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Open Thread: Religion and the 'Cure' for Being Gay

On our show today, psychiatrist David Scasta told us about his plans for a panel called "Homosexuality and Therapy: the Religious Dimension."

Scasta, who calls himself a quiet gay activist, says he wanted to address the needs of gay and bisexual patients whose religious beliefs might prompt them to seek some kind of "cure" for their sexual orientation. Scheduled for last week's American Psychiatric Association convention, the forum was to include V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, and conservative Christians who consider homosexuality a sin.

But after infuriated gay activists complained, Scasta called off his own panel.

"If you literally believe in a literal hell where you are going to burn and fry and be in excruciating pain not just for a moment but for eternity because you're a gay person," Scasta asks, "then how do you go to psychotherapy in which somebody like me would be telling you that to have a happy life, in this life, you need to learn to accept who you are?"

Scasta hoped for a discussion that might begin to bridge the gap between sides with very different opinions on a core issue. Personally, I'm just hoping to hear what you have to say, in the comments.

Comments

 

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No human being is made imperfect in the eyes of G-d. Only changing that which is "of G-d" is the sin.

I agree to cancel - there is no repairing that which is NOT broken - there should be no discussion on the topic.

Sent by Rico Camacho | 9:19 AM | 5-12-2008

As for the question posed by Mr. Scasta, you quite simply don't. You attend a church like the Episcopalian denomination that takes a lighter view than say, the Catholics. You do not let the absolutist fools (of either side) at the fringes dictate the discussion.

As Lewis Black suggested, "take both sides with the most extremist attitudes towards the discussion, you lock them both in a room and tell them they can't come out until they come up with an answer. We'll never hear from them again."

Religion isn't about intellectual discourse; it is about control and a perceived comfort with the world. If you want an honest and intelligent discussion, talk to people with an open mind and adaptable ideas. You are wasting your time trying to talk with someone who shoves their beliefs into an immutable box and needs to have the concept reinforced every week.

Sent by Leigh Cutler | 9:23 AM | 5-12-2008

It seems to me that Dr. Scasta was, in fact, seeking to hold an "honest and intelligent" discussion with people who might have "an open mind and adaptable ideas." After all, he had already gotten a sense that even Warren Throckmorton's thinking had begun to change in some potentially productive ways. It strikes me as a lost opportunity to start making progress toward de-polarizing the issues.

I would also like to ask why religion can't be about intellectual discourse. The finest discussions I've had on the subject, and the finest sermons I've heard, have all had a strongly intellectual component to them. Without intellect, talk (religious or otherwise) tends toward pure dogma. What good is that?

Thanks to the folks at the BPP for these kinds of stories that get us talking and thinking!

Sent by Jonathan Nichols-Pethick | 10:30 AM | 5-12-2008

wow, exactly so, leigh (and lewis black) there must be a path to self acceptance that is not about fitting a round peg into the square hole and versa visa...

Sent by jan | 10:32 AM | 5-12-2008

I don't think you choose who you fall in love with or who you're attracted to. If it was a choice, I wouldn't have made so many mistakes. Religious fundamentalists tend to obsess over the sexual act and forget to mention the love involved in gay relationships. They don't have an answer for why someone falls in love with someone else, they just focus on the "perversion" of the sexual act.

I don't believe there's a "cure" for being gay. You can't "turn" someone gay and you certainly can't "turn" someone straight. I believe there's an evolutionary purpose for gay people and it's natural for some people to be gay.

I agree with Leigh- I don't think someone who believes that they're going to burn in hell for being gay is ever going to accept that it's okay for them to be gay.

Luckily, I'm a Unitarian-Universalist... we love gay people! And atheists! And people who believe in a higher power! So, if you're gay or straight and looking for a place to explore your spirituality without being told you're going to hell, check it out: http://www.uua.org/visitors/?201&gclid=CIbe38uXoZMCFSJqIgodEiv_rg

Sent by April | 10:40 AM | 5-12-2008

As one of the activists who opposed this panel, I found that this story missed an important element. The APA hosts scientific discourse and the right wing presenters on the proposed symposium offered no new science or peer review studies to suggest homosexuality was an illness that could be cured. In the absence of such evidence and data - this was nothing more than a PR gimmick - where discredited therapists could make it appear as if the APA recognized them.

This underhanded strategy is part of a right wing marketing campaign, where they seek incremental acceptance of shame-based therapies that harm thousands of people each year. Most disturbing, none of the victims of such "therapy" were asked to participate. As one who deals with the survivors, I can say that a panel not offering such voices was essentially useless and inherently biased.

The answer for a person in a religion that tells them they are going to Hell - is finding a more accepting faith. Is this easy? No.

But, if life were easy, we wouldn't have psychiatry in the first place, now would we?

Wayne Besen
Executive Director
TruthWinsOut.org

Sent by Wayne Besen | 11:03 AM | 5-12-2008

Once again freedom of speech applies only to politically correct views.

It amazes me how readily otherwise liberal thinkers are willing to abandon the principle of free speech, when they detest what the speaker wants to say.

Sent by Dick Mills | 11:36 AM | 5-12-2008

I think some people confused this effort with the discredited "ex-gay" movement of such organizations as Exodus.

If the goal is to merely address how gay people can be better served in a mental health-sense, then more power to 'em.

And, p.s., no, gay people can't be made straight any more than straight people can be "turned" gay. It's absurd to think people's DNA can be changed.

Sent by Justin Walker | 11:44 AM | 5-12-2008

I think the discussion/debate wasn't appropriate at the APA conference. I haven't seen a single statistically significant study regarding sexuality therapy. There are a lot of other outlets that would be more appropriate: Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc.

The thing is, I don't know a single gay individual who kept their fundamentalist faith. The inner argument went something like this "the God I belive in wouldn't condemn me to hell for acting the way in which I was created." They went and either found a new church or faith or they dumped religion completely. I don't see a problem with either option since the point is to be happy with yourself.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 11:45 AM | 5-12-2008

that's so true dick...and i resemble your remarks...it is very difficult to swallow, absorb and/or even listen to some points of view...i do try working on this flaw every so often...

Sent by jan | 11:51 AM | 5-12-2008

"It amazes me how readily otherwise liberal thinkers are willing to abandon the principle of free speech, when they detest what the speaker wants to say." This was hardly a freedom of speech issue Dick. The protests were based over the fact that this was not going to be a helpful event -- as Wayne stated, the objection was that it would provide a forum "where discredited therapists could make it appear as if the APA recognized them."

"I would also like to ask why religion can't be about intellectual discourse." In my experience this is not the case. There is a fundamental difference between a collection of ideas that comprise a world view, and a collection of beliefs that may lead you to the same place. Beliefs are personal and emotional in nature. Ideas are simply bits of logic that we as thinking human beings have applied in some analysis to attempt to explain what we see in the world.

The failure of religion to function as intellectual discourse is the inherent absolutism embedded within the text. The very fact that denominations split off from the large portion of the church suggests that they have made the assumption that their interpretation is correct -- the antithesis of open discourse. I think it should be said that intellectual discourse can take place between two people, even on the subject of religion. However I am speaking of the church as a whole, which tends to be extremely regressive and does not encourage thought, but squelch it.

Sent by Leigh Cutler | 12:56 PM | 5-12-2008

Mr. Scasta was well-intentioned, but misguided. The two camps are the gays and lesbians who think that homosexuality is natural and not sinful and these churches who believe exactly the opposite. He seemed to hold out hope that these two groups would find common ground. Presumably the gays and lesbians will not soften their position so the only real hope would be for the churches to soften theirs. That's not compromise; it's capitulation. Lovely if it happened, but very unlikely. More likely each side would use the occasion as a soapbox for their unchanging viewpoint which would benefit no one.

I feel deeply sorry for anyone involved in a religion who tells them that their sexuality is wrong. I don't think there is a single solution for all the individuals who have this problem. There is certainly no easy solution.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 1:03 PM | 5-12-2008

I do believe that we live in a world that has been changed largely by its community. Now it is common lace to state a different sexuality. No one is phased by it. Talking about it isn't the problem, it is that we are able to let it pass with ease. It is not clearly right for someone to be in that kind of a relationship. Were were made as male and female, if we were meant to be in love with the same gender, then it would have been a split world, but we live here together. It is not the persons real fault to feel this way. It is not their fault, but it is their parents. they grow this way because they get exposed to such things. If they wake up and run into a room of two dads and say they were scared at night, they are comforted by two males which is just not nurturing to their minds. Other families who are composed of same sex parents are often found publicly showing this off to everyone, thus again exposing their young and easily changed views on life. Sometimes even caused by dramatic experiences such as the child's mother is beaten by the father and the child develops a hatred towards the gender.It is not quite the parents fault either, it is more likely that the world is to blame. Over the years, we have failed to maintain a proper sense of good and bad. We broke from our original way of life, that still wasn't good, and jumped into a new spin that lead to a mixed culture of homosexuals and heterosexuals. Life goes on, but as long as these same sex marriages continue, they will adopt and mold the minds of young children and ruin their concept of life. The can't reproduce in these marriages, so it is one of the points of marriage, is it not. The relationship will not work, so why is it that we condole it.

Sent by Asa M. Berdahl | 1:41 PM | 5-12-2008

It's a shame that the gay groups won't consider any views other than their own. Tolerance should go both ways.

Sent by Mark | 2:28 PM | 5-12-2008

I'm not sure the opposing sides of this issue are really ready and/or willing to sit down with one another. If the intention would be to change the mind of the other, then I would say not. No one wants to be told they're wrong. And, in my mind, one of these sides clearly is. This is a fundamental disagreement. Deep, core beliefs that aren't likely to be discarded no matter how eloquently either side presents it's point of view. Still, I think Dr. Scasta should be lauded for his effort.

Sent by michael | 2:50 PM | 5-12-2008

Asa B.-
Wow, flawed logic abound, eh? What about all those people who grew up in a time where being gay wasn't out in the open (thus no one was "showing it off") and also grew up in a "normal" happy family with one parent of each sex? There's a lot of GLBT individuals who fit that description out there for whom your explanation of being gay doesn't fit.

Moreover, one of the "points" of marriage isn't having children. Anyone can have kids regardless of their marital status and married couples don't have to have any kids. My husband and I plan on adopting, if we have kids at all.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 2:58 PM | 5-12-2008

Gay activists can't imagine any self-respecting gay person would still believe in a religion that condemns homosexuality. Yet such people exist and deserve a chance to explore their faith. The gay activists have, in effect, created their own form of religious doctrine, one that says "You don't need to hear any opinions other than what we tell you is true."

Sent by Greg Gordon | 3:03 PM | 5-12-2008

Asa, I don't know if you know this or not, but homosexuals aren't created from experiences, they're born that way. If a young male who views his mother abusing his father isn't going to become gay, if he's going to develop a pathological condition, it will be that of a serial rapist or a serial murderer.

That said, I think it's somewhat telling that homosexuals are so influenced by the changing social dynamics; rather than our society working for the common good and being part of large primary groups, people are instead more isolated than ever due to technology, job specialization, and general anomie. This translates into the thinking of both rationalist and spiritual homosexuals that it is the duty of the rest of society to accept them as they are. In this capacity, I would pose a question to both groups:

If you are a rationalist, then I'm sure you are of the opinion that homosexuality is not a disease, but you would have to concede that it is an abnormal psychological condition most likely caused by a slight difference in brain chemistry. If there is an evolutionary function for this, it must be that your genes are unsuitable to pass on to another generation for any number of reasons. If this is the case, do you think that homosexuals should still be allowed to adopt children?

If you were raised in one of the Abrahamaic religions and wish to continue practicing, your argument is probably that "God made you this way". Using this motto, you campaign for equality. Why then, are you so sure that it is others that must conform to your views? How do you know that your homosexuality isn't a test of your faith that you must overcome?

Sent by Greg | 3:33 PM | 5-12-2008

Asa, Your logic would seem to be somewhat flawed. For many years there were no public examples of gays. Everything that came across our television and news papers seemed to show the happy family as heterosexual. Maybe a cameo and assumption of some "funny little man" in a movie. But never a mention of anything other than heterosexuals.
The only time we heard about homosexuals was to demean and degrade them. Homosexuals were always seen as sick, demented and evil. I don't think this image did anything to help people think being homosexual was a good idea.
Yet we find that many homosexuals have existed throughout history. The old view forced people to pretend to be someone they are not. Many went on to get married and live lives that were lies, just to avoid persecution. This only served to create more dysfunction in family's, not nurture them. What we see now in our culture is just as others in our history have been repressed, homosexuals now speak out.
We don't have more homosexuals, we aren't making new homosexuals. Homosexuals just want to live as free as everyone else. We teach our children hate and intolerance, they aren't born that way. I still can't get my head around the idea that
to love someone is a bad thing.
As for Marks' comment about tolerance. this too is flawed. Gay people not wanting to listen to people who aren't gay and think that being gay is wrong is not being intolerant. It's avoiding closed minded people who have already passed judgment.

Sent by Ken | 3:40 PM | 5-12-2008

Sarah Lee said "I don't know a single gay individual who kept their fundamentalist faith." I don't know a single gay individual who wants to have same sex marriage legalized. Her "survey" and my "survey" are both flawed in that neither of us have pools of acquaintences that statistically represent all gay people. Be careful when you don't know ...

Sent by J. R. Madden | 3:53 PM | 5-12-2008

I wonder what kind of country we would live in if we tolerated view points which consider our lifestyle an abomination, worked toward it's destruction, and who would accept no compromise between eternal damnation and eternal salvation. The gap is so huge that I doubt any good could ever come from seating these two sides at teh same table. This issue won't be solved for another generation or two.

Sent by Chad Anderson | 4:00 PM | 5-12-2008

Wayne Besen:"The APA hosts scientific discourse and the right wing presenters on the proposed symposium offered no new science or peer review studies to suggest homosexuality was an illness that could be cured."

This is one of those Catch-22's of the APA. The APA refuses to publish anything which may countradict its own left-wing agenda and then complains that the right-wingers haven't brought anything that's peer-reviewed. They've done this in regard to Post-Abortion Trauma, and now they do it correction therapy.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 4:21 PM | 5-12-2008

I read through the thread because I was interested in why the discussion was cancelled. I was satisfied by Wayne Besen's comment, yet read on...continually being surprised by the enthralled notions of religion and churches. No doubt many are captivated by these social institutions, some of which continue to work for good, while others await and pray for bloody judgements on us all. In any event, these are all ideologically fixed communities across the wide array of social expression. None of them feature anything other than human argumentation; Biblical arguments are simply selective interpretive forays into supportive material for an already settled opinion (cf. the 18th and 19th centuries "Biblical" arguments for and against slavery). If it weren't so painful for so many people, the religious conversations would be laughable.

Sent by Wayne Ewing | 4:30 PM | 5-12-2008

I do not recall Jesus mentioning anything about homosexuals, either positive or negative and they certainly existed in His day. It seems that if He felt strongly about it, He would have said so. The Old Testament references to homosexuality can be viewed like the ban on eating pork, the requirement of circumcision, etc., as cultural references which are no longer valid to Christians. I would imagine that it is offensive to gays for someone to assume that they are 'sick'. Don't forget that it wasn't that long ago that women with strong sex drives were 'sick' and were
'treated' by undergoing hysterectomies.

Sent by Virginia | 4:35 PM | 5-12-2008

It is terribly simple: If you don???t live in accordance to what you believe in, then you start to believe in accordance to how you live!

Sent by Sener Uludag | 4:39 PM | 5-12-2008

The Gay community has as high a percentage of closed minded individuals as any other microcosm of society, I know, I'm Gay and I see it all the time. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all see the larger picture, all us humans, together?

Sent by Misty Letts | 4:49 PM | 5-12-2008

I agree with the comments above about the focus on the sexuality part of homosexuality and that lack of awareness and discussion of the love that exists between committed persons who share a same sex orientation. I recall an interview with someone years ago after the heinous and depraved murder of Matthew Shephard. The person said, in essence, "I'm gay. I was born this way. Do you really think with the stigma and the hate crimes and threats of death this would be a sexual orientation I would choose for myself?"

Let's show how evolved we are as world citizens and unite. Don't we have many more serious problems facing all citizens of the world than this pointless and absurd exercise?

Sent by George Geysen | 6:04 PM | 5-12-2008

Misty,
I think that when you add religion to the picture, it takes having and open mind out of the argument. If you believe that an ancient book, assembled and written by men is the word of God, you selectively interpret the ancient writings of desert tribes who had no scientific knowledge to suit your needs. Then you decide that an, all knowing, all loving and all powerful being creates you with desires that go against what he actually wants, just to test you.
Then you decide that to please this all loving God, you must fight your own nature or be damned to hell.
This seems to be the argument over and over in the simplest terms.
It's pretty black and white, no room for middle ground.

Sent by Ken | 6:13 PM | 5-12-2008

A person loves another person.
Their religion tells them they are an abomination.
They learn to hate themselves for loving another person.
They seek to change themselves because they now hate themselves for loving another person.
They seek a therapy that agrees with their hateful image of themselves for loving another person.
Through coercion the therapy providers manipulate them into repressing their feelings, believing that they no longer love that person.
They now believe that they are a changed person.
They no longer hate themselves for loving another person.
They now fit in with their religion that no longer abominates them.
They now love someone whom they have never had a natural attraction to, but since they would rather not hate themselves, loves the other.
So they have modified themselves to fit into the societal constructs that taught them to hate themselves for loving another person.
They now deny that they love as they naturally were created to love.
Instead they have altered their natural feelings to fit into societal constructs.
I guess the other option would be to accept yourself as you are and live to your full potential as the special, diverse human being you were created to be.
Isn't that how God wants it?
Then when you go to church you are able to contribute fully to the faith as a whole human being.

Sent by The preacher's son | 8:07 PM | 5-12-2008

Science and religion/oil and water. Coexist? Yes, even within a single person. Comingle? NO! Smacks of the whole Intelligent Design farce. While the argument(s) may be insoluble, reason dictates that one must jetison belief systems that lead to self-condemnation. Would that we were all "reasonable". Alas............

Sent by Hank Smeltzer | 1:51 AM | 5-13-2008

The way 'Preacher's Son' characterizes it, it seems a little like a hostage situation, with the homosexuals eventually developing Stockholm Syndrome. Not a good thing. One of these days, the world will look harshly, and derisively on this as institutionalized compulsory uniformity. What happened to the 'non-conformity' protests of the 60's and 70's? This epidemic of misinformation will someday be seen as similarly absurd as the Victorian notion of covering table legs, and segregating books by the author's gender. Left handedness occurs at about the same frequency, and was once considered 'sinister'. It is almost 50 years since correcting left handedness has come under criticism as negatively affecting healthy development. When will it be realized that accepting human sexuality will permit all people to develop healthily too.

Sent by Bishop's son | 3:31 AM | 5-13-2008

re Asa: I don't see much point arguing with him, since he knows himself that he's spouting a bunch of BS. Gays exist because they see their same-sex parents in bed together? Huh? You really must work on a better theory to justify your homophobia, Asa.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 10:08 AM | 5-13-2008

This is a great discussion with a wide array of varying opinions. Perhaps there is some truth in the notion that this was not the ideal or proper setting for this particular discussion, but I applaud Mr. Scasta for trying to get a public conversation started.

I personally lean very strongly towards one side of these two poles of thought, but I'm not sure I could introduce any new/relevant material to the conversation. There was one overall opinion stated, however, that I wanted to address.

I could not disagree more with the suggestion that no good could ever come from two polar opposite extremes of thought defending their intellectual (and sometimes not so intellectual) positions. While it is true that those persons with truly dogmatic opinions will very rarely change their stance, the purpose and benefit of public discussion is not for those who do the actual arguing but rather those who observe on the sideline. On both sides there are bound to be rational and irrational arguments -- with both containing very real truths and flaws. But ultimately, it is up to the rational observer (both homosexual and not) to parse and distinguish those logical ideas from unreasonable ones and develop their own philosophy and set of opinions.

With that said I also found it quite interesting that the discussion of evolution and procreation came up in this discussion. Not because I think that it is inappropriate (on the contrary it is a very relevant dimension of this conversation) but rather because it is also applicable to the actual discussion itself. These differing viewpoints (scientifically termed "memes") are themselves subject to the laws of evolution and natural selection ("survival of the fittest"). I think it would be fascinating (and an interesting measurement of prevailing logic) to see which of these arguments will have survived 500 years from now (most likely some hybridization of the two?).

Sent by Dan | 12:25 PM | 5-13-2008

This is in response to Greg.

I am what you termed a "rationalist", ie., I believe that homosexuality is not a choice but biologically determined. You asked whether the "faulty genes" gays inherit were evolutionary evidence, that, as they are not attracted to the opposite sex, and, thus, offspring were unlikely to occur, gays should be allowed to raise children.

I would ask you a question in return: Do you believe that people who are infertile should not be allowed to adopt? Some infertile conditions may arise from genetics, others from environmental factors. Some couples have difficulty conceiving because of the age of one or more of the parents. Does this mean that they are evolutionally unprepared to raise a child at their age?

I think you would answer that a loving couple who wants to love, nurture, and protect a child should be allowed to adopt regardless of fertility.

Likewise, I believe that the traits that are most important in raising children are not those that regulate our sexual orientation, but our commitment, fidelity, love, and maturity. I do not feel that gays couples who exhibit these traits should be barred from raising a child.

No reputable study has found that children raised in homes with a committed gay couple are any worse off than similar children raised with committed heterosexuals. Many of the studies anti-gay activists use to say that children do best with a father and mother are comparisons of children raised in a heterosexual marriage versus single parents.

As a side note, I would also mention that recent theories postulate that homosexuality derives not from genetic variation, but from hormonal washes experienced by the baby in utero.

Sent by Claire | 1:51 PM | 5-13-2008

in this country, and rightly so, there is always the issue of free speech according to our constitution...but according to human nature, people who are at extreme odds with each other on a given subject will probably encourage anger more than insight and those who listen would be best served if they were able to do their own research/reading and find their own way to their own mind in an atmosphere that was less hostile...that said, there might be extreme points of view that can be discussed meaningfully by certain (special) people

Sent by jayn | 2:37 PM | 5-13-2008

I would like to have seen the symposium be carried out in it's true spirit. Those who are oppossed could have let it be and then criticised what was said, what happened etc.... Curtailing a discussion before it takes place is censorship and bigotry in the same form by another name. Like Dan above, I think a hybrid of the two thoughts will appear in another 500 years. The polarization of the two distinct viewpoints on this subject are not going to survive.

We have no conculsive evidence that sexuality is purely biological or purely environmental.

As an ex gay who supports gay rights and marriage, I find no compelling evidence that children raised by gay parnets are any worse or better off than those raised by a mom and dad. Nor is being gay a direct path to hell. Having said that, there are people who do not know how to resolve this conflict that exists within their belief system. And to force someone to believe that they will go to hell if they accept a homosexual lifestyle or that they won't go to hell and MUST accept a homosexual lifestyle are both ethically wrong. A person needs to focus on their own belief system for themselves and find a way to live that that is within their own belief system - of where their sexuality comes from and how their sexuality fits in with their belief system. Sometimes - one or both of these will change. Sometimes not. A trained counselor without a bias should be available to such people. As it stands - there are gay affirming therapist and those that must work under cover without research and support of open & honest work and discussions.

Sent by Mary | 2:59 PM | 5-13-2008

Yada yada yada. This discussion is as old as the hills. Talk about beating a dead horse. Of course it's no good getting a panel of bigots together to discuss whether gays are natural or unnatural. The very fact that they think they need to have the discussion at all is proof of their bigotry and ignorance. I'm never disappointed when Christian bigots expose themselves for exactly what they are - Christian bigots.

Sent by Jeff in SD | 10:37 AM | 5-14-2008

Blah, Blah, Blah. This discussion is as old as the hills. Talk about beating a dead horse. Of course it's no good getting a panel of gay, religious, and psychiatric people together to discuss whether gays are natural or unnatural. The very fact that they think they need to have the discussion at all is proof of their bigotry and ignorance. I'm never disappointed when Gay bigots expose themselves for exactly what they are - Gay bigots.
See Jeff, the street goes both directions.

Personally, I agree with Dick, who wrote: "Once again freedom of speech applies only to politically correct views. It amazes me how readily otherwise liberal thinkers are willing to abandon the principle of free speech, when they detest what the speaker wants to say."

Sent by Jimbo on the right | 12:03 PM | 5-14-2008

To Jeff in SD: I strongly object to the term "Christian bigots". The people you refer to definitely believe themselves to be Christians, and you definitely believe them to be Christians. But in real life they are not Christians in the way Christ would define it. All the reactionary, anti-sex bullcrap was injected into the New Testament by Paul after Jesus had already died.

Sent by Nathan W.--Detroit | 12:29 PM | 5-14-2008

Nathan,

Not so about Paul. Please see Jesus' teaching on adultery. And the woman at the well etc..

Sent by Mary | 3:48 PM | 5-14-2008

Us gays need to get over ourselves, take one for Team USA!!! and fly straight & true.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns, not a tiara - It's time for me to MAN UP.

I mean, cmon... What was I thinking? Two dudes can't make a baby. And we all know there's a short supply of babies (future troops?). Duh. Gee am I embarrassed.

Today I vow as a gay man to find me one of them women-folk, strap myself in and take the hetero-express rocket ship to the stars.

Hahaha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavender_scare
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/404811in.html

Sent by Brian | 4:59 PM | 5-14-2008

I'm not sure why this discussion even matters. The attempt to liberate homosexuality within a religious institution that has long considered the practice immoral seems less a desire for truth and morality in which to believe, and more a battle between the ideas people WANT to believe.

So what's the point of religion if it does not diverge from the secular culture that surrounds it, and if it decides to coalesce a little, when does it stop?

Sent by Matthew | 5:48 PM | 5-14-2008

Concerning Jesus' non-mention of homosexuality - this reflects a sub-Christian view of God's Word. It wrongly imagines only the Gospels contain God's Word. His disciples also wrote letters that do discuss homosexuality. Jesus, referring to His disciples says "he who hears you, hears me". Jesus often spoke-out against other Jewish societal practices; if He had disagreed with Jewish teaching concerning active homosexuality, he would have said so. Perhaps he did not disagree with Jewish teaching.Jesus said nothing specific concerning bestiality or incest either. Are we to presume these are acceptable behaviors
Jesus may have indirectly referred to active homosexuality when referring to divorce & remarriage and immorality. The word used was porneia. Many scholars believe 1st century Jews understood this word, depending on context, to refer to the list of sexual prohibitions in Leviticus. This list includes active homosexuality. More plausibly, given Jewish undivided teaching coupled with the scarcity of homosexual incidents, behaviors like incest, bestiality, and homosexuality were not problems in 1st century Israel. However, when His disciples preached to the Gentiles, they did encounter active homosexuality and incest -- and preached against it.

Sent by Jim | 3:03 PM | 5-16-2008

People assert that God created homosexuals, perhaps because there may be a biological component to homosexuality. However, any biological component is theologically explainable as a consequence of Man's Fall -- Original Sin. Death is now natural, but was never part of God's created intent for man. Rather, death, disease and disorders are all consequences of Original Sin even if there are biological components. There is no theological need to assign homosexuality to God's doing nor is there any scriptural evidence for this.

Sent by Jim | 3:07 PM | 5-16-2008

Some pro-homosexualists assert that Christian elimination of certain Old Testament laws is reason to now allow the acceptance of active homosexuality.
The elimination of Old Testament cleanliness, ceremonial and dietary laws was directly linked to Christ's death and resurrection. Christ fulfilled the law and broke down the barriers between God and man, Jew and Gentile, which Scripture says these cleanliness and dietary laws represented.
However, the Levitical prohibition against active homosexuality is placed squarely with adultery, child sacrifice, bestiality and cursing your parents. Christ's death and resurrection undid none of these moral prohibitions. Unlike cleanliness and dietary laws, these sins carried the death penalty in the Old Testament to signify grave immorality. Jesus eliminated the death penalty, but the Old Testament death penalty pre-figured eternal damnation - and this still looms as an outcome. Jesus does not eliminate the Levitical moral laws -- if anything he makes them stricter. Jesus moves us closer to God's original plan. He forbids divorce, he raises the status of women, he calls a lustful eye equivalent to adultery, he says we are in danger of hell if we curse someone.
Accepting active homosexuality does not move us closer to God's original plan, rather it regresses us beyond the distortions from God's original plan permitted in the Old Testament

Sent by Jim | 3:17 PM | 5-16-2008

jim, i respect your rigid beliefs, but being a secular person i have no idea what you are talkin about...and from my pragmatic point of view i can only say that original plans are often reformulated, modified, recalculated, redefined and plain old changed...all things are transient...it is a law of nature.

Sent by jan | 5:13 PM | 5-16-2008

jan, God's original plan did change due to man's fall. He sent a Saviour. My remarks were not meant for non-believers, but for believers here who try to use traditional Christian teaching to support active homosexuality within Christianity. God only created two people - Adam and Eve. Everything after that occurred naturally, but under a fallen nature. Man and Satan are responsible for Man's fallen condition and its consequences - not God. I see nothing to support the idea that God created homosexuals - only assertions by homosexuals that God did. If one does not believe in Man's Fall, then there is no need for Christ atonement for our sins - this is apostasy for a Christian.

Sent by Jim | 7:45 PM | 5-16-2008

Some confuse admonishing with judging Or judging souls vs judging actions? The context of Jesus' most notable admonishing judging is one where a final determination of the woman's soul was about to be made -- she was about to be put to death for adultery. Some believe the episode of the woman caught in adultery was a parable, and Jesus was speaking metaphorically. It wasn't, and he wasn't. Don't' equate quite proper criticism of behavior with stoning someone to death. Most of the so-called judging going on is merely the preaching about judgments already made by God. There are many places in Scripture that say we should admonish someone who's behavior is putting their souls in danger In some Churches admonishing the sinner is considered a spiritual work of mercy. In the Old Testament, the death penalty prefigured eternal damnation. Jesus says we cannot make such a final determination. However, admonishing is a warning -- not a final determination. Jesus, after admonishing the Jewish leaders not to judge (put her to death which pre-figured eternal damnation) the woman caught in adultery, he also admonishes the woman and tells her to go and sin no more. Some pro-homosexs say Christians should not judge. When they say this are they judging or admonishing people for what you call judging? If they were admonishing them, why is judging the only sin that can be admonished? Was John the Baptist judging or admonishing Herod for his adulterous-incestuous relationship? Was Paul judging or admonishing a church for tolerating the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5?
-- How do you reconcile your understanding of judging with the many clear examples in Scripture where a man of God admonished someone, or with passages such as 2 Thess 3:14-15 or 1 Tim 5:20 ?

2 Thess 3:14-15
[14] If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. [15] Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

1 Tim 5:20
20] "As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear."

Jesus says we cannot make a final determination of a person's soul. However, admonishing is a warning -- not a final determination

Sent by Jim | 8:18 PM | 5-16-2008