public schools not teaching morality? Of course forget about respect for your elders, table manners, playground etiquette, bathroom hygiene, how to express your opinions respectfully in a classroom, receprocity, avoiding gossip, not cheating on tests. . . Do you want public schools to be run in such a way that morality is left out of the picture?

  20. @ Wei: Thank you for giving me the link and for commenting here!

    @ seaswell: I think that’s exactly what Jesus would have done. It’s amazing how much emphasis the collective church puts on homosexuality, considering that Christ never mentioned it in recorded scripture. Christianity is centered around the teachings of Christ, after all.

    @ fightingwindmills: Good points all around. As a former teacher, I’m sure you understand more than most of us how important it is for schools to instill appropriate manners and morals in children.

  21. Very, Very good conversation.Pitty about the Bible thumpers.I sometimes wonder if they have ever read their beloved book. I’m gay and jesus loves me no matter what the biggots think. In the end “I pray for their wretched souls”..

  22. Brian,

    I happened upon your blog on the WordPress main page, and just had a simple thought to offer.

    I can understand people who are wrestling with Scriptural guidance on the matter of homosexuality as to what they meant in context and what they can mean for us today, and I’ve had wonderful lively discussions about those Scriptures and how sexuality is handled in the Bible as a whole.

    But what I struggle to understand (and don’t think I will) is the argument (represented in various ways) that straight people should leave gay people alone to make their own choices. In short, how we use our penis or vagina is none of anyone else’s business. I have serious problems with this sort of argument, because it flies in the face of Scripture and of reality in general. Quote literally, none of us ever commits any act or experiences any thought outside of the context of relationship with others; every action inspires a reaction. Persons may not be in the bedroom watching a couple, and persons aren’t inside my head listening to my thoughts as I go about my day, but to suggest those can be isolated and privatized is ludicrous.

    I’m rambling here, but my basic point is that the way I live my life consistently sends out a message to the world about what I value and desire in life, and to be frank with you, homosexuality is not something I consider a virtue or even healthy on a deeper level, and that’s something I will convey to my children (if my wife and I have any). And there’s solid Biblical reasons for this sort of perspective on the depth of sexuality that go beyond verses in Leviticus to speak of the mystical union that takes place in sexual relationship, and what union God honors and holds up as an example for humans to follow hard after, no matter how hard it is to do so.

    And I cannot hold up this perspective as a deep value that goes to the core of who we are, and turn a blind eye to someone else’s sexual expression, because it’s not their prerogative (nor mine) to do what they want with their bodies. I think a huge problem Christians carry that is a deeeeeeeep hypocrisy is ranting and raving about homosexuality while they go about in serial heterosexual relationships like pre- or extra-marital relationships and divorce. One’s arguments against homosexuality as twisted sexuality then tend to fall on deaf ears, including mine.

    I see where you’re coming from (I think). I just can’t buy into this privatized, individualized approach to sexuality. It speaks much more about our hyper-individual society than a commitment to being a part of God’s people first, second, third, and fourth before asserting individuality.

  23. And be careful in making sweeping comments like this;

    “She quoted discredited work by an obviously-biased psychologist as proof that gay parents are not only substandard to their heterosexual counterparts, but are actually dangerous to the development of children.”

    While this psychologist may have represented an obvious bias in their work, it’s equally clear that the American Anthropological Association and other researchers carry bias in their work as well. There’s no such thing as an objectively true study, especially when it’s sociological study.

    And Seaswell made the comment following

    As far as the church is concerned, I’ll return to the good old question, what would Jesus do? He would accept and love everyone for who they are. That’s easy enough.

    Not so fast. I’d encourage you to read the story of Jesus all the way through…the pop understanding of Jesus emphasizes his radical acceptance and grace, and that is true, but he also maintained high accountability and spoke extremely harshly to persons who represented an agenda that twisted healthy and faithful human life. He didn’t accept a lot of people, though he did deeply love them…and that love meant a high accountability for them as well as radical grace.

  24. For the sake of clarification, by “didn’t accept a lot of people,” I wasn’t meaning “didn’t invest his life in them” or “didn’t spend time listening and interacting with them,” because he definitely did. By “didn’t accept a lot of people,” I meant “didn’t welcome them into the Kingdom without qualification.”

  25. They should be against this fenomena because it’s written in their nature; they’re naturally driven to this kind of behavior , while the others …. I’m sorry for them … but they are denaturated.

  26. @ Jimmy Lightfoot: Jesus does love you, indeed. Thanks for your comment.

    @ greatwhitehype27: I agree that every action in our lives has a reaction. I just don’t think the reaction to every gay coupling should be negative. It’s unfounded.

    Also, your following statement troubles me:
    and to be frank with you, homosexuality is not something I consider a virtue or even healthy on a deeper level, and that’s something I will convey to my children (if my wife and I have any).

    I’ve never proclaimed my sexuality to be a virtue. It is what it is. However, I can’t understand why anyone would bother teaching their children that homosexuality is unhealthy. That isn’t going to prevent that child from being gay, but it will prevent him from confiding in his parents later on out of fear of repercussion.

    I grew up hearing about the horrors of homosexuality in church, and was told that gays go to the lowest level of hell. My mom always referred to them as “funny”, since she couldn’t even bring herself to use the word “gay”. None of these things stopped my longings and sexual development. All they accomplished was making me a very depressed, self-hating, and suicidal young person. Surely no one would want such a scenario for their own child.

    @ valydorneanu: I’d think that someone who could use a big ole word like “denaturated” would realize that “fenomena” should be spelled “phenomena”. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Hello, Brian. I have very much enjoyed this post and the ensuing debate. I feel compelled to defend my faith as a follower of Christ after seeing the potential damage Karin has wrought. I, too, have read many blogs, posted by purported Christians, the focus of which seems to be the unmitigated censure of a human element of society that somehow offends them by merely existing. I have to say it embarrasses me deeply to be associated with such a vituperative bunch, if in name only.

    Honestly, I can’t imagine why a heterosexual person would need to have ANY opinion on gay marriage or gay parenting. That would be like me having some sort of fierce opinion on what color my neighbor paints his bathroom – I can’t bother getting all riled up about something which has so little effect on me.

    Furthermore, Karin’s stance that she does not wish for her children to encounter anything in the secular world that contradicts her belief system is naive and dangerous. Children should be learning to think critically, to evaluate contrasting paradigms, and determine which one is the most suitable. Her fear that they will be confused by the “morality” taught in public schools demonstrates a lack of faith both in her childrens’ intelligence, and in the ability of her belief system to clearly delineate right from wrong. Her frequent (and presumably indignant) use of the word “indoctrination” is especially amusing to me, since she obviously does desire her children to be heavily indoctrinated. It’s also interesting to me that she quotes a Catechism manual instead of actual scripture, as though it is the final word on what we as Christians may comfortably accept.

    Her remark that “to tolerate something is to respect it” is quite a leap in logic, if you ask me. It might be argued that to tolerate something is merely to refrain from heaping your steaming contempt upon it.

    I am delighted to read that you have found a church home where you are treated with love and dignity. After all, Christ gave us only two commandments: 1.)Love God, and 2.) Love one another. He neglected to mention anything about our sexual practices. Rather apolitical fellow, that
    Jesus.

    Peace,
    Milly

  28. Brian,

    In response to your suggestion, “I just don’t think the reaction to every gay coupling should be negative. It’s unfounded,” I’d respond by saying, “Depending on your paradigm, it’s extremely well-founded.” I think I have a fairly full and grounded understanding of Scripture as well as a set of tools that seem to help me lessen interpreting Scripture through my own sets of understanding alone. And it is this approach that has led me to the conclusion that God’s intention for the healthy display of sexual partnership for life is in covenantal heterosexual marriage. So, if the primary paradigm for me relativizes individual and cultural reflections on subjects to Scripture as God’s revealed Word (to be wrestled with and interpreted), then every reaction to gay coupling (in my perspective) should be negative.

    You also said;
    “I’ve never proclaimed my sexuality to be a virtue. It is what it is. However, I can’t understand why anyone would bother teaching their children that homosexuality is unhealthy. That isn’t going to prevent that child from being gay, but it will prevent him from confiding in his parents later on out of fear of repercussion.”

    This sort of approach, again, mystifies me. Why wouldn’t we want to set an example for our kids (in words and action) of healthy, faithful relationship? Especially when faithful sexuality goes to the very core of who we are, and sexual union is a manifestation of that? So if we have an understanding that some approaches are unhealthy and others healthy, for the well-being of our children, we are obligated to guide them, or we’re selling them short.

    It should be said that when I’m talking about “teaching” my children, I’m not talking about running some sort of interference where I’m deathly afraid of what they might become, so I create a learning environment of mindless indoctrination that is extremely restrictive. I resonate deeply with the thought of Millyonair above that “Children should be learning to think critically, to evaluate contrasting paradigms, and determine which one is the most suitable.” To suggest that parents shouldn’t carry a deep formative responsibility in this process is unhealthy and stunts the child’s maturation and growth. Education “in reaction against” benefits no-one over the long-term. Education “in consideration of, while holding up the virtues of what one considers ‘healthy’ and ‘best'” is not to be faulted, but embraced.

    Where I depart from Millyonaire is the suggestion that Karin’s deep concern that her children will be “confused by the “morality” taught in public schools demonstrates a lack of faith both in her childrens’ intelligence, and in the ability of her belief system to clearly delineate right from wrong.” I’ve been educated in the public education system, and to believe there isn’t a prevailing paradigm indoctrinating students is foolish and naive. I would still choose to send my children to public schools, but passing off the shaping of the children on schools alone is deeply dangerous for Christians. This expresses itself in multiple ways outside of this specific issue. To put it quite simply, children don’ t have a mind to make up before they’ve been given boundaries to guide their reflections and lifestyle. Public and parental education both have a role to play; I’d suggest the parental on a deeper basis. My parents and I didn’t have a lot of conversations about this, but they did “teach” me through their example what healthy relationship looks like, and they “taught” me through words to maintain a healthy skepticism when teachers claim something is true.

    I LOVE Millyonaire’s comment that “Her remark that “to tolerate something is to respect it” is quite a leap in logic, if you ask me. It might be argued that to tolerate something is merely to refrain from heaping your steaming contempt upon it.” Very wise, I think.

    It was followed by a troubling remark, that
    “After all, Christ gave us only two commandments: 1.)Love God, and 2.) Love one another. He neglected to mention anything about our sexual practices. Rather apolitical fellow, that Jesus.”

    Actually, Jesus said “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Matthew 22:40) so these weren’t specifically Jesus’ commandments. He just welcomed them as summary statements. Matthew 5-7 (what we traditionally refer to as the Sermon on the Mount) is a series of commandments. In this case, though, “love” is a word deeply in need of content and definition, and when it comes to the sexual practices aspect of that love, Jesus in fact was not silent on the matter. He said in a deeply meaningful teaching on this subject, and I quote,

    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

  29. @ greatwhitehype27: Your viewpoints are well-founded if you truly believe that homosexuality is against scripture. I don’t.

    You are correct that you have a responsibility to guide your children. However, you specifically refer to homosexuality as “unhealthy”. That is something that I couldn’t disagree with more.

    Sure, the levels of HIV are higher among gay men, and alcohol/drug abuse is higher, but I believe those are symptoms of the treatment of homosexuality by society. When you drive people out of churches and into the darkness and teach them that they are less than their heterosexual counterparts, those are the unfortunate consequences. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid sexual and drug addiction, but have suffered many years of depression and anxiety – most of which was rooted in my own inability to accept the fate that I was dealt in life.

    If we were taught that homosexuality is equal with heterosexuality, and if society fostered monogamous, loving relationships between gay couples, it would be easy to imagine that many of the “unhealthy” aspects of the homosexual lifestyle would vanish.

    Also, you mention Jesus’ example about male/female relationships. That is understandable, since that is the “norm”. The Creation Story would be absurd if it detailed a merger between two men, as they cannot reproduce and explain the population on Earth today.

    However, Jesus did not specifically address homosexuality in scripture. He did address divorce, offending children, and adultery many, many times. One would think that he might have mentioned a reality that is deemed so important by most of the Christian community at least once.

    If you are interested in another view of the verses that deal with homosexuality, please see the link in my blogroll entitled “The Bible and Homosexuality”. I’ve read many articles and books on this subject, but I’ve yet to find one that’s as easy to read and comprehend.

  30. @ irishof: Great comment. I especially agree with your following statement:

    Everyone in this country has a right to believe whatever religion they want (or non for that matter), but they don’t have the right to limit the exercise of my rights based on their beliefs.

  31. Brian,

    I, too, found your blog through link on the WordPress homepage today. Great post.

    IMHO, what is wrong with the opinions all of these people who oppose gays having the same rights as everyone else is that their religious viewpoints should have absolutely no influence on my civil rights under the Constitution. I don’t care if you believe in God, Confucius, Allah, Satan, Zeus, Thor, or even if you believe Paris Hilton is the second coming. Everyone in this country has a right to believe whatever religion they want (or non for that matter), but they don’t have the right to limit the exercise of my rights based on their beliefs.

    That’s where this phrase “gay rights” kind of pisses me off – we don’t want “gay” rights. We have the same civil rights as everyone else, and demanding to be treated equally under the law is not “gay” rights. Worse is the “special rights” crowd, as if who I love somehow make me want rights other people don’t have.

    It’s a great twisting of the truth employed by those who like to trot out the boogey man (sp?) of the day so they can raise more money. Sounds cynical, but every email I have seen that comes from these “family” organizations that decry the advance of the dignity of homosexual persons includes a plea for more money.

  32. I think that people who raise religious objections to these issues make two common mistakes: they assume that their religion provides the rules by which all people should live, and they assume that being gay is a choice that people make.

    All of this strife and contention could be avoided if they would realize that: everyone makes their own decisions regarding religious beliefs and there is no “one size fits all” religion, and that no one would choose to be gay if they really had an option.

    One remark of yours that has gone uncommented-on so far, but which I think really gets to the meat of the matter, is that “God doesn’t make mistakes” …

  33. @ Stephen: Those two assumptions do so much harm to millions of Americans. Thanks for pointing them out.

    @ fightingwindmills: Thanks for the link. Can’t wait to read about Ani!

  34. In regards to the remarks made by greatwhitehype27 about my previous comment, I have this to say: Of COURSE parents should be involved with educating their children and instilling in them the values cherished by their religious doctrine. I would be a fool to suggest that we should depend upon the public education system alone to enlighten our children about what is right or wrong. My position is neither pro- nor anti-gay, mostly because it’s none of my business, and it’s not an issue that impacts my life. I’m not entirely convinced that the whole “in the beginning He created them man and woman” argument is concrete evidence that Jesus frowned upon homosexuality. But whether or not He did is not, finally, the point. Doling out conviction, I might offer, is territory that belongs exclusively to the Holy Spirit, not to man. And Jesus DOES illustrate this point in Luke 6, when he talks about the plank in our eye. Whether or not the commandments to love God and love one another were “summary statements” or the final word on our Earthly conduct, I sort of feel like the whole reason for Jesus’ existence was to elucidate the importance of these commands. All this quibbling over minutiae is redolent of the Pharisees; it distracts us, divides us, and fails to demonstrate love.

    Peace,
    Milly

  35. @ millyonair: Again, excellent commentary.

    @ Wei Hsien: I think communication is usually a good thing – as long as both sides are respectful of one another. If a person (Christian or not) has a genuine concern about the behavior of one of their friends, I don’t see anything wrong with discussing that with them privately in a non-judgmental manner.

    I would feel much differently about the same situation between two people who aren’t close friends, though.

  36. If you all don’t mind, I’d like to shift the discussion a bit. We’ve been working with the principle that people ought to be free to do whatever they please, so long as they don’t hurt others. Following this assumption, I think Milly is quite right: what someone else does, gay or straight, is not my business, although I think it could impact my life in some way (say, if my brother is gay).

    But suppose that there’s more than this. Suppose that we human beings have a responsibility to genuinely care for each other, stranger or friend–because we are all connected somehow by the fabric of humanity. (I know I’m asking for a lot here, since that’s not the way society works generally; but indulge me if you can.) If I think that someone else is doing something that might hurt them on the long run (as many Christians do about homosexual relationships), do I have a responsibility to say something (not shout it out or write about it in the newspaper)–assuming that I genuinely care about this person? If I do, what are my limits, so that our relationship can continue after the conversation even if we disagreed? If not, would the lack of honesty prevent us from growing in friendship?

    W.H.

  37. Brian,

    Agreed. It seems to me that public discussions of moral issues are rarely (or never) between close friends and always turn impersonal and cold rather quickly. So often, we talk about moral issues such as homosexuality as though they were just philosophical riddles to be solved, as though there were no faces–brothers, sisters, children–involved, whose lives might be at stake.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    W.H.

  38. What is this, Karin, about public schools not teaching morality? Of course forget about respect for your elders, table manners, playground etiquette, bathroom hygiene, how to express your opinions respectfully in a classroom, receprocity, avoiding gossip, not cheating on tests. . . Do you want public schools to be run in such a way that morality is left out of the picture?

    Hmm…morality is left outta the picture in public schools.

  39. The concept of sexual orienation was not recognised or named in the ancient world. The ancients assumed that everyone was a member of the (unrecognised) heterosexual majority. The terms “heterosexal,” “homosexual,” and “bisexual” came into use in the late 19th century when researchers became aware that not everyone belonged to the majority group. Many persons have spent far too much time in Sunday school and not enough in the classroom, claiming that hosexuality is a sinful choice, expecting that religious beliefs will continues to be enshrined in secular law. Current enlightened opinion recognises that all sexual orientations are equal, and are in themselves morally neutral, being psychological states tha occur naturally in a small percentage of the population. The expectation that gay folk should refrain from sexual activity is plainly absurd. If marriage is the deciding factor, then society should allow same-sex couples to be married to meet that requirement.  BUT, are all the straights observing the marriage requirement? Not at all!Religious people, especially the institutional church, have always had problems when changes in science and society arethought to be in disagreement with religious belief. Such people have spent far too much time in Sunday school and not enough in the classroom The early astronomers were persecuted (sometimes burnt alive) for daring to say that the earth orbited the sun, rather than the reverse. Religious belief was used to support slavery as biblically authorised, to support the “divine right of kings” to rule the world, as God’s chosen, to oppose the theory of evolution, as well as the emancipation of women from the home into busines and the professions, education, government posts, and more recently, into the clergy. There has been a woman prime minister in the Uk (and elsewhere). Women now serve as Speaker of the House of Represenative, the President of Harvard University, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Other instances have included voting rights for blacks and for women.  Gay persons now serve in the clergy of several denominations (even as bishops in the Episcopal Church).The recent developments have not been without controversy and disappointment, but the changes are taking place at a pace most people could not have predicted 50 or 60 years ago. Such changes will continue in a land such as ours, where it is increasingly recognised that ALL PERSONS, regardless of skin color, gender or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights and opportunity in every respect!  

  40. I know that this conversation started years ago and hasn’t had a response in a long time but I was depressed so I was just looking at websites to try and feel better. I’m 18 and I recently came out to my parents who didn’t take it so well. My dad stopped speaking to me even though I still live in the house and my mom constantly tells me bible verses about how my being gay is wrong. The bible says that all sin is equal in the eyes of God. So I defend myself by pointing out that being anyone other than myself would be lying to the whole world which is billions of people and therefore billions of sins. Last I checked the bible only said gay sex is wrong, not a thing about gay love. I can understand that not everyone accepts gay as “normal” or “ok” but having your own parents hate you is hard. I almost killed myself a few times and being interrupted is probably the only reason I made it this far. In the last couple months since coming out I’ve found a very supportive group of people like me at my school, both male and female. To be honest I’m not sure what I’d do without them. All I do know is that as long as I have friends like them I can endure. This post and the following conversation have helped me see that even though people of various religions may disagree with who I am, they’re not all as bad as the hateful people I’m used to dealing with at school. Not sure if anyone will even see this but I hope somebody somewhere will see this and respond.

    Sincerely,
    D.

  41. Hi, Dan,

    Your comment is heartbreaking, but I am glad you posted. I don’t know if you checked out my coming out story (linked at the top of the page), but I experienced some of the things that you are going through. Coming out can be a very difficult process for anyone, but even more so when religion is involved.

    If I could give you any advice, it is to be gentle with yourself. Figure out for yourself what you believe is sin (it sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on that), and don’t allow others to influence you with their narrow-minded interpretation of scripture. I have found that evangelicals typically use the Bible as an excuse to be homophobic. The homophobia is already there, they just like to be able to validate their views with “God said…”

    I can recommend a couple of sites for you to peruse that deal with homosexuality from a religious context. You might find something there to use in conversation with your parents. It might take a long time, but they may eventually see things from a different perspective.

    For an in-depth analysis of the few verses in the Bible that supposedly refer to homosexuality, read this. This used to be available as a .pdf, but is now in print or on the Kindle.
    http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Christianity-Homosexuality-Justin-Cannon/dp/1438249616/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

    You might also enjoy reading the blog by Justin Lee, who is the head of the Gay Christian Network. He does some amazing work trying to create positive dialogue with the Christian community.
    http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/

    Good luck on your journey!

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