I am a straight white man, so my view of discrimination is only what I can observe or read about. The closest that I have come to experiencing discrimination was in my “Hippie” years, when my long hair prompted an increase in attention from the local gendarmerie.
Perhaps it is because of that, or maybe in spite of that, I have little understanding of the thought process that leads to discrimination. I don’t think that I am in the minority, yet I see anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments regularly passed by seventy percent margins.
Truthfully, I do not understand that level of bigotry in a country that makes a claim of being “a beacon of freedom in the world.” Perhaps most hypocritical to me is DADT.
“You can fight and perhaps die for our freedom but you just sure as Hell can’t have any of it for yourself?”
It has been often said that discrimination against gays is the last acceptable form of bigotry. That is pretty close to the truth. Anti-gay rights people and politicians have a host of excuses for their bigotry that they can hide behind.
“The Bible says being gay is an abomination!”
“I am not anti-gay, I am just for traditional marriage!”
“Gay sex is so disgusting!”
Well, gay sex may be disgusting to you, but it is not to those that practice it, and, by the way no one asked you to join in. The Bible, Leviticus in particular, makes a lot of rules that are not regularly followed. When was the last time you heard about someone being stoned to death for working on the Sabbath? When is the last time you read about a man selling his daughter into slavery?
Leviticus is the often quoted passage for being anti-gay rights, but choosing that verse and ignoring the others is strictly hypocritical. So is quoting Corinthians, written by the so-called St. Paul, who many biblical historians think was gay himself.
Using the Bible to justify discrimination is a direct contradiction of the words of Jesus who said:
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself”
Does that not mean, also, extending to your neighbor the same rights that you too enjoy?
Ironic, that a 33 year old never married man, that traveled the country with twelve also single males and a female prostitute, would most likely be considered by today’s Christians to be gay.
Hypocrites, one and all.
William Stephenson Clark
147 responses to “Homosexuality Part III”
One of our bloggers said something on yesterday’s thread about original intent of the law. (I think that comment pertained to The Constitution.) We all know there has never been total agreement on what that was!
When we talk of the Bible we have the same lack of agreement. The most famous Bible verse used in a discussion of homosexuality is probably from Leviticus: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination.”
The debate usually includes how relevant rules in the Old Testament are to Christians. Some say they are binding, since Jesus said he did not come to abolish the old laws. Others say that Jesus set Christians free from the old laws, highlighting instead that people should love God and their neighbor.
This disagreement in how to interpret the Bible comes before we even get to that verse in Liviticus. By the time we get to the verse it seems everyone finally decided there isn’t agreement so let’s ignore that and kick the can down the road to yet another point we won’t agree on. Is this where we begin the debate about taking one verse out of context, or do we move along to this was one of the sins that justified God in giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites?
It’s all been debated so many times there is probably a program for where the argument goes next. I know it’s got to include the words of Jesus: “A man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” I know the debate must include the letters of St. Paul.
In the end the debate always demonstrates one of the many fundamental problems with the Bible: its ambiguity. It is so vague and self-contradictory on so many issues that it is useless as a moral compass. By the careful selection of passages taken out of context, the Bible can be represented as supporting any and every cause or standpoint you can care to name.
And what the debaters seem to always leave out is love. Those who think the Bible is God’s inerrant word seem to forget that although God hates sin, He still loves the sinners.
“It is so vague and self-contradictory on so many issues that it is useless as a moral compass.”
Disgree. No amen from me.
What some chose to ignore is that the one verse quote from Leviticus is just one of the 864 components of the Mosaic Laws. These were laws authored, presumably, by Moses, to dictate daily life for the Israelis. They cover everything from farming, dietary and dress requirements, to the treatment and sale of slaves.
Jesus of the New Testament provides a striking difference in tone to that of the Old Testament.
The New Testament was written primarily by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the above mentioned St. Paul. Jesus Himself did not write any of the Bible.
Most of the books of the New Testament were written 20-50 years after the death of Christ and were written in Ancient Greek, which is now a “dead language.”
While I am a non-Christian, I still refer back to verse from the Bible. My two favorites, and perhaps two that are most (certainly debatable) important:
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself“
“So as you unto the least of these, you do also unto me.”
There are also some books that never made it into the current Bible as we know it today.
Wonder who decided to keep that information out – and the bigger question is why?
The Catholic Bible is longer than the Protestant Bible, having nine (?) more books, all in the Old Testament.
The Gnostic Gospels are not in the New Testament, having been ruled “blasphemous ” by the early church leaders.
The most of the Gnostic Gospels were discovered in Egypt in 1945. They differ sharply with the traditional Gospels.
“The New Testament was written primarily by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the above mentioned St. Paul. Jesus Himself did not write any of the Bible.”
Actually, biblical scholars say that the books of the Bible were written by the followers of said apostles and mostly after the apostles were dead themselves. My husband views this as a giant game of whisper down the lane played by people who spoke different languages and played over centuries of time. One has to wonder how words and stories have changed over the years. Especially considering that at many times in the history of man, only the wealthy and/or powerful had the ability to read and write and they all had their own biases and agendas. When viewed in this way, it is hard to take the Evangelical view of Bible as Manual for Life.
You could be right about the authors of the Gospels, Paula. I have read varying accounts and it certainly possible that the Gospels were written by “secretaries” or historians.
Also interesting is that Jesus and the Disciples spoke Aramaic, but the Gospels were written in Ancient Greek. While is is thought that Jesus spoke some Greek as well as Hebrew, Greek was not a conversational language for most in that part of the world at that time.
I have not found a source that explains why most (all?) of the New Testament was written in Greek, rather than the day to day language of the times.
We called it the game of Gossip, Paula, and it never failed that what was revealed at the end never resembled the original.
FWIW, the canon as it exists today, was determined at Niscea (sp) about 360 AD. It is my contention and belief that there were many factions represented there, with the followers of Paul winning the battle.
If God wanted all of us to blindly follow the words of a book in this world, perhaps he would have made the ability to read innate and not given us the ability to reason. As for the Bible, George Orwell made the point very well in Animal Farm–it doesn’t matter how cut and dry the rules seem to be if the leaders can go back and twist the meanings and amend the language for their own nefarious ends.
You have hit the nail on the head there Paula!
When people can twist the meanings and amend the language – then that is when we get all this crap about who is superior and who is not a ‘real’ anything.
That’s why I have such a distaste and distrust of Evangelical Christians. These are the people that seem to take such delight in picking out people they deem unworthy and then boast that they have the only true god and no one else has him.
And women shall not lie with animals as they would a man.
All those kind of rules and laws makes you wonder if all those were a real problem in those days?
I read all those when a guy who was going back to the prison wanted to commit suicide because of he had found God and knew from the first time he was in prison he would end up as someone’s bitch. He sighted Leviticus so in order to understand what he was talking about I read those laws and rules.
It was such a powerful influence that he would have rather faced judgment for having killed himself then for having lie with another man.
I pointed out to him that in the case he was suffering from, he was a victim not a willing member. “Did you want to or willing to have sex with another man?”
He did it only because of threats of being harmed and to survive being in prison.
The Jail pastor came to me and thanked me as the inmate said I had saved his life.
I had only done what any reasonable person would have done.
A blogger who visits once in a while wrote Dog Poop, Religion, Homosexuality and the “Ick” Factor. It’s well written and well worth a read.
Nicely done! Who can argue with that logic? (Well, I guess we all know who, but it won’t be me!!)
Thanks for posting the link!!
On the subject of homosexuality, I knew some people growing up that turned out to be homosexual and transgender. I watched those people struggle to claim…themselves. Because each and every one of them started out trying to be someone they weren’t, someone that somebody else wanted them to be or someone that they thought they were supposed to be. Watching these struggles, I became convinced that nobody would CHOOSE to be homosexual. Science has since supported the theory that homosexuality is genetic.
If God made certain people homosexual, who I am to question the wisdom of God or try to remake anyone in an image that is more comfortable to me? This is the reason that so many religious nuts refuse to accept the idea that homosexuality is anything other than a choice. Believing in God is a choice; believing in who you are is necessary to good mental health and survival.
To add even more confusion in all this is the fact we are currently seeing Evangelical Christians rewriting the Bible to suit themselves.
So, I am sure that homosexuality will be covered in their new book and it is sure not to be about any scientific facts.
The Bible has been translated many times throughout history so to have people rewrite the Bible is nothing new.
But when it is the Evangelical Christians doing it and this is the dominate religious faction in the current Republican Party, that presents a real problem in the years to come.
When these Evangelicals get their brand new and improved rewritten Bible out into the hands of their minions in America, what happens to the scientific truth? And the future of politics in America.
If you think this election year has been nasty – just wait and see what happens next time. Especially if the Evangelical Christian Tea Drinkers lose.
I keep praying that these Evangelical Christians would just get it in their heads to all leave the country, set sail for some new land and set up their own Jesus Land somewhere.
But I suspect they will never do that because once they get to their new land, who is going to pay their way? In America, these leeches get everything tax free because they are a church.
And they sure do love that separation of church and state at tax time – don’t they?
Hey Cool! Let’s do away with the tax free status of Churches….as well as EVERY 501c3 and every non profit in the entire United States, as well as EVERY individual of adult age. EVERYONE pays taxes,,, I would be for that!!!
I would love to see a tax system in which everyone contributes.
My own personal belief is that even a poor person should contribute something towards the community pot. That way, they have ownership in the community and should have a say in what happenes to that community.
As things are today, alot of people are taking from the pot but not contibuting. At what point will the pot become dry because of less givers than takers?
If Republicans take over the Congress again, I am starting my own church. I want in on the pie too!
“…and set up their own Jesus Land somewhere.”
It’s in Florida.
wicked – I saw this Holy Land theme park in the Bill Maher movie Religiouslous (sp?)
I watched the actor that played Jesus try to outwit Bill Maher and that just didn’t happen.
I also noticed how many of the audience members seemed to be of the older generation and white.
But the women on the stage by the Tomb dancing with their tambourines and microphones seemed to me just a little on the tacky side. And then their gift shop went way over to the tacky side!
Not exactly my taste – but it must make money. So did Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s theme park – for a little while.
BTW – While Bill Maher was in that Holy Land theme park and during that dance number of the women on the Tomb rock – a big jet flew overhead.
Not exactly a good setting for recreating the time of Jesus’ resurrection – huh?
I had to laugh.
To belabor a point; the tax exempt status of churches (and other 501(c)(3) organizations) is not based upon “separation of church and state” but upon the charitable organization doing ‘things’ which benefit society as a whole and which, in the absence of the existence of these organizations would fall within the purview of the government. The SCOTUS decision which said that which I just paraphrased also had language that income taxation of a church did not violate the First Amendment, that the rationale for the special treatment was secular and pragmatic.
This is one of the cases studied in law school when I was there, and, of course, over time I’ve lost the citation.
As we all know, the real magic of section 501(c)(3) status isn’t the exemption of the organization from income taxes (see, generally, section 501(c), Internal Revenue Code and related regulations propounded thereunder) but the allowance of a contribution thereto as a deduction on the federal income and estate tax returns of the donor.
“When these Evangelicals get their brand new and improved rewritten Bible out into the hands of their minions in America(…)”
What’s really scary is that these people presume to know the mind of God. Because of this, I’m looking forward to Judgement Day. 😉
I can see St. Peter at the Golden Gates, checking his list and saying, “And what part of ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again’ didn’t you understand?”
And then the judgee (at this final moment) will argue that s/he was doing God’s work.
I’m inclined to think these folks should wear fireproof suits at all times in case they die suddenly.
I suspect they will be needing these fireproof suits when they try to justify their behavior to God.
Again – wouldn’t it be great to be there to see some people get their karma?
I’m still hoping before judgment day each one remembers Jesus said ‘love one another as I have loved you,’ and didn’t say to judge one another.
Oh how I think our world would be improved if our faith was a path we take to improve our individual lives and our individual relationships.
Modern day Pharisees seem to have different ideas.
I participated in a discussion the other day about the debate on the prayer before council meeting.
Did anyone else see this in the news?
From the discussion, I learned that Inter-Faith Ministries arranges the different people to offer the prayer before each council meeting.
There was one person that made the comment that after the man offered his prayer, that Sue Schlapp offered her own Christian prayer. Now if that is true, then I can see why there is a controversy now.
If government is not to have an established religion (as was established by the Founding Fathers), then is an elected official offering a Christian prayer after another man’s prayer had just been given appropriate?
I appreciate the custom of an opening invocation. My personal belief is that unless the invocation is totally nonsectarian and is not immediately followed by a public “Christian prayer”, one should not be given. Commissioner Schlapp: one may certainly offer prayer as one sees fit, in private and following the admonitions (at least, as reported in the Gospels) of Jesus that one should not make a public spectacle of prayer, without imposing one’s beliefs upon anyone else.
“If Republicans take over the Congress again, I am starting my own church. I want in on the pie too!
Considering most of the churches I know are nearly broke, and pay their pastor jack, good luck with that.
The large megachurch with a budget of millions is a very small percentage, but do go ahead
Do you really think megachurches are in the minority? They used to be – not so much any more.
Take a drive through town and see where all these megachurches are built and their surrounding campuses.
One short drive will tell you all you need to know.
There are indeed a number of small churches that are struggling; in number of congregations (not membership or attendees) probably a majority. The “megachurches” are, I believe from my observations, the “showcase home” for a majority of church going folks in Wichita.
That’s the problem, you are taking one short drive. Take the phonebook, drive past every church listed, then tell me what the majority of churches are within the city.
I would just like to enjoy the tax benefits of owning a 501(c) business like so many of the churches I see in my area. I am sure, as you point out, some churches are struggling. But I would definitely model any church that I started after the example of the mega-churches, or what would be the point?
What I have seen are churches that establish a solid attendance base and then maximize the donations by the use of investments in business, real estate and private equity funds. That is the example I would follow so that I could draw a nice salary and my profits would be able to continue being invested to create more profits.
Because if I were to start my own church, it would have some charitable purpose, to be sure, but would be set up specifically with the intention to make me financially secure.
Like I said, I would like to see a piece of the pie and, as far as I can tell, what money isn’t in the hands of the corporations and the independently wealthy is largely controlled by the banks and churches.
As RuPaul would say: Can I get an Amen up in here?
I absolutely became a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race this past season. And now there is RuPaul’s Drag U this season. This is where women are transformed into their drag divas and are given a brand new outlook on their own personal life.
RuPaul is my idea of a person who has used his own God-given talent and has made it work for him in a positive way. And I have never seen or heard him to be intentionally mean to anyone.
I would like to know the statistics of how many elected officials have their family members running some non-profit group?
I suspect we would be amazed at the number.
Speaking of setting up your own church – did anyone see the news where some Nebraska town has settled with Westboro Baptist Church – the Phelps Gang?
Now is that group really a church?
On paper and on technicality – it is a church. In reality, that is up for debate.
Until we (collectively) stop participating in the way they make most of their money — lawsuits we file and then settle — they are assured of having funds.
Sad, but true.
I have no problem with any prayer before any public council meeting – as long as all religions are participating.
But when that public prayer becomes the center of the debate and not what the council’s agenda is that day – that is the problem – in my opinion.
And I wonder why it always seems to be the Christians in the group that have a problem with the public non-Christian prayer.
Of course, when the group for Separation of Church and State got involved in this council prayer debate, then this entire Atheism v Christianity War gets started again.
I don’t need to deal with that – again. It’s not Christmas yet and we all know the Christians will bring out that persecution cross again so they can sanctimoniusly nail themselves to the cross again.
Like I told my sanctimonoius, pious, hypocrit mother-in-law once – get off the cross, somebody needs the wood.
I know what a small struggling church is like – I married my husband when he was a preacher in a small Baptist church.
He was making $75 a week and we had the privilege of living in the old parsonage. The furnace went out during a below-zero deep freeze period in the middle of winter and when we called the deacons of the church to report it – their response was ‘can you wait until next month when that big donation is due in”.
While I understand their predicament of having no money – what was our choice at the time – freeze or go stay with family/friends for a week or more?
So I understand – all too well – the daily life of living in a small struggling church.
I’m still hoping before judgment day each one remembers Jesus said ‘love one another as I have loved you,’ and didn’t say to judge one another.
Me too, fnord, but I’m not holding my breath. I was in the Evangelical Christian movement when it was first starting to grow. They purposely set themselves up as being the superior ones, the more holier ones, the ones with the true god, etc. as a way to make their followers feel special.
And when people feel special – they give more money to the guy that makes them feel special – huh?
I think that is the trick to all these mega church preachers. They always need some ‘other guy’ or ‘other group’ that are labeled as heathens and need to be vanquished in the name of what his holy and Godly.
then their coffers overflow and the preacher gets a new Cadillac – what a sweet deal!
Not a Cadillac, indy; a Mercedes, a BMW 7 or 9 series, a Lexus are preferred these days.
I stand corrected – LOL
Hey, I have a 1994 Mercedes – do you think that would qualify me to get in that good ol’ boys club?
Or does it have to be a new Mercedes?
The newer the better.
Oh, what am I thinking – I’m a woman.
I belong in the kitchen cooking for my man! I am way past child bearing age – so does this mean I get to wear shoes now?
I work with a woman who says that the pastor at her church employs his wife and children at the church, so the whole family is drawing a salary from the congregation. She described the many cosmetic procedures the wife has had, the nice home and cars that the pastor and his wife own and now their children, employed by the church have homes and cars just as nice. I guess this is no sin, but when parishioners are struggling and out of work and the Sunday sermon is one about tithing more, is it just me or is something out of whack here?
Paula – that is what I was trying to make a point about – it is people like this that gives Christianity a bad name – IMHO.
I’m with you – I think I need to come up with a non-profit group or a church to set myself up and game the system.
And that is exactly what is going on – there are people out to game the system and their motivation is money in their own pockets.
Not just money in their pockets, but also power. I think some politicians use churches and church goers to further their agenda.
Finding fault with a religion or a person doesn’t sit well with me. I have so many imperfections and places where I need improvement there isn’t really any time left to fix anyone else. But those who advertise their faith, their beliefs and then say and do things that aren’t examples of what they say they are always do it so loudly it seems. They get the lion’s share of the attention. How can a person be mean, advertise their faith (with words, not deeds) while expecting people to not wonder about the example they’re setting?
I remember when I was growing up, my family attended a small church. It was like a family – a sanctuary where we knew everyone and everyone cared about the other person.
The preacher of that church was a very special man. He never wore a new suit. In fact, he wore the same suit every Sunday for my entire childhood.
This man was a quiet man. A spiritual man. He did not have a good singing voice and his prayers were not all that flowery and dramatic.
But he had something that so many of these so-called preachers today don’t have – he had integrity and a love for his fellow man.
To me, that is what is missing in today’s mega churches and especially those televangelists that are always having a telethon to raise more millions.
There is a big difference between being spiritual and being religious.
Religious people love the church and spiritual people love the reason people should go to church – to do God’s work and spread his message of love.
“There is a big difference between being spiritual and being religious.
Religious people love the church and spiritual people love the reason people should go to church – to do God’s work and spread his message of love.”
I couldn’t agree more.
You’ve just described the reason why so many people look for a church to attend–the need for community and fellowship. When you have a leader who leads with an excellent example of integrity, you have a better community and more honest and generous fellowship.
I find it very ironic that so many people that go to church in search of community reject the notion that they owe any responsibility to the community in which they live–in the form of taxes and government services.
“The furnace went out during a below-zero deep freeze period in the middle of winter and when we called the deacons of the church to report it – their response was ‘can you wait until next month when that big donation is due in”.”
Irresponsible at the least. Not on your part, on the part of the Deacons of the church
We didn’t blame the Deacons of the church for the furnace going out – it was not their fault.
But when we have people in struggling churches who cannot even afford to fix a furnace while the mega church down the road puts up another huge golden cross to show how Christian they are – it just does not seem fair.
Now does it?
But when has life ever been fair?
I watched a documentary a couple years ago about some city that was being financially drained due to all these churches building their huge buildings/campuses on prime real estate but yet not paying one single penny in taxes.
The mayor of this city was trying to get out the message that when there are too many tax free places in place, where does that leave room for those businesses that would be paying taxes to go?
Life should be a balance. Like I stated before -currently we have too many takers and not enough givers.
At some point – the givers are going to turn into takers if things don’t change.
And with the current high unemployment rate – that point is coming faster and faster.
While I agree with you about struggling churches – they are not the ones draining the public services while eating high on the hog (as my grandpa used to say).
And those struggling churches are not the ones who are trying to change political policies through their hijacking of one political party.
These struggling churches are doing what they should be doing – helping benefit society.
I will admit, I am biased against mega churches because I was in their movement in the 70’s and I saw firsthand what their motivation was and still is – power and money.
i am not sure what you consider a mega-church, but some larger churches are able to do much, without the political motivations. While it is probably true that there are “power and money” motivations behind some “mega churches”, it is also true that there are some larger churches for which that is not true, and equally true that there are many 501c3 organizations for which such motivations are true. Churches are full of people, as is every other organization. Some are true to “the cause” however defined, some are not.
You hit the nail itolduso – it is about the people involved.
When I think of mega churches, I think of those in the range of more than 1,000 members and more than one preacher. I remember working in a nursing home here in town and when a resident asked me to call her preacher from a well-known politically connected mega church (in my opinion), I called them. When they asked me which preacher she wanted and I answered with the name of the main preacher which the resident asked for specifically.
I was told – he is much too busy to come see someone in a nursing home. You will have to choose from one of the other preachers – of which there were 10 total to choose from.
Eleven preachers in one church? Seriously, dude, that sounds like a chain of command chart in some corporation rather than some church.
But that’s only my opinion.
As for these churches’ political activities – when two preacher had their own radio show and then stomped for Republicans – then that is evidence (at least to me) that they are being political and should not enjoy tax free status for their churches when they are out representing their churches while spouting political beliefs.
BTW – I don’t want to leave the impression that 1,000 church members are too many and 999 is okay. It should not matter how many people there are.
What should matter is how this church conducts themselves. If you pass by and you cannot tell if it is a church or a busieness, then I suspect you have a mega church.
That’s the difference to me.
A business, like the medical practices with a ‘hospital’ doctor.
Or these medical practices where their doctors just happen to own their own hospital next door.
As for these churches’ political activities – when two preacher had their own radio show and then stomped for Republicans – then that is evidence (at least to me) that they are being political and should not enjoy tax free status for their churches when they are out representing their churches while spouting political beliefs
Pastor are not tax free. Churches are. Pastors are not 501c3s, but usually either contract or regular employees. Pastors are not limited in their Constitutional given free speech. However, churches are, if they have 501c3 status. I am not sure if that is a good idea or not, but that is the law. If the church, from it’s pulpit, or in it’s own activities, or thru it’s publications, issue statements that are political in nature, primarily endorsing candidates, or possibly, by being for or against specific laws, then they violate their 501c3 status. If they do, then they should lose their tax exempt status. However, if they only speak on issues, I believe that they do not…..But I am uncertain exactly where the line inthe sand is drawn.
That line is very vague – which is why what these two preachers did is not illegal but unethical in my opinion.
But what distinction is being made that these two preachers were speaking only for themselves but yet when advertising their radio show – they used their church names?
Again – that line is very vague.
But in the real world – we all know exactly how that public perception determines that line.
But I also believe that preachers are called to a higher standard and should at all times strive to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing.
When preachers muddy the water between their own political beliefs and their church’s stance, how is that honoring God and being above reproach?
These two preachers went well beyond just voicing their own political beliefs while on their radio show.
In my opinion – they went on an all-out war against anyone who differed with their beliefs. And they were on political vendetta.
So, Pastors should have no public opinon? Or churches?
At least, about public policy? In your opinion?
Does that include all 501c3s? or just churches?
They have a right to their own public opinion but they should not be seen as speaking for their entire church.
And if they persist on a political vendetta like these two did, then their churches needed to either rein them in or lose their tax free status.
And non-profit groups can take up whatever cause they want – so long as they advertise who they are and where they get their money.
But churches should be held to a higher standard.
God should never be pigeon-holed as Democrat or Republican.
And that is what happened in my opinion. In fact many Republicans claim to be the Party of God and their like-minded people gobble that up.
“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination.”
I lie with a woman every night and will admit that on rare occasion have lied with a man.
There were not enough beds for everyone to have their own so I had to share a bed with another man.
Only once was it an abomination, my wife’s sister’s boyfriend and I were down on the same weekend.
So we had to share a bed, in the middle of the night we both awoke with a start when we realized we were spooning!
ABOMINATION!!!!! I do not remember which of us was in the cheater’s position? Hey it was a cold night and he was warm!
To repeat: “I am a straight white man…..”.
“But I also believe that preachers are called to a higher standard and should at all times strive to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I think we are in basic agreement on alot of things.
But maybe through my own personal bias against mega churches, I am seeing things that the average person may not see in this movment.
I will concede that point.
But think about our own political scene since the Religious Right (the Moral Majority) got so much power in the Republican Party during Reagan’s years.
I think we are still seeing the consequences of the RR’s power in today’s GOP. The religious Right are demanding that the party go to the far-right and anyone who dares to cross them are called RINO’s.
I just do not think religion and politics should ever mix.
“And non-profit groups can take up whatever cause they want – so long as they advertise who they are and where they get their money.
But churches should be held to a higher standard.
God should never be pigeon-holed as Democrat or Republican”
Well, spiritually I agree in many aspects, especially the last statement. Churches should not get involved with campaigns of politicians, or their party.
However, churches should be allowed to freely speak to issues. Just as they did with the slavery issue, the civil rights issues, the war issues, the illegal immigrant issue, and on and on.
I never said churches should not be allowed to freely speak to issues.
But don’t you find it odd that so many churches were in existence during the slavery issues, the civil rights issues, the war issues and illegal immigrant issues and these issues are still not resolved?
So, if good church people are truly voting their conscience, then why are these issues still hanging around today?
Churches are made up of people and people will usually vote for the person that makes them think they will take care of ‘them’. They vote their own interest.
For example – alot of people claim to hate negative campaign ads but how much do you want to bet there will many of those same people who will vote for either one of the opponents who are throwing the most mud? I suspect alot of them will have no problem marking that box for the mudslinging candidate that happens to be ‘their’ favorite mudslinger.
My Mother has been told by her church how to vote and who to vote for — from the pulpit by the minister, and from the friends / church members gathering for fellowship. She is very vulnerable, and easily led. She gets confused easily too.
I want to make it clear that it wasn’t my elderly Mother’s interpretation that led me to this conclusion, I was visiting her church the day she was told how to vote in Missouri on the same sex marriage amendment. I was outraged!
Religion and politics should never mix.
Again, file a complaint with the IRS.
However, for the church to say that same sex marriage is not condoned by the church, that homosexuality is a sin, is within their rights.
Is it a fine line? Sure it is. Same as the Sierra club telling you that drilling offshore and causing the worst environmental disaster is morally repugnant.
I noticed that as my mother got older and much less mobile, she attended church more often. One of the churches she attended for a few years was one of the mega churches. At the same time, this lifelong Democrat started sounding more and more like a Republican.
I took her to task over a surprising comment she made that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry by quickly reminding her that I distinctly remember two of her women friends who, now that I was older and had a clue, were Lesbians. I asked her if she would deny those two, who lived together and shared a life for many years, the right to marry. A little common sense had my mother backing down on her statement.
She’d been brainwashed by her church.
The funny part is, there are churches of all persuasions, from ultra liberal, to ultra conservative. Apparently, in the eyes of some, only the “conservative” churches are evil and can or would “brainwash” people.
Whatever. Like I said earlier, HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!
I am out for the rest of the day
itoldyouso, I’m sorry the story of how my mother was brainwashed by the church she attended bothered you. I think I can honestly say it bothered me more. I also admit that my mother was far from perfect. I, on the other hand… Just kidding. 🙂
As for conservative and liberal churches, of course there are both, although I’ve found the number of the former is much larger than the latter. I’ve solved the problem for myself and don’t attend either.
I get the feeling you’re internalizing some of the comments and posts here, as if they’re directed at you. They aren’t. Just as some people are passionate about Christianity and other religions, some are just as passionately against factions of those, and it can sometimes come out in blanket statements.
Religion, for many, is a passionate subject. Unless you’re Fred Phelps, don’t take it personally. 🙂
Again, pastors may speak out at whatever they wish to speak out about. They do not lose their Constitutional rights when they become pastors.
If they say their church supports such and such political campaign, they should be fired. They are endangering their church’s tax exempt status.
And exactly what church is going to fire their preacher who is on a popular conservative radio show?
I suspect not a one of them.
If for nothing else, they would lose money coming into their church.
Just as is the case of the popular preacher who left his church and took half the congregation with him.
The former church is better off without this guy but money wise, I’m sure they are not in the same money category as they were prior to his departure.
Preachers leaving a church is nothing new. But when the church splits over hard feelings – I just believe that is another time when the preacher should be held to a higher standard and some fall woefully short of that goal.
“My Mother has been told by her church how to vote and who to vote for — from the pulpit by the minister”
If so, file a complaint with the IRS.
” from the friends / church members gathering for fellowship”
Not illegal. And as citizens, within their freedom of speech.
Without videotaped proof, that complaint to IRS will go no where.
So why bother?
And do you really think any member of that church is going to speak against what happened?
I dare say – none.
The churches all know that, and count on it. Those churches are where you’ll find the modern Pharisees.
I will never file any complaints, and I will never embarrass my Mother (more than I do without thinking anyway).
Mother is a very faithful Christian, she is also often times used by some who aren’t.
I remind myself often that they will face their own judgments.
“I remind myself often that they will face their own judgments.”
Only if what they say is true. 🙂
It isn’t up to me, but their merits will be judged.
Mother now lives here in Wichita and she sometimes asks me, “what is the other side”? She knows there are usually two sides to any disagreement. I have never done more than ask what she’s heard and then tell her some people think that and others this. She likes that I respect her ability to weigh and decide.
“But don’t you find it odd that so many churches were in existence during the slavery issues, the civil rights issues, the war issues and illegal immigrant issues and these issues are still not resolved?”
No. Why should I?
THe corollary of that is, if churches had not gotten involved in those issues, would the issues be even worse? Or even less resolved?
You appeared to think that since churches speak out about these issues that somehow that made it okay.
Don’t look now, but those same issues are still alive and well today.
And many churches do speak out about those issues and they are not helping anything but to fuel the hatred that is being manipulated by the politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Exactly, itolduso. The enumerated issues caused denominational splits (especially slavery). I’m particularly thinking of the Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church. As to the effects of the involvement of the churches, I cannot make a judgment. I believe in some cases, this involvement exacerbated things; in others, it helped settle things down.
Trying to prove a negative? Like would our economy be worse if we hadn’t had the stimulus package? No one here is going to have an answer since we’re all aware there isn’t one that can be proven.
That was exactly my point.
I remember the Civil Rights Act being signed. I also remember when alot of Southern Democrats (good Christian people) who promptly turned into Republicans because Lyndon Johnson dared to give civil rights to blacks.
Is that from all those churches speaking so freely about the civil rights issue?
BTW – many of those Southern Democrats turned Republicans are the base of the current Republican Party and go by the label of Religious Right.
So, in reality, are churches really helping solve those issues they are freely speaking about?
Or are they just fueling the hatred to keep those political points racking up?
I guess you have to make up your own mind. You want to paint with a broad brush, go ahead. People will point out that they disagree. As for me, I don;t really care if they speak up or not. Far as I am concerned, it’s not their job. That includes speaking out about immigration, civil rights, the war (for or against) , and on and on. Every time the REVEREND jesse James (sorry, Jackson) speaks out, every times the REVEREND Al Shark (sorry, Sharpton) they should be investigated. Every time some church offers sanctuary to illegals, they should be investigated and lose their tax exempt status. The list goes on. And the same list goes on for other non profits. If they speak out on political issues, they can lose their tax exempt status and pay the piper.
I am not sure of the status of Jackson and Sharpton regarding a church affiliation – to my knowledge, each heads a non-profit organization.
Frequently, they don’t help their cause with their rhetoric.
That having been said, I support a church taking a position on a social issue – even if I I disagree with it – but they should stay out of telling people how to vote.
My $0.02 worth.
Is that from all those churches speaking so freely about the civil rights issue?
I don;t know. Was Martin Luther King, Jr a Reverend? Did churches speak out against slavery? Did they speak out during the civil rights movement? Did they speak out during the Viet Nam war?
Were they effective? Who knows and who can answer?
Did churches have a unified voice. No. Is that a requirment?
No it is not a requirement – but I keep going back to the higher standard that God expects from preachers.
I guess it is up to the people to determine if their preacher is holding up the truth or simply what they want to further their agenda?
As for churches speaking out against Vietnam – I did not hear many of them do that.
I saw alot of people out protesting that war and I saw alot of good church people demonize the protesters for doing that.
We could sit all day and go back and forth about if churches are doing good or bad.
But at the end of the day – if a church or its preacher is doing nothing more than helping to fuel the fire of hatred – it is not a church nor are they a preacher in my opinion.
“But at the end of the day – if a church or its preacher is doing nothing more than helping to fuel the fire of hatred – it is not a church nor are they a preacher in my opinion”
and I agree. In fact, I couldn’t agree more.
I also remember in my college days in the mid-70’s at that good Christian school in Tennessee. There were many Christian kids that sincerely believed the Bible was talking about black people when it referenced the beasts in the field.
Do you know where they got that misinformation? From their churches.
Wow. I have been in and around churches for at least 50 years, and across the country, and never heard that taught. Not sayin it ain;t so, they also pickup snakes and drink poison in Tennessee as part of their church services. I also know that the Sioux believes or did, that only the Sioux were real people.
I just don;t see any need to use a wide paint brush for a small problem.
I expect those who are affected most by the bad apples to complain the loudest about how poorly they reflect on the entire group. Police their own. I don’t see it happening often enough, but I expect it.
I expect those who are affected most by the bad apples to complain the loudest about how poorly they reflect on the entire group. Police their own. I don’t see it happening often enough, but I expect it.
Please tell the Democrats and Muslims the same, as well as the Christians and Republicans.
I welcome it…. and agree with you
I didn’t feel the need to itemize since my statement was all inclusive.
Good enough. That wasn;t entirely clear to me
I have told Democrats and Muslims the same but somehow Christians and Republicans never believe that because I am not totally supporting THEIR side.
That is the problem – Christians and Republicans do not know how to tend to their own business and leave others alone.
Apparently, neither do others. It is not mutually exclusive to the CHristians or the Republicans.
“As for churches speaking out against Vietnam – I did not hear many of them do that.”
Having grown in a community of Mennonites, I heard plenty.
Well, good for them. They were exercising conscience to do so.
I grew up around Baptist churches and none of them dared to go against the Vietnam War machine.
REVEREND jesse James (sorry, Jackson) speaks out, every times the REVEREND Al Shark (sorry, Sharpton)
While I agree with you that Jackson and Sharpton should also be held to the same higher standard as other preachers – when people do what you just did in this comment – it makes your viewpoint look suspicious.
It almost appears to be some talking point from some conservative right-wing talk radio entertainer and you lose all credibility.
Sorry, you can take it for what ever you want. I don;t listen to talk radio.
ANd yeah, that is my opinion of both the REVEREND Jesse Jackson and the REVEREND Al Sharpton.
Do you need examples of why I should feel that way? I suspect not.
How would you feel if I called your preacher by some snarky name?
This is what causes alot of hurt, anger and resentment to fester on both sides of the aisle.
Why even give hatred a helping hand to fester even more?
Apparently, neither do others. It is not mutually exclusive to the CHristians or the Republicans.
I don’t see any Muslims yelling about some public prayer being given at council meetings. I don’t see Democrats out stealing their opponents campaign signs – as has happened several times.
Like I’ve said before – people will be people. And you may think I paint with a broad brush about Evangelical Christians but I was in their midst – and I know firsthand what they are capable of doing. And it’s not pretty.
There is nothing more wicked than a self-proclaimed righteous, religious person on a perceived mission from God.
Just a reminder – I told everyone of my personal bias against Evangelical Christians – at least I am honest about my bias.
I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. You don;t like Christians, or the so called “Christian movement”. You don;t like Republicans. Your perogative. Enjoy
I’m positive Indy has told us she is a Christian. She is the one who knows, and I believe her.
There seems to be a misunderstanding about who and what she is finding distasteful. I easily read that she isn’t criticizing Christians or Republicans, but is criticizing those who use religion to further political goals and that she thinks that is done by Republicans more often than other political persuasions.
I agree with that. I hear every day how Republicans are “The Chosen Party of God,” how they are planning to rewrite The Constitution to more closely resemble the Bible, how social issues should be a part of the public domain and decided by those who are ‘moral.’ Then the definitions of who is ‘moral’ are given, and I fall short. I don’t happen to think there is a single person on this earth who has a right to judge my morality (as long as I’m in compliance of all civil laws) so I also don’t approve when someone tries.
Actually, itolduso, you’re wrong.
If you would read what I have posted – I was a preacher’s wife – a Baptist preacher.
I attended Baptist churches my entire childhood.
I do not dislike Christians – I dislike phoney Christians. And this what the Evangelical Christian movement (i.e. mega churches) is mostly – fake Christians – in my opinion.
And who says I don’t like Republicans? One of my very best friend is a devout Catholic and a Conservative Tea Party Republican!
But you know what? We know NOT to discuss or try to convert each other. We sit calmly and discuss our differences in opinion. And she votes her way and I vote mine.
End of story.
We don’t go on and on about which side is right or which side is wrong.
Because like I have stated numerous times on this blog today – people are people. And the sooner we all learn that fact and let each other live and let live – the better off our country will be.
By the way, from this Christian, and Republican, Have a Great Day!!
For what it’s worth, I don’t care for the so-called “Christian Movement” either. I would be more comfortable if it called itself the “Pauline Movement”, as it appears that much of its so-called Christian foundation arises from Paul’s Epistles rather than the teachings of Christ as reported in the Gospels.
Given that Paul’s supporters won the battle some 1700 plus years ago, I am not surprised by this fundamentally misleading labeling. It’s just sad to think that one person, who had the facility to write at a time many could not, was able to (to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson) pervert the teachings of Jesus, and get his views in front of others before many, if not all, the Gospels had been committed to written form.
And, the level of secular ignorance required to be a member in good standing of this “movement” represents what I believe to be the single greatest threat to the Republic. Again, my 2/100 of a dollar.
I wonder how many Christians know about all the other books of the Bible that never made it into the final version as we know today?
There was even a book written by a woman.
I had never heard that, but I can think of a few reasons why it wouldn’t have made the cut.
I watched a documentary on the History Channel and they had a very interesting discussion about this very subject.
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
The Gospel of Phillip
The Gospel of Thomas
Here’s one I want to read:
The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail
I have Holy Blood, Holy Grail, one of the books Dan Brown used as a basis for The DaVinci Code. In fact, the authors of HBHG are the ones who sued him…and lost. Can’t copyright an idea, guys. tsk tsk
fnord, have you ever heard of the Black Mary?
Sorry, that would be the Black Madonna. Afternoon brain drain. 😉
I haven’t. So much I don’t know… I’m told (often!) google is my friend. 😉
Google is my friend, too. 🙂 I know about the Black Madonna because an author friend mentioned it in regard to a series of books she was involved with. Then I did some research for my own idea for a book.
It goes back to the subject the DVC touched on, after Mary, another woman, and the child of Mary and Jesus left by boat and traveled to France. The Romany (Gypsies) have a pilgramage each year to the place where it’s believed the boat landed. Interesting stuff!
Here’s another book that didn’t make it into the Bible–
The Book of Judas.
I have a book about that one. It never made any sense to me: if Jesus had to die on the cross to save us from our sins, someone had to kill him. How could God, having set all this in motion, condemn Judas for his betrayal if it was necessary to the task of having Jesus martyr himself? The Catholics teach that Judas goes to hell because he kills himself, which is a sin against God. They don’t really address the betrayal, but Judas is damned because he killed himself. I don’t know what other Christian sects teach as far as Judas is concerned.
But in this lost book of Judas, of which much is lost and unreadable, the teaching is that Judas was privy to knowledge that none of the other apostles had; that Jesus had a tighter relationship with Judas that other apostles were jealous of and that Jesus asked Judas to do what he did. I thought that was much more feasible than the one-dimensional characterization of Judas that we have had up to this point.
I have observed, studied and/or participated in many religions and I have noticed that almost every one of them either states or infers that it is:
2) superior; and/or
3) the only “true” religion.
I reject organized religion because every one of them can be, has been, or is currently being hijacked by someone or some group with an ulterior motive. But that is a choice that I make for myself and don’t hold others to the same standard.
That said, the main reason that there is such a backlash against evangelical christians and their goal to ensconce their religious beliefs into our secular system is because if I am not forcing them to abstain from organized religion, they should not be forcing me to participate or observe it. That, I believe, was always the point at the heart of the separation of church and state. Because when you start deciding that everyone has to believe something, then there is a fractious discourse over just WHAT that something is to be.
Oh, wait–that is exactly what we are currently experiencing in our society today.
Not all muslims are radical, not all Christians are radical, not all Jews are radical, etc., etc., etc. So when someone makes a negative statement regarding the political movement of evangelical christians (and make no mistake, there is such a movement–see dominionism), they are not painting all christians with a negative brush. Just those that would chain us all to their belief system.
Actually, if Christians were to believe their own Bible, God said that if two or more people gather in his name, he will be with them.
Sounds like a church to me.
Hey – I guess that means I get to form a tax-free church after all – I’ve got more than two people in my family.
My husband can be the preacher again and I’ll be the Treasurer. Oh boy, tax free status at last!
heavy, heavy sarcasm//
Wicked – thanks for listing all those. I was going to go get some more info and post it later but got sidetracked.
There are so many different historical facts about the Bible that the average church goer is probably not aware of – and their preachers like it that way.
If you don’t know of additional information that is unexplained, then there are no questions.
It’s easier that way – if you’re the one pocketing all that tax free money.
My oldest ‘hangs out’ on the atheists v. christians yahoo chat. (That’s not the name now, but was.) Most of the time it’s pretty boring. I used to pop in to see what was up. But there are several people there who are well-versed in the Bible and Christian studies. One left the seminary, so definitely has a clue.
Anyway, daughter has shared topics they’ve discussed there, and I’m always amazed. Versions of the “real” story of Lucifer have been shared that I find interesting. And I love the story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, which is not in the Bible, but is part of Hebrew ‘myth.’ (Yes, all, apparently Eve was not the first woman! 😉 )
Fun times. 🙂
That doesn’t surprise me. Women weren’t worth ‘mentioning’ so much of women’s history wasn’t told in the Bible.
Wicked, I once told a lady that I know about the Lilith story. She was raised Baptist and is well-versed in the Bible. We started out discussing the FACT that there is no story of Lucifer the Angel and his fall from grace or the battle of the angels in the Bible. She was sure that it could be found in Genesis. I challenged her to find any mention of the devil as she knew him in the bible. She sent an email that included all references to devils and/or demons in the Bible, but never addressed the issue of the lost myth of Lucifer the Fallen.
Anyhoo, when I told her about Lilith she outright accused me of making the whole thing up! I never laughed so hard!
I love the Lilith story. It makes me laugh.
For those who aren’t familiar, at one point in the Garden of Eden, Adam copulated with every animal, never finding satisfaction, and finally asked God for a mate. The problem with Lilith was that she didn’t like being on the bottom all the time and wanted to spend some time on top. LOLOLOL
An abbreviated version, of course. 😉
Good summary of the Lilith myth. First heard about it in my college Judaism class. Seeing as how that was 1972, the only other Gentile (a woman) in the class took umbrage at the telling thereof, much to the amusement of the JAPs also enrolled.
There are mentions of Lucifer in the Bible, but they are rare. The term ‘Satan’ is used more often, as is ‘devil.’ There are hints about the battle, but no full story. People disagree about when the fall of Lucifer even happened.
I can’t remember the details of the story that was related to my daughter and others, but it was’t that Lucifer wanted to overtake Heaven. Then again, it’s just one more story among many.
Yeah, women weren’t worth mentioning in the Bible but isn’t it interesting that it was the women who went to the tomb of Jesus to tend to the body after his crucifixion?
I wonder where the men were – maybe out there doing all that public praying and trying to look important.
Another unexplained thing in the Bible is this.
When Evangelical Christians are so hot and heavy about the death penalty – just ask them why God did not use the death penalty and spared Cain’s life after he killed his brother Abel.
That one usually will have the little fellas shaking their heads and going ‘what’?
Paula questions the story of Judas. I question the whole “died for our sins” story. The sins of those living at that time or the sins of everyone for all eternity? And if the latter, is that Original Sin (Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden) or just your every day sin? If Original Sin, why do Catholics believe babies must be baptized to save them? Then there’s confession, one of my least favorite things when Catholic.
Seriously, there’s so much confusion.
In truth, I questioned all of it and ended up leaving the Catholic church. I don’t have anything against those who stayed, though. To each his own.
I reject the idea of original sin and the whole Adam and Eve story. I reject the idea of babies going to hell, and, as a matter of fact, I don’t believe in the concept of hell at all. I am told that in order to believe in good, I have to believe in evil. So, if I believe in a God, I have to believe in a devil. But I reject that argument because I can and there is nothing anyone can do about it. (Sometimes I wish there was a hell because there are certain people in our world that I would LOVE to believe will suffer for all eternity for the pain that they have caused others.)
I reject organized religion because it is too prone to hijacking by the power-hungry. I figure God gave me the power to reason and free will for a reason and that I am better off on my own. I know that there is a difference between belief and logic and my faith is a choice that I make which nobody can take away. Thus, I don’t have to force anyone around me to believe what I believe. I wish that everyone could see it that way; there would be a lot less misery in the world.
Damn, Paula, you sound a lot like me.
All my Bible studies (and there were many many hours!) were part of the church or at least involved only the church family and followed the church doctrine. The interpretations were what they had decided were correct.
Boy, did I miss a lot of great stuff!
You were taught what they wanted you to know. That’s the way most things are.
I’m just nosy. I dabble. I know a little about a lot of things, but not enough about most. Does that make sense?
But dabbling in religions or the similarities and differences made me think. Like Paula, I have my own set of beliefs and don’t expect others to embrace them.
I too have my own beliefs and definitely don’t ask anyone else to agree or disagree — mainly because its a personal and constantly evolving part of me and my journey. Based firmly around love and The Golden Rule, I find great peace within myself and don’t need affirmations or critical examinations from anyone. I stumble often, I try my best every day to work on me ’cause I sure need lots of improvements!
I was raised in a Baptist demonination. I married a Baptist preacher. Then both of our Baptist churches turned on us like snakes because I came from an Evangelical Baptist and my husband was a Southern Baptist.
I was even told by some of my husband’s church members that I was not welcome in their church because I came from ‘that’ church from a neighboring town. And my husband was told by my church members that he was the spawn of the devil because he came from ‘that’ church in the neighboring town.
I was born and raised in the same town with these very same people that were now telling me I was not welcome in THEIR church. My husband had been transferred to our town to pastor his first church, so nobody really knew him.
If that is what organized religion does to people – then NO THANKS!
Throughout our married life (34+ years) we have never lost our faith – our spirituality – but we freely gave up our need for organized religion.
We don’t need to be bothered with all that drama, hurt and anger. Our lives are too full with alot of blessings from God to have to deal with immature, insecure and downright evil people.
Not all churches are that way – but too many of them are all about the money and power. God has very little influence on what goes on in alot of the churches today.
And don’t even get me started on those televangelists! LMAO