Why I’m Not Worried About Same-Sex Marriage (and You’re Not Either)

This post was originally part of My Obama Year project and posted in January of 2013. I’m reposting it here so you all don’t get bored while I’m gone.

In just a minute I’m going to talk about a “big” issue that I’ve got some questions about but first I’d like to talk to you about a friend of mine who I’ll call “Bob” because if you’re going to use fake names, why bother being too creative with them?

Bob hired me for a job where I worked for almost five years and he rates among the best bosses I’ve ever had. Bob is a considerate guy with a big heart who treated me to countless lunches because he knew I couldn’t afford to eat out when the rest of the office went. When my daughter was born six weeks early and didn’t tolerate the cheaper types of baby formula it was Bob who showed up with a grocery bag full of formula cans and told me that he and his lovely wife of five years, Linda (a pediatric nurse), wanted to make sure my new baby was taken care of. Bob and Linda are wonderful people. You’ll never meet finer.

Now is the point in the story where I admit that I’ve led you astray with one tiny little detail. Bob’s wife isn’t named Linda. He’s actually named Louis and even though they wear wedding rings and share a house, two dogs, and a pickup truck they’re not legally married because the state of Georgia doesn’t go in for that kind of thing. They can’t even get a civil union.

So here’s the big question: how would Bob and Louis being legally married change anything? Would matrimony suddenly stop them from being nice neighbors and good people? If the issue for Catholics and evangelical Christians is sex then is gay sex somehow more wrong when married people do it? I’ve heard all of the reasons to keep same sex marriage illegal for years but the my Obama Year gives me the freedom to take a step back and realize just as the President has that I just don’t believe them any more.

When I started this post I had originally written out a long list of detailed reasons why I really don’t worry any more about gay people getting married (and reasons I really don’t think you do either) but I’ve decided to simply put down the some of the big questions surrounding the issue so we can have a conversation about it in the comments section.

My questions are:

1. Does the US Government exist to enforce the views any specific religion? If so, should that religion try to make laws to enforce EVERY view a particular church holds?

2. Is marriage just a church thing? Would you still oppose same sex marriage if you were certain your church would never have to perform one if they didn’t want to?

3. If certain religious views are correct that gay sex is a sin, does having married gay sex make it more sinful?

4. If we want to save “traditional marriage” is it more important to prevent same-sex couples from getting married or encouraging the rest of the population to get married in the first place?

5. Why have I never received a newsletter from a Christian right-wing group about homelessness, child abuse, poverty, or racism but I have received several about the “attack” marriage? Why does this issue seem to trump so many others?

6. If God really was sitting in heaven just waiting for the big fat gay wedding line to be crossed before pouring out the fire and brimstone on nations then why are Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden not smoking craters by now?

7. Last and most important of all: can you explain to me how my friends Bob and Louis getting married will hurt you personally? Can you tell me where it hurts anybody at all?

Bonus Question: If you’re a conservative who feels they have really good answers for all of the above then can you tell me on a strictly pragmatic level what the upside is to the fight against same-sex marriage that is making conservatives look mean, petty, and stuck in the past? Is it worth the cost of turning off voters to your more important ideas to keep fighting about this one?

There are some things the left and right will perpetually fight over but I honestly don’t think this needs to be one of them. Can we take the time to do some radical listening? I think we can.

503 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Worried About Same-Sex Marriage (and You’re Not Either)”

  1. Completely agree. As long as the government doesn’t try to force churches to perform weddings, no one should even give it a second thought. Even if you disagree with it, is not hurting you. People need to move on and live their own lives.

    1. However, I think there will be some who WILL try to get a church to do their same-sex wedding, and will try to destroy that church (either by government or lawsuit or media smear campaign) when it refuses.

      Because just like Fundys, there are going to be self-righteous assholes among the LGBTQs who now that “We’ve won!” won’t be able to resist the urge to throw their weight around. (You see this dynamic with any group that has been on the bottom who find themselves on top.) I hope saner heads will rein in the “Here, Queer, and In-Your-Face!” types, but the way feelings have run so high on the subject, things are going to get sticky until everything dies down.

      And there is somewhat of a bandwagon effect — other “sexual minorities” (is that an actual term) will probably try to organize and lobby using the LGBTQ SCOTUS victory as a model. “You gave them Rights for their orientation — What About Ours?” I understand some polygs are already starting, and I’m pretty sure there’s a lunatic fringe among Zoos (bestiality) and Pedos who will try. Another reason things are probably going to get sticky for a while, then settle down.

      1. “However, I think there will be some who WILL try to get a church to do their same-sex wedding, and will try to destroy that church (either by government or lawsuit or media smear campaign) when it refuses.”

        I kinda doubt it. It would have happened by now. Gay marriage has been legal in places for years, and the Catholic church would be a huge target for that sort of thing if anyone were inclined.

        That said, I would wholly support some troublemakers attempting to hold a gay wedding at the Westboro Baptist Church.

        Making a religious practitioner perform a religious act that they object to is a Constitutional non-starter. It’s not like expecting a government employee to perform their civic function when they have related personal religious objections. (Would a religiously-motivated vegan be allowed to deny business permits to steak houses? Of course not. Nor should a clerk who objects to gay marriage be allowed to deny licenses to gay couples.)

        At most I think there may be cases about gay couples who wish to rent a church facility for a wedding, when that facility is being made available for use in weddings, but with the gay couple providing an officiant of their own – not demanding the anti-ssm church to perform the ceremony.

        This already happened at least once, in New Jersey. The church lost. (In that case I don’t think it was even the church, just a gazebo or something, which the church was leasing for weddings.)

        1. To me, this is a slippery slope. You start with a church leasing property on the wedding, and forcing the church to lease it to a gay couple, and it will get worse from there. I also understand that the slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, but I still believe the fallacy to be true in this instance.

        2. “I also understand that the slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, but I still believe the fallacy to be true in this instance.”

          Do you ever listen to yourself?

        3. That was I think a camp ground used and rented out by the Methodist Church for a multitude of purposes. That’s my recollection. So it might not be much of a precedent in law.

      2. ahhh…the slippery slope, just ahead.

        No court is going to have a lawsuit against a church telling them who to marry. That’s not a right.

        As far as some people in the LBGT community, the fact that they wish to exist without persecution has made some members quite hypersensitive toward bigotry, yes. Let’s hope that gets a lot better now.

      3. In the decade that we’ve had same-sex marriage here in Canada, that hasn’t happened – the suing the church.

        As to the other things- why do people’s minds always go there? There is this thing called consent. Lastly, polygamy is a bit stickier, but the arguments there has to do with long histories of misogyny etc, as well as societal instability – when the balance is 50-50, but you have 1:2 or 1:many ratios, others loose out, and chaos follow. You can look at traditional polygamous societies to see that they require constant warfare to have stability.

        1. No, instead, you Canadians have a wonderful Human Rights Commission to stop undesirable free speech.

        2. This is what I was thinking. The difference between allowing same-sex marriage and pedophilia or bestiality is all about consent. I pointed this out recently to my parents and it was completely lost on them. They don’t seem to get that legally, a child or an animal can’t consent, so it’s not simply a matter of “legalizing pedophilic marriage”. It would be a matter of striking down consent laws and assault laws and rape laws and laws against corruption of minors… It ain’t happening.

        3. People fight wars over resources. When people aren’t resources but autonomous individuals, who can’t be claimed as the spoils of war, that is a nonissue.

          It may help to talk to actual people in polyamorous relationships, as opposed to being trapped within one-man-many-women polygamy in a patriarchal society, to see how they experience the problems you imagine they’d face.

          Re: free speech … having seen suicide rates spike in places like Utah after prominent religious leaders give worldwide, anti-gay sermons, I personally feel the United States could use “free speech” laws that permit a little less hate speech.

      4. A lawsuit against a church that refuses to be a venue for same-sex weddings or against a minister who refuses to perform same-sex weddings will go nowhere fast.
        Both churches and ministers turn people down for weddings all the time– because the bride and groom are not members, because they have been previously married and divorced, because they are interracial, because some aspect of the couple’s wedding plans (flowers, music, candles, or whatever) don’t comply with the church’s rules, because the sanctuary is already reserved for some other event, and for a host of other reasons. None of these refusals have ever resulted in a successful lawsuit, ever. That isn’t about to change.

        There might be a slightly better chance of prevailing where public accomodations (hotels, restaurants, retail businesses) are involved (public accomodation laws don’t apply to churches). But nearly all the cases I’ve heard of so far are hyothetical, like the pizza parlor that said it wouldn’t cater a gay wedding, even though no one had ever asked it to, and even though I’ve never heard of a wedding catered by a pizza parlor (it may have happened sometime, but it can’t be all that common).

        (The other day, Jon Stewart made fun of the anti-gay florist we keep hearing about who might get sued, saying it’s an unfair stereotype. “Not all florists are anti-gay.” Precisely.)

  2. Thank you for this – The decision today did not bother me, and it actually made me (gasp) kind of happy. My former fundy self made me feel guilty for that. Most Conservative Christians are definitely looking for falling brimstone right now.

        1. And 40 years ago, when the Gospel According to Hal Lindsay messed up my head. (Tip: Hal Lindsay + Jack Chick = REAL BAD COMBINATION.)

          One of the things which helped me out of “It’s All Gonna Burn” was finding several End Time Prophecy books from 20-40 years before that. All claimed now-forgotten events were Proof This Is It(TM), exactly like Hal Lindsay & fanboys were claiming about then-current events.

          Then I discovered a Seventh Day Adventist End Times book called What God Said, whose interpretation of Revelation was shall we say “unique”, yet “Proven from SCRIPTURE” with exactly the same chapter-and-verse proof texts.

        2. “Tip: Hal Lindsay + Jack Chick = REAL BAD COMBINATION.”

          This reminds me of advice I heard when I was young like “never mix whiskey and wine.”

          Come to think of it, it’s similar in a lot of ways.

      1. Something that hit me yesterday as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed full of gloom and doom now that the gays are allowed to be married: I can’t help but wonder if people would care so much about gays being married if it had always been that way since the founding of our country. You tend to not worry about things that have always been in existence. For example: I grew up in a time where blacks were allowed to go wherever they wanted. I never thought twice about it.I’m sure during the 60’s when the civil rights movement was at its peak, people were predicting that our society was going to hell in a handbasket and surely the end of the world was coming now that those colored people were allowed to eat and shop wherever they wanted. 50 years later, the world is still turning and the sky hasn’t fallen and we’re all still here. Gay marriage was legalized in my state about a year ago and not a damn thing has changed. The world is still turning and the sky hasn’t fallen. I’m still just as married as I was a year ago.
        I wish my biggest problem in life was the marriages of people that have no effect on my life whatsoever. Honestly, can’t people come up with something more important to bitch about?!?

        1. I can’t help but wonder if people would care so much about gays being married if it had always been that way since the founding of our country. You tend to not worry about things that have always been in existence.

          This was a major reason the Abolition of Slavery had such an uphill slog. Slavery went back to the beginning of recorded history (including the Bible); slavery had always been there, and was Normal (a fish doesn’t know it’s wet). Slavery was the Natural Order of Things and Abolition was Crazy Talk.

          And technological advancement in Europe, the New World in need of serfs and peasants to work the land for Milord (noble-and-commoner was what was Normal for European society), and the African Slave Trade brought slavery-by-race into the equation as a Law of Nature, an obvious matter of Black & White. This resulted in White Supremacy being viewed as a Law of Nature equal to Gravity well into the 20th Century; several Steven Jay Gould essays (and one full book, The Mismeasure of Man) on the history of science make this point.

    1. I could use a fifth to help me deal with the stupidity on Facebook (and the stupidity that’s sure to be coming at church tomorrow). Of course, then I’d say something(s) I’d regret, so on second thought, that’s not a good idea…

      1. 1. Stay off Facebook, then. After all, it’s not mentioned in the Bible–KJV or otherwise–so you’re free to abandon it.

        2. As for church tomorrow–either visit a church of another denomination or call in sick.

        1. I got off Facebook because I was constantly being attacked by trolls for not celebrating the coming of same-sex marriage. I “unfriended” a few people who were particularly boorish, but most of attacks came from the friends of friends. Including a number of people who had the attitude of “I’m gay, I *dare* you to hate me!” I was called a lot of things, “nazi” being the mildest. Eventually I thought “stuff it! I don’t need all this hate”

        2. The response of the all-powerful media has not been equal to both sides… Or am I misreading the situation, yet again?

        3. When it comes to giving a certain class of people access to something that they deserve due to equal protection under the law, versus denying them that thing for no good reason, I guess the media could try to pretend that both sides are equally legitimate, but … well … why pretend when they’re not?

        4. I have to agree with Josh on this one. As well, should we expect “the media” to run stories that people disagree with the ruling? Well, duh. That’s why it was in the Supreme Court. The story is that the court ruled on the Constitution, and gays are are now free to exercise the same benefits as heterosexuals. That is a story; that people disagree with that isn’t.

  3. If people would just treat people with the love and respect they want to be treated with, the world would be a much better place. It’s hard to take fundagelicals seriously when their own members continually get caught with their pants down.
    Show the world how happy you are in your marriage rather than turn people off with legalism and maybe, just maybe more people would want to be married?

    1. In our Bible class before the worship service at church yesterday, we were discussing just that. If we truly “loved our neighbors as ourselves,” laws, the 10 commandments, everything else would be superfluous. Pretty much all sin can be traced back to simple selfishness.

    1. Actually, we (and by “we,” I really mean “the Supreme Court”) got an answer to the gay sex decision over a decade before the marriage equality decision. And from what I’ve read (I was only like 16 at the time, and wasn’t paying attention), there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth over Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

      Anything short of some “solution” to make LGBT people disappear won’t please the more hardcore conservative Christians, though on the side of the less insane – the ones who’ve realized that we LGBT people are more or less innately “that way” – they simply want the government to criminalize same-sex sex and keep us from marrying, forcing us to live celibately.

      Anyhow, today I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for their loss … of the ability to tell other people who don’t share their beliefs who they’re allowed to marry.

      1. I also want to take a moment to remember my dear friend, Harry O. Ireland, a gay at BJU who graduated in 1981.

        He passed away in February 1995.

        Rest well, old friend. You never lived to see this day. I wish to God you had.

        1. As a follow-up, I would like to recognize and honor Virginia Ramey Mollenkott (BJU ’53), the lesbian Christian university professor (William Paterson College) who was a pioneer advocate for gay Christians back in the ’70s and ’80s when the gay rights movement was getting under way.
          Dr. Mollenkott is now 84 and still going strong!

        2. And i wish that two friends of mine from high school, a long time ago—Jimmy Montgomery, who committed suicide 1964, and Marc Salinger, who did so in 1977– might have lived to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling.

  4. # 5 is confusing. What is the “attack” marriage? Is that the type of marriage that sneaks up on and ambushes you?

    Seriously, though, that is an excellent question and worth considering every time the issue is mentioned by those who claim to be fighting for America’s spiritual integrity.

    1. Yeah. It’s awfully weird that some Christians are more offended at marriage between two people who love each other than they are at stealing, lying, fraud, adultery, murder, gluttony, avarice, and pretty much all other sins.

      1. Or forced marriages. Polygamous marriages. Marriages with slaves. With girls from pillaged groups. All shown in the Old Testament.

        “Well that was just part of the culture, and they were different times. God had to work with what was going on around Israel.”

        Okay. Well, this is today’s culture and times. If there is a God, he can indeed work with what’s going on now as well.

      2. But those are MY sins, so they’re not really Sin(TM) sins.

        However, HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is The Ultimate OTHER.

        You always get Very Righteous and Moral about the sins you have no chance of every committing yourself. They’re safe to denounce.

        And besides, if sex makes people go stupid, homosex makes them go crazy.

  5. “… can you tell me on a strictly pragmatic level what the upside is to the fight against same-sex marriage that is making conservatives look mean, petty, and stuck in the past?”

    The upside, dearly deluded, is that our souls and our moral standard (read that: God’s moral standard) remain intact, even if the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Jesus did say few there will be that find it (that is, the pearl of great price, if you can discern the meaning). Stuck in the past? It’s called standing your ground. Maybe your grandpa can explain that one to you. Nevertheless, there is hope, when many staunch men of faith stand together to fight against the forces of darkness, that more will be saved out of a wicked and perverse generation. God will have his seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal!

    OK, I see what you’re getting at. Strictly pragmatic. Mm-Hmm. I’m afraid you wouldn’t understand. Please disregard the above.

    1. I see you skipped all the other questions and headed for the one where you thought you could score some points. But that’s fine let’s look at that one.

      Nobody can deny that the Supreme Court handed the Republicans a huge gift this week by taking the teeth out of the marriage debate. Every Republican candidate can now take the same line they do with abortion: “It’s the law of the land and I’ll uphold the law.”

      In reality, I think that our lawmakers on both sides are relieved when the courts weigh in on social issues, it helps create much easier sound bytes for elections and removes the need for going on the record sponsoring bills and casting votes.

      So whether you like it or not, (what I’m assuming is) your party stands to benefit for exactly the reasons I enumerate above.

      1. What the right-wing politicians are likely to do now is propose Constitutional Amendments to ban same-sex marriage.
        Since the Supreme Court said that the freedom to marry is a Constitutional right, the only legal way to abolish that would be to amend the Constitution.

        This will be a completely cynical move on the part of those introducing such proposed Amendments, because they will know (if they aren’t idiots) that such an amendment has absolutely no chance of passing and even less chance of ever being ratified by the necessary 38 states, but it will be a good publicity and fundraising stunt for those politicians who have strongly anti-gay-rights constituencies. And they need it, because they’re running out of issues. Attacking blacks and women isn’t cool anymore, and demonizing immigrants is looking threadbare, too.

        1. There’s no morality involved, really, for most right-wing politicians. It’s all about the Benjamins.

    2. Do you really think “the few” will be the ones who think themselves superior? Remember the debate among the apostles about who will be greatest in heaven?

    3. The upside, dearly deluded, is that our souls and our moral standard (read that: God’s moral standard) remain intact, even if the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket.
      No, that does not logically follow. I’m telling you, I am getting more and more worried about education in this country we have entire generations of self-proclaimed social saviors who can’t string a simple syllogism together.

        1. Josh:
          Are you suggesting that a public school ejumakashun is better?
          the Admiral

    4. How would this ruling affect my soul and my moral standard one whit? Let alone God’s! If we and He need the ever-changing Supreme Court to keep our moral standards intact, we’re in a lot of trouble.

    5. “The upside, dearly deluded, is that our souls and our moral standard (read that: God’s moral standard) remain intact.”

      The U.S. Federal Government is the arbiter of God’s moral standard?

      This decision doesn’t redefine what a Christian marriage (or, heck, a Muslim marriage) is; it defines a secular contract between consenting adults, primarily for tax and inheritance purposes, which is the only part of marriage that is the government’s business.

      The concept that the Government should criminalize everything that anyone considers a sin is antithetical to liberty, whether the “sin” is being in a relationship with someone of the same gender, or being in a relationship with someone of a different skin color, or owning an AR-15, or spanking your child, or reading books that someone’s religion disapproves of.

      If you disapprove of writing Sharia law into state and Federal laws, then you might want to keep state and Federal laws secular and let the Church, rather than the Government, worry about what types of relationships God disapproves of.

      1. I wish it was truly that simple Phil. I wish it was only about a secular contract. Tell that to the bigoted scumbags who refuse to provide services for the weddings of gay couples. Gay marriage isn’t going to be only about a secular contract. It will also include the weddings and ceremonies that have always attended marriage.
        the Admiral

    6. Dear deluded “CRWG”. Perhaps you missed the part of scripture that says you are guilty party in need of salvation & redemption, and not a person who has “gotten right with God” as you apparently think you have.

    7. Ah, yes. Another ChristianRight-winger who knows the mind of his God.

      Isn’t it amazing that God so often selects the “right” side of his argument?

        1. Huh. Well, I’d call it “hell”.

          But if you’re one of the Commanders of Holy Gilead who Holds the Whip?

          “I Got Mine,
          I Got Mine,
          NOW THAT I GOT MINE…”
          — Glenn Frye

  6. These Christian sources who think gay marriage is the end of everything need to remember secular government and secular society are by definition not bound by the beliefs of the faith community. If the doomsayers don’t like the Supreme Court decision and want society to be more Christ-like then they should be more Christ-like themselves by building relationships with their neighbors and showing God’s grace to folks. No more angry protesting or lobbying the government. No more avoiding involvement with “different” groups and way more loving folks as they are. Christ said “follow me” and I believe he went into the world and broke bread with the ones everybody called sinners – Christians should be doing likewise not acting crazy over gay marriage.

    1. This comment. A thousand times this comment. Somebody was bemoaning that our morals would be “extinct” if the government kept doing stuff like this. They were worried that their children would have to “learn about homosexuality” (no duh, they still do and will; it’s a thing and they’re going to find out about it). They were freaking out that their kids would no longer learn biblical principles because they would no longer be allowed to go to Christian school or homeschooled (because that follows logically from the SCOTUS decision… oy).
      I didn’t reply, but I badly wanted to say, ” It is YOUR JOB to teach your kids morals and principles. Nobody else’s. If you have that little confidence in your ability to do this that you need the school and the government to help you, for the love of all things holy, don’t have kids. PLEASE.”

      1. After further review, I think we have a Mark Driscoll-style troll on our hands here. A hateful little thing, bless his or her poor little heart…

        1. Either that or he’s afraid that a bigger stronger mightier Real Man might use him like he uses a mere woman.

  7. My issue is this, can I in good conscience endorse something I know God says is sinful? Am I loving my neighbor by affirming a union that is wrong? Marriage is supposed to be a very visible and real representation of the gospel (Eph 5:32).

    I get the liberty aspect of it, I simply struggle with the gospel aspect of it. God interferes with our lives. A moralist national policy without the gospel gets us no where, but an amoralist national policy without the gospel seems even worse.

    It’s a separate issue and legal battle, but the legal fears for the church are real. Gay couples will sue over being able to marry in the church. They’ll sue over housing issues at Seminaries and para-church organizations. They’ll sue over being refused marriage counseling. They’ll sue over being turned away from church marriage retreats. The gay lobby will militantly force the issue, just as they have with photographers, bakeries, and … pizza joints (can you really imagine a gay couple wanting their wedding catered by a pizza place? Yeah, that wasn’t a real thing).

    1. Nobody is asking you personally to affirm anything. But what you’re really doing is tantamount to saying “why should I let others (drink, play cards on Sunday, eat pork) when I think it’s morally wrong?” That’s theocracy.

      And the answer is that in a secular society (which ours is) the burden of proof is for you to demonstrate how that person’s actions harm you. Honestly, you could probably make a much better case for the societal cost of alcohol abuse than the negative impacts of gay marriage.

      As for the legal challenges, I think we’ll just wait and see. Individual states are passing their own laws and the courts have yet to weigh in on them.

      1. The Law against homosexuality in Lwviticus chapter 18 no longer applies in a modern western society. It is seen as no different as the law prohibiting the eating of shellfish. Fine, but can all the other sexual prohibitions in the same chapter be scrapped as well? The only real argument against incest is the greatly increased probability of defective babies if two recessive genes come together, but that “problem” can be solved by something that is already widely used – contraception and abortion. Just trying to be logical. Morality will inevitably get in the way of someone’s Rights.

        1. Of course, I should point out that sex between family members would be seen as ok only if it is “consensual”…..

      2. I have to agree with you there Darrell, alcohol abuse is worse than gay marriage. I would guess that both are opposed by fundies.
        the Admiral

        1. The difference is. I don’t recall any fundies saying that someone should be stoned to death for getting drunk…….

    2. There have been a couple of cases recently, one in Northern Ireland and another in the Republic of Ireland, where Christian publishers were approached by gay organisations with requests to publish Gay-related magazines. The requests were refused, mainly because the contents were blatantly pornographic. Both publishers have been brought to court on grounds of homophobic discrimination, and as far as I know the cases are still on-going. Personally I think expecting a Christian publisher to print pornographic material, gay or not, is as ridiculous as bringing a Jewish butcher to court for refusing to sell pork – after all, most people eat pork, don’t they – but that’s the world we live in.

      1. Like I said up top,:
        There are going to be self-righteous assholes among the LGBTQs who now that “We’ve won!” won’t be able to resist the urge to throw their weight around. (You see this dynamic with any group that has been on the bottom who find themselves on top. There’s a strong pull to Go For Payback With Interest.)

    3. “My issue is this, can I in good conscience endorse something I know God says is sinful?”

      Saying that someone else is free under the civil law to make choices you believe God disapproves of is [i]not[/i] the same as endorsing their choices.

      To use an analogy, I own guns. If you feel gun ownership is a sin against God (as some do), the right response for you is simply not to own one. Recognizing that I have the right to choose differently is not “endorsing” my choice, it is merely recognizing that I am a free citizen who is reponsible for my own choices.

      Likewise, if you make life choices that I disagree with, and I don’t fight to outlaw them, that does not mean that I “endorse” them; it just means I recognize that you, not I, are responsible for those choices.

    4. I don’t think that we need to worry too much about gays wanting to get married in an IFB church. IFB churches are usually the ugliest structures in town. If I wanted to marry my partner, I would rather have my marriage in an Episcopal, a Lutheran, or a Presbyterian building. They know how to build beautiful structures that have dignity. As a church organist, I have been involved with a number of weddings. Outside couples often ask our church if they can use our facilities. They don’t want the minister. They don’t want the organist. They don’t want religion. They just want a beautiful atmosphere. I know of no church that doesn’t have it written in its bylaws that one member of the party must be a member of that particular church.

      Before yesterday, churches have had no problems refusing couples that did not meet their standards. The same should hold today. All this pandering by the IFB types is just more of the same. They love to keep their people in a state of fear and paranoia. They love to make their followers feel guilty about one thing or another. Gay marriage is just another marker in the road. Massachusetts has had gay marriage for over a decade, and we have no examples of churches being forced to do anything.

    5. Here’s the thing, though (because I’ve struggled with the same question myself):

      How do you approach (heterosexual) people who live together? People who have children out of wedlock? Are not those also sexual sins? Yet I think Christ’s actions make it quite clear that He loved such people the same as He loved anybody else, and welcomed them when no one else would. Why is homosexuality any different? If you believe it to be a sexual sin, then should you not treat those who commit it the same way you treat those who commit other sexual sins–that is, with love and in a neighborly fashion and the same as you’d treat anybody else?

      Besides, we are all sinners; I have a hard time accepting that homosexuality is some kind of ultra extreme uber-sin that’s worse than all the other sins we commit. If you can love non-gay sinners, then you can love gay sinners too. Loving people does not mean you believe everything they do is right, or else we wouldn’t be allowed to love anybody.

  8. Their have unfortunately been historical instances when the persecuted, having gained power turned around and became persecutors themselves. I don’t know if I would classify lawsuits as persecution although it might if it deprives people of their livelihood.

    I suppose the moral of the story is treat people the way you want to be treated.

      1. That’s exactly what I was talking about (although I would start with a later date than that) …even right down to liberated American slaves who were sent to colonize Liberia becoming…well….petty tyrants. People could also use the example of the Israelis toward the Palestinians…..its an old story. I’m not saying it WILL happen this time…just that it has happened in the past.

    1. Good point. If the Christians had supported same sex marriage as a state civil contract, with the caveat of protections of conscience, they would have come out ahead. The idolatrous notion that a state marriage equals a religious marriage may come back to bite them on their collective asses. They’ve been in bed with the State for too long.

      1. Also, if state marriage and religious (= Christian) marriage were the same, there would be laws on the books forcing men to marry their widowed sisters-in-law.

      2. “protection of conscience” caveats run dangerously close to an “if those pesky black people had just gone to a different lunch counter” argument

        discrimination wrapped in prayer is still discrimination

        as far as treating others the way you want to be treated, I believe that’s exactly what many fundy/evangelicals are afraid of. after decades of constantly being co.pared to/accused of being pedophiles, causing economic & natural disasters I’m not sure a clean slate is warranted. It will take a long time to forgive ( I seriously doubt apologies will ever come from some camps) and will take longer to forget. Right now I will concentrate on celebrating a great success and continue to live a happy, rewarding, and satisfying life.

        Sorry about the rage, I need to put this phone away & go back to hanging out at the pool on a beautiful summer day. I was just hit with two beach balls, I think my friends are trying to get my attention. 🙂

  9. More irenic Christianity and common sense have been posted on this site in the last nine hours than I’ve seen anywhere else on the Net since yesterday morning. It has made me realize that SFL is not just a place for the humorous dissing of crazy fundies.

    My deep thanks to you all. It’s been gratifying to read your posts.

    1. I was thinking the same. This is the most respectful discussion I’ve seen since all this started. Thanks everybody. I come over here to escape the crazy on Facebook.

    1. I did not see that this was referenced yesterday in the comments section. I thought I had an original idea but found out that I was only copying some of yesterdays comments

        1. The problem that the apostles wrestled with in the NT is that Jesus (and his theology) essentially redefined marriage to be between equals. I don’t think we realize how intensely radical “there is no male and female in Christ” is as a statement. It is egalitarian even in today’s world, but back in the day it was almost incomprehensible. Every kind of marriage (not just hebrew) at the time was about property. And then here comes this “atheist” sect of Judaism who worships a crucified state criminal and says that men and women are equal. Even back then, it was manifest that one cannot “own” an equal. This is why Paul had to go into detail about how husbands and wives should interact. I mean think about it – in the entire OT there isn’t a single passage similar to Paul’s about husbands loving their wives and wives respecting husbands*. There was no need to address this sort of thing because the law was clear, and because women were legally the property of one male or another**. So in many ways, Christian marriage is anything but traditional***.

          * To be clear, I do think Paul’s words here were contextual exhortations – a way of living out the gospel in a specific context. I disagree strongly with those who take the NT writings as a new law.

          ** I read an interesting book that mentioned that this is the root of “pimping” in the sex trade, although it was a bit more complicated than that.

          *** To this day, marriage in most cultures is “pre-Christian” in the sense of being essentially about property rights. Not saying this is wrong, but saying that it doesn’t seem to be compatible with the spiritual realities Christianity claims.

        2. Dr. F – Love this annotated essay – And impressed you whipped it out on a Sat afternoon!

        3. There is a lot more to unpack here! For example, the Sadducees’ question about marriage in the afterlife. Their point was to try and get Jesus to admit that the idea of an afterlife was absurd*. Instead, Jesus replied, essentially, “You don’t get it. No one gets married or is given in marriage. They will be like the angels.” This is a huge paradigm shift, because men were “married”, while women were “given in marriage”. Jesus says that both will be like the angels in heaven. In other words, equal – and very powerful. In a sense, Jesus was teling them that their dead grandma (a woman) was far more powerful and glorious than they. No wonder they wanted to kill him!

          * Side note: the Sadducees were actually the conservative sect, believing only what was taught in the Torah (and the rest of the Tanahk to an extent – 2TJ did not necessarily see what we would call the OT as the “inspired word of God”, but there does seem to be consensus on the Torah) – and Torah does not teach a resurrection. The Pharisees, on the other hand, embraced many new theological ideas that came out of wrestling with Scripture during the deportation. In a lot of ways, they were like modern fundies – embracing a lot of new and even heretical theological ideas, while using their strict moral rules as a cover to claim conservitism.

    2. Because unlike yourself, most people who refer to something as (or as not) Biblical are referencing the New Testament, not the Old.
      the Admiral

  10. I’m not only not worried, I’m happy for my LGBT brothers and sisters, and that gay marriage is completely compatible with my Christianity. I’ve had the debate too many times to have it again here, but it’s worth noting that many Christians have turned a more thorough eye to the Bible on this issue, and found the more traditional anti-gay interpretation lacking, and contradictory to the spirit of the Gospel. I’m one of them.

  11. What I despise about this on a non-religious level, is that, along with many other like-minded individuals in my state, in 2012 I voted for a gay marriage ban. In 2014 that was overturned. The folks in my state clearly wanted a ban on gay marriage, but what the people voted on has been taken away.

    On a religious level, God does not define marriage as anything other than a man and a woman. In light of this, gay is sex outside of marriage because it doesn’t fall into God’s definition of marriage. I despise gay marriage, gay relationships, etc., the same way I despise a heterosexual couple living together before marriage, having sex before marriage, cheating on their spouse while married, etc. I also despise plural marriage, open marriage, anything other than what God has ordained. God’s blessing is not on these types of union. No, gay marriage may never end up affecting me personally, but there are consequences to the other types of deviations from marriage, and surely there will be for gay marriage.

    1. People’s Constitutional rights aren’t up for a majority vote.
      That’s the short version of why the folks who voted the way you did don’t get your way.

      1. It’s called ‘Equal protection under the law’ in the 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution.

        Equal protection is not something that should ever be subject to the Popular vote. The majority customarily will vote to be the minority in subjugation.

        Calling for votes on these equal protection issues is just pandering to the right wing voters.

      2. Haymen. The judiciary is protecting the minority from the Tyranny of the Majority (at least as it way 20+ years ago).

        Roberts et al. don’t seem to “get” that.

    2. Well, thanks for making it clear where I stand. I can really feel the love of Christ from you with that seething mass of contempt coming from you toward me. God would be proud of you for acting like Jesus toward your fellow humans!

      1. Well Josh, to you (and JesusLovinHomo, and others here), I offer a hearty “congratulations”. I am happy to see the Constitution upheld, and should you choose marriage, I wish you the happiest.

        P.S. It may not occur to some here, but I recently had the revelation that your matrimony choices are, well, yours. Not mine.

        P.P.S. The previous was sarcasm.

        1. I think there can be a hidden Pharisee in the heart of every Christian. I have looked into my own heart, and I don’t think I am different to anybody else. Maybe some good will come out this whole Same-sex marriage hoo-hah, because it might make many of us examine our own hearts. Of course it might only feed the Pharisee in the hearts of some Christians.

        2. Sorry that was a reply to Rtgmath’s comment about this issue bringing out the Hidden Pharisee in many hearts. ( in the right place this time?)

      2. Are you gay? If you are, I had no idea because I don’t really “know” the people who respond on this blog. And I never said that I didn’t love or like gay people. I’ve had some friends who happened to be gay that were good friends. I also have heterosexual friends that lived together unmarried. Doesn’t mean I hate these people, I just don’t agree with their lifestyles.

        1. There’s the rub. In both sides of the argument – I’ll go out on a dangerous limb and say, especially on the Gay side – there is a assumption that ” if you love me you will agree with me, and not do or say anything that I won’t like.”

        2. Maybe I should add a phrase “and if you love Jesus you will not want to hurt me”

        3. Sorry, but you didn’t say “disagree,” you said that you “despise” my [hypothetical] desire for a romantic relationship. But like many conservative Christians, the way you talk when you think you’re behind the backs of LGBT folks is different from the front you put on when you know we’re around. Anyway, I appreciate knowing how you really feel. Thanks, and have a wonderful day!

        4. Oh, and I didn’t mean to sound like I was backpedaling there and trying to change how I sounded. If you are gay, there’s nothing in the Bible that endorses that lifestyle. It’s wrong, no matter who you are. We’re all sinners and there’s always hope for all of us!

        5. So you still despise my beliefs and are upset that your attempt to use legal coercion to enforce your religious views on me didn’t pan out (I’m also a Christian, but apparently in your worldview not a true Scotsman Christian). At least you’re honest, and I know exactly where I stand. Thanks much!

        6. Too many people think they know God’s mind perfectly and are in a position to judge others. They avoid judging themselves with the same degree of clarity.

          I find it interesting that Jesus did not condemn the sinners, but condemned the religious bigots who believed they knew the Law and had a lock on the mind of God. Jesus called the Pharisees the children of the Devil.

          Unfortunately, this gay-marriage issue is going to expose the hidden Pharisee of the heart in a lot of people.

        7. Sorry, my last comment ended up in the wrong place. I was just answering rtgmath’s comment (further down) about this issue bringing out the Hidden Pharisee in many hearts

    3. Do you not realize that unchecked ability to enact constitutional amendments could be turned against you, too? What if an amendment was passed stripping churches of the right to hold property because some churches discriminate against people? Should that amendment stand just because the people in your state wanted it? Would you shrug your shoulders and stand by as your church building was taken away because, hey, majority rules, right?

      Our system of checks and balances protects minoroties against tyranny of the majority. If tomorrow you wake up in a minority, you’ll be grateful it does.

        1. Yeah, and it’s a lot closer in this country than Fundies want to believe, too. They’ve spent so long being catered to by Republican politicians and right-wing media that they don’t see how outside the norm they really are. It’s a weird dichotomy because on the one hand they think they’re this tiny foothold of righteousness in the big, bad world and on the other they can’t imagine a world in which they don’t benefit from being part of the majority religion and culture.

        2. I wonder how any fundies can see that there IS a world outside of America and most of it is very different from the world they think they inhabit.

        3. Last time I checked, there were more Buddhists than Christians in Hawaii.
          So should they be able to enact laws forcing everyone to follow Buddhism?

      1. “Our system of checks and balances protects minoroties against tyranny of the majority. If tomorrow you wake up in a minority, you’ll be grateful it does.”

        A basic principle of Roberts Rules of Order, which most organizations follow, is that the minority is protected in a group. Everyone has rights which cannot be trampled on.

        I was astonished recently to learn that here in Frederick County MD there is an English-only law. If you’re not proficient in English, tough cookies and you can find someone to translate documents, meetings, court proceedings, etc at your own expense.

        Good folks in this county are working to get this overturned.

        1. Yeah, I moved to the Midwest not too long ago and was shocked to find how pervasive those kind of attitudes are out here. But it doesn’t mean those same Brownback-lovers won’t pick up a couple of workers on the cheap at Home Depot to paint their McMansion and powerwash their deck on a Saturday. I mean, who can afford to pay real American workers for that kind of stuff?

    4. “I despise.”

      Wow. Please don’t try to tell us that you love gay people but hate gay marriage, etc. all in the “love the sinner but hate the sin” sort of thing.

      As Christians, we are not called to hate the sins of others. We are called to hate our own sin. Big difference. You voted to ban gay marriage, essentially telling people they could not choose for themselves who they would marry. Because you know better than them, right? And because everything in the Bible is what is Right. Right?

      Like polygamy. God allowed polygamy. He blessed it. He endorsed it. So should you. God gave David his many wives and concubines — Nathan the prophet confirmed that when he confronted David with his sin. God was upset with David for taking Bathsheba and murdering her husband. He wasn’t upset at all over the polygamy.

      Oh, and stoning your children to death if they are rebellious. It is the Law. God’s Law should prevail, right?

      You cannot pick and choose. If you decide that you can, by your interpretation of the Bible, decide what is right and moral for everyone, at least try to be consistent, won’t you?

      And you’d best watch out. Someone may well get upset and despise you and your “sins” as well. Do you want them to have power over you? Do you want them to be able to remove from you your power to decide for yourself?

      1. rtgmath :
        You know that we are not under law, we are under grace. You are also well aware that most people who disagree with you are not ignorant enough to cite Leviticus as proof text. Instead they will jump straight to Romans. I think you are just being argumentative.
        the Admiral

        1. Ignorant? Like the majority of fundamentalists?

          Oh, they cite Romans, too. But Romans 1 needs to be read in context. It has nothing to do with “gay marriage.” And in fact, gay people are in the Church. They love God. They love each other. They are committed to a relationship. They want to be married.

          So what is worse? Gay relationships as enforced “fornication,” or two gay people accepting the responsibilities and duties of a committed monogamous relationship?

          And if you are committed to the Romans passage, are you advocating the death penalty for them as well? (v. 28-32). Please answer. And who else would you, the Admiral, be willing to put to death?

          As far as that goes, if people who quote the Leviticus passage are “ignorant,” why? Do you believe that everything the Bible allows is right, and everything the Bible doesn’t allow is “wrong”? After all, Jesus even said the Law catered to the hardness of people’s hearts. Paul also said the Law was not perfect.

        2. Ah rtgmath, you make it too easy. So easy in fact, I feel that I must be stepping into a trap. You insult me by asking such a simple question.

          As rtgmath himself loves to say, context, my friend, context.

          Yes, they deserve death. And I do not. IF you stop at the verses you cherry picked. But, Paul doesn’t stop there, does he? No, chapter 2 picks up where 1 left off. And after 2, comes 3 and so on. The first 6 chapters of Romans are Paul’s great treatise on law, sin, judgment, grace and redemption. I know I am preaching to the choir here. Rtgmath, you know these chapters well. Why do I have to lecture as if you don’t know the answer to your own questions.

          No, rtg, not just gays, but all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Yes, rtg, the wages of sin are death, for all of us, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

          Rtgmath, I don’t have your eloquence, your intellect, or your education, but I do know the Gospel, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it.

          Back to the original point, the theme of Leviticus was law and punishment, the theme of Romans is the entire Gospel, which culminates with grace and redemption.

          So, while Romans does specifically mention homosexual activity and call it out as sin, it does so in the context of pointing out that we are all guilty of sin and deserve death. Then, it celebrates the fact that the price has already been paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.

          the Admiral

      2. Um, last time I checked I can’t legally marry my brother or my 1st cousin, so no, people legally cannot choose for themselves who they want to marry. Boo yah! (By gay marriage being allowed, we’re opening the definition of marriage to anything goes.)

        1. And yes, rtgmath, EVERYTHING in the Bible is what is right. It’s God’s Word. It’s inerrant.

        2. That’s called false equivalency and a slippery slope, and they’re logical fallacies. You’re welcome.

        3. Actually first cousin marriage is legal in 20 states with absolutely no restrictions. 5 more states have some rules about it that mainly try to prohibit first cousins reproducing together, which is not something you have to worry about with same-sex marriages.

          Furthermore, under Friday’s decision, gay people are still subject to the same restrictions straight people have around marriage – i.e., no bigamy, age requirements, consanguinity, etc.

    1. Yes. When I hear about same-sex marriage being “forced” on people who disapprove, I wonder who is forcing them to marry a person of the same sex.
      I don’t even think gay marriage is wrong, but now that it’s legal, I have no intention whatever of divorcing my (female) wife so I can marry a man. And I don’t expect anyone to try to force me to do so.

      On the other hand, if people mean they’ll be forced to live in a world where some people are openly LGBT, yes, they will. That’s democracy for ya. Sort of like the way we’re “forced” to live in a society where women and minority citizens get to vote. If you don’t like that, well, boo-hoo for you.

      1. True that. People who despise interracial marriage are, post-Loving v. Virginia, forced to live in a society where black and white or any other combination of races are allowed to fall in love and marry each other. But yet, I would be quick to point out, to this day, ministers are not required to marry interracial couples in their churches if they object to doing so! And as a gay man, I would fight against any attempt to punish ministers for not performing same-sex weddings, even though I [obviously] disagree with their views.

        1. Same-sex marriage is one thing, but same-sex WEDDINGS goes too far. Much too flamboyant.

        2. But flamboyant is how we roll. It’s in our DNA! 😀

        3. I’ve always had a problem with the gay=flamboyant trope (no offense). For one thing, I have friends from other cultures, and flamboyant is a mark of culture. I’m thinking my African friends here, for whom wearing quilted maroon suits decorated with gold fluers-de-lis and crocodile shoes to church is normal and respectful. On the other hand, I have gay friends at the gym who look like middle linebackers (because they are) and dress like Dean Winchester (because…well, flannel and jeans is just cool, and about the most comfortable thing God ever created). Just a pet peeve of mine. Of course, I’m in flyover country, so that may have something to do with it.

        4. And as a gay man, I would fight against any attempt to punish ministers for not performing same-sex weddings, even though I [obviously] disagree with their views.

          That is because, Josh, you are one of the saner heads. Can you keep a lid on the “We Won! Let’s Stick It To Them For Once!” crazies going after payback?

        5. P.S. Josh, everybody:

          I spent many years in SoCal Furry Fandom, where straights like me were a minority. I can testify that when they have the upper hand, gays are just as capable of stomping on the straights as straights are of stomping on gays. And rubbing it in the faces of the minority.

          There’s an 80/20 rule in group dynamics where when a consensus (in this case, sexual orientation) reaches an 80% consensus, it locks in as Groupthink and Heretics Must Be Purged.

        6. Sorry, HUG, I have no influence on anyone at all. But my hopes and prayers are that overall, the LGBT community can treat Christians in a more Christlike fashion than Christians have generally treated the LGBT community. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath on that one, but I also know I’m not the only one who sees things this way.

  12. I haven’t read all the replies so if I’m repeating something that has been said, my apologies. Render to Caesar what is Caesar and render to God what is God. So if Caesar wants to allow same sex marriage, that’s Caesar’s right. But, and this is huge, if they force/coerce churches to conduct same sex weddings, violating the Free Exercise Clause, that is an entirely different thing. As many have pointed out this is the first move that may lead toward discrimination lawsuits against churches that will eventually seek to revoke their 501(c)3 status. And while I know there are many who object to religious organizations having a legal non-profit status, this status was given to churches in light of Chief Justice John Marshall’s conviction, “the power to tax involves the power to destroy” and to ensure the separation of government interference in churches.

    For what it’s worth, the bible is surprisingly silent on how a man and woman are to be married. Nothing actually says they even need to get married in a church or with a minister. So if churches want to get out of the wedding industry and actually work on strengthening existing marriages, more power to us.

    Finally, Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 5 are perhaps rather germane to this whole discussion: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world…What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

    1. As I said before the is an increasingly vocal element within the gay rights movement in Britain to take away the right of any Christian pastor priest or minister to refuse to perform gay marriages. I’m not sure what the relationship is between church and state regarding this issue in each of the European counties in which it is legal. Could someone illuminate me? Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland but we do have an extremely militant gay rights movement, and there are those who have vowed that if same sex marriage becomes legal they would fight to ensure that churches should be treated the same as any other institution and not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality.

      1. In the United Kingdom–and that includes Northern Ireland–the Queen is the titular head of the Church of England’s governmental system. So it would be up to her, I suppose.

        I attended a service institution of a C of E cleric in England many years ago, and as an American I was surprised that the service included a loyalty oath to the Queen.

        Yet I think that the Queen and most of the bishops will simply let matters be, at least until Parliament makes a decision.

        1. The Church of England is not the force it used to be. In fact it looks like it is dying on it’s feet. Even it’s head, the Archbishop of Cantebury, has admitted that if things keep going the way they are the whole shebang will go the way of the dinosaurs by the end of the century.

      2. Of course, in England, we have a state church, one that is supported with tax dollars. If I am forced to support the state church with my tax dollars, as a gay person, I want to have the same rights to the ministrations of the church as others have. Since churches in the United States do not have their hands in the big money pot, they can do as they please.

        1. If you think money plays too big a role in all this (welcome to the real world, by the way), then this problem can be solved easily enough. I have no doubt that a formal request by Archbishop Welby for the CoE to be disestablished / privatized would receive favorable consideration. And then the church can do what it likes.

  13. I predict that in the near future, can’t say when – weeks or months from now, (but certainly before the next election) that a pseudoscience of sexuality will be conceived and embraced by Evangelicals. There will be a demand to put a technical sounding “unifying theory” of Conversion Therapy to use as an established point of view. Right now, conversion therapists can’t agree with each other.

    If that doesn’t sell well, then they will have to talk and talk and talk about how this is not like Racism, or other forms of bigotry. After all, all analogies break down.

    1. That could happen, but I’ll be surprised. Conversion therapy, now widely discredited outside of evangelical circles, is slowly starting to lose support in mainstream conservative evangelicalism. I think that over time, support for stuff like the “Restored Hope Network” and similar organizations will shift to the fringes, as the mainstream moves more uniformly to a position requiring that LGBT individuals be celibate and simply not talk about their orientation (i.e. moving from “pray away the gay” to “say away the gay”).

      1. What about those who are sexually attracted to small children? Are they born that way, or can they be changed? Or is the best you can do is to keep them well away from potential victims?

        1. The current psychological consensus is that one who is “attracted” to young children (totally the wrong word, btw) but has not acted on it has a decent chance of being reformed. A person who has committed this crime has virtually no change of reform. In either case, the recommendation is that the individual be kept away from children and have constant accountability. Of course, this is an apples to oranges thing, because preying on those who cannot give consent is completely different from being attracted to a consenting adult.

        2. “preying on those who cannot give consent is completely different from being attracted to a consenting adult.” Exactly

        3. In fairness to Paul he was referring to attraction, not action.

          Its clear the consent is the difference, but from the individual with the specific attraction’s perspective there is no difference – hence the question.

          Its is after all just a social moray that defines the limit as “consent” isn’t it? And what age that line can be drawn at? Things that are “obvious” sometimes have a way of being just what the majority believes are ok today because of how their upbringing and education has shaped them to believe.

          For the record I completely agree with consent being a significant factor in this, and a necessary distinction, but philosophically Paul’s above question is valid.

        4. Its clear the consent is the difference, but from the individual with the specific attraction’s perspective there is no difference – hence the question.
          The majority psychological position disagrees strongly with this statement. They do not even use the word “attraction”. Rapists are not “attracted” to their victim – they see them as weak and vulnerable. This is why, sadly, many rapes are followed by murder. The perpetrator is actually repulsed by the weakness they see in their victim. Its a deep subject, but the literature is easily available, if you feel like going into more detail.

  14. Can’t we just go back to the biblical view of marriage as one man with one or more wives and/or concubines (perhaps a rape victim thrown in for good measure) who may be purchased and acquired against their wills and who hold no rights? This whole equality thing that gay people want is probably getting God really mad.

    There is no biblical view of marriage. There are only views that are constructed from disparate texts.

  15. I am worried about the poor staff members of Fundy churches who will spent part of their day tomorrow wiping copious amounts of MOG spittle from the pulpit.

      1. What?!? And give those evil Gayz the chance to meet Jesus? Maybe get saved? Surely, God wants the Gayz to burn in hell? (Unfortunately, Shirley, I have lived in a house with some Christians who genuinely believed that)

  16. Jesus: “I don’t care about what all the other countries are doing. They’re all doing all kinds of other things, even marriage outside of Christianity, which is the worst of the worst! I’m just sitting here waiting for The United States of America to finally act like animals so that I can finally do my stage performance.”

  17. I’ll take a stab at your questions:

    1. Does the US Government exist to enforce the views any specific religion? If so, should that religion try to make laws to enforce EVERY view a particular church holds?


    2. Is marriage just a church thing? Would you still oppose same sex marriage if you were certain your church would never have to perform one if they didn’t want to?

    No, it is a civil issue existing long before the church. No church or pastor has to perform any marriage, so I think that issue is off the table.

    3. If certain religious views are correct that gay sex is a sin, does having married gay sex make it more sinful?


    4. If we want to save “traditional marriage” is it more important to prevent same-sex couples from getting married or encouraging the rest of the population to get married in the first place?

    No. It isn’t more important; it is equally important, and you left out encouraging the married population to stay married. The “either/or” or “more/less” is a false dichotomy. Things can be equally important.

    5. Why have I never received a newsletter from a Christian right-wing group about homelessness, child abuse, poverty, or racism but I have received several about the “attack” marriage? Why does this issue seem to trump so many others?

    Not sure. You might be on the wrong mailing lists. I have received newsletters about all those things (mostly email these days).

    6. If God really was sitting in heaven just waiting for the big fat gay wedding line to be crossed before pouring out the fire and brimstone on nations then why are Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden not smoking craters by now?

    I object to the premise of the question. God isn’t sitting in heaven waiting for anything. He is doing whatever he pleases (cf. Psa 115:3).

    7. Last and most important of all: can you explain to me how my friends Bob and Louis getting married will hurt you personally? Can you tell me where it hurts anybody at all?

    I think it is wrongheaded to make it about personal hurt at least in the short term. It is a bigger issue than personal hurt. When we are concerned only for the hurts of ourselves, we lose something very important I think. Marriage and family is societal and structural in nature. It ultimately hurts Bob and Louis because of the eternal consequences, but that has nothing to do with their marriage. It is a tremendous philosophical undershift in the foundation of civil society that may take years to be seen though some effects are already being seen.

    Bonus Question: If you’re a conservative who feels they have really good answers for all of the above then can you tell me on a strictly pragmatic level what the upside is to the fight against same-sex marriage that is making conservatives look mean, petty, and stuck in the past? Is it worth the cost of turning off voters to your more important ideas to keep fighting about this one?

    I think conservative are going to (be made to) look mean, petty, and stuck in the past, even if they never spoke of this issue again, primarily because the left are better politicians than the right. And for some conservatives, it will be accurate that they are mean, petty, and stuck. But not for all. But no matter how gracious, kind, and loving one is, there will be someone who makes them look mean, petty, and stuck.

    I think the issue is structural in nature, and cannot be ignored. We can’t simply redefine marriage and family without severe consequences. We are already seeing great consequences from the redefinition of family that led to voluntary single parent homes (voluntarily as opposed to deceased spouse, which is the vast majority of single parent homes).

    But two things go straight to the pragmatic issue. One is government control over religious exercise. It is one thing to allow others to do something (like “marry” someone of the same sex). But as we have seen in court cases already, the right to live by your religious beliefs is being subjected to the gay rights movement. No longer can a business owner run his business according to his beliefs, regardless of how many other options he or she makes available to his customers. As in the cake/photography/flower businesses, we have seen that gay rights advocates aren’t willing to let people live by their religious beliefs and go elsewhere for service. They will not stop until everyone bows to their ideas.

    By saying that I am not saying a Christian (or anyone else) should serve or not serve at gay weddings. I am saying they should have the right to refuse on religious grounds without losing their livelihoods. And that is, pragmatically, why this matters.

    Second, there is the issue of children. The virtually unanimous opinion of social scientists, psychologist, doctors, etc. is that children are better off living in traditional families. Yes there are some bad ones, and there is God’s providence and sin that has led to single parent families. But children are better off in traditional families. Again, that is societal and structural in nature.

    1. It is a tremendous philosophical undershift in the foundation of civil society
      Incorrect. It is the natural and logical application of the principles of democratic freedom to adult relationships. The shift happened decades ago, with roots that stretch back centuries. Anyone who is surprised at this or thinks it is a new idea is practically ignorant of philosophical and political history.

      1. Where in human history was there widespread recognition of homosexual marriage?

        Notice I didn’t say it was a bad shift (though I think it is). I simply said it was a tremendous shift. Do you have instances of widespread recognition of homosexual marriage prior to the last two decades that SCOTUS didn’t have? If you don’t, don’t you have to say it is a shift (whether good or bad)?

        1. Going from heterosexual marriages arranged by the parents for their business or political benefit, with the woman being essentially a piece of vagina property, to heterosexual marriages by two independent – and eventually, after a long time, equal – parties, for the sake of love, was a tremendous shift, a tremendous “redefinition” of marriage from what it traditionally was in Bible times. In my opinion, that was a hugely positive and valuable shift (and I think many women value that shift even far more than I could understand).

    2. Josh, that’s a pretty interesting view of biblical marriage. I am not sure it could be fully supported by the Bible. I think it fails to account for the fact that the Bible has two different things going on it, as noted by your phrase “Bible times” rather than “Bible teaching.” One is the ideal of marriage such as you describe (loving equal parties such as in Gen 1-2 and Eph 5. The other is the historical nature of Scripture where it describes what happened, without giving approval of it. It is clear to the reader that there was an ideal and there was reality of sinful people living in the world. Confusing those two things and reading history as the ideal creates confusion about what biblical marriage was. The Bible does not affirm the goodness or idealness of polygyny. It doesn’t even tell us how frequent it was. With the millions of marriages that would have existed during the time of the Bible’s history, we don’t know much about them. So we can’t really draw firm conclusions. We can say for sure what the biblical ideal is (one man and one woman as equal partners for life) and what the historical reality in a broken world was (marriage, divorce, mistreatment [though protected by law], polygyny, adultery, incest, etc.)

      1. 1. You need to research ‘biblical marriage’. It’s a bit more complex than your picture.

        2. You presume that all of us believe in inerrancy. I left that camp years ago and never looked back on that darkness.

        1. 1. I am willing to listen. Educate me.

          2. It has nothing to do with inerrancy that I know of.

        2. That picture is a great illustration of my point. The bottom three things are historical. There is no indication that God commanded or approved of them. In fact, in some cases, it is quite clear that he did not. The Law was used to regulate life in a broken world, to protect women in a way that other cultures did not. It did not attempt to perfect things or to restore them to perfection. It recognized the presence of sin and attempted to mitigate its societal affects. That aspect of the Bible doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it should. It is a pretty important one.

          There’s also a lot we don’t know about ancient culture in Bible times, and particularly life in ancient Israel. We should be careful about overreading into it.

      2. When you say biblical ideal, what you really mean is your preferred texts – the ones you privilege. Some Mormons privilege other texts and arrive at polygamy. Many in history privileged certain texts and justified slavery. Some privilege certain texts and exclude women from ministry while others privilege different texts and include women in ministry. Some privilege certain texts and insist women must cover their heads when they pray or prophesy. Some would say that the biblical ideal is that all speak in tongues. What is the biblical ideal on circumcision? Everyone who speaks about it except Paul and Luke says it is absolutely necessary. What is the biblical ideal concerning eating meat sacrificed to idols? Luke says gentiles should avoid it because a council in Jerusalem said so, John (Revelation) condemns it as the doctrine of Balaam and Jezebel, and Paul (who was supposedly at the Jerusalem council) tells the Corinthians it is a matter of conscience. What is the biblical ideal of justification? Depends if you prefer Paul or James. What is the biblical ideal on drinking wine? Some privilege a few texts and forbid it, and others observe that Jesus made wine for drunk people at a wedding. The list goes on. The phrase “biblical ideal” is meaningless because the bible is a collection of disparate books that cannot intend anything apart from the interpreter. I think the best we can say is “this writer’s ideal, as I understand it, is…” In the end, the biblical ideal is really your ideal as derived from your hermeneutic. And gay Christians have their own ideal derived from their own hermeneutic just as you have yours. Perhaps they would privilege texts that call for love, equality and justice. There is nothing wrong with having your own hermeneutic, but when you call it the “biblical ideal” you assume a position that is illusory because it is really just your own construct. And that’s true for us all.

        1. No, by “biblical ideal” I mean what God commanded and prescribed as his standard. Just about all the issues you raise have answers. For instance, the biblical ideal on circumcision for today is it doesn’t matter. Do it or not. On eating meat offered to idols, the biblical ideal is eat it. If you conscience offends you then don’t eat it. On drinking wine, drink it if you wish but don’t get drunk. On justification, Paul and James agree; they are answering different questions. The interpretation is not all that difficult. It’s the same thing we do today. When you read something here, you interpret it. But if you get it wrong, the writer comes back and says “You misunderstood.” That’s becuase meaning always belongs to the author, not the interpreter. The confusion is not all that great for people who don’t treat the Bible differently than anything else.

        2. Just Me, you said that biblical ideal means what God prescribed and commanded as his standard. That statement is full of presuppositions that privilege your interpretation as the standard. Let me illustrate from your own response:

          You said the biblical ideal on circumcision for today is that it doesn’t matter. But isn’t that only Paul’s ideal?? It’s not the ideal of Moses. Or any writer of Hebrew Scripture. It’s not the ideal of any other NT writer except perhaps Luke. It’s not the ideal of James. The Jerusalem church sent “spies” to Galatia to see what Paul was up to according to Paul’s own words in Galatians – and he was quite unkind to their views on circumcision. It was not the view of Jesus. So, when you say God’s command, what you really mean here is Paul’s view, and perhaps Luke’s. Other people who claimed to speak for God disagreed. Why is Paul’s view THE view??

          The biblical ideal on meats sacrificed to idols is eat it if we want?? But that is only Paul’s view. No one else’s. Acts 15 says otherwise – do not eat it. So does Revelation, in fact it is Balaam and Jezebel doctrine to eat it according to Revelation. So we have two NT writers against one here. Why is Paul right and Luke and John wrong?? Please explain why you privilege Paul.

          I agree with you on wine – but why do so may Fundys claim the Bible forbids it???? How can they? Are there texts that they might use to that effect??

          Paul and James do not agree. That is a twisted hermeneutic IMO. I understand the motive, but contorting texts to fit an ideology is something I left long ago. Paul said faith alone and James said not faith alone. The language is clear and that James challenged Paul is clear – unless you use your hermeneutics to nuance James. Which I think you probably do. Which I also respect – just admit it and don’t try and claim that you are interpreting James “correctly”. You are straining James to fit Paul. Even Luther could admit that. Again, why did James send out people to spy on Paul in Galatia if they really were in agreement?? Luke is the peacemaker in Acts 15 but Paul is more honest in Galatians. Luke deals with those who say “unless you are circumcised you cannot be saved” in Acts 15 much differently than Paul does in Galatia. Just read the texts. Which one is the biblical ideal??

          If the meaning always belongs to the author, we are in trouble since the authors are all dead so there is no way to confirm what they meant. Now the meaning belongs to us who read and interpret. As I noted above, I may say “I think this writer meant…” but that is all. The writer is not here to ask.

          As soon as we think these things are simple we betray our ignorance. The bible needs to be given the credit it deserves. If it speaks of magic trees and talking snakes we should give it the credit it deserves as a great myth. If it talks about whales swallowing people who live in their stomachs for three days or donkeys who talk or the sun standing still (or the earth no rotating on its axis) we should read it as the great legend that it is. If we read of virgin births or walking on water we should read it as the midrash that it is. Let’s not discredit the bible and expose it to ridicule by reading it as literal history and then insisting that everyone else do likewise. Read Tolkien and Lewis as the scholars of literature that they were and then come back to the bible and really appreciate it for the literature (as God’s word through which God speaks) that it is.

        3. The final word is that circumcision isn’t necessary. As in most things, Paul got the final (Biblical) word.
          the Admiral

      3. I recommend you read the Bible before making these kinds of proclamations. Even if someone accepted your dichotomy between imperative and indicative (which most biblical scholars don’t, since intention is determined by genre, not grammar), you are just flat out wrong. There are several instances where God gives specific approval to relationships that we would consider immoral. Consider 2 Sam. 12:8 for starters.

    3. I think the issue is structural in nature, and cannot be ignored. We can’t simply redefine marriage and family without severe consequences.

      Here you have a false premise.

      The fact is that marriage has been redefined throughout history. Marriage as “one man with one woman” has never been the standard world-wide. Not in the Bible over time, either.

      So look at Israel, please, and tell how the Scriptures demonstrate severe consequences from not having the standard you desire? You can’t.

      The same rhetoric was used to fight against letting black people marry white people. It was supposed to be some end of civilization thing. And it didn’t happen.

      And in case you haven’t noticed, social scientists have found that children living in non-traditional families turn out just fine. A lot of the so-called research saying otherwise is funded by fundamentalists who desire to support their position rather than actually find out the truth.

      1. > I agree with Just Me. Good answers.
        > the Admiral

        how about the part where Just Me claims that “The confusion is not all that great for people who don’t treat the Bible differently than anything else.” cool…

        oh, wait…

        except you do treat the Bible differently than anything else. It’s the sole source of your worldview and understanding of God.

        maybe that’s where the confusions come from. Because it is confusing when different parts of the Scriptures give contradictory viewpoints of God.

        For example: the 4 different viewpoints on faith vs. works. Here’s an article from Grace Bible Church:


        So which of these views is right? We’ll never know.


  18. “The Church of England is not the force it used to be. In fact it looks like it is dying on it’s feet. Even it’s head, the Archbishop of Cantebury, has admitted that if things keep going the way they are the whole shebang will go the way of the dinosaurs by the end of the century.”

    Irrelevant, Paul. What Archbishop Welby says is simply an opinion. It’s also prophetic–“if things keep going the way they are”.

    Things may not go the way they are, in the future. Prince Charles has said that if he ever gets to the throne, he would prefer to be called “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith.”

    1. Which faith? Faith in Jesus? Allah? I suppose it depends if you takes seriously the words of Jesus “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me”

      1. All faiths. Surely you know, Paul, that the UK is very multi-cultural. I read somewhere that chicken tikka is the most popular take-away dish there.

        1. If you’ve sampled British cuisine, that isn’t surprising.

      2. I keep coming back to Jesus’s words about being the Way, the Truth and the Life. That is pretty exclusive. Not a lot of wiggle-room there. Of course, people have a right to reject His Claims, but should we not have the right to tell others about His claims without being regarded as narrow-minded bigots? Or are we being narrow-minded bigots?

        1. Yes, Paul, you do have the right so long as it is respectful. (Some years ago, in a university where I was chaplain, students were harassed by a group of super-evangelical “Christians” to the point where students lodged complaints against them and I was asked to testify because they had harassed me too. I think some of them were expelled.)

          Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life for you, for me, and for many on this forum. Is anybody harassing you, Paul?

        2. Not personally, but then again I am likely to take the coward’s way out and keep my mouth shut in real-life situations. It is easier to discuss faith on forums like this than in “Real Life” because the fall-out from disagreements tends to be less immediate. (In real life you can get punched!) But when it comes to issues like Gay marriage…. It is not even an argument, to have an argument you need an opposing point of view. That is what I find frustrating.

        3. Those are not Jesus’ claims, but the claims of someone writing on behalf of John’s community. There is no record of Jesus saying such things in the other gospels. This is one of those so-called sayings of Jesus that are not substantiated elsewhere and that sound more like John’s exclusive faith that was reacting to exclusionary Jewish claims than the faith of Jesus found elsewhere.

        4. So can we ignore anything that Jesus says in one particular gospel if it does not appear in any/ all of the other Gospels? I think that is dangerous. Not to mention stupid.

        5. That particular claim of Jesus would certainly be a good one to ignore because it does have a lot of possibly uncomfortable implications,,,,,,,

  19. Is there a place in this forum for people like me who do not support Same-sex Marriage? Or have some issues become so sacred to people, even Christians, that it is considered blasphemy, or at least Bigotry, to even question them? Will I be allowed to stay on this forum as long as I do not question gay marriage or anything that s gay person says or does? I have already had the experience of being excluded from one Christian forum for daring to question the sacredness of the right to same-sex marriage. Or am I turning into another Steven Anderson?

    1. I think that there is a lot of opportunity for diverse opinions as long as people are respectful of others. Things degenerate very quickly when people take the stance that those who have differing opinions are sinners or take the attitude that God will “get” those who differ.

      My only conflict arises when I am around people who “disapprove” of who I am. I will be very polite, and I will not let it divide us. However, to be quite honest, I steer a wide path around these people. Too much contact often forces people like this to get vocal if my very existence within close proximity is “cramming” my lifestyle “down their throats.” This type is often happy when I “know my place.” In church, I try not to make this an issue, but I will not apologize for who I am, and this stance that I am happy and feel that I am in God’s will tends to drive this type crazy–and as a result they must insert themselves when their opinion has not been asked for. I avoid Sunday School classes for this reason. This Sunday, my feelings that same-sex marriage is no big deal will drive some of these types to distraction.

      1. Respect. An interesting concept for some. Over the years I have been to listen to a number of public discussions concerning different “controversial” topics. One of the most recent was the relationship between the Christian church and Gay Rights. There were a fair number of openly Gay people in the audience and they constantly heckled the Christian speakers, interrupted them, called them names, booed them, and generally behaved like disrespectful children. The Christian speakers should a lot more restraint than I might have, and came across as much more reasonable than the gay speakers, who probably had reason to be angry at past hurts but who came across as totally unyeilding and vituperative, to put it mildly.

        1. That’s a tough situation to be in for both parties. I’ve never been in the shoes of the gay community (that is, in a position of demanding rights being denied to me) but I would assume that the ones asking for something are always louder than those refusing to give it, as it should be. Minorities have to make as much noise as they can to reach the majority crowd. I would expect Christians to do the same, if they ever became an oppressed minority. At least I would hope that they would. I may not call myself a Christian anymore, but I wouldn’t want any religion to be suffocated by any ruling power.

        2. There is a very big World outside of America, and Christians ARE an oppressed minority in large parts of it. Christians in America – and in Europe – do not often grasp just what a privileged position we are in, being able to live our lives without fear of being thrown in prison, or even killed, just for believing what we believe.

        3. I know. MK here. Except what I’ve seen is more of overbearing denomination trying to wipe out another. Catholic vs Protestants even today, can still cause a huge shit storm.

        4. I am not in favour of Same-sex Marriage but I do think whole issue of “persecution of Christians” over it, takes on a different perspective when you consider what is happening to Christians in North Korea and ISIS-controlled parts of Syria and Iraq. Is America *really* becoming as bad as that? Or is that wishful thinking from people with a Persecution Complex?

        5. I think it’s probably a lot of fear mongering, but at the same time, when privilege is taken away (I’m calling the assumption that the government has been upholding Christian values all along a privilege) it’s bound make those who were trying to keep it very nervous. I don’t blame them, I suppose. But it certainly isn’t anywhere near what it is overseas, in some countries. It takes a lot of balls to be loud, when it’s your life that’s on the line.

          I can’t tell you where I lived at, sadly. Wish I could, but my parents are still there, and I’m not necessarily out as a de-convert. They’re close to retirement, and the last thing I want to do is stir the waters for them.

      1. Thank you. I try to treat others the way I like to be treated myself. I have wrestled with these issues and I really do want to reflect the spirit of Jesus, which is not always easy, given my explosive nature…. Anyway, I do not always see a lot of respect or tolerance in the more extreme elements on both sides of the argument (mind you, the line between “moderate” and “extreme” is constantly moving, which makes life interesting)

        1. Absolutely! A moving target, it is.

          When the Episcopal Church was debating the ordination of women in the 1970s, there were extremists on both sides. Some of the pro-women’s ordination advocates were really strident.

          I remarked to a friend, a woman who herself wished to be ordained to the priesthood, that those strident extremists were hurting their own cause. My friend replied, “No, we need them, so that the center will move in our direction.”

        2. Keep in mind though, in the real world, the ones who get heard are the ones that shout the loudest. No necessarily the ones who talk the most sense. Look what is happening in parts of the Muslim world

        3. Maybe it is not just the aility to shout louder than anybody else. it might also have a lot to do with the ability to press all the right buttons to provoke a response that does not require having your brain in gear. I detect this principle at work in the rise of the Chrisian Far Right in the U.S. And have seen it all too clearly in the whole political landscape of Northern Ireland.

        4. Some atheists complain that support for moderate forms of Christianity has the effect of legitimizing the most extreme forms (think TV evangelists). Same principle…?

        5. Does that also apply to atheism? (cf persecution of Christians inNorth Korea)

    2. Paul,

      I can say that in these forums everyone who is respectful and dignified is welcome. You will at times find some debates about deep seated beliefs but you won’t find a lot of name calling or belittling going on. Stick around long enough and you will even see people in opposite sides of a disagreement support each other’s character when they are maligned.

      However, when you make a statement there are people who will agree, disagree, and defend their positions. You should be prepared for an honest and forthright conversation.

      1. I’ve been haunting this forum for a few years now, so I know that the conversations can be *extremely* forthright! 🙂 that is what I like about it. Plus the fact that most people are respectful and willing to listen. I have found the input helpful in sifting through quite a lot of my own opinions. I have seen that some of them have been wrong and need to change, but I’m also encouraged to see that I might have got at least a few things right 🙂

      1. When those that are intolerant are publicly silenced isn’t that being intolerant? Aren’t they guilty as much as those they are silencing? I see statements such as “religious people can dislike gay marriage as long as they keep it inside the church doors” but isn’t that denying them their first amendment right to free speech? Roe v wade made abortion legal but there are many that still speak out publicly and are intolerant of it. Gay marriage is now the law of the land and a right to those who desire to participate but to deny first amendment rights to those that disagree in it is to trample their rights as well. This is the forced acceptance that people are concerned about and this is the forced acceptance I have seen in my workplace.

        1. Yes I will call you Shirley.

          HiddenEx :
          Surely you’re not suggesting that the views of those who oppose legalized abortion and legalized gay marriage should be tolerated?
          I say silence those intolerant bigots. How dare they publicly disagree with us the Enlightened Ones?!!!

          the Admiral

        2. If you are opposed to gay marriage, don’t get one. If you are opposed to abortion, don’t have one. For me the issue is not whether or not these things are right or wrong but whether I have the right to impose my values on everyone else.

    3. Paul Best:
      I think you are implying that SFL is currently a community which leans strongly toward a liberal bias/agenda. I would guess that a poll would confirm that. I hope that being outnumbered doesn’t discourage you from participation. There are those of us who still agree with you here–often we are not as vocal as others are.
      the Admiral

      1. Don’t worry, I will keep participating! When I get on a roll, you won’t shut me up! In any case, I find the discussions stimulating and helpful and I appreciate you all, even those of you with whom I may strongly disagree. Plus I love the humour.

      2. > I think you are implying that SFL is currently a community which leans strongly toward a liberal bias/agenda.

        Please don’t discriminate against my distinctly non-conservative, non-liberal, non-centrist, non-libertarian, non-socialist, non-statist, non-normative socio-cultural beliefs.

        It’s not fair to assume that:

        1) there are only 2 socio-cultural norms that all people fall into: conservative vs. liberal (it’s more like a hyper-dimensional rainbow)

        2) that everyone here who does not agree with you has an “agenda” to enforce or push on others.

        The world is not binary… things are not black/white, conservative/liberal, straight/gay.

  20. Here’s a problem I’ve had since I left the faith. And I’ve only had it because I wasn’t in a place back in my Fundie, then evangelical, then liberal Christian days to see this as an issue, so it’s hard to see when you’re on the inside.

    Take note of Christ’s life in the gospels. He essentially embraced those that Christians call sinners. Nothing new, we all know this, I’m sure. But it seems to me like he didn’t care much about what they had done, what they were etc. The only people that seemed to really peeve him where the Pharisees, the money changers in the temple, and that one unlucky fig tree that didn’t provide fruit during his off-time of the year.

    People changed, but he didn’t force them to change. They just did. Which really, if he could have forced them to change, then the whole dying on the cross for our sins part wouldn’t have been necessary.

    So really, the Almighty Creator of the Universe has to die for our sins because we just keep screwing it up, time after time, we’re completely inept at being good, apparently. And then along comes Paul and he’s like “guys, stop sinning.” And then everyone else is like “You heard the man! Lets have another go at this. Lets stop sinning. Even more, lets make other people that don’t even believe the same things we do stop sinning too! Let’s bring the government into this. They’re most efficient at forcing people to do things!”

    So big picture: God tells humans to not sin. They do. God tells humans to not sin by giving them some rules. Humans keep sinning. God then decides to do this himself and dies for humans’ sins. Humans then start telling everyone to stop sinning. Humans keep sinning. Humans get government involved. Humans keep sinning.

    You see what the problem is with this? You claim to value the sacrifice of Christ, but then you keep doing the thing that from what I understand, God concluded we weren’t capable of doing. So what was the point of his death, if you’re just going to continue doing the thing that he supposedly died for to clear you from having to do in the first place?

    This all ties into trying to make marriage look like a sanctified tradition, (which honestly is terribly short-sighted, seeing as it’s a tradition in almost all religions of the world) that needs to be followed, because people should do the thing that Christ came to die for because you couldn’t stop doing it in the first place.

    1. Dr. KeepOn:
      It sounds like you are saying that Paul screwed up. I would have to disagree. Paul didn’t say anything incongruous with the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
      the Admiral

      1. > Paul didn’t say anything incongruous with the purpose of
        > the gospel of Jesus Christ.
        > the Admiral

        Saying this does not make it so.

        The Paul vs. Jesus debate started in the early church and has never let up.

        Many dedicated believers have made it their life work to investigate this issue:

        * https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&q=paul%20vs%20jesus

        For example: http://doctrine.org/jesus-vs-paul

        1. Rear Admiral :
          I read the essay/article that you referenced twice, the one from doctrine.org.

          I can only come to the conclusion that either you did not read it or you just like to be argumentative. Thank you for posting a link to an article that supports my position.

          I will repeat my assertion. Paul didn’t say anything incongruous with the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The referenced article supports that statement.

          The article points out that Jesus’ ministry was primarily to Jews and that Paul’s ministry and teachings were primarily for Christians, who may or may not have been Gentiles. This big difference does not invalidate my statement.

          I didn’t say Jesus and Paul had the same message or audience. My point was that when taken in context both messages are valid and neither contradicts the other. In fact, the gospel/good news about Jesus regarding his purpose(s) for coming to earth is explained by Paul and was never contradicted by anything that Jesus said/did.

          the Admiral

        2. The “Jesus v. Paul” article leaves me a bit wary. Frankly, this looks just like the justification for the heresy of Dispensationalism.

          Just as God established His plan with Israel beginning with Abraham, He began a new plan with Paul. God created Israel beginning with Abraham. God created the Church, the body of Christ, beginning with Paul.

          But dispensationalism *is* a heresy. It certainly is not how the church itself saw its roots or its beginnings. Nor is it reasonable to think that immediately after the life of Christ, all Jesus had done in His earthly ministry was rendered irrelevant by his death and resurrection — which is precisely the effect the author believes happened.

          Jesus and the Twelve ministered to Jews under the Mosaic Law and preached the gospel of the kingdom to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies of Israel’s earthly kingdom with the Messiah as King (Romans 15.8). Paul ministered to Gentiles (Romans 11.13) under grace, apart from the Law, and disclosed secrets the ascended and glorified Lord had revealed to him.

          Actually, I don’t see there being any grand theology there to be distilled. Not any more, at least. I used to believe in dispensationalism with all my heart. But Jesus did say, “By their fruits you shall know them,” and that a good tree cannot produce rotten fruit. The fruit of dispensationalist teaching is most definitely rotten, essentially removing the significance of Christ’s words and teachings to the “kingdom age” while making them irrelevant to the “church age.”

          What we know about the transition into the church age is that it was a mess, an emotional and theological quagmire where there was no doctrine about Jesus Christ, people didn’t know whether he was man only as God’s prophet, or divine only (an epiphany, as God appearing to Abraham as a man), or a mixture only conceived of previously in Greek and Persian mythos. Writings appeared pushing one position versus another position, and many were spurious. It can be readily argued that Paul did not write all the letters attributed to him. Nor did Peter write the Second Epistle (it only shows up in the latter part of the third century, iirc).

          When Jesus didn’t return to become King, Faith suffered a Crisis. And as these things usually do, the resolution was not done by admitting there were mistakes and misunderstandings along the way. Instead, people grabbed onto what they could for emotional reassurance. Leaders preached what was expedient and what would hold the group together. Different communities believed different things, fought over the differences, but ultimately held together over the old paganism and the militarily defeated Jewry. Often times they adopted the esoteric approaches of pagan teachers simply to keep the faith intact and unspoiled by free dissemination when there was no established doctrine.

          In today’s world, we want to forget that faith was fluid, there was no certainty, Scripture was what you believed it was. God did not speak clearly. People did the best they could under terrible circumstances. And the faith eventually coalesced and morphed into what we see today.

      2. the Admiral:

        There’s plenty of debate on that subject. From my point of view, looking at the big picture, he does.

        Christianity has essentially gone from “don’t sin, so you can be righteous with God” – after which Jesus died because we couldn’t not sin – and to now “don’t sin, because Jesus died on the cross for you”. Not much has changed except for the reason to continue to try not to sin.

      3. Without going into details Paul said some good stuff in accordance with Jesus teaching and life, got some things wrong, contradicts himself on occasion ( e.g. on women) and talks about some stuff that is largely relevant to 1st c. Christians.

        1. What I’ve always found fascinating is how little Paul talks about Jesus’ life. There’s plenty about his death and resurrection, but he never mentions any specific details about his life. Those who theorize that Paul’s version of Jesus was that of God redeeming mankind through sacrifice and resurrection in another world/dimension (given to him through his vision on the road) have a case, particularly when it fit well with a contemporary gnostic movement. But as gnosticism faded, Paul’s writings were popular enough that they blended in with Christianity thanks to some minor modifications. Can’t say I agree, but it’s an interesting idea.

        2. To be fair, it is entirely unclear that Paul was interested in proscribing behavior in any kind of absolute way. It seems much more likely that his intention was to apply the kingdom paradigm to different aspects of corporate life. For example, he clearly embraces a relativistic ethic about meat offered to idols (and note too that in so doing he was going against the Jerusalem council’s agreement). And there are numerous occasions where he writes one thing to one audience, and something contradictory to another. Unfortunately, some have decided to treat the NT like a new Torah or something weird like that – as if it were a collection of new laws for us to follow.

  21. Living in a country where gay marriage is not a big deal any more, I have to say, if you want to keep an issue front and centre, if you want to make people antagonistic and angry and in your face, deny them their rights. Gay couples are going to be gay couples with or without marriage. All that changes with legal gay marriage is that those couples now have the same rights and comforts and protections that hetero couples have. It also means that gay married couples are now just part of the landscape. They are no longer out there “offending” people in order to have their rights recognized.
    I have friends who were legally married in Vermont. One of them was very ill, the same disease my daughter has, Myasthenia Gravis. Due to differing laws in various states, they had to be very careful where they went on vacation just in case something happened and their marriage was not recognized. The following is a quote, ”When she was very ill, Julie’s medical care was in NH, we lived in VT, and when she needed a crisis facility we ended up in MA. We were very lucky, all three states recognized our marriage and I only ran into one person who challenged my right to access. The reality crashed down on me after she died. DOMA was still in place. There were no survivor benefits. I had to go to court to get access to money, taxes were a nightmare.” This is a couple who loved and cared for each other, one of them caring for her spouse who was dealing with a serious medical condition. How did that impact YOU? Julie once said that if people got to know gay couples, they would realize that they are just boring people who cared about each other in boring ways, just like everyone else.

  22. I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman but I don’t believe that people who do not share my beliefs and values should be forced to live by them. I don’t need a secular government to be my crutch or fall back….nor do I need it to reinforce what I believe.

    1. elfdream, I understand where you are coming from. However, “I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman” may mean that you consciously or subconsciously treat these people as “sinners,” or as offenders, even if you don’t believe they should be forced to live according to your beliefs.

      I guess what I am saying is that Jesus ate and drank with “sinners.” He accepted them as they were and did not put preconditions on that acceptance. He knows we are “out of the way.” And the fact is that I may not be “out of the way” regarding marriage, but I am “out of the way” in other areas.

      Is it really in the best interest of anyone for me to judge what others do or how they live? Even if I am not trying to force them to change? Maybe I should just accept them and pray that God will bless them and lead them in the way He wants them to go.

      Of course I realize that there are situations that need to be regulated, especially where there is an imbalance of power and opportunities for predation. But we have, in my opinion, over-regulated many of those with the same biases that have colored our perceptions of gay marriage.

      Specifically, we believe we have the color of being “right” and others have the color of being “wrong.” We have the color of “godliness” while others have the color being “ungodly.” We have the color of authority, and others should listen to us and do what we tell them to do.

      So even when we are nice and democratic and all we still carry around our biases. They influence how we see and treat others. Perhaps there should be a better way?

      1. rtgmath, I have a hard time accepting the idea that you believe that people should not have beliefs. In fact, that supposition is literally impossible. A person without beliefs would not be human.
        the Admiral

        1. I didn’t say that. Go back and read what I wrote again. Use context. You are not so illiterate as to really think that was what I said or meant.

          Don’t let a disagreement in perspective make you obstinate and irrational. Please? I know you are better than that.

      2. Sorry about that rtg, I did not mean offense. What I did mean was (having reread your comment and mine) when you said “Perhaps there should be a better way”, I agree with that. I believe there is a better way which you identified earlier in your comment. I believe that way is Jesus’ way. I think you made that point but are not acknowledging/realizing? that you made that point. As you said “Jesus ate and drank with ‘sinners’ and accepted them.” But Jesus did also desire that they would follow his way. Just because he didn’t state that desire at every opportunity doesn’t change what he believed or wanted.
        the Admiral

        1. Thank you. I believe that Jesus’ way is the better way.

          I notice that Jesus did not tell Zaccheus to change. But he did change under Jesus’ influence. Jesus’ association with Mary the Prostitute changed her in ways the condemnation of the Pharisees (“she is a sinner”) did not. And I don’t believe Jesus preached at her about sexually moral behavior, either.

          It is really, really hard to let the Holy Spirit do the work, isn’t it? We so want to identify the changes that have to be made for things or people to be “acceptable” to God. God has His own way of doing things. We are all broken vessels. We are all unacceptable. We need to give grace to those who are unacceptable in ways different than we are.

          And giving grace to those who are different than we are may show the work of God in our hearts, too, far more than the intolerance we are predisposed to show.

      3. rgthmath, I think you missed the point of my post. I was addressing the attitude some Christians have toward the government. They have not had to stand alone against the world because of their notion of living in a Christian Nation is a’safe’ place for them despite all their cries of persecution. To not have that fail safe, to see it changing is scary for some. Not for me because I never bought into the idea of Christian America.

        There is no way to convince anyone who does not know me personally that I do not treat certain groups of people as sinners or offenders and that I try to live just the way you described in your post. You will just to trust me when I say that I don’t.

        1. I will take your word for it. But if you are anything like me at all, some part of how you connect people and their actions will influence how you treat them.

          That is why I have to keep reminding myself of the point. And as is said, A word to the wise is sufficient.

    2. I personally believe everyone should like sauerkraut. But a lot of people don’t.
      So what will I do about it? Learn to live with differences, and try to accept the bitter truth that most people don’t want me to rule the world.

      1. rgthmath, I understand your concern. Over time I have made the acquaintance and friendships with people who are gay, bi, became good friends with someone who happened to be intersexual and had the corrective surgery… and one who is transitioning from male to female. My own niece is bi. My husband’s nephew is a cross dresser. I’ve become so used to having a wide variety of people in my social circle that the idea of treating them as ‘sinners’ is a completely foreign concept to me.

    1. I’m sure that there are gay people who are afraid of commitment that are now having some very awkward conversations with their very committed partner. They can no longer use the “I wish we could get married, but the law’s the law” line.

      1. When I was growing up, the two main civil advantages of being gay (along with many disadvantages) were that you were exempt from military conscription, and you wouldn’t be expected to get married.
        Well, gay and lesbian citizens have fought hard for decades, and now have defeated both of those benefits. I hope they realized what they were asking for.

    2. Why is it OK to use the word “queer” but not the word “nigger”? Both are commonly considered offensive or denigrating.

      the Admiral

        1. The Admiral – sorry, didn’t realize that. George never sleeps. :/

        2. The “Q” in “LGBTQ” is generally used to mean “questioning” (as in, “Hmm, I wonder if I might be gay or bi”), not “queer.”

          “Queer” can be used as positive or negative descriptor, depending on context and emphasis. The hermeneutics and politics of the term “queer” are complicated and I won’t try to parse them here (because I’m no kind of expert on the subject). As a straight person, though, I choose not to use that term, just as I, as a white person, choose not to use certain slang words for members of specific racial minorities.

      1. I guess every term you use will eventually become offensive to someone. Language changes over time. It evolves. So do attitudes. Unfortunately Fundamentalists don’t believe in Evolution and do they never change.

      2. The black community has decided to reclaim the word “nigger” for itself. It is inappropriate for white people to use it. But by embracing the hurt, the pain, and the attitudes of those that have harmed them, they figure that ownership puts them in a position to change things.

        They use the term sardonically. They don’t use it with each other in the same way that white people have used it against them.

        It is the same with the LGBTQ community. They have appropriated the “queer” title, made it more specific (not simply “gay men,” but also dealing with gender identity). They are turning it from a pejorative to a recognition of differences without shame.

        So it isn’t good for you to use it, either, unless you use it in the same way they do, without accusation or reproach.

        Sometimes you have to understand that the only way to bear the reproach, the shame and guilt people heap upon you is to claim them and reshape them.

        Does this help?

        1. Sure rtgmath, no problem. I would guess the reason using LGBTQ has not caught on is because its use is inconsistent with the reasoning you just gave.
          the Admiral

      3. I’m queer, so I’ll try to answer.

        Some people use that term in an attempt to reclaim it.

        I use it, because I feel odd, like I don’t quite fit into any of the boxes. And while I’m technically bisexual, queer is a more accessible & accurate term for me, since I get hung up on the sexual part of bisexual.

        1. So I commented, then realized you had posted, and hoped suddenly that my comment regarding the term “queer” was correct. It seems what I said agreed with you, but if I’ve misunderstood in any way, feel free to comment. I’m still learning. 🙂

      4. “Queer” is acceptable. It’s just nuanced. For instance, “genderqueer” means that you’re not transgendered, but you don’t conform to gender norms. I have a friend that is a lesbian, definitely identifies as a woman, but wears her hair short and wears men’s clothing most of the time. She considers herself genderqueer. From what I understand, queer is kind of a catchall for all the variances in gender and sexual orientation that don’t quite fit under the titles of lesbian, gay, bi, or trans. So calling all LGBTQ individuals “the queers” is rude, because not everybody who falls under the LGBTQ heading would fit “queer”, but somebody can be and may consider themselves “queer”, and then it’s okay. It’s a case-by-case basis, so you’d really have to ask somebody who identifies that way why they do to probably fully understand it.

  23. I just saw a pastor of a local IFB church on a street corner holding a “marriage: 1 man 1 woman” sign. It kind of irritated me. I’m not personally for nor do I believe in gay marriage but this fight is over, especially in this state that legalized gay marriage a couple years ago. Basically the SCOTUS decision won’t really change anything here so why are you wasting your time? Glad I won’t be at his church tomarrow.

  24. After the whole Duggar debacle, I became truly convinced that a lot of religious people are truly cracked in the head.

    With that said, nothing they say surprises me anymore. They want separation of church and state, except when they want to make the laws. They bully the LGBT community, those who are divorced, those who wear the wrong clothes, those who drink the wrong milk, etc., but when one of them commit a felony, they call it persecution.

    They scream that Christianity is under “attack” because the White House got all Skittled, but don’t mention the Christians in the Middle East who are being beheaded for their faith.

    Because they live in a bubble, they can’t see themselves for what they are. And, it’s sad.

    1. I’ve also seen those who say that Christianity is under attack in the United States just like it is in the Middle East, as if being killed for your faith is equivalent to having your ability to tell other people that they can’t marry same-gendered people taken away.

      ISIS didn’t come up in this morning’s service at my church, but there was definitely a reference to the church now being “in chains” due to marriage equality. #SMH

      1. That is because that church is more like the religious leaders of ISIS than what Jesus had in mind when He said “I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”

      2. If the government throws you in jail for saying your opinion, that’s persecution.
        If the government just doesn’t give you your way 100% of the time, that’s nowhere near persecution. It isn’t even in the same zip code.

        1. It is called Democracy. That is*not* what fundamentalists want. They want Theocracy. With them being the Voice of God.

    2. I was just commenting about this to my wife. “Conservatives” (sorry, can’t think of a more accurate term right now) go into apopleptic shock when “activist judges” re-write the law from the bench…until it comes totheir own pet social issue. SCOTUS upholds the constitution and in so doing limits the power of government, and suddenly these same people are up in arms. Inconsistent at best.

      1. This is very richly illustrated by the dissenting opinions in last week’s Supreme Court decisions– most of all Scalia’s.

        Justice Scalia’s learned opinion on the Health Care Act case can be summarized as “Waaaaaaaaaaaah!”
        Scalia’s and Roberts’ opionions on the same-sex marriage cases can be summarized as “Waaaaaaaah, waaaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

        So much for their “strict constructionist” and “original intent” views on jurisprudence, which boil down to “the law’s original intent is whatever I want it to be.”

        1. I’ll recap Scalia’s response fro those of you who haven’t or don’t care to read it:

          “Get off my lawn!”

  25. One of the most beautiful statements (IMO) from this: “In America, there are no longer two types of marriage: heterosexual & gay. Now, there is only marriage.”

    For those of you who are disappointed by the SCOTUS’s ruling, I understand. I do. I was in the one man + one woman camp for a very, very long time.

    But I hope you can at least accept this as a legal & civil rights issue with the realization that your religious beliefs are still valid & recognized.

    You do not have to approve of every marriage for it to be recognized by the government.

    I think we’ve all known at least one couple for whom we thought getting married was a mistake. Even if you took them aside & told them as much, the mistake was theirs to make & own the consequences.

    This is no different.

    1. I knew at the time that my sister’s marriage to the guy she was dating was “wrong.” Somewhere there was a bent in his character. I saw it. The one time I mentioned it I was told to back off. I did.

      Probably most “straight” marriages are “wrong” to a degree, and have been throughout history. Women and girls were traded as property and had no rights in days past — even in Jesus’ time. Mary was probably no older than 13 when she was pregnant with Jesus, and no older than 14 when she was finally married to Joseph. In the rest of the world, girls as young as 12 were married to older men in legal civil and religious ceremonies as late as 1962.

      In fact, Canon Law once recognized marriages to girls as young as 7 years old, provided they “consented” to the marriage.

      6. Professor of Sociology Anthony Joseph Paul Cortese says that a 50 year old man being with a girl under 10 (being intimate) Under United States law was legal until the mid 1960s,

      “In 1962, the American Law Institute recommended that the legal age of consent to sex- that is, the age below which sex is defined as statutory rape- be dropped in every state to age 10 (Katchadourian and Lund 1972: 439). In fact, until the mid 1960s, the legal age of consent in Delaware was 7 (Kling, 1965: 216). So a 50 year old man could legally have sexual intercourse with a 7 year old boy or girl.” http://discover-the-truth.com/2013/09/09/age-of-consent-in-european-american-history/

      We think of such things as “wrong” today. They were accepted without much question in the past. There is a problem when we blithely talk about “traditional marriage.” Our “traditions” are usually recognized as “wrong” in today’s world, but somehow we have forgotten that they were our traditions.

  26. Ok, I’m becoming disappointed with the IFB. On Friday, after the SCOTUS announcement, there were a few statements made but nothing like “end of the world” or “gods wrath will wipe America clean”. Paul Cappell made a written statement and Clarence Thomas has a video to the effect of “we are disappointed but this is the world we live in now, let’s give the gospel to everyone including the gays”. Even Steven Anderson hasn’t made a rediculous statement yet. I mean, cmon, I was all set for a weekend of crazy slathered in Fundy and then nothing. Obviously the court jesters of public opinion took the weekend off.

      1. Eh, I did see one person imply that this past Friday was the first day of the End Times. I think there’s a degree to which the harshness that used to pervade people’s expression of their opinions may be softening. However, I suspect that there’s also a component of people having the same views but becoming embarrassed to utter them aloud, like a grandparent who has racist views, but knows better than to express them around their interracially married grandchild.

    1. My guess is that it relates directly to Darrell’s question #3. God despises gay sex. In light of that fact, the morality of gay marriage is a moot point. If God hasn’t already destroyed America because we accept the reality of gay sex, why would He do so simply because it is now legal to be gay married?
      the Admiral

      1. Was God OK with us when slavery was legal? Was he OK with not allowing women the right to vote? Was he OK with open racism and segregation? What did God say about our treatment of the Native Americans? There was a time when beating your wife was no big deal. We killed people in wars that we probably shouldn’t have been involved in.

        This country has taken part in things that sure seem a lot worse than gay marriage.

        1. Don’t get me started on how we treated the Native Americans. It is vile, cruel, disgusting, and heartbreaking. I am a bit of an amateur Old West fan, and it was just…well, inhuman. I mean, the US government perpetrated acts that would make ISIL blush.

    2. > I was all set for a weekend of crazy slathered in Fundy and then nothing.

      Perhaps they all collectively shrugged their shoulders, sighed and declared the USA to now be a post-Christian society.

      (and for the record, USA has never been a Christian society)

    3. On his Facebook page Steven Anderson posted a link/article of what ISIS did in “celebration” of #lovewins. He even included the hashtag. I’m not 100% sure, but judging from the nature of the comments, he seems to be in agreement with their horrific actions, rather than against it (like any normal human being would be).

      1. Seems to be a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
        Important to Mr. Anderson because apart from this principle, he has very few friends.

    4. “Paul Cappell made a written statement and Clarence Thomas [you meant Clarence Sexton perhaps?] has a video to the effect of “we are disappointed but this is the world we live in now, let’s give the gospel to everyone including the gays”.’

      It is just my opinion:

      I suspect these guys are choosing to not widely publish their unfiltered thoughts for fear of backlash, but are saving them for an audience with their inner circle. Wednesday night crowd stuff – not available to an outside audience.

      1. yes, I meant Clarence sexton. Thanks for the catch. For some reason my phone likes to change words, people, etc. It’s probably because it’s an iphone and as you know apple is run by the devil himself, the logo proves it.

        1. Try turning off “autocomplete,” or whatever Apple calls it.

  27. I can’t help but wonder if fundies and other hardcore evangelicals didn’t speed up the process of gay marriage in this country with their rhetoric. The interent has put the worst of what many people say out there for the whole world to see. Stuff that used to be said in church stayed in church. They forced people to take sides and many people do not want to be aligned with such hate.

    1. I’ve seen numerous references on LGBT news sites to the idea that the Rick Santorums and Franklin Grahams of the world have done much to advance the cause of marriage equality by way of their incendiary rhetoric. Their comments aren’t just put on the internet by watchdog groups; they’re using the internet themselves to spread their views, which only clarifies their animus toward LGBT people. This in turn, as you’ve pointed out, motivates otherwise undecided or ambivalent people to take sides against hatred.

      1. On an unrelated tangent, I wonder if Franklin Graham would have as big an audience if he had been blessed with a different surname? The idea of “Like Father, Like Son” can be a dangerous one

        1. I wonder if Franklin Graham would have ANY audience if he weren’t the son of a very famous father.

          There, I fixed that for you.

      2. That’s where I am.
        I’m not all “woohoo gay marriage!” I want people to be happy, but gay marriage wasn’t my thing by any means.
        HOWEVER, I’m very against hate, and I’m sick of anger and divisiveness, and I’ve nearly rainbowed my Facebook profile picture half a dozen times just to make the point that I’m NOT on the side of the hate and sarcasm and rancor and “I don’t hate gays, but I don’t want to see them” crowd. (Because “ew, I don’t want to look at you” communicates love so well.) However, my family and church would NEVER understand, so I’ve refrained (I don’t go to an IFB church, but it’s definitely conservative on this issue. Compassionate, but conservative). I’ve refrained from saying much of anything, except a cautionary “choose your words with love” post on my very new blog.

  28. I’m trying to guess what the next big thing will be that fundies will have to “make war as a good Christian soldier” over. Based on the lack of response I’d say they are moving past gay marriage. There’s always the old stand by of abortion but that’s really only good for promoting candidates for office during elections. Marihuana legalization is in progress but Washington and Colorado laws barely got a word from the pulpits. Nope, they are going to have to come up with something new. Railing against secular blasphemies is the fire that motivates them and without it they will drift aimlessly and fade into oblivion. There’s too much money and power at stake, they will find something but I can’t figure a good guess what it might be.

    1. I’m not convinced that fundies in general are looking for a cause. I think they really do fear God’s punishment on the USA for accepting homosexuality and for the millions of babies that have been aborted here since abortion was legalized in 1973.

      I am not a fundy and I don’t think God is going to punish America, but I think I know how they think, and I am convinced of their sincerity in these matters.
      the Admiral

      1. What I find most bothersome is that people seem to think that the United States is the center of the Universe. People can think that God will punish us for gay marriage. However, there are other things that we have done that perhaps are more serious that we have apparently not been punished for. Examples? We believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people. Yet, before World War II, when a number of Jews tried to flee Germany, we turned them back to Germany where they were later encamped and exterminated. Another example. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russian, probably the worst Anti-Christian campaign took place. It wasn’t just against the Church but against God himself. If you look very carefully at the pictures, you will notice that the images of Christ, God, the saints, and the Virgin had their eyes shot out before the rest of the church was destroyed. Yet, Russian went on to become a world power. We could document more terrible events, but seemingly God gave these things a pass, but He is going to single out this one thing. Could this be a clear example of American arrogance?

      2. Personally I have more difficulty with abortion than with homosexuality. But I’m regarded as being kinda weird. I would like to ask various fundies which they think is worse. Would Steven Anderson refuse to allow a woman who has had an abortion into his church?

        1. Come to think of it , would Anderson allow someone who is guilty of adultery into his church? Or would he insist they be put to death as commanded in Leviticus 20, a few verses after the bit about”homos”? or would he turn away someone who has served a prison sentence for rape?

      3. > I’m not convinced that fundies in general are looking for a cause.

        Yes, you’re right. Fundamentalism of any kind is heavily driven by fear on multiple levels. Every fundy I’ve known has deep-seated fear at the core of their psyche.

        1. I think they like it. They like being afraid. It makes them feel like their church is safe, and their beliefs are Important because they will be Saved From the Wrath to Come. They like imagining all kinds of horrible consequences like fire and locusts and tornadoes, because it makes going to church like tabloid news. It’s kind of like Fear Factor for Fundies. It may not be good news, but it’s terribly exciting. I remember my old Fundie pastor talking about “current events” on Wednesday nights. He would dig up the most bizarre things he could possibly find and talk about them from the pulpit. Which is why I found out at the age of twelve that there was a band called “Dying Fetus” and that somewhere there had been an art installation called “Jesus in a bathtub” that had apparently involved urine and a doll wearing a condom. I’ve never forgotten that. The thing was that he seemed completely incapable of recognizing that these things were hardly mainstream or accepted by the general public as “good” or “okay”. Never mind that it was hardly appropriate to share that information with a room that included ten-year-olds, and that the parents of the ten-year-olds seemed to all be okay with it. And yet, no watching PG moves because swear words.

  29. Admiral,

    Having been in the IFB culture for many years let me make a partial list of (rediculous) things they have preached against: facial hair, wire rimmed glasses, pants on women, short hair on women, long hair on men (touching the ear), television, Internet, MySpace, Facebook, public schools, private schools, home schooling, Walt Disney, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, women working, women voting, …

    They are obsessed with having men in charge to the point that Steven anderson says real “men” only urinate standing up but if your only a make you sit to pee like a girl. Then another church has a sign out front that says “make leadership” and the pastor says that for a church to be right with God they have to have a sign like that.

    They are always against sonething. Each pastor tends to have his own little hobby horse he rides but they are also looking for something they can all get on board with.

    1. HiddenEx :
      Of course they are against everything. That was not at all the point. The point was that I don’t believe they need some big grand cause. If there is a big grand cause it will come to them. They didn’t invent the abortion debate or the gay marriage fight. Their position on both of these issues was very mainstream not that long ago.

      the Admiral

  30. I understand what you are saying, in your last paragraph, hiddenexfundie, because I grew up in Northern Ireland in an Christian environment which was very sure about what what we were AGAINST but were bewildered when asked about what we were FOR.
    On the subject of Hobby-Horses.of the big things that was wildly preached about during the horrors of “The Troubles” awas that Northern Ireland Protestantism was the last bastion of True Christianity in Europe. In every other country Christianity had “Sold Out” and “Comprpmised” with that Evil Roman Catholicism. The Violence of the “Troubles” was caused by a terrorist group contolled by the Catholic Church in an attempt to force Northern Ireland into a Catholic-Dominated Republic, and so destroy the last remnant of true Christianilty in Europe, and possibly the world. I wander how many of my fellow Protestant Christians have still to shake that belief out of their brains.

    1. Paul, I think that’s funny because I also often heard words to the effect of “our church and the IFB churches like us are the last bastion of truth. All other churches are compromisers. If we fail then the United states will go to the gays (Muslims, liberals, etc. pick your hobby horse) and the world will fall into complete darkness”. It’s typical fundy mindset of being the only people that can save the world.

  31. rtgmath, the following is posted way up thread at your comment and question to me at 1:48 this afternoon. You asked me to answer, and I didn’t notice your comment until much later, so I have reposted my answer here to be sure that you see it. Please feel free to answer at the original post for continuity of conversation, if you want. Thanks.

    rtgmath, you make it too easy. So easy in fact, I feel that I must be stepping into a trap. You insult me by asking such a simple question.

    As rtgmath himself loves to say, context, my friend, context.

    Yes, they deserve death. And I do not. IF you stop at the verses you cherry picked. But, Paul doesn’t stop there, does he? No, chapter 2 picks up where 1 left off. And after 2, comes 3 and so on. The first 6 chapters of Romans are Paul’s great treatise on law, sin, judgment, grace and redemption. I know I am preaching to the choir here. Rtgmath, you know these chapters well. Why do I have to lecture as if you don’t know the answer to your own questions.

    No, rtg, not just gays, but all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Yes, rtg, the wages of sin are death, for all of us, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Rtgmath, I don’t have your eloquence, your intellect, or your education, but I do know the Gospel, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it.

    Back to the original point, the theme of Leviticus was law and punishment, the theme of Romans is the entire Gospel, which culminates with grace and redemption.

    So, while Romans does specifically mention homosexual activity and call it out as sin, it does so in the context of pointing out that we are all guilty of sin and deserve death. Then, it celebrates the fact that the price has already been paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.

    the Admiral

  32. Dear Darrell and SFL Reader:

    Thank you for this, Darrell. A close friend with an advanced degree in church history said this: ‘please can we at least attempt to question the Constantine civil religion premise?

    BRAVO to my buddy!

    Christian Socialist

  33. FYI: There’s some HTML in your site now that’s messing it up for me. When I click on something I get a popup as if I were ‘Liking’ something for Facebook.

    Removing this node fixed it. I don’t know if this is something you put in, Darrel, or if it somehow snaked itself into your site.

    1. Obviously it’s TEH GAYZ. They now have unlimited power. Wait until they start to redecorate your house. That is where I will draw the line. Who’s with me?


  34. Looks like I picked the wrong weekend to quit sniffing glue and to be away from the internet. So many comments to catch up on. Anyone want to give me a recap?

    I would guess that fundies are predicting the end of the world any day now and they all have been forced to marry someone of the same sex? Or have they been reasonable in their response to a decision rendered by a secular court regarding civil unions ultimately realizing that it doesn’t affect them in anyway?

    1. The Fundy response has been relatively muted, though I think the seeming inevitability of the Court decision may have taken the edge off. I did listen to the morning service of one of my town’s most Fundy churches yesterday and the MOG did put on a bit of a show. Part of his sermon was relatively reasonable but then he began to channel his inner Yosemite Sam and delivered about ten minutes worth of the soul winnin-est, hate the sinin-est, in the beginning-est, men and women-est, country’s gone Lenin-est, hard preaching I’ve ever heard. He even took a shot at modern Bible pre-versions who don’t use the word “sodomite”. The overall theme was that Fundies should maintain separation from the world since the end of days are upon us and the rapture is nigh.

      1. In a way, last week’s ruling was slightly anticlimactic in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last October to let stand a number of lower court rulings that overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.

        Since the arguments and the precedents are exactly the same for Obergefell v. Hodges, the outcome was expected.

        It’s still important for legal reasons (letting lower court rulings stand does not create the same kind of judicial precedent that a Supreme Court decision on a case establishes), but almost everyone saw this coming.

        1. Beyond that, culturally speaking, the fight has pretty much been over for a while. Now that same-sex couples have been getting legally married in some states (and a number of foreign countries) for years, and human society has not collapsed, the people who said it would lead to something horrible are caught with their pants down (metaphorically speaking).

    2. “Or have they been reasonable in their response to a decision rendered by a secular court regarding civil unions ultimately realizing that it doesn’t affect them in anyway?”

      Hee hee hee ha ha ha ha Hah Ha HAH!

      Oh, stop it, Scorpio! You’re killing me! What a wag!

  35. So here is what I have been thinking through, given many of the comments here. At some point, fundamentalist and even more mainstream Christianity is going to have to come to terms with the fact that our ethics evolve. It is already obvious in the Bible itself, with some commenters quickly pointing out that we derive our ethics from the NT, not the OT. Clearly we would all agree that we shouldn’t follow God’s example and give an enemy’s wives as reward. Of course, there are other examples like genocide or even mixed-material clothing that we also eschew.

    This already poses a problem for those who feel like they have to insist that any rule in the Bible is ethical. Even Jesus said that the OT law was unethical in its divorce laws. But this doesn’t solve the problem – there are still cultural assumptions in the NT that we find unethical. A great example of this is women’s rights; another is slavery. One of the problems facing those who oppose The Gay is that we saw this exact same argument used already regarding slavery. The fact is, those who supported slavery actually had the biblical position. Boyce and Broadus, among others, were eloquent biblically defending slave owners – and they were right. But today, we not only don’t accept slavery, we consider it absurd and abhorrent.

    Rather than launch into predictions, I would rather talk about ethics (my emphasis in seminary), and how this particular ruling in favor of individual rights against the power of government affects the development of our ethics. I think we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that, if we are honest, we really don’t take our ethics from the Bible. It is an influence, although the history of Christian teaching is a larger influence, and it is not the only factor.

    1. Excellent points
      Personally I think same-sex marriage will become a fact of life, even in Northern Ireland. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, but all my bitching and moaning about it won’t change the decisions that are made. So, as Christians. how do we respond? To we continually focus on this issue and condemn “the Gays” and those who support them, to the fires of eternal hell, or do we share the gospel with the very people who need Jesus as much as we do?

        1. Unfortunately I can heard some fundies start a sentence with “Except……”

  36. What a wonderful list of questions that have already been answered by aomin.org and ever other apologist. Funny how they keep getting ignored.
    There truly is nothing new under the sun.

      1. I suppose.
        The fact that Jack was already married to someone else wouldn’t have been a problem for the Biblical patriarchs, either.

  37. “I suppose that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labelled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools,”

    Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

    1. I fail to see why people expressing bigoted views shouldn’t be “labeled as bigots and treated as such.”
      Being a bigot isn’t a criminal offense, but it doesn’t entitle you to any special privileges, either.

      The age of one’s beliefs strikes me as completely irrelevant. The rightness or wrongness of the beliefs is what should concern each of us.

    2. Being labeled a “bigot” isn’t so bad. After all fundies have been applying worse labels to all whom they disagree with for decades. “Bigot” is tame.

      But for your reference, greg, Jesus said that you will be judged in the same manner as you have judged others. So in that light, I submit to you that they have it coming. And it will come.

      Freedom must work for everyone. Don’t you think?

  38. “Welcome to the new world. It’s just changed for you Christians. You are going to be persecuted. ……Is there such a thing as morality anymore? Sodomy for centuries was declared to be against the laws of nature and nature’s God. And now if you say that in public, and I guess I am, am I violating somebody’s civil rights? Have we elevated morality to immorality? Do we call good, bad? What are we Christians to do?”

    Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, from the pulpit at the Kimberly Church of God, in Kimberly, Alabama

    1. Oh, my. Poor Roy Moore just rhetorically shot himself in the brain with a bazooka. Unfortunately, a simple google search will show that homosexuality is very much not against nature – across most mammalian species, too, not just humans. I guess he will have to change his argument now. Of course, Roy Moore isn’t exactly famous for his intellect or argumentative capacity, so it is possible it flies right over his head, like a 777 at 50,000 feet…

    2. Judge, you can say any kind of crazy crap you want in public.
      But that doesn’t mean you get to enforce your all your opinions as laws.

    3. Judge Roy Moore is a Bigot of the First Order. He believes in America as a Theocracy, under the rule of religious judges, and that even the Constitution is not the “law of the land,” but the Bible — i.e. his interpretation thereof.

      His view is that Christians are persecuted if they aren’t allowed to persecute everyone else.

    4. Are we calling racism… racism? Are we calling discrimination… discrimination? Are we asking for equal civil rights? Yes and Yes! We welcome all personal religious views as long as you don’t intend to issue rulings based on your personal views. That’s not why the tax payer pays you and you wouldn’t like it if someone did the inverse to you. If you want to advocate for a specific religious dogma find a different job.

  39. I haven’t read all comments so maybe this has been said but the OP made it seem like all Catholics oppose gay marriage. The majority of American catholics support gay marriage, I think 60%. The majority extends, in smaller numbers, to weekly mass attenders. So in the US church it’s conservative Catholics and the bishops who oppose it. My experience as a Catholic is these are often the weird conservatives. The bishops have lost moral authority for a variety of reasons among them the cover up of child molesting priests. Like the leadership of the IFB churches as you view them, they’re just shameful. Maybe we progressive and moderate Catholics are “bad Catholics” but we often stay taking what we need. The bishops talk of more evangelization on this issue. My view, and we are not literalists so we aren’t too worried the exact words of Scripture, is that most American Catholics who have stayed in the Church, basically were evangelized pretty well in that we just got the basic idea that Jesus was about love. Anyway I wanted to share this to say that there’sa lot of similarities between us as we both resist the sad leaders we have and try to just live up to what Jesus stood for.

  40. I think the Christian reaction to the gay marriage ruling points to an interesting issue for SFL to cover: the conservative Christian’s obsessive fantasy about imprisonment. This has been a consistent theme for 3 days now. Rick Scarborough, Jim Garlow, Matt Staver, Tony Perkins, John Stonestreet, James Dobson – every single one goes on and on about being imprisoned. You would think that the case was about Christianity and criminal law, when it had nothing whatsoever to do with either.

    I have been listening to right-wing Christians predict that pastors will be imprisoned for the last 25 years. In 1993-94, President Clinton was going to lock them up, using Waco and Ruby Ridge as an excuse. For a time, it was the UN blue helmets who would come for them. Then it was the gays, who somehow would make this happen. A Colorado Christian media specialist wrote a novel in the mid-1990s called “Refuge,” which imagines Christians fleeing to a hidden mountain outpost to escape the pro-gay police state. At around the same time, another novel called “The Lambda Conspiracy” came out, which tracks the same theme, albeit without the hidden outpost. I have in my files newspaper articles on 3 different fake police raids which have been staged by pastors over the years to “show the congregation what it will be like.” In 2009, the federal Hate Crimes Act was declared to be the criminalization of Christianity and would be used by Obama to jail pastors.

    Today, I heard a pastor on a panel at Restoration Montana 2015 say that, as a result of the gay marriage ruling, he had spent yesterday discussing with friends how he can avoid being raped in prison. He already assumes his incarceration, presumably on the charge of not liking gay marriage, and is now working out the details of prison life. It’s like mass insanity on top of their usual insanity. These are not dumb people. Some have advanced degrees and some manage large religious corporations. They obviously understand the difference between marriage law (which doesn’t give anyone the right to sue or jail anyone else), antidiscrimination law (which allows civil suits in limited contexts and never against churches) and criminal law (which has never in the history of the US ever jailed a pastor for a sermon or for refusing to marry someone.) Is this the worst form of manipulation by hysteria, or is there a psychological disorder at work?

    1. I vote for manipulation via hysteria. The 2016 election has been cast as a “Battle for Religious Liberties” and all over the country religious leaders are rallying their troops… using fear & guilt to motivate their flocks into political action.

      If you follow the money behind fear-mongering religious leaders, you’ll find some interesting connections between them and uber power-brokers who have vested interest in maintaining maximum influence over the US national interests.

    2. Fantastic observation. Perhaps the answer is that they no longer actually believe, but are substituting hysteria for faith.

      When one can’t find the feeling in believing, one turns to other sources of emotion to get the “high,” just as one does with drugs. Faith is powerful, but it doesn’t produce insane energy.

      Faith is quiet and confident in God to work everything out. You need hysteria for the call to revolution. And especially to get people to give money for a lost cause.

    3. ok, so this pastor spent time talking to his friends about how to avoid getting raped in prison. Why would he get their input on it? Do they have special knowledge about this topic? What kinds of friends does this pastor have? I, personally, have no idea how to avoid getting raped in prison and I’m pretty sure most of my close friends don’t either. If I was going to have this conversation it would be in private with somebody that actually knew about the topic.

      1. If he has done some prison or jail ministry, he probably knows a lot of people who have been in prison.

        I’m more wondering what he plans to do that is likely to get him into prison. I’m pretty sure that no clergy person in the history of the U.S. has ever been arrested or charged for preaching a sermon (no matter what was said in the sermon) or for refusing to preside at a wedding for any reason whatever. Does he have some other activities in mind?

        1. I’ve done a considerable amount of prison and jail ministry. I had to go to their training on how to protect myself (which was a joke) and carry the little alarm/walkie talkie with me. I have never received training, nor do I know anyone that could truly help me learn, on how to avoid being raped in prison. I’m guessing it’s more of the attitude of “I will talk to my pastor/full time ministry buddies because god gives us special understanding so we know everything”.

        2. I have a feeling it was more like “Let’s bullshit about stuff we know very little about.”
          That comes very easily to Fundy preachers.

        3. The way to avoid rape is to not wear those hussy skirts that come up above the knees.

        4. LTLFTC:
          You must have been a model student at Hyles-Anderson College.

        5. I’m more wondering what he plans to do that is likely to get him into prison.

          “Being a Faithful Witness for Christ(TM)”, of course.

        1. The “Deliverance Salute” from my grade-school days:
          Reach out, twist each other’s earlobes, and go “REEP! REEP!” in unison.

          Not to be confused with the “Dark Shadows Salute” — press two fingers to the side of your neck and make sucking sounds.

      2. These are the kind of conversations we’d have in school. We concluded that it would be best to hold your bowel movement until the inevitable happened. Then you make them regret their attack. Like a stink bug!

      3. Another use of male rape imagery. Even more twisted and vile than the prison rape talk at Restoration Montana. This time it’s Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills predicting that homosexuals, having been emboldened by the Supreme Court, will gang rape those who disagree with them:

        “The homosexual community has been emboldened by the decision of one Supreme Court judge. They’ve been emboldened and where does it stop?. . . Only God knows, and God is telling us – Jack, church – don’t put your hope in man, put your hope in Me because it’s going to be like it was in the days of Lot. Violent homosexuality knocking on doors threatening to sodomize those who disagree with them. I want you to think about that for a moment.”

        The entire sermon is deranged and Hibbs delivers it wearing a black, judicial-looking robe. Enjoy. The rape stuff comes at about 34:30:

        BTW, for the past 7 years, California has recognized 18,000 same-sex marriages, all of which took place prior to Prop 8. And gay marriage resumed on June 28, 2013, after gays and lesbians prevailed in their litigation against Prop 8. But it doesn’t occur to anyone in that congregation that after 7 years of gay marriage in California, the “homosexual community” has not, in fact, gang raped any critics, and that maybe their pastor is a lunatic.

        If Hibbs wants a real example of how rape is used as a form of political punishment, he should read Isaiah 13:15-16 “Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.”

        1. I think he would be disappointed if he wasn’t able to “Suffer for the Lawd” in that way. I have to confess, though, there is a small part of my fallen nature that hopes that someone will oblige him

        2. This time it’s Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills predicting that homosexuals, having been emboldened by the Supreme Court, will gang rape those who disagree with them…


          P.S. Calvary Chapel — what did you expect?

          P.P.S. “Homophobia is the fear that another man will do to you what you do to a woman.” And in the power dynamics of gang-rape, the rapists are More Manly Real Men than the rapee — after all, They Made a WOMAN out of Him!

        3. Interesting imagery the fundies hang on to.

          Man: powerful.
          Woman: weak.

          Man: rapist.
          Woman: raped.

          Man: dominant.
          Woman: submissive.

          Man: controlling.
          Woman: controlled.

          Man: innocent victim.
          Woman: temptress.

          Man: giving.
          Woman: receiving.

          Man: leader.
          Woman: follower.

          Yes, there are certainly incongruities. But this is how they portray the gender roles.

      1. The best piece of advice I heard was that the best way to save face is to keep the lower half of it shut. Keep you mouth shut, Preacher man, and you will save both faces.

        1. “King’s House such-and-such asks: ‘How can I keep from getting AIDS?’ Here’s how: You sit on your butt and keep your mouth shut.”
          — Gene Scott in his glory days (now git on those telephones!)

      2. That’s the really frustrating and appalling thing: they don’t suffer any consequences as a result of these lies. To take one example, as I noted above, the introduction of the Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes Act prompted a wave of Christian Right hysteria, which grew more extreme as the Act moved closer to passage, culminating in categorical assertions that the Act would criminalize sermons based on Leviticus and Romans and would be used to prosecute Christians who carry their Bibles to work and to school. Of course, the Act did nothing of the sort. Well, the Act passed in April 2009, and none of the predictions and claims came to pass. But did any of these people get called out for those patently false statements? Did even one of their flock ever stop and say “Gee, whatever happened with that whole criminalization of Christianity thing that pastor was talking about? Why hasn’t the FBI shut down our church?” No, no consequences and no questions asked. When it comes to feeding the persecution complex, these Christian Right leaders can pretty much say anything and get away with it.

        1. In England, there have been instances of street preachers being silenced for suggesting that God is not totally ok with homosexuality. But most street preachers seem to be a bit wacky anyway.

        2. If any belief or system must be supported by lies, then that belief or system is worthless and should be scrapped.

          I came to that conclusion with creationism. Then with other points here and there. Then with Fundamentalism.

    4. A Colorado Christian media specialist wrote a novel in the mid-1990s called “Refuge,” which imagines Christians fleeing to a hidden mountain outpost to escape the pro-gay police state.

      Said “hidden mountain outpost” wouldn’t happen to be called “Galt’s Gulch”, would it?

    5. Your analysis is generally sound to me. However, some are calling for churches who declare that homosexuality and/or gay marriage is a sin to lose their tax exempt status because they believe that it is a political rather than a religious issue thus violating the separation of church and state. Also, it may be possible for the United States to embrace hate speech legislation similar to that found in Canada and many European countries. http://www.salon.com/2010/03/22/canada_5/ Pastors have been fined and jailed in some countries that have these laws. The right-wing hysterics you mentioned are not completely without merit .

      1. Almost everything you asserted is inaccurate or beside the point. Let’s go point by point:

        – “However, some are calling for churches who declare that homosexuality and/or gay marriage is a sin to lose their tax exempt status because they believe that it is a political rather than a religious issue thus violating the separation of church and state.

        At any given moment, there are people “calling for” all sorts of things to happen. There are people calling for our legal system to be replaced with that in the Old Testament. There are people calling for the impeachment of Obama on the grounds that he is Kenyan. There’s a lawyer in California who is calling for all homosexuals to be executed with a bullet to the head. This game of “someone somewhere in the world said something, so now we need to feel threatened and get hysterical” is the oldest Christian Right game in the book. It is well-established law that churches are absolutely free to speak and campaign about political issues, including gay marriage. Churches even form PACs and campaign directly for and against ballot propositions. The only restrictions on their activities concern the endorsement of candidates and political parties, and that restriction is 50 years old and is not the result of gay marriage. People can “call for” some other tax treatment. They have been doing that for decades. If the country ever decides to change the current rule, it will be an independent policy decision, made through the democratic process. None of this has anything to do with marriage law or gay marriage.

        “Also, it may be possible for the United States to embrace hate speech legislation similar to that found in Canada and many European countries.”

        No, it would not be possible without violating the Constitution. SCOTUS held over 20 years ago that hate speech laws violate the 1st Amendment’s Free Speech Clause and struck down a fairly narrow law in Wisconsin. The foreign countries which do have such laws don’t have a First Amendment. And they did not enact their hate speech laws at the behest of gays or because of gay marriage. Those laws date to the 1940s, after the end of WWII.

        Of course, it is “possible” that SCOTUS could reverse itself. But even then, there would have to be a an independent decision by Congress and the President to enact such a law. And if all of this happened and such a law actually were to pass, it would not be limited to sexual orientation, but would cover race, sex, and of course, religion. So you have imagined a threat which cannot be constitutionally enacted, and which would, in any event, require an independent policy decision by two branches of government, and which would cover far more than sexual orientation, and you have decided that this is the result of gay marriage.

        “Pastors have been fined and jailed in some countries that have these laws. ”

        No, they haven’t. There was one pastor in Sweden who – 10 years ago – was threatened with legal action under a hate speech law, but he fought it and the Swedish Supreme Court held that his right to free speech (which in Sweden is not as strong as our First Amendment, but is still substantial) protects him from any action under hate speech laws. So that example proves the opposite of what you are claiming. There were, I believe, 2 street preachers (including American Tony Miano) in the entirety of the United Kingdom who have been spoken to by bobbies or possibly briefly detained, as they screamed at people on the street. So much for the dark night of persecution in Europe. In Canada, a nation of 30 million, there was one individual who was successfully prosecuted for distributing hateful flyers. He was not jailed. I certainly don’t agree with that last case, but as noted above, Canada does not have our First Amendment. And, just as with all of your other points – this has NOTHING to do with the country’s marriage law. Canada’s hate speech laws pre-date gay marriage and cover many other groups other than gay people. Please try to get this through your head: Marriage law does not provide for any prosecutions or any fines or any punishment of criticism, nor does it deal with church tax status. Don’t take my word for it. Go online and look up your state’s marriage law and educate yourself about the source of your never-ending fears. Gay marriage will never jail anyone or fine anyone. Believe it or not, their marriages and their lives as married people are not about you, and they exist as citizens in this country, not as props in some Christian fear-driven psycho-drama.

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