An open letter to religious leaders on gay youth suicides: it’s time to act out loud

Dear Clergy Colleagues: It’s Monday morning, and you are probably not quite ready to think about next weekend’s sermon. Perhaps … Continued

Dear Clergy Colleagues:

It’s Monday morning, and you are probably not quite ready to think about next weekend’s sermon. Perhaps you’ve already announced the upcoming topic in your newsletter. I am praying that you might be willing to change it.

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day that encourages gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people to publicly state who they are. In light of the at least five gay youth who killed themselves in September, it’s time for us to come together as religious leaders and say, “Enough.”

I’m hoping that next weekend from your pulpits you will come out with your support for GLBT youth and adults.

Yes, you. Studies show that almost six in ten clergy from mainline denominations support the full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT persons, yet more than eight in ten of us know that our faith communities are capable of becoming more understanding and helpful towards gay teens or those struggling with questions about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Other studies have found that eight in ten of even the most progressive clergy don’t have programs in their congregations to support LGBT youth. It is past time for us to “Act Out Loud.”

All of us have teens and young adults who are gay or lesbian in our congregations, many who are suffering in silence and are at risk. A study done by my colleagues at the Christian Community, found that 14% of teens in religious communities identify as something other than heterosexual. Almost nine in ten of them have not been open about their sexuality with clergy or other adult leaders in their faith communities. Almost half have not disclosed their sexual orientation to their parents. And nonheterosexual teens who regularly attend religious services were twice as likely as heterosexual teens to have seriously considered suicide. We have known for more than thirty years that at least one third of all suicides to teens are to gay youth.

Our young people are dying because we are not speaking out for them. Ask yourself honestly, do the LGBT youth in your community know that you welcome and support them? How would they know? Would they come to you as their minister, rabbi, or imam to talk about these issues? Would a LGBT youth feel welcome in your faith community’s youth group? What have you done to make sure that these youth know they are loved and supported, that you understand that they too are God’s children?

What if next weekend all of us told them from our pulpits how heartbroken we are by Tyler Clementi’s suicide and that we want to make sure that no young person in our community would ever feel such despair? Or perhaps you can begin to develop sexuality education programs in your community for youth and parents that include education about sexual orientation and gender identity. Include books in your congregation library about new theological understandings of sexual orientation and pamphlets from LGBT persons in your vestibules. Invite LGBT adults in your congregations to lead worship or education programs and tell their stories. Tell your teens and young adults that you love them, that God loves them and that you will stand with them in the face of bullying, victimization, and harassment. Invite them, beseech them to come to you or other trusted adults if they are even remotely thinking about taking their own life. There are many resources available to help you preach, educate, counsel and pray on these topics.

You may remember that Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” It is time for all of us to act.

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  • tomstaph

    it’s about time. Religion has blood on its hands

  • cllr

    Religion is about the worship of Death and the abolition of sexual pleasure. It has no interest in changing its course.

  • jkarn

    Ms. Hafner:

  • blasmaic

    It’s Monday morning, and you are probably not quite ready to think about next weekend’s sermon. Perhaps

  • revmatt

    I am answering this call and changing my sermon topic this week!

  • smt123

    Respecting people regardless of their sexual orientation is a modern concept. It’s the result of a modern concept of human rights and of people in recent generations fighting for those rights. It has nothing to do with ancient middle eastern texts. Christianity has nothing useful to add to this. Time to let antiquated ideas go people. Move on.

  • mikepost1

    This is a real life challenge for all religious types who target gays/lesbians for spiritual abuse… not just pastors and priests.

  • willandjansdad1

    Come on down to your local Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship…You’ll meet some Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Agnostics….Some of them might actually be Gay.

  • mjmcgee12

    Everyone, including people of faith, should speak up for LGBT young people. It’s time to end end bigotry based on sexual identity, and to support the healthy development of youth. Rev. Haffner is right on.

  • bigbrother1

    Focus on the Family is still opposed to anti-bullying campaigns. As far as James Dobson and FOTF is concerned, Clementi’s roommate did exactly the right thing by harassing him.Anyone who shares a religion with monsters like Dobson and his ilk should be asking themselves, “do I really worship the same god as the man who is championing Clementi’s murderer?” The time is long past for decent people who call themselves Christian to do one of two things. 1) Cast out the xtian hate-mongers and refuse to acknowledge them as Christian, or 2) Leave the so-called christian church and form a different one under a very different name.No tent is that big. It’s time to make a choice.

  • tedlpearson

    Nice try, but to this gay man it’s pointless to enlist a “religious” clergy that has demonized gay people for decades. When it comes to human rights religions have no credibility whatsoever. What do the clergy plan to lie about this time? Will they do a 180 and preach that gay people are just as good as their ever so saintly heterosexual counterparts, after years of preaching about the evils of homosexuality? I doubt that the meaningful change gays & lesbians seek will come from the bigoted clergy or their clueless followers, ditto the bigots and weaklings screwing with our civil rights in Congress and the White House. It’s time to tell the bigots to go to their own little hell!

  • jonswitzer

    Bullying anyone is wrong. Nevertheless, Jesus was very clear that righteousness is necessary at all levels. Homosexuality is wrong. Admitting that to be the case IN NO WAY encourages HATE for the one who is wrong. However, it does encourage a rebuke for those who are wrong. Proverbs teaches that the wounds of a friend are faithful. The Lord disciplines the son in whom he delights. Homosexuality is wrong and should be rebuked. It is the only loving thing to do. Is it wrong to rebuke a smoker for smoking? Of course not. Nevertheless, the recalcitrant smoker will find himself frustrated when you do rebuke him. No discipline feels good when it happens. Yet it produces a harvest of righteousness in the one who listens. I speak as one who has needed and will still need rebukes for my poor choices. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Rebuke a fool and he will hate you.

  • edallan

    Apparently, Jon Switzer fails to recognize that with the possible exception of Matthew 15:19, which addresses cheating on spouses and promiscuity, exactly nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus have a single word to say about gay men and women as opposed to anybody else. Jesus DOES have a lot to say about people with beams in their eyes. Jesus also had a couple of things to say about casting the first stone and loving one’s neighbor. He also had a lot to say about hypocrites, especially religious hypocrites. Jesus also had a lot to say about respect for disadvantaged groups that have been derided.It is also worth noting that while there are certainly some exceptions, a great many of the self-proclaimed “compassionate” “conservative” “born-again” “Christians” who are particularly vicious against gay men and women, especially the Fundamentalists like the Dobsons of the world, have for other reasons cast themselves enthusiastically ” into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:14-18.I am not rebuking you, Mr. Switzer; I am simply asking you to reconsider your position.

  • jfv123

    This suicide is a warning of the blood that’s likely to follow changing military policy regarding gays serving openly.If college is a hostile gay environment ,then why would anyone think its safe in the military?Straight soldiers with weapons and openly gay guys are a dangerous mix.People are asking for trouble trying to promote a gay political position that’s going to cause both straights and gays trouble.

  • sux123

    Hmm, Religion as a force of understanding and inclusion instead of bigotry and exclusion – what a novel idea. Think it may work?

  • jonswitzer

    Like an earring of gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear. Jesus said, “if you believed Moses, you would believe me, but since you do not believe Moses you do not believe me.” John 5:45-46; 5:37-40 Luke 16:16-17, 30-31; 24:44 Moses, of course, is the one who said that it is wrong for a man to lie with with man as one lies with a woman (and also women lying with women). Matt 22:37-40 says that ALL the law and prophets hang on loving God and your neighbor. Jesus clearly associated righteousness with ALL of the Old Testament law. That means, according to Christ, that it is loving to condemn homosexual behavior and appeal for repentance. He who rebukes a man will in the end gain greater favor than he who flatters. The kisses of an enemy are profuse but the wounds of a friend are faithful. (Proverbs)

  • mjcc1987

    Religious leaders are stepping up to the plate, with more hate speech under the guise of freedom of speech. These “leaders” are neither leaders or religious. They ALL are beyond contempt.

  • Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief

    Why don’t they just Call it Sodomy day?

  • edallan

    Then you keep kosher, Mr. Switzer, don’t wear permanent press, do allow your beard to grow, and believe that a childless widow should be strongly encouraged to marry a brother of their husband’s. I’m going to leave aside all the types of people who should be stoned to death.

  • smt123

    I really don’t understand why otherwise intelligent people in the modern age still quote bronze age myths as some kind of moral guide. It’s actually kind of embarrassing.

  • revbookburn

    The religious leaders who advance homophobic bigotry (including Eddie Long) and export it to other countries like Uganda, definitely have blood on their hands. They are the influencial people who prompt other dangerous and unstable people to commit extreme acts.

  • eezmamata

    “1. Love God with all thy heart and love they neighbor as thyself.”Is this why O’Donnell is against masturbation?

  • tomsj

    Well, this is amusing. Christians in this country have made clear to us for years that they detest us, so this plea for tolerance seems like pissing in the wind. In the wake of four suicides by gay children looking to escape brutalization by a society that doesn’t care, we have in today’s news the Mormon church reiterating its opposition to marriage equality, and the Family Research Council reiterating its opposition to laws protecting gay students from bullying. Nothing has changed, Ms. Haffner. We are still routinely vilified by you and yours.

  • eezmamata

    Nobody hates like a christian. Well, the muslims hate more. Let me rephrase it — nobody hates like religious people hate.

  • wbtphdjd

    Thank you, Ms. Haffner, for publishing this. We can only hope that religious leaders will speak as you suggest. They could undoubtedly make a huge difference by doing so. Not to be churlish, but as you well know, too many religious leaders are highly likely to stand before their congregations and utter strongly condemnatory statements about LGBT persons, thereby only compounding the problem. I’m quite sure that my youthful resistance to Christianity is part of the reason I was entirely immune to the suicidal impulses that are regrettably common among my LGBT sisters and brothers. Now I’m a happy Buddhist, and would encourage any LGBT person to abandon Christianity, which is empirical and philosophical nonsense on the hoof, or on the cross, as may be.

  • detroitblkmale30

    I have my serious doubts about the impartiality of this “study” given its source. I will say that bullying in any form is wrong and no one should say hateful words or conduct hateful actions to anyone regardless of their sexual preference or any other factor. I hope that their is more understanding..but that understanding is a TWO WAY street. Its always interesting when LGBT communities call for tolerance and then turn around and call people who are committed to their Christian faith even if that faith calls for an adherencs to God’s word, bigots or the even more ridiculous homophobic. if you beleive God says hmososexuality is a sin, and u follow that belief, you are not “phobic” or afraid or fixated about it, you simply disagree with it. I’d like the LGBT to understand that point as well. It seems like tolerance means two different things to the LGBT.If directed towards Christians who hold an opposing view, it often means the support of their lifestyle and furthering of it. However if tolerance is applied to to the LGBT community it doesn’t even approach a middle of the road standard of , well ok I understand your point of view and why you disagree and we will respectfully disagree. It always comes back to an article like this that attempts to guilt people like myself into not only tolerating, but fully supporting and endorsing something I fundamentally disagree with.Doesnt sound like a common ground dialogue at all.

  • douglaslbarber

    Religious opposition to homosexuality has been more of a constant than a variable over time, and religion’s influence has been steadily diminishing in the West since the Renaissance.On the other hand, public tolerance for the argument that same-sex attraction is equivalent in value to heterosexual attraction is something new under the sun – something that has recently radically changed.From a strictly scientific perspective, if I were looking for a factor to explain a sudden rise in suicides by homosexuals, I would not look to a factor that has remained constant in value while diminishing in influence. I would look to something that’s changed.Perhaps it’s the increasingly broad and influential public acceptance of the equivalence in value between homosexual and heterosexual relations that best explains these suicides. If that’s not at least a hypothesis worth investigating, I’d be curious to know why not.

  • MikeB8

    @douglaslbarberYour suggestion is not likely to be worth pursuing because there are, to the best of my knowledge, no known, perceived, or even logical postulated links between greater acceptance of any minority group or its behaviors and an increase in suicides within that group. In fact, the data suggest the opposite is true.Religiosity indeed, does not seem to have changed – but that doesn’t mean nothing has changed in this debate other than acceptance of homosexuality. For instance, bullying has become more insidious and more public due to the internet and social media. Hate groups are now connected virtually. These and other social changes may or may not be behind an actual or perceived rise in suicides among gay teens.

  • kreliav

    This is an emotional overreaction by ignorant atheists and others who probably don’t personally know any religious people. (No, Unitarians don’t count.)People commit suicide for lots of different reasons including drug and alcohol abuse, crimes they’ve committed, and shame they’ve brought upon themselves. Presumably, no one here would argue that the proper application is to confer the moral approbation of society on these actions. If you approve of homosexual behavior, good for you. Don’t force your morality on me. Kthx.

  • jjedif

    Both the Jewish Old Testament of Moses and the Christian New Testament of Paul condemn homosexuals to death…in stark contrast to Jesus, who never once attacked or in any way condemned homosexuals in the Gospels.

  • douglaslbarber

    @Mike, I’d consider this worth following up:Suggestible young people are told that their moral duty as part of a broad historical trend toward human liberation is to be true to their sexual inclinations. They may be unable to integrate into that liberation narrative, emotions they experience upon exposure to a public which includes many (whether minority or majority) that stridently condemn behavior concerning which the young people harbor intermittent private feelings of guilt and self-revulsion.Unfortunately, in the human sciences, mainstream research will never test “politically incorrect” hypotheses, leaving that ground to so-called “think tanks” funded and populated by cranks.

  • jonswitzer

    No, that’s precisely the point. Christ did not change the Old Testament requirements for righteousness. Instead, he paid the price for them. He still calls us to live righteous, but knowing that we have been incapable of doing so, he paid the price for failure to live righteous. As a result we are made righteous through his blood. Lying, Cheating, stealing sexual immorality…these are all still considered evil in the New Testament. Further, in Acts 15 Gentiles were released from following the exact requirements of the Old Testament law except for a few basics including sexual morality. So, no I don’t keep kosher, but yes, the New Testament retains its commands about sexual morality including no homosexuality. He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.

  • detroitblkmale30

    jonswitzer: well said, people dont seem to grasp that point.The old testament and new testament are not mutually exclusive

  • jonswitzer

    Like an earring of gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear. Jesus said, “if you believed Moses, you would believe me, but since you do not believe Moses you do not believe me.” John 5:45-46; 5:37-40 Luke 16:16-17, 30-31; 24:44 Moses, of course, is the one who said that it is wrong for a man to lie with with man as one lies with a woman (and also women lying with women). Matt 22:37-40 says that ALL the law and prophets hang on loving God and your neighbor. Jesus clearly associated righteousness with ALL of the Old Testament law. That means, according to Christ, that it is loving to condemn homosexual behavior and appeal for repentance. He who rebukes a man will in the end gain greater favor than he who flatters. The kisses of an enemy are profuse but the wounds of a friend are faithful. (Proverbs)

  • smt123

    “This is an emotional overreaction by ignorant atheists and others who probably don’t personally know any religious people. (No, Unitarians don’t count.)People commit suicide for lots of different reasons including drug and alcohol abuse, crimes they’ve committed, and shame they’ve brought upon themselves. Presumably, no one here would argue that the proper application is to confer the moral approbation of society on these actions.If you approve of homosexual behavior, good for you. Don’t force your morality on me. Kthx.Posted by: kreliav | October 4, 2010 9:07 PM”1) Atheists don’t know religious people? Where do you think we live, the Moon? We know you very well.

  • RevLori

    Find it interesting that comments that bash Christians and say they don’t believe there’s a large group who support the LGBT community, and comments where people who are prooftexting Bible verses… essentially proving the point of the first group have been posted here.Where a comment I submitted that had a few links that could be resources for clergy who might actually want to consider following through on Haffner’s suggestion has not appeared after almost 2 hours.I’m a Gen-X female Episcopal priest, and a member of PFLAG, and I’ve signed their “Straight for Equality” pledge.Peace, Rev. Lori

  • RevLori

    Tried again. held for “approval” – maybe links are an issue and without them something will post?I have LGBT family and friends who I love and support, and my denomination has taken heat from conservatives because we have 2 openly gay, partnered bishops.While some wariness and cynicism on behalf of the LGBT community and their allies is warranted given history and the behavior and statements of some individuals/groups who identify as Christian… just as LGBT persons don’t want to be misrepresented or typecast, so too, myself and my mainline, progressive Christian friends & colleagues don’t want to be lumped in with those persons. A secondary point of the article after the initial concern of reducing bullying, abuse and suicide is for us to keep looking for ways to raise awareness that far, far less of us fall into the beliefs of the religious, conservative, right than you might think, but that’s often all people see in the media, or how we are portrayed in movies and on TV. I think in addition to being more vocal in our support, we can be aware of resources available to help us be inclusive and make others aware too.Peace, Rev. Lori

  • elizdelphi

    Everyone, and particularly every baptized Christian, is obliged to chastity in their state of life (ie, married or single). Homosexual acts are contrary to chastity, so is heterosexual fornication, masturbation, etc. This needs to be freely chosen, as a matter of choosing love and self-giving. Normally people need clear and reasoned instruction, preferably from childhood, about chaste living in single and married life, and an understanding of WHY it’s good, what its purposes are (children, mutual help) and how this matters in their relationship with God. Sometimes people need firm and loving correction about poor and self destructive choices they are making. Bullying or violence are abhorrent and it’s equally fundamental that good people have to stand up against that. Young people with mental, social or emotional problems have a right to compassion and help. Everyone deserves love and a basic respect for their free will; no one has a right to have their sins affirmed as being just fine.

  • RevLori

    A priest friend of mine posted this resource to his Facebook tonight:‎1-800-4U-TREVOR + HELP LINE FOR STRUGGLING LGBT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE.Peace, Rev. Lori

  • smt123

    Dear elizdelphi:It is people like you who claim to have absolute knowledge of how people should act in their private lives who cause so much pain and confusion. Your idea of chastity or marriage is completely alien and unnatural for many many people of different faiths or of no faith. Trying to impose your bronze age version of sexuality on modern children is a form of cultural bullying. Religion is a personal choice, please keep it to yourself.

  • willemkraal

    LETS PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS , MOST CHURCHES DENIGRATE GAYS AND LESBIANS THEY ARE THE ONES THAT SEDUCE THEM , RAPE THEM AND THEY ARE GUILTY OF MURDER. MORE PROOF THAT RELIGION POISONS EVERYONE IT TOUCHES, JUST ASK BIG BISHOP EDDY.WHAT A SCAM.

  • socaloralpleazer

    Mormons are not scripturally-based Christians. They use “Jesus Christ” in their official title because they know it will be easier to seduce unsuspecting converts into their insidious cult.

  • forgetthis

    BigBrother1 is a liar. James Dobson would never approve of anyone putting a sex tape on the internet. He almost died of a heart attack when Janet Jackson flashed her booby during the Super Bowl. I doubt he is supportive of any sex acts being circulated on the internet.

  • beargulch

    forgetthis writes: “Secondly, no church I know of preaches that it is okay to bully someone else.”Churches’ approval to bully is tacit, not explicit. When churches teach their children that homosexuality is a sin, that it is against the will of God, that it is unclean, that you will go to hell for it, they are telling everyone that there is something wrong with gay people, that they are not equal, that they are second-class.Anyone who knows an adolescent knows that they will read that to mean that they can treat gays and lesbians with whatever disrespect they wish.

  • lufrank1

    Posted by: jonswitzer:============================================Therein is the rub . . . Ignorance of Biology (and God?).The hypothalamic area of the human male’s brain doesn’t undergo PHYSIOLOGICAL masculinization in instances where a “testerone burst” from the testes doesn’t occur during a small window of time around birth.SO!!!! folks who continue to condemn gays NEED to understand (but obviously don’t) that if their GOD made THEM – – THE EXACT SAME GOD MAKES GAYS – – – AND ALL HUMAN VARIATIONS!SOMEONE needs to explain that to the Vatican – That Dark Ages Dogma state that is so upset about Robert Edward’s Nobel Prize!

  • Alex511

    fr forward11:>…Homosexuality is a demonic disease. It can be cured by deliverance in Jesus’ name, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ms.Haffner is a priestess of Satan–a modern temple prostitute. Her days are short.1. Being glbt is NOT a “demonic disease”. However, homophobia IS, and can be cured with SECULAR therapy. Your county mental health society would be glad to help you find a good therapist.2. How do YOU know that Ms. Haffner’s “days are short”? Are you a prophet? I doubt it very much.

  • Revcain777

    I feel very bad about ANY form of bullying. But each time a homosexual kills himself/herself will it be someone’s fault?United Methodist Clergy

  • jonswitzer

    Therein is the rub . . . Ignorance of Biology (and God?). The hypothalamic area of the human male’s brain doesn’t undergo PHYSIOLOGICAL masculinization in instances where a “testerone burst” from the testes doesn’t occur during a small window of time around birth. SO!!!! folks who continue to condemn gays NEED to understand (but obviously don’t) that if their GOD made THEM – – THE EXACT SAME GOD MAKES GAYS – – – AND ALL HUMAN VARIATIONS!Posted by: lufrank1 | October 5, 2010 2:15 PM =============================================Therein lies the rub. Is there anyone who could do scientific research on this topic in an unbiased fashion? How to get a control group? How many were introduced to sexual activity at a young age by an adult? Nature or nurture? Genetic? Testosterone failure in utero? When topics are so passionately intense all research is suspect. Nevertheless, research we must. Nevertheless “what is” never suffices for “what should be”. Then we would have to accept cancer as normal and good, also polio, diabetes, famine, drought, war…the list goes on and on. Determination of what should be, however, is a moral question not a scientific question. The science sheds light on the what and is very important. What should be is a bit more complex. Hence the great proliferation of philosophers and religions…(since religions occur naturally in humanity shouldn’t we automatically assume that they too are normal and right?) Just kidding. It’s a complex world.

  • blasmaic

    The problem is that people consider homosexuality to be a social and political problem, not a medical problem. Call it a medical problem and then schools and employers can say they simply aren’t configured to accommodate the medical disability of the person. So the suicides will likely continue because gays and lesbians want to be known as normal.

  • WickedRose

    DetroitBlkMale30- What you seem to be saying is that because you interpret your bible to say that homosexuality is a sin, then that is the truth and everyone should agree with you. But that is only your truth, not everyone else’s. There are people who agree with you and people who don’t. You don’t get to push your beliefs on others, no matter the source.

  • detroitblkmale30

    WickedRose: well while i dont believe in “your” truth vs “my” truth. There is only ONE truth. Either I’m right and your wrong or you’re right and I’m wrong. We’ll find out in the end. But that wasnt my point, my point was, I have just as much right to my belief as you do.Im not pushing it on you, but i do have a right to defend it and state it.Its up to you not to accept it.

  • WickedRose

    DetroitBlkMale30- I agree you have as much right to your truth as I do. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you’re trying to say, but to me you seem to think that others should agree with what you say because your source is a religious book. I don’t think that people have to agree with me. They can think what they want.

  • haveaheart

    “Nevertheless ‘what is’ never suffices for ‘what should be.’ Then we would have to accept cancer as normal and good, also polio, diabetes, famine, drought, war…the list goes on and on.”jonswitzer,Your particular narrow perspective sees homosexuality as a disease or a natural disaster — like cancer or drought. However, a much wider community of humans views it as just another genetic specification — like brown hair or blue eyes.Your perspective is on the wane, as more people come to understand that homosexuality is neither a disorder nor a “lifestyle choice.”You’re part of a dwindling minority that is becoming more and more minor each day.

  • jonswitzer

    I see your point. Obviously, I am of the opinion that homosexual behavior is morally reprehensible, in line with the Bible’s teaching (remember this article is written to pastors in churches, implying Christian). However, my point is simply that “what is” does NOT logically add up to “what should be”. Sometimes, what is, should be researched to determine how to change it. There has been no groundbreaking scientific research identifying “cause” for homosexual behavior. Particularly, your use of the term “genetic specification” is scientifically untenable at this point. No gene has been found that determines “gender” as opposed to sex. Which is particularly disconcerting. if my perspective is on the wane, it is not due to scientific consensus but rather due to “popularity”. I would hope that we all agree that what is popular is a poor foundation for choosing what “should be.” “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Solomon

  • penance091

    It’s discussions like these that make me thankful for my atheism. Truly, a god cannot exist when those he allegedly created, are this horrendous to one another.

  • jonswitzer

    Blaming God for man’s failures hardly seems just. “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.” (Solomon)I’m interested though, what moral clarity does Atheism bring to this discussion?

  • rockcreek2

    Everyone must determine their own path and beliefs. It is not for anyone else to judge or inflict their own beliefs on others. The religious establishment and followers of all religions and denominations who do not encourage and practice this single universal truth give the appearence of being full of fear and hate.

  • detroitblkmale30

    WickedRose: No i dont beleive others should agree with me just because my source is the Bible,even God offers everyone free will to choose him and/or his word or not. I’m just saying that I ought not be labeled as homophobic because choose to follow his word as it was written, and not reinterpret it to todays standards.

  • Secular

    detroitblkmale30, don’t get indignant on me. And don’t set up straw man and knock it down. I did not say the oppression of Slavery & LGBT plight are identical, so don’t even go there. My question to you since you brought it up, do you think only time peoples plight should be redressed when it rises to the level of slavery? Who does the metrology on that?Enough of digression. It is likes of you who take that horse manure in those dumb 3000 year old must tomes as a moral guidance. Did you read them tomes and really thought of them? When I say thought of them I mean like when a friend comes and tells you stories, and you started wondering if it is true or not. What basis do you make that determination? That kind of thinking about the horse manure you find in them books. I have done that, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bible, Koran, Biography of Mohammed, Gandhi. Which ones do you think I was impressed with and thought were moral? Only one the rest I didn’t need them. The rest were utter waste of the paper they were printed. So just because the some abominable nonsense is in them books does not mean anything. It is how we treat a fellow man is the only thing that matters. There are only two things go by.1) Would we want whatever we do or do not do to a fellow human, is what we would like someone else to do or not do to us.2) Whatever we are doing or not doing to fellow human is that being accepted voluntarily by the other person.If the answer is no or either of them we shouldn’t do. The long and short of it oppression is wrong no matter what.

  • jonswitzer

    Everyone must determine their own path and beliefs. It is not for anyone else to judge or inflict their own beliefs on others. The religious establishment and followers of all religions and denominations who do not encourage and practice this single universal truth give the appearence of being full of fear and hate.Posted by: rockcreek2 | October 5, 2010 5:07 PInflicting beliefs on others is precisely what ALL society does. Public schools do this. Rousseau played with the idea (200plus years ago) that somehow we could create a noble savage in our children. He was wrong. All society imposes beliefs on others. That is what law is. It is what holidays represent. To stop inflicting beliefs is to disconnect oneself from ALL relationships. It is NOT possible. Friendship imposes beliefs; Neighbors impose beliefs. So, religion simply does what all mankind has been doing since its inception. For example, is it hateful to try to stop murderers from murdering? Is it hateful to try to stop thieves from stealing? Is it hateful to stop drunks from driving? No, these truths are in fact often imposed on those who are NOT interested in stopping. Thomas Jefferson said, “the clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.” If I were actually inflicting my beliefs on you, we would live in a theocracy. If, however, I advocate for beliefs on a blog or through a democratic process then we are living in a Democratic Republic. “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an offense.” (Solomon)

  • lambcannon

    Horrible subject from our twinky “spiritual” columnists… bring out the trolls at all costs, that sells papers.Oh wait, no one buys papers any more.Just like honest churchgoers had no problem lynching n*gg*rs in the past, why should they pretend to have conscience now?Religion–it’s just as despicable as its practicing perverts want it to be.

  • robertajkaufman3

    I believe in the holy words of my Bible. That they live and breathe and stand no matter if we do. I believe that Christians who turn a law of God into hate mongering are not following the true teachings of Christ. But Christians who believe in the Bible have a right to exercise that belief in a honest heartfelt way.In fact it is their duty as Christians to do so. More churches are springing up that allow homosexual people to attend and even be a member of the clergy in. It is the discretion of the pastor of any church and whatever board to decide policies of that church.And it is the God who sets the soul on fire to lead our faith in the right direction Many people are committing suicide even our soldiers not just gays it is a tragic horibble reality of a world with too many opinions and not enough hope.My church is not a doctrine that can be changed it is words of truth I cling to yet our calling in this life is to reach out to the hurting in a proper way and we live in a society were are youth are told anything goes as they struggle to find their identity as human beings let alone sexual preferences Go to church where you want and be a good neighbor but don’t expect me to change my belief system to accomodate your lifestyle I’m sorry I believe different than you but I cannot apologize for My God who is going to save mankind and continue to pray for the alarming statistics of the suicide rate in this country and I’m sure other countries as well I’ve suffered from depression much of my life and know the desolation surrounding this subject but also know the saving grace of a God who keeps me going God Bless You All

  • shadow27

    detroitblkmale30: just saying that I ought not be labeled as homophobic because choose to follow his word as it was written, and not reinterpret it to todays standards.So you think women shouldn’t be allowed to teach men? That’s in the new testament. Or that women should shave their heads after marriage and wear wigs. That’s old testament.Pretty much every religious follower has cherry picked which beliefs they want to follow. You have chosen to judge that gays are in some way less than you. God is just your excuse.

  • shadow27

    jonswitzer: Jesus was very clear that righteousness is necessary at all levels. Homosexuality is wrong. Where does Jesus say homosexuality is wrong?

  • jonswitzer

    So you think women shouldn’t be allowed to teach men? That’s in the new testament. Or that women should shave their heads after marriage and wear wigs. That’s old testament. Pretty much every religious follower has cherry picked which beliefs they want to follow. You have chosen to judge that gays are in some way less than you. God is just your excuse.Cherry pick means to take verses out of context. Gentiles Christians in Acts 15 are told they do NOT have to follow the minute dictates of the Old Testament when they come to Christ. Further, the women teaching passage is addressed to Timothy in Ephesus where the greek word implies a sexually inappropriate relationship found in pagan cult worship there. Cherry picking is certainly wrong to do.Christians do NOT think they are better than anyone. They believe in fact that they are worthy of hell just like everyone else. That is why they have reached out to Christ for forgiveness and hope of salvation.

  • jonswitzer

    Shadow, This is what I wrote earlier in the day: Like an earring of gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear. Jesus said, “if you believed Moses, you would believe me, but since you do not believe Moses you do not believe me.” John 5:45-46; 5:37-40 Luke 16:16-17, 30-31; 24:44 Moses, of course, is the one who said that it is wrong for a man to lie with with man as one lies with a woman (and also women lying with women). In Matt 22:37-40 Jesus says that ALL the law and prophets hang on loving God and your neighbor. Jesus clearly associated righteousness with ALL of the Old Testament law. That means, according to Christ, that it is loving to condemn homosexual behavior and appeal for repentance. He who rebukes a man will in the end gain greater favor than he who flatters. The kisses of an enemy are profuse but the wounds of a friend are faithful. (Proverbs)

  • detroitblkmale30

    shadow27:Now you are just putting words in my mouth. I in no way said gays are less than me. We are ALL human beings, equal in God’s sight. Don’t imply i said anything different. I am talking about sin, which hetero and homosexuals are guilty of for a host of different reasons, not self-worth. God is not my excuse either you take the Bible literally within its context or you dont. I do if it says the act of men and men being together is abomination in the old testament and the new testament as well than thats what it says.Thats the fundamental point you keep missing. This viewpoint is not my creation, heck itd be easier to have these conversations if it was.But its not my excuse, ask God about it if you like. jonswitzer actually gave a good explanation for why certain dictates are not applicable regarding certain edicts. As i would implore any reader of the Bible take it within context of who it is directed at an why. The example of women keeping silent was indeed a reflection of the pagan culture in which there was immorality between men and women.

  • cprferry

    I think both religious and secular need to come out against bullying. They need to stop addressing people with homosexual interests as if that’s the only thing that defines them. They are human beings that need to be treated equally and with love and concern. Perhaps even greater love and concern than most.Because the homosexual culture they are exposed to is not one of love. It’s a culture based on promiscuity and exploitation. It’s about the new conquest – finding the new flesh. It’s a hard culture to feel any love in.In part because homosexual interests distract and undermine the Natural Law that points to the world’s Goodness. The point of view is unable to see the nature beauty of the world, is unable to relate to it deeply, is unable to be encouraged by its goodness.And the attempts to create artificial order and happiness within it ultimately fail, and provide shocking disappointment. It’s a tough life for those that have homosexual interests. It’s a serious cross to carry.This is why we need to show them our love and concern. To point them toward recognizing life. Life provides happiness, not an artificial happiness of our own self-delusion or others’ exploitation, but an authentic happiness. Death is not the answer.

  • Secular

    It’s a tough life for those that have homosexual interests. It’s a serious cross to carry.This is why we need to show them our love and concern. To point them toward recognizing life. Life provides happiness, not an artificial happiness of our own self-delusion or others’ exploitation, but an authentic happiness. Death is not the answer.Posted by: cprferry You disgusting bigot. Keep your cures and love to yourself.

  • amm72

    “If you approve of homosexual behavior, good for you. Don’t force your morality on me. Kthx.”How precisely does saying “I believe you to be intolerant and incorrect and think you should change your opinions and behavior” “force” you to do, say, or think anything at all? Especially when people like you say “I think you should change your opinions and behavior” to gay people all the time?If hearing it makes you squirm, maybe you should think about why that is instead of complaining that you feel “forced.”

  • EdgewoodVA

    It’s absolutely disgusting to me that some so-called followers of Jesus work so hard to justify their hateful, hurtful words, attitudes, and actions towards young people, whom we all know are already terribly vulnerable, whether they are gay or not. Is vilifying your own religious text more important to you than potentially saving someone’s life? How virtuous can you really feel knowing that you may contribute so willingly to a young person’s self-hatred and the suicide it may trigger? Is it really worth the price?If your answer is “yes,” then keep it between yourself and your apparently-cherished devil where it belongs.

  • onthejourney

    God doesn’t hate gays – people dolook in the mirror and envision how you would feel to be hated for lovingpeace

  • detroitblkmale30

    @Secular: I wasn’t getting indignant, just making a point,but your last post is in the dictionary under indignant.Take a deep breath, let it out. ok. Feel better? To answer your first question, I think that all wrongs should be be addressed. There is no statue of limitations on injustice. Im not sure you are getting at so I will ask lest I make the wrong assumption. Are you saying some how that because my people were oppressed that I think that oppression should be addressed and im somehow doing that with those in the LGBT community? Man I sure hope not, that would be ludicrous, as we both agree they are unrelated.Look, i dont insult your right to believe nothing or whatever you belief dont call my faith horse manure. Real mature argument you have there.i’m glad you have taken a journey to find, what exactly im not sure. But I know I am glad that my faith and salvation is not in your hands or your opinion. I know what I believe and WHY i believe it, I know what encounters with Christ and God I have experienced personally in my life that isnt just limited to words in a book, but reinforced by them. I agree oppression is wrong, but if you think I am preaching oppression you have missed the whole point of my statements

  • ans15

    What a bunch of chowderheads.

  • krankyman

    Nobody hates like a christian. Well, the muslims hate more. Let me rephrase it — nobody hates like religious people hate.Posted by: eezmamata | October 4, 2010 7:10 PM A certain ideology was responsible for the untimely and gruesome deaths of over 100 million human beings.If I recall correctly this ideology called religion the opiate of the people and sought to create a workers paradise where there would be no religions.By simple body count human ideology, and not religion, is the biggest killer of other human beings.And as for hatred, a brief scroll through these postings will prove you wrong.

  • american17

    This will be my last posting on this site or any other site because I’ve given up on humanity. I have seen and heard evil AND I’m not only referring to Al Qaeda or those people who needlessly kill. I’m talking about your everyday American or civilian who walk among us. The rise of bullying, harassment and senseless mockery has been more pronounced and evasive due to the nature of technology and its’ vapid, rapid dissemination of hatred and vitriol. Children are not to blame. They just reflect the beliefs, comments and conduct of the adults. The same adults who assume without any knowledge that I am gay because I choose not to be married for sake of being married. Those who assume without knowing who I am or my life story that my sister and I are lesbian couple wherever we bring my nephew anywhere. And THIS was the last straw. How do you justify or make sense of a mother of a child saying upon seeing the three of us together, “Look, he has the same name as you. But here is your Daddy!” and smiles smugly while giving my sister and me a smug smile while my nephew looks confused. And I know that her son will grow up probably to become the same type of narrow minded, prejudiced, judgmental and bullying type as his mother…I’ve been a target of such bullying and harassment but I know who and what I am so I can guard myself. BUT HOW CAN I PROTECT and SHIELD my nephew who will grow up in a society filled with such evil people? How can I keep caring about this society of ours and humanity???

  • cprferry

    Secular, the real bigot and enemy of persons with homosexual interests is the sexual liberal. The liberal that encourages the person with homosexual inclinations to pursue sin and actions contrary to the natural order and their own body and psychology. The liberal merely seeks to exploit the person as a human portrayal of their own sexual sins.

  • detroitblkmale30

    @edallan Overwheliming evidence that it is built in? Really where?Universally accpeted. I think not. Just because you dont like Paul’s personality quirks are no reason to ignore his writings, everyone in the BIble had their issues and fixations,we dont ignore their teachings however.1.cor7 I’ve read that passage many times. So he didnt want to get married? whats your point? HIS point was i can do more for Christ, not being married, having a family etc. as an apostle travelling, preaching etc. However, most people cannot keep from having sex outside of marriage so beter for them to be married and not fornicate than to fornicate and burn in hell.Your insistence on focusing on 1 cor 5:11-12 only dilutes your own argument. First it makes a case AGAINST these sinful activites and says dont involve yourself with people who are doing those things. It says dont judge them and I agree that we as Christians shouldnt judge others. Lastly it says and read that clearly. What business is it of those outside the church..to judge us for our beliefs??????? If you dont want Christians “judging” those in this arena, you ought not be judging them either as you did in your post.Take the beam out of your own eye.im actually glad you brought this scripture up. Thank you.One last point for everyone. If you are a Christian, who believes that the Bible is God’s Holy Word, and you read Leviticus 18:22 orRomans 2 or many others, then preaching those passages and repeating what God says is not homophobic discriminatory, cruel or hatred or judging. It is preaching Gods word just as much as preaching Christ rose from the dead. Repeating what God said is not judging. Judging comes in when you go out of your way, outside the church to get in someones face in a cruel way is judging. Churches have every right to preach God’s word, thats why they exist.To tell them not to, is like telling Buddhist they can’t meditate, or Jews they cant fast, etc

  • amm72

    “I’m uncertain how strong religious leaders influence is on young people who might torment gay adolescents. It seems a “Lord of the Flies” type environment that prevails in that age group.”True, but I’d wager that kids whose families hear in church that gay people are just like them are less likely to engage in bullying based on perceived orientation than kids whose parents come home concerned about “the gay agenda,” or worse, who storm home muttering about how “no son of mine’s gonna be no sissy f*****t.”What the parents believe influences what the kids believe. And what the parents are taught God wants of them influences what the parents believe.

  • gershwin2009

    I would recommend to the gay teens to consider atheism. We atheist do not consider that people sexual preferences have to be in certain way and only in that way and, most certainly, we do not accept a supernatural dictator supervising who we choose to pleasure ourselves with.Teenagers who feel bullied by religious bigots, PLEASE CONSIDER ATHEISM. Take advantage that in these United States, you have the right to be an atheist.

  • spconley

    As Philip Roth said on CBS Sunday Morning this past weekend, “When the whole world doesn’t believe in God, it’ll be a great place.”

  • pras40

    Our son came out to us last year. We are conservative people of faith and raised our son in that environment. Our response was to love God, love people and prove it. If we can’t love our gay son then it doesn’t matter who else we love, how much money we give, how far we go to preach what we believe. We must practice unconditional love in our “last homely house” before anything else. I stand up for my son and love him more now than before and I didn’t think that was possible.

  • RolnRvrman

    Who are we to judge? We all need to have compassion for what others are going through in their various paths. For any fellow Christians out there, while it seems like a cliche, simply ask yourself “what would Jesus do?”. He certainly wouldn’t tolerate bullying. By tolerating bullying and ridicule, people are condemning what they see as “the sinner” rather than the sin. We can only bring others to God by His light shining through us, not through hatred and intolerance.

  • kenk3

    People can take their religion and imaginary gods and shove it up their a*s.

  • Secular

    If you are a Christian, who believes that the Bible is God’s Holy Word, and you read Leviticus 18:22 orRomans 2 or many others, then preaching those passages and repeating what God says is not homophobic discriminatory, cruel or hatred or judging. It is preaching Gods word just as much as preaching Christ rose from the dead. Repeating what God said is not judging. Judging comes in when you go out of your way, outside the church to get in someones face in a cruel way is judging. Churches have every right to preach God’s word, thats why they exist.To tell them not to, is like telling Buddhist they can’t meditate, or Jews they cant fast, etcPosted by: detroitblkmale30Here I think political leadership needs to be bold, especially in light of the fact that an overwhelming majority is with zeitgeist. Just change the laws to be more open and engender equality. The idiots who want to stay in 5th century BC will eventually come along, otherwise they will go away anyway in a few years. The same happened with the polygynist of LDS and the same with the Blacks being admitted into every walk of lives.To expect the vile, embodiments of evil such as Dobson, Robertson, Graham Sr, and the Jr. to change is asking for miracles. I am the last one who expects or hopes for miracles. Appealing to these, vicarious murderers is futile.

  • jonswitzer

    Solomon said something profound, Prov 29:27Thank God we live in a country that values disagreement and debate. Disagreement on this issue is at least as old as humanity is. Better to live with freedom of speech than either godless tyranny (i.e. Hitler, Nero, Stalin) or religious tyranny (Inquisition, Ahmadinejad). That would be true oppression and evil. At least we should agree that honest debate about moral absolutes is more right and healthy than tyranny. Better to accept that we disagree than attempt to force conformity through the sword. As Solomon also said, “the fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

  • AJBF

    The best way religious leaders could stand up for gay youth is to stop the homophobic, prejudiced selective reading of the Bible with which they rationalize their own demeaning attitudes, words and actions against gay people. In other words, LIVE Christ’s teachings about loving your neighbor as yourself and casting the first stone only if you yourself are free from sin.

  • postsucks99

    I presume you are serious, and not writing ironically. But, seriously, mainline churches, both those in the major denominations and those who are Evangelical and non-denominational, are the main source of doctrine which fuels bigotry. Making churches ‘welcoming’ is going to require a lot more than people forcing a smile at the door.

  • ravensfan20008

    Is there some reason we can’t just accept that some people will be gay and just live and let live? It doesn’t affect you – let it go.

  • Secular

    By tolerating bullying and ridicule, people are condemning what they see as “the sinner” rather than the sin. We can only bring others to God by His light shining through us, not through hatred and intolerance.Posted by: RolnRvrmanOh really RolnRvrman, it is the same god who burnt down Sodom & Gomorrah, but saved the inebriated Pond Scum Lot. This shining example piety didn’t even know he was getting laid by his own daughters. Are you talking about the same dog, whose shining light is going to come through? Give us all a break, until and unless people are going to repudiate the vile passages in the scripture forget about.

  • AJBF

    To detroitblkmale30 who wrote “If you are a Christian, who believes that the Bible is God’s Holy Word” – then you don’t eat shrimp because eating shellfish is an abomination, and you stone your daughter to death when she disobeys you because that’s what “God’s Holy Word” says. Christ said NOTHING about homosexuality but unequivocally condemned divorce. How many Christians live by that?”Repeating what God said is not judging.” It is judging when you repeat only certain sayings of God that support your prejudices while conveniently ignoring many, many others similar to those mentioned above.Get off your self-righteous pedestal, read the Bible cover to cover and see if you are so faithful to every single “Holy Word of God”.

  • jonswitzer

    To deny that shifting morals affect everyone in a nation is like a boat denying the wind or waves. A prudent man sees danger coming and avoids it, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

  • WickedRose

    Thanks, RevMatt for changing your sermon topic.I call on all Christians who are in support of gay youth to send this link to their ministers. I just sent it to mine.

  • ardelion

    “Almost six in ten clergy from mainline denominations support the full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT persons,” Ms. Haffner tells us.It’s been 40 years since I turned my back on my Presbyterian upbringing and was baptized as a Roman Catholic. The Apostolic Succession was largely the reason. But the every-trendy tendencies of most Protestant clergy — the notion that no values are eternal — hardened my resolve.Thanks for reminding me that nothing much has changed.

  • detroitblkmale30

    @AJBF Christ never said anything about incest, but we dont think that is ok now do we? The onus isnt only what Christ said or didnt say. Its on what the BIBLE says. Not selfrighteous at all, im a sinner saved by grace.I dont agree with divorce either so im being consistent with my previous statement.I’ve read the Bible cover to cover I take it in its FULL context and don’t pick and choose.Dont make assumptions about someone’s position when you dont have all the facts.

  • jaynashvil

    I hope at least some pastors will take up your challenge, Rev. Haffner. Here in the South, it seems most of the Christian clergy is interested only in only politics and in causing harm to gay folks. Maybe your words will get through to at least a few of them.

  • DonnyKerabatsos

    It is exactly all those things HRC suggests you “do” on National Coming Out day that makes them annoying.Set up a faux Closet Door for people to come out of? Spare me the Drama!Keep it in the bedroom and we will all be fine.Same goes for Religion, keep it in your house and church.

  • Forward11

    Christianity includes deliverance and healing in its armory of weapons against Satan and human destruction. Homosexuality is a demonic disease. It can be cured by deliverance in Jesus’ name, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ms.Haffner is a priestess of Satan–a modern temple prostitute. Her days are short.

  • areyousaying

    Why can’t “Christians” go primp, pray, pretend, pose and pimp poor old Jesus among themselves on Sunday and leave the rest of us the hell alone.Why are they always prying into other peoples sexuality, politics and morals to judge, condemn and shove their twisted Leviticus cherry-picked “family values” down the rest of our throats.Is this what Christ is all about? Is this what Christians do?

  • detroitblkmale30

    @Secular: If your comments were anymore rich, they’d give Bill gates a run for their money.Many beleive the mormon’s to be a fringe sect of christianity because of their oppostion to

  • forgetthis

    1/3 of teens who commit suicide are gay. That means 2/3 are straight. Those teens need just as much support as the gay teens. Secondly, no church I know of preaches that it is okay to bully someone else. Actually, quite the opposite. I think what the author wants is for ministers to openly condone homosexuality from the pulpit. That’s not possible in most cases. Ministers can support troubled teens without running afoul of their own faith teachings. I think it’s important to clarify this.

  • mcroriel

    A word to Evangelical Churches. Despite your position on Homosexuality put down the signs and carefully look around your congregation for a moment.You have gay teens in your midst. Quite often the most spiritual and active young people in your church. They are there, I know, I was one.Raised Southern Baptist, Liberty Baptist College, etc. and I was not alone. These are your children; literally.You can continue to rail against homosexuals in S.F. making out an image of monsters. I had a professor tell me that homosexuals were worse than prostitutes because at least prostitutes had sex as God intended.These kids can’t tell their parents, their minister, or friends. They hear they are an abomination on a weekly basis. They are alone.That is why I and so many others attempted suicide (fortunately unsuccessful). These are your kids, you have to stop acting like this.Suffer the little children…

  • detroitblkmale30

    @areyousaying: why dont you add Timothy and Romans and a few other Books in the Bible too, not just Leviticus, not just one passage, hmm maybe thats for a reason. No one is prying into your life and pestering you, but with insulting comments like yours you bring comments like mine upon yourself.Give what you want to get. insult Christ and you will draw the ire of Christians on you. You want to be left alone, leave the insults alone.ALL people dont like to be insulted and they will be quick to defend themselves. What we need is more civil dialogue and less hurling of insults.

  • haveaheart

    “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Rebuke a fool and he will hate you.”jonswitzer,Here’s another one for you.Rebuke someone you have no business with, and he will rightfully call you judgmental.You people just don’t get it. What part of Jesus’ most important teaching, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” don’t you understand?I’m not a Christian (or affiliated with any other religious faith), but even I know that Jesus was warning his followers not to set themselves up as God.

  • douglaslbarber

    The notion that lust is the key which unlocks moral duty is new. I’d also suggest that it’s the sexual counterpart to the economic argument that greed is good for society.

  • whyyesbrain

    Please pardon my ignorance on biblical issues, but where is “sexual immorality” as used in the new testament defined?

  • douglaslbarber

    Just to be clear, I mean to say:The idea that my sexual attractions, by virtue of the fact that I feel them, warrant social approbation, is akin to the idea that an economy in which greed is unregulated is most likely to serve the greatest good of the greatest number.Clever students of history will note that the economic theory has resulted in the extraordinary enrichment of a few and the relative impoverishment of many since 2007. The sexual theory is cut from the same cloth – “human instincts are virtuous”. Great philosophy for winning votes. For attaining the good life? Meh.

  • DwightCollins

    muslims kill gays…

  • edallan

    I do not understand why so many Fundamentalists insist on rejecting God’s Creation. There is overwhelming evidence that same-sex attraction is about as built in as being left-handed or having blue eyes. And presumably most of the many, many Christian ministers of all flavors who find that they really are gay after all had prayed vigorously and with all their hearts that they could overcome their attraction to people of the same sex. This is completely separate from the many churchmen who find themselves being serial adulterers and the many churchmen who practice statutory rape.I really don’t know why ANYONE, let alone most observant Christians, pay attention to St. Paul, who seems to have spent most of his life either persecuting people or feeling persecuted himself and whose views about sex, including sex within marriage, were considerably more negative than his views about slavery. Have you actually READ 1 Corinthians 7? Certainly, given the success of so many televangelists and the attacks they make on non-Christians, it is highly doubtful that the Fundamentalists, who are most condemning of purported “sins” of people other than themselves, have read 1 Corinthians 5:11-12: 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”Life is hard enough for kids who are taunted or teased for being “different” for any reason. When purported “Christians” shout from the pulpits that (other) people who are gay are sinners and worse, this can only make life a lot harder and helps drive these young people into despair. I’m sure Jesus will look kindly upon you for that. See Matthew 25.

  • soccerhead

    Tax the churches- they are nothing more than political instruments for haters!

  • bigbrother1

    Why can’t “Christians” go primp, pray, pretend, pose and pimp poor old Jesus among themselves on Sunday and leave the rest of us the hell alone.Why are they always prying into other peoples sexuality, politics and morals to judge, condemn and shove their twisted Leviticus cherry-picked “family values” down the rest of our throats.Is this what Christ is all about? Is this what Christians do?Posted by: areyousaying | October 5, 2010 11:34 AM That’s why I call most so-called christians “xtians.” There’s nobody they despise more than Jesus of Nazareth.

  • vicsoir1

    Let’s put the cards on the table here. The problem here are RELIGIONS in their non-acceptance and tolerance of any sexual orientation other than heterosexual.

  • truncatedcone

    Several people have quoted Proverbs 27:6:Let’s make a grand assumption: Say that the old testament establishes reasonable guidelines for living in the modern world.Then the friend of a gay person could rebuke him for being gay in a respectful fashion, and the rebuker could continue to believe that he is acting faithfully. According to the old testament, all is right with the world.A second example:Before anyone starts defending those who disagree on religious grounds with a broad societal acceptance of homosexuality, perhaps we should consider how young gay people are actually treated in a world where essentially no one follows the guidelines of the old testament.

  • douglaslbarber

    Who, today, will take the middle ground between homosexual activists and fundamentalists, and counsel a young person “If you are going down that road you might want to be very careful of your privacy”?Such a counselor could save lives, though not an ideologue on earth would have anything good to say about her.

  • truncatedcone

    @douglaslbarberI don’t think there’s a young gay person on the planet who hasn’t at some point been extremely careful to keep their sexuality private.And I don’t think being careful of your privacy usually should have to include making sure your room mate doesn’t have a hidden camera in your dorm room.

  • RevLori

    For those who typecast *ALL* Christians as intolerant, hateful, bigots, who pull scripture out of it’s context and use it as a weapon, please take a moment to educate yourself and then reconsider. Yes, there are people like that out there, even in these comments… but they don’t represent us all. They just often have the loudest or most controversial voice… so they get media attention.Do a search for “Integrity USA”, or “Believe Out Loud” or “Building an Inclusive Church” training at Welcoming Resources. These are just a few places that give us resources and encouragement in seeing all people as beloved children of God, and letting them know we see them that way. These sites may help those planning to address this issue as suggested by Haffner’s letter.Also, we have gay parishioners and gay clergy in the Episcopal Church, who themselves would have faced similar issues when they were young as our youth and young adults wrestling with sexual and gender identity issues. I honestly think youth would find many of these persons approachable and a place of support. Rev. Lori (priest & a member of PFLAG)

  • detroitblkmale30

    @whyyesbrain: There are multiple scriptures for that you can find them in..Romans 1, 1 corinthians 5:11 and 6:12-20 among others

  • jonswitzer

    Solomon said, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” If it were judgmental to promote a moral standard then all newspapers, universities and Hollywood itself would have to shut down. Judgmental is when I set myself up as judge of an individual person’s life. On the other hand when I preach a general standard of righteousness, I am doing a most human thing, joining not just Christian saints but Ghandi, Buddha, Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Lincoln, Jefferson and others. Interestingly, when Christ said, “judge not lest ye be judged.” He then proceeded to explain HOW to remove a speck from another’s eye. The way to do it is to first remove the log from one’s own eye. If anyone would like to help me remove my own logs I welcome the help. It is better to listen to a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools (Solomon). In the meantime, we should warn people to avoid homosexual behavior, out of love. We should also warn people to stop bullying in all forms. Bullying hinders both rebuke and repentance. Solomon said, “with his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape. A man who derides his neighbor lacks judgment, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”

  • cprferry

    Secular,Private sins have public consequences, whether by commission then by omission. And the homosexual lifestyle has a number of prominent public consequences as well as a number of hidden consequences.What you propose is that we place a personally-challenged social peace above all else. As if a society separated and sterilized from the private conscious is worthy let alone sustainable. As if a sterilized society is greater than truth. As if a sterilized society is greater than giving proper assistance to individuals in need.Let us consider alcoholism with homosexuality. There’s been some attempts to purport a biological existence to homosexual inclination. Some propose a gay gene, some suggest a trait that can be triggered in all persons. Science is still pursuing that question.

  • goodstrategy

    I appreciate that jonswitzer and cprferry are trying to be respectful but the “love the sinner hate the sin” attempt to reconcile the massive disconnect between scripture and reality is not at all respectful. It isn’t respectful to say that you would strongly prefer that gays forgo true human intimacy, love and companionship, to choose between a live a life of lonley celibacy or a dishonest sham marriage to an opposite sex partner. It isn’t respectful to treat people like they have a incurable disease or disability to overcome. It isn’t respectful to believe that God has selectively set up an especially difficult test of faith for a few people which, if they fail, they might very well be tortured for eternity — and will deserve it. It isn’t respectful to claim a belief in a loving God who loves and made gay people but simply hates the gay sex. I accept that this is a sincere belief, but it saddens me, since this condescending nice talk is probably the best we can hope for from many Christians. Being less toxic about it is a step in the right direction but telling gay people that you love them is always going to sound fake when you are simultaneously asking them to accept a 2nd class life.

  • Brownesq

    While certainly we should let youth know that they are imago Dei and that they are loved by God and us regardless of their inclinations,that does not mean that all conduct which they feel inclined toward is permissable. Jesus didn’t teach that and neither did Bonhoeffer. They should know that we are all sinners and that each of us is inclined toward different sins. A better conclusion from the ideas of Bonhoeffer is here:

  • jonswitzer

    It isn’t respectful to claim a belief in a loving God who loves and made gay people but simply hates the gay sex. I accept that this is a sincere belief, but it saddens me, since this condescending nice talk is probably the best we can hope for from many Christians. Being less toxic about it is a step in the right direction but telling gay people that you love them is always going to sound fake when you are simultaneously asking them to accept a 2nd class life.========================================Goodstrategy talks about respect. Respect is different from oppression. I can’t tell you how often I have received rejection from people who knew nothing about me except that I was a Christian. To those people I was a second class citizen. That is the point of a Democratic Republic: we have free speech. So, it is very American to hold strong public opinions about morality. In that sense, it is very respectful. However, there is a difference between respect for a person and respect for an idea. There is also a difference between showing respect and having respect. Yes, I will show respect for all people. However, that does not mean that I will respect them in my heart. Respect is earned. Morality is always the basis for respect. If a person always steals, they lose respect. Liars also lose respect. Because the Bible clearly identifies homosexual behavior as sinful, I will not respect someone who chooses to persist in it. I will show respect for the individual as proper social conduct. I will not respect immoral behavior. Neither will I respect immoral ideas; though again I will show respect for those who hold them. In fact, there are many who hold immoral ideas who I actually respect due to their faithfulness and integrity. I will respectfully debate with such people even though I have no respect for the immoral idea. The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. The Lord detests men of perverse heart but delights in those whose ways are blameless. (Solomon)

  • detroitblkmale30

    Secular: Clearly there is no point in trying to have a fair and level headed debate with you. Your insistence on labeling my beliefs crap is not only disrespctful but juvenile. I am obviously giving your ideas more respect than you are giving mine. Your standard for finding a beleif system to “approve” of is unrealistic. ALL religious beliefs involve human beings they ALL will involve human failings. If you are perfect and have nevr made a mistake or sinned, than yes, you can call it all manure. BUT since i know for a fact, you are not perfect, and have made mistake, since you are a human being, then you cant say that. Thats the great thing about forgivness in the Bible and through Christ for even the worst of us. Otherwise there would be no hope for anyone myself included. In a public forum where people are calling for respect, you would learn to do well by offering some to other peoples ideas. I do beleive that ones ideas are sacrosacnt to them. So clearly we have nothing more to talk about the You have proven yourself incapable of doing so.I’ll pray for your enlightenment, at least in your ability to be more respectful.

  • Secular

    detroitblkmale30{ You cannot have it both ways. You cannot claim Bible is word of your skydaddy and then also claim “Your standard for finding a belief system to “approve” of is unrealistic. ALL religious beliefs involve human beings they ALL will involve human failings”. You tell me the veneration demanded in bible for Avram, is that word of god or is that human involvement? Do you think slavery which was even endorsed by your saviour is worthy of respect or not? At least you have conceded that all religious beliefs involve humans, that is progress. The fact of the matter is that all religious beliefs are totally human and only human. Given that who were these humans involved in developing these beliefs? They were of an era of ignorance vis-a-vis nature and very tribal. That comes through very vividly through every page of the scripture. In 21st century the progress towards universality and equal treatment of all humans, as long as their action do not impinge on anyone is being thwarted by the blind allegiance to these tomes. I take a page out of my fellow atheists not to respect religious beliefs automatically or even give deference to those ideas reflexively. This reflexive respect is not demanded in any sphere of human deliberations except religion. You do not demand it when we are talking of art or football. Now take the idea you are touting “Thats the great thing about forgivness in the Bible and through Christ for even the worst of us. Otherwise there would be no hope for anyone myself included”. Now how much evidence do you have to support the above truth claim? I am supposed to respect that claim without a shred of evidence.Then you go on to claim, “In a public forum where people are calling for respect, you would learn to do well by offering some to other peoples ideas. I do beleive that ones ideas are sacrosacnt to them”. So if everyone’s ideas are sacrosanct and should not be attacked, then what is the point in deliberation. I personally believe in attacking bad ideas. Let the person defend his/her ideas and convince others.Then you went on to say “I’ll pray for your enlightenment, at least in your ability to be more respectful”. This is the ultimate condescension from the theists towards us rationalists. We are supposed to be impressed and feel indebted to this totally worthless statement of superiority, on your part. I do not need your prayers, that is about as useful as an Alchemist’s recipe to turn gold into lead. Or is it lead into gold?

  • detroitblkmale30

    Secular: i can have my belief. my belief is my beleif, all your criticizing wont change that. Thats not having it both ways. Its not too much to haev a civil discourse either. Reread the scripture, Jesus never endorsed slavery, his concern was for the slave not the master or the insitution.If you are goning to talk about my faith, at least get it right.Wrong, all religious beliefs INVOLVE humans they are not limited to humans. Christianity is God’s way of interacting with us and vice versa. We could just go sit in a room and stare at ourselves in the mirror if it was just about humans, again, you miss my point.interesting, a page out of your fellow athesist book not to automatically respect someone else’s faith. ok so i guess earlier when you basically quoted Jesus by saying…”There are only two things go by.

  • customartist1500

    On Faith,In your article I hear you appealing to Clergy to affect this epidemic with Sermons and Programs for their own specific congregations, …But Yet I Do Not Hear among clergy the One Missing Link which would be Their Condemnation of the Hate Speech by Other Clergy, be it ever so kind. THIS is Missing. It is absent, and it is most accurately called “Silent Approval”.Churches are in Full Mode Denial that the speech itself is the cause of depression. They are flatly wrong. Religious Persecution, leading to emotional torment and Child Death cannot and will not be tolerated by modern day intelligent society. Churches will fail ultimately in this endeavor, and given the effect, I have to ask “shouldn’t they fail?”. An increasingly smaller segment of Church Elders do harm with their voices, as we have seen with just this past Sunday’s Sermon. They are no longer capable of genuine nor effective guidance. “Religious” organizations prophesize about the coming decline of societies whose moral decline proceeds, yet there exists a Political undertone which too has corrupted Jesus’ message. These very coalitions corrupt The Word as well, when they criticize the need for legislation protecting God’s children.I have asked for some time “why do Clergy not Lead?” Why do they not take the lead in guiding parishioners through this time of societal evolution, to be good humans toward their fellow man. Is it only a paycheck? Can they withstand difficulty? This concept does not necessarily equate to the overlooking of sin of any kind, but it does contrarily require the acceptance of the fact that we are All Sinners,…AND that Man not assume the role of God in imposing judgment nor disposition here on earth.

  • Secular

    detroitblkmale30, please separate yourself from your ideas. Ideas deserve respect on their merits, likewise people desereve respect for their ideas and their actions. But of course everyone deserves to be treated with courtesy. Coming to your claim that I was quoting Jesus Matthew 7:12. Let me inform you that Matthew 7:12, is not the first time such an idea was floated in human discourse. It predates the mythical Jesus and definitely before Matthew 7:12, by a few millinea. Mere existence of the world nor you and me is proof of nothing. I would recommend you to see a you tube video by Victor Stenger vis-a-vis “Absence of evidence is evidence of absence”. Then there is your claim of some thing about something happening after we die. That again is a truth claim without a shred of evidence.

  • detroitblkmale30

    Secular: separating myself from being a Christian would be like separating myself from my skin color.. cant do it.That is who i am. Mythical Jesus? there is actualy proof Jesus existed, even if you dont believe in his miracles and resurrection. Yes i know other faiths claim that type of golden rule, but that doesnt mean he didnt put it forward as well. I’m glad we agree everyone deserves respect. We can point each other to writings and outside treatise till the cows come home that wont “prove” or disprove anything.There is evidence there, you just cant see it yet. We all will in the end.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Once again the immorality of many mainstream religious institutions prompts one to ask whether we CAN be good WITH religion.And to think these monstrous edifices are supported with our tzxpayer dollars.Religious institutions that spread any form of hatred are dangerous to us all. It is high time that we stopped permitting them pervert American principles in the name of God.Many of these perverse congregations are distinguished from that of Fred Phelps primarily in that they are quieter. Quieter, but since they are “mainstream,” probably more deadly.

  • Secular

    detroitblkmale30, you said, “separating myself from being a Christian would be like separating myself from my skin color.. cant do it.That is who i am”. well general consensus is man cannot change his ethnic origins, but logically one can separate oneself from his allegiances. If you feel that you cannot separate yourself from your allegiances then there is no (i can’t find words to describe the predicament). Mythical Jesus? there is actualy proof Jesus existed, even if you dont believe in his miracles and resurrection.Only record we have is that in the said period there existed a itinerant preacher who was crucified by Romans. Claims beyond that are unsubstantiated.Not just faiths but individuals, a long time before it appears in Mathew. So it is no profound benediction of wisdom, in that.I only agree people deserve courteousness towards each other. But respect for themselves and their ideas are earned.We can point each other to writings and outside treatise till the cows come home that wont “prove” or disprove anything. That is trueThere is evidence there, you just cant see it yet. We all will in the end.Evidence and proof are the burden of the claimant, not that of the audience. You haven’t even attempted to present it.

  • Secular

    Detroitblackmale 30:Look, i dont insult your right to believe nothing or whatever you belief dont call my faith horse manure. In a public forum nobody’s ideas are sacrosanct. I don’t care if you insult my ideas, as long as you present cogent arguments. I find all scripture is false on facts, false on very nature of nature, and they are just absolute vile when it comes to moral guidance. There isn’t a chapter in your Bible or Koran, or for that matter any other scripture that I do not find vile. Case in point, wife-pimping-slave-owning-child-and-woman-discarding-ready-to-kill-son pond scum is supposed to be a venerable hero according to the bible. How grotesque can it get. I can cite one after the other. SO it is nothing but horse manure.But I know I am glad that my faith and salvation is not in your hands or your opinion. I know what I believe and WHY i believe it, I know what encounters with Christ and God I have experienced personally in my life that isnt just limited to words in a book, but reinforced by them. As long as you keep your biblical ideas just between your ears it doesn’t bother me.I agree oppression is wrong, but if you think I am preaching oppression you have missed the whole point of my statementsYes you are, when you quote the crap that is in your book and that brands the LBGT folks to be sinners, etc, etc. You are oppressing. So long.

  • detroitblkmale30

    I WILL NOT CANNOT whatever you want to call it separate myself from my faith, period. A Christian is who i am today tommorrow and forver more. I hope that clarifies it for you.Thats all i said there are many references from non biblical historians etc who denote his existence. That alone eliminates him from being mythical, Zeus and unicorns are mythical. Jesus actually existed. whether you believe who was Godly is another matter,but man kinda makes it little more questionable to doubt claims to a real historical figure as opposed to someone you claimed to be a myth. Actually the burden is on you to disprove it since you are the one attacking my beliefs and not the other way around.So the onus is on you to disprove, which if course you havent accomplished.

  • cprferry

    “Being less toxic about it is a step in the right direction but telling gay people that you love them is always going to sound fake when you are simultaneously asking them to accept a 2nd class life.”Second class life? You seem to suggest that marriage and sexual intimacy is the peak of human existence. It may be great, it may be necessary, it may greatly respected and cherished.