Feb
27

So unlike your Christ

By

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” —Mahatma Ghandi

I was going through the archives this afternoon (not really, but it sounds good) and found this interview that Scrutiny Hooligans did with the Reverend Wendell Runion nearly five years ago. You might recall that the good Reverend was the first to speak out against equality during public comment at this past week’s city council meeting (watch it here), lumping gay people in the same breath to pedophiles and sex offenders.

An icon of Western North Carolina, the Reverend Runion, is the head of IBOM (The International Baptist Outreach Ministry — seriously folks, you can’t make this stuff up). He also serves as the chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party‘s Faith Committee, the “sole purpose” of which is to “to preserve Christian values and American traditions” — or rather that was its sole purpose, until — after some outcry — its purpose changed just “to support American traditions and people of faith.” Nothing to see here. Move along.

Anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from that interview (read the whole thing here). It’s a fascinating look inside the mind of a man who dresses up his bigotry in colorful ecclesiastical garb. —Michael Muller

P.S. Please keep your comments civil, folks. Inappropriate personal attacks won’t be tolerated. Thanks.


From March 10, 2006:

“Debate is the Greatest Sin” – Dr. J. Wendell Runion


Dr. J. Wendell Runion was gracious enough to return the phone message I left him earlier in the day, and I peeled myself off of my sickbed to have a conversation with him regarding tomorrow’s “Rally…in SUPPORT of CHRISTIAN and CONSERVATIVE BUSINESSES and their RIGHT TO OPERATE according to FAMILY VALUES, SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE (between one man and one woman), WHOLESOME WORK ENVIRONMENT (without oppression from the Sodomites & Liberal Media)”

Dr. Runion believes in the Bible. He believes in the King James Bible of 1611 and says it “is without error”.

“It is the only book that agrees with itself”.

To glean more, I quoted Leviticus, “A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality? I don’t agree. Can you settle this?”

Dr. Runion replied that that verse is about the Law, but Christians are not “under the Law, we are under Grace.” I asked how he came to decide which verses to attend to and which to ignore. “The Word of God is a declaration,” he said, “Debate is the greatest sin. Nobody wins in a debate. I stopped debating years ago.”

Mistaking me for a homosexual, Dr. Runion said, “You people suddenly become medical professionals and Bible scholars in your knowledge and your training.”

“Gay people being born that way is a medical opinion.”

“I have two Doctor degrees in religion and in Christian education.”

I said that some would consider tomorrow’s rally a Hate Rally. Dr. Runion grew animated and told me, “My brother-in-law is a homosexual and has been for forty years. My heart breaks that he’s unsaved and going to hell.”

“I hate the sinful lifestyle.” But, he went on to say, tomorrow’s rally is “not about hate.”

By way of clarification, Dr. Runion said, “If a pedophile or serial killer walks into my house, I don’t respect him.” But he would share the Bible with them.

“I’m a child of God,” he went on, “and I can commit any sin you can commit. Sin is by choice.”

I asked him about whether he would agree with the statements of Reverend Fred Phelps of “God Hates Fags” fame. Dr. Runion claimed “I’ve never heard of him. I don’t know anything about him.” He then went on to say that the “Wrath of God will come upon sinners”.

Regarding his advertisement, I asked how he felt he was being oppressed by homosexuals or the media. Runion recounted the Wolf Laurel Ski Resort controversy. When I asked how this had oppressed anyone, he replied that the Wolf Laurel management was “scrutinized”. I asked him how scrutiny amounted to oppression, and Runion declared he wasn’t going to debate it.

Screwy Hoolie: “When Christianity is the dominant religion in America, it’s hard for me to stomach the idea that you’re oppressed.”

Dr. Runion: “Christianity is the most loosely used word in the English language.” He went on to explain that real Christians are far fewer, “I don’t know very many of them.”

I expressed my hope that tomorrow’s rally would be peaceful, and Dr. Runion was quick to condemn the counterprotesters at the last rally he sponsored regarding the sanctity of marriage. “The police marched them back across the street.”

He then went on to say regarding tomorrow’s rally, “Everyone’s Welcome,” he said, “We live in a free America. I can’t force a man to believe anything.”

And, aside from the inevitable effort on his part to draw me into a theological discussion about accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, I thanked Dr. Runion for his time and patience and hung up.


Comments

  1. As Jesus said to the religious folks of his day: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” – Matt 23:13

    Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

    Matthew 6:5-5: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

    They either need to pick up their crosses and start following Christ or shut the hell up. They need to be busy talkin’ to the father in their prayer closets and storin’ up treasures in heaven rather than seeking rewards of self-righteousness on earth. Put that ego aside Mr. Runion and seek God!

    Thumb up 10

  2. Michael Muller says:

    Angel,

    We’ve never met, but I just wanted to let you know that your comments before City Council the other night were absolutely riveting. I had goosebumps the entire time you spoke.

    Thank you for your eloquence, your bravery, and your leadership. You (and so many of our other friends) made me proud to live in Asheville.

    MM

    Thumb up 7

  3. These people are not ‘christians’- they are hypo-christians. They are ambiguity averse neurotics with egos stuck in personal mythic structures. Put simply, “if jesus ever comes back and sees what his followers have been doing in his name he will never stop throwing up.” – Woody Allen.

    Thumb up 3

  4. Phil Burton says:

    Sad commentary from a man who professes to be a Christian. Christians don’t wish ill on their fellow man, unlike Runion (I will reserve the title “Reverend” for one who deserves it) who expresses his hate for his fellow man by demonizing them. He is the last person I would ever go to for advice or solace. His decision not to debate issues shows that his mind is closed. I have no patience with people who are not open to possibilities. They have stopped growing intellectually and spiritually. From the interview it is obvious his soul is dead.

    Thumb up 5

  5. Treeis5 says:

    I wish, sometimes, that all of the people that believe that there is something better waiting for them would just leave, NOW! Like right Now!

    Thumb up 3

  6. Leia Cator says:

    I cringed at Dr. Runion’s certainty about his homosexual brother-in-law being “unsaved and going to hell.”

    There are many things I do not know, but of this I am positive: Love is a much better thing to spread. And I believe that was Jesus’ primary directive.

    Thumb up 5

  7. Josh Benson says:

    I disagree with many other commenters, because I feel like this man is a shining example of Christian ethics and morals. He perfectly exemplifies the “us vs them and we are the chosen people so we win” narrative of the bible. If anything it is folks who try to whitewash and liberalize this sordid book of vengeance, anger, hatred, and judgment who are not real christians, as I think Dr. Runion would agree. Apologetics are just as bad as thumpers and fundies.

    Thumb up 4

  8. shadmarsh says:

    Technically, Christians aren’t the “chosen people.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  9. Michael Muller says:

    Clergy and Faith Leaders who have signed on to the Equality Resolution:

    1. Rev. James O. Chatham, Pastor, Presbyterian Church (USA)
    2. Rev. Brent Norris, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
    3. Rev. Ron Martin-Adkins, Church of the Brethren
    4. Rev. Alice Martin-Adkins, Church of the Brethren
    5. Rev. Horace Hunt, United Church of Christ/American Baptist
    6. Rev. Anne Morgan, New Hope Presbyterian Church (USA)
    7. Rev. David Morgan, New Hope Presbyterian Church (USA)
    8. Rev. Allen Permar Smith, PhD., FRSA Minister, Kennilworth Presbyterian Church
    9. Rev. Mark Ward, Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
    10. Rev. Steve Runholt, Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church
    11. The Rev. Deacon Bill Jamieson, The Micah Institute
    12. Taryn Strauss, Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
    13. Rev. Mark Burnham, First Presbyterian Church, Asheville
    14. Rev. Mark Ramsey, Grace Covenant Presbyterian, Asheville
    15. Rev. Michael Poulos, First Presbyterian Church, Asheville
    16. Rev. Bill Buchanan, Presbyterian USA, Asheville Youth Mission
    17. Rev. Amanda Hendler-Voss, Co-Pastor Land of the Sky United Church of Christ
    18. Ken Sehested, Alliance of Baptist, Circle of Mercy
    19. Joyce Hollyday, United Church of Christ, Circle of Mercy
    20. The Rev. Dr. Paul Hamilton Fuller, IV, Episcopal, The Church of the Advocate
    21. Rev. Brian Combs, Haywood Street United Methodist Congregation
    22. Rev. Jim Abbott, St. Matthias
    23. Rev. Margaret Lamotte Torrence, First Presbyterian Church, Asheville
    24. Rev. Shannon Spencer, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville
    25. Rev. Heather Dillashaw Spencer, United Church of Christ
    26. Rev. Joe Hoffman, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville
    27. Rev. Aubra Love, United Church of Christ
    28. Rev. Douglas E. Wingeier, PhD., United Methodist, Retired
    29. Rev. Paul Gillespie, American Baptist, Retired
    30. Rev. Dorri Sherrill, United Church of Christ
    31. Rev. John Laney, Retired Baptist
    32. Rev. Barbara Rathbun, United Church of Christ
    33. Gary Mitchell, Minister of Music and Arts, First Congregational United Church of Christ
    34. Katherine Kowal, Clerk, Asheville Friend’s Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
    35. Rev. Ron Vinson, United Church of Christ, Retired
    36. Rev. Dr. Mahan Siler, Alliance of Baptists, Retired
    37. Rev. Sara Wilcox, Co-Pastor, Land of the Sky United Church of Christ
    38. Rev. Leah McCullough, United Church of Christ, Director of Spiritual Life, Warren Wilson College
    39. Bishop Andrew R Gentry, Congregational Catholic Church USA
    40. Robert Cabelli, Rabbi Congregation Beth Israel
    41. Batsheva Meiri, Rabbi Congregation Beth Ha Tephila
    42. Jackie Simms, Ethical Culture Officiant
    43. Joy E, McConnell, Ethical Culture Leader
    44. Rev. Jim Lowder, Alliance of Baptists
    45. Rev. Jerene Broadway, Alliance of Baptists
    46. Julie Lehman, Presbyterian USA, Professional Director of Faith Relations at local Higher Education Institution
    47. Rev. Jan Buchanan, United Church of Christ
    48. Rev. Angie Buchanan, United Church of Christ

    For more information, visit People of Faith for Just Relationships

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  10. Mister Smug says:

    Uh, although that list might seem impressive, I see multiple names on there twice.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  11. Michael Muller says:

    Thanks, Smug — good eye.

    I’ve corrected the list (6 names were duplicates).

    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  12. Mister Smug says:

    That’s still a goodly number of names.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  13. shadmarsh says:

    You can add the Rev. Shad Marsh to the list.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  14. Thanks Michael. You should hear me when I’m sober (just kidding).

    It was a great night and I am very proud of Asheville, all those who came out to support equality, and our council members who voted in favor of equal rights for all. We certainly outshined and outloved those who wished us to remain silent and less than equal.

    Thumb up 5

  15. TJ says:

    ” His decision not to debate issues shows that his mind is closed. I have no patience with people who are not open to possibilities. They have stopped growing intellectually and spiritually.”

    I must sadly agree with this. As to whether his soul is dead or not, I cannot speak to, as I don’t have that kind of spiritual authority. My faith is deep (although I go through many times of turmoil because of these very observations I have). However, I have yet to find a place of worship where the “followers” seem to even want to understand whom and what they believe in, rather than abdicating THEIR OWN free will for the sake of comfort. This has the result of an insular type of thinking and completely loses the perspective that even “their” Christ demonstrated. Whether or not one believes he was the living Messiah, all the stories I have read demonstrate a compassionate man, willing to serve ALL people (in particular, the oppressed), and to live a sacrificial life to that end. He embraced the very people that many today reject and demonize. For that, I fear any coming judgment will be harsh upon “the church,” and the mighty once again will fall.

    I agree with Mahatma Ghandi

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  16. TJ says:

    ” I feel like this man is a shining example of Christian ethics and morals. He perfectly exemplifies the “us vs them and we are the chosen people so we win” narrative of the bible. If anything it is folks who try to whitewash and liberalize this sordid book of vengeance, anger, hatred, and judgment who are not real christians, as I think Dr. Runion would agree. ”

    Shad is correct. Technically, it is the Jews. Christians are simply “adopted” in. However, defining oneself as a “chosen” people or nations sets oneself up to be a target, which is played out throughout history.
    As a Jewish person and an adoptee, I can say that being either is no guarantee of a positive outcome.
    One would think that an adoptee would assimilate the beliefs of the adoptive family. While true to an extent, what I have seen of Christians seems to be an attempt to annihilate the beliefs of the adoptive family. It seems to be a re-enactment of the post-traumatic kind, in perhaps an effort to correct the trauma. However, it seems to play out the trauma again and again, “infecting” others with their own trauma, and the cycle perpetuates itself.

    Yes, the Bible is full of stories that are violent, etc. It is also full of stories of love, redemption and reconciliation throughout, from the Old Testament to the New. Which stories one chooses to re-enact determines the choices in one’s life in the here and now. American history is also full of stories of anger and violence, along with love, etc. I choose to live out the lessons from love and reconciliation, rather than repeat the angry, hateful ones.

    What continually puzzles me is how anyone can look at ANY history, ancient or more recent, and not see that force and hatred are the downfall of any given society.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  17. Michael Muller says:

    I can’t add names, Shad. I’d invite you to email the folks over at People of Faith for Just Relationships to see how to get on it.

    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  18. shadmarsh says:

    I can’t add names, Shad. I’d invite you to email the folks over at People of Faith for Just Relationships to see how to get on it.

    I’m waaay ahead of you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  19. Michael Muller says:

    Sarah Posner reports findings from a Southern Illinois University that shows More Americans Support than Oppose Same-Sex Marriage for First Time.

    Meanwhile, over at Truth Wins Out, Evan Hurst has some cogent commentary. Some excerpts:

    …younger generations in general are much more tolerant of LGBT equality. That can only mean one thing, and it’s something we already knew: the wingnut churches are driving their young away in droves.

    …Moreover, I know others who are still very much Christian, but who shun the conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist labels like the plague. I’ve even heard the term “recovering Fundamentalist” thrown around in my age group.

    I only point this out because wingnuts are likely to try to scapegoat gays and feminism and the lib’rul culture or whatever else for the fact that their young just don’t buy what they’re selling the way they used to. The fact of the matter is that they did it to themselves, when they made the decision to dig their heels in and refuse to assimilate into modern culture…

    …Anyway, we’re winning, is the point…

    …There just comes a certain point where there is too much correct information out there, too much education, for people to keep their fingers in their ears any longer. It will only get better.


    Apparently the Reverend Doctor Runion didn’t get the memo.

    Thumb up 6

  20. TJ says:

    “…There just comes a certain point where there is too much correct information out there, too much education, for people to keep their fingers in their ears any longer. It will only get better.”

    I HAVE seen people whom stubbornly refuse to see the truth, and rationalize many a thing to themselves, then stand dumbstruck as they watch the Titanic sink.

    “Apparently the Reverend Doctor Runion didn’t get the memo”

    Apparently not. Much to the dismay of those whom would like to see their faith be an example to better our world, rather than destroy it. Hopefully, enough voices speaking for change will help the younger generation not to feel the need to completely abandon their faith in order to live a life that welcomes others, rather than reject the very ones Christ ate and laughed with.

    As for some (including myself), the inability or unwillingness for many to live a sensible and inclusive life, leaves one wondering if that is a misplaced faith.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  21. Michael Muller says:

    Today the Supreme Court upheld Westboro Baptist Church’s right to stage anti-gay protests at the funerals of American troops. Westboro Baptist is the church of the Reverend Fred Phelps, referenced in the above interview with the Reverend Runion.

    I’ve been going through some old material today and I’m struck at just how very similar the Reverend Runion’s thought processes are to the acrid pus being spewed out of Westboro. Here’s a 2006 Hannity & Colmes interview with Shirley Phelps Roper, Fred Phelps’s daughter:

    I don’t know if the Reverend Runion completely agrees with the Reverend Phelps that dead soldiers are society’s comeuppance from a just and angry God. I don’t know if the Reverend Runion completely agrees with Shirley Phelps Roper that AIDS is a divine plague. For that matter, I don’t know if the Reverend Runion completely agrees with the Reverend Jerry Falwell and the Reverend Pat Roberson that gay people are to blame for 9/11. From a September 13, 2001 broadcast of the 700 Club:

    Falwell: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’”

    Roberston: “Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government.”

    No, I don’t know for sure.

    But it saddens me that I can easily imagine the Reverend Runion and his associates thinking this way, regardless of whether or not they might say it publicly. It amazes me that they can believe they aren’t bigots. And it frightens me that we have “tongue-talkin, Bible-totin’ believers” in public office who probably agree with them.

    Yes, Mayor Bellamy — I’m talking to you.

    MM

    Thumb up 8

  22. TJ says:

    “But it saddens me that I can easily imagine the Reverend Runion and his associates thinking this way, regardless of whether or not they might say it publicly. It amazes me that they can believe they aren’t bigots.”

    Wow! Wow! Jeesh! I guess I just don’t get it.

    How is there ANY Godliness in being disrespectful at ANYONE’S funeral?!

    I guess I must think of things that border on stupidity…to think that human life is more valuable than “proving one’s point.”

    And, as someone who personally lost someone on 9/11, I am deeply offended that anyone would presume to use my loss (and everyone else’s that horrific day) to further their bigotry and hatred.
    I, On the other hand, feel it is in part the disdain they show others “different” than they that perpetuates the very violence they claim to abhor.

    I guess I will stop with that, because I COULD rant on, but, honestly, that mentality leaves me devastated and speechless in the worst possible way.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  23. Max Cooper says:

    “I can easily imagine the Reverend Runion and his associates thinking this way”

    Michael, that’s a slippery slope. As much as as I agree with you on this, you can’t indict people for maybe being like some other people. I’ve had personal conversations with Shirley Phelps Roper, and I can tell you that, while a small part of the logic is similar, she is on a whole different level. This is why I don’t compare Obama to Stalin: There are similarities there, but the matter of degree is significant.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  24. earthtrekker says:

    You all spend much more time attacking Mr. Runion here than supporting your agenda with reason and fact. -Just an observation. I expect now that you will attack me. -Meredith Eugene Hunt

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  25. Gordon Smith says:

    Fact: Gay Americans are Americans. Americans ought to have equal rights under the law.

    That pretty much take care of it, Mr. Hunt?

    As to Rev. Runion, he doesn’t need to be attacked. He makes his own gravy, so to speak.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  26. earthtrekker says:

    You are correct in your fact, Mr. Gordon. I said it myself at the City Council meeting. And what is your response?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. earthtrekker says:

    Mr. Smith: Your response is obtuse?

    http://www.acpeds.org/Sexuality-Issues.html

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  28. Gordon Smith says:

    Wiki: “The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a association of conservative pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States. The College was founded in 2002 by Dr. Joseph Zanga together with 100 dissenting members of the American Academy of Pediatrics in rejection of AAP’s statement of support for LGBT parental rights.[1][2][3] Although the organization does not disclose its member count, as of May 2010, it was estimated to have about 200 members.[4] Zanga has described ACP as a group “with Judeo-Christian, traditional values that is open to pediatric medical professionals of all religions who hold true to the group’s core beliefs: that life begins at conception; and that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.”[1] The organization’s view on parenting is at odds with the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics[5][6] and other medical and child welfare authorities that aver that sexual orientation has no correlation with the ability to be a good parent and raise healthy and well-adjusted children.[7]”

    Sciency!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5

  29. earthtrekker says:

    Mr Smith: I wasn’t appealing to authority, but to an ability to weigh the merits of the ACP’s analysis of research for yourself.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  30. earthtrekker says:

    Some added depth to the discussion. The ACP responds to criticisms:
    http://factsaboutyouth.com/posts/criticisms-of-the-facts-project

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  31. Gordon Smith says:

    When you have a group of religious people who have already drawn a conclusion about sexuality who go about seeking data to support that conclusion, it’s not science. Sorry. Thanks for playing.

    Next up, creationism!

    Thumb up 6

  32. D.Dial says:

    The profound inhumanity of the “self appointed keepers and protectors of morality” is so apalling, that I am simply at a loss for words.

    MM, I’m hoping there is a viable and electable alternative to Mayor, next time around.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  33. shadmarsh says:

    Perhaps I wasn’t electable, but I like to think I was certainly viable…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  34. Michael Muller says:

    Max Cooper said:

    Michael, that’s a slippery slope. As much as as I agree with you on this, you can’t indict people for maybe being like some other people. I’ve had personal conversations with Shirley Phelps Roper, and I can tell you that, while a small part of the logic is similar, she is on a whole different level…

    Sure I can, Max — because really, what is the difference? A few homemade protest signs? At least Shirley Phelps Roper is forthright about how she feels, unlike some other religious and elected folks I know — folks who try to deflect the discussion by playing the persecuted Christian or making up bizarre stories about being refused service in a restaurant and being told to “go back to Africa” by those nasty, racist gay waiters.

    These people need to be held accountable for what they say and the flawed way in which they think.

    No, give me Shirley Phelps Roper any day. I’d much rather her big ole fat cuppa crazy than some syrupy, out-of-touch blowhard (“it’s about love”) or a smiling Mayor who shoves a knife in my back while claiming to represent me.

    And thanks for stopping by. I miss our lively discussions :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  35. D.Dial says:

    Sorry Shad, that wasn’t personal. I could have worded it differently. I did vote for you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  36. Michael Muller says:

    Davyne:

    I can tell you that there were a few prominent, well-qualified people who were seriously considering a run against Terry the last time around — but who decided, for various reasons, not to challenge her.

    We’ll see how things shake out over the next year or so.

    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  37. earthtrekker says:

    The ACP objectively looks at research that conclude homosexual attraction is dominantly genetic, and therefore innate and immutable, and finds that this research is either flawed in their designs or else the conclusions are not supported by the data. Is the ACP’s analysis flawed in its design and unsupported by the data?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  38. Gordon Smith says:

    Where do you come in on Creationism, Meredith?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  39. nathan ramsey says:

    If you don’t believe the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant word of God, you are free to make that choice. But I don’t think it is appropriate to criticize those who do just as it would be inappropriate for me to criticize those of other faiths. If everyone, including me, lived our life according to Biblical principles, this world would be better for it.

    But according to my faith, all (regardless of our race, nationality, political beliefs, etc.) of us have sinned, fallen short of God’s glory and His desire for our life. The Bible reminds us that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God loved the world so much that he gave us his Son who shed his blood so that everyone who believes on Him shall be saved. There is nothing hateful, bigoted about the gospel message of the Bible. God gave us a choice. We are free to accept Him or reject Him.

    One of the bedrock principles of this nation unlike China, unlike many places in the Muslim world, is that everyone has the constitutionally protected right to express their faith. Hopefully those protections will remain in the future.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  40. shadmarsh says:

    I look forward to the day when someone can say they believe the Bible to be poppy-cock (tho still a book full of great stories and history) and not be accused of persecuting Christians.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  41. nathan ramsey says:

    You said it and I’m not accusing you of persecuting Christians.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  42. shadmarsh says:

    Sorry if I implied as if I was addressing the above comment to you personally, I meant it as more of a general statement.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  43. Michael Muller says:

    Hi Nathan! I hoped you’d drop into our little discussion.

    Do you believe that Mike and I will go to Hell for our homosexual lifestyle?

    Give my love to Robin.

    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  44. shadmarsh says:

    Don’t knock it, all the cool people are in hell.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  45. Dixiegirlz says:

    I believe hell is right in our own hearts. Right here, right now.
    And that the Bible is mostly metaphor. That’s of course taking into account how it’s been “adjusted” to meet the needs of those in power through out the centuries.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  46. nathan ramsey says:

    MM – I am not a biblical scholar but I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but through Him. If you (I or anyone else)know Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Bible teaches us that you shall be saved. We all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. That’s the Gospel message.

    If someone makes the choice to accept Jesus as their Savior, according to my understanding of the Bible, you will go to heaven. If someone chooses to reject Him, it doesn’t matter if you obey every Biblical commandment, give all that you have to the poor, and are the kindest person in the world, you will go to hell because we are saved by grace and not works. But the Bible tells us that God does not want anyone to perish, He wants us to have an everlasting life with Him.

    Best wishes guys!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  47. shadmarsh says:


    “If someone makes the choice to accept Jesus as their Savior, according to my understanding of the Bible, you will go to heaven. If someone chooses to reject Him, it doesn’t matter if you obey every Biblical commandment, give all that you have to the poor, and are the kindest person in the world, you will go to hell because we are saved by grace and not works.”


    So, God is a tyrant and demands loyalty above all else…?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  48. nathan ramsey says:

    Jesus came to save the world, not condemn it. He told us the most important commandment was to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. God is not a tyrant but He is the Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, maker of heaven and earth, the Alpha and Omega, the Bright and Morning Star, the Almighty, the Everlasting Father. He does command loyalty in the sense we are supposed to love Him.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  49. Michael Muller says:

    “Best wishes guys!” sounds a wee bit ominous to me Nathan, but maybe I’m just reading into things here. ;)

    I know you to be a kindhearted person without so much as a bigoted bone in your body — and my gay homosexual boyfriend Mike and I are honored to be friends with you and your wife Robin.

    That said, I’m curious to know how you feel about the Equality Resolution recently passed by the Asheville City Council. Would you have voted with Jan Davis and the majority to support its passage?

    Thanks!
    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  50. nathan ramsey says:

    I’ve got friends who are gay but wouldn’t have supported the resolution. I’ve got friends who voted for the resolution and a friend who didn’t and I respect their opinions.

    In my opinon, it’s not a local government matter. Its a state legislative determination on whether NC will have civil unions or gay marriage. Local governments can’t act outside of existing state law. I’ve got heterosexual friends who live together and aren’t married. I don’t think its bigoted to say marriage shall be between a man and a woman, and married people have certain benefits that unmarried people do not. Others disagree, and they have the right to their opinion.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  51. shadmarsh says:

    I guess I’ve never understood why God, and omniscient and omnipotent being (supposedly), would give two figs about our obedience to him/her/it. That seems to me like a very limited view of God, the kind that would be developed by man for the sole purpose of using religion as a means of control.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  52. Jessica Britton says:

    earthtrekker
    March 8th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    “The ACP objectively looks at research that conclude homosexual attraction is dominantly genetic, and therefore innate and immutable, and finds that this research is either flawed in their designs or else the conclusions are not supported by the data. Is the ACP’s analysis flawed in its design and unsupported by the data?”

    The idea of the American College of Pediatrics looking at anything objectively is more than a little suspect, Mr. Hunt. We’re talking about a group that was specifically created due to the membership’s anti-gay bias, that consistently reinforces that bias with outdated “studies” and deliberately misleading “information”, and that has been called to task numerous times for it’s manipulation and misquoting of studies by the authors of those same studies.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  53. Jessica Britton says:

    nathan ramsey
    March 8th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    “I’ve got friends who are gay but wouldn’t have supported the resolution. I’ve got friends who voted for the resolution and a friend who didn’t and I respect their opinions.

    In my opinon, it’s not a local government matter. Its a state legislative determination on whether NC will have civil unions or gay marriage. Local governments can’t act outside of existing state law. I’ve got heterosexual friends who live together and aren’t married. I don’t think its bigoted to say marriage shall be between a man and a woman, and married people have certain benefits that unmarried people do not. Others disagree, and they have the right to their opinion.”

    I’ve met you, Mr. Ramsey, in fact, I’ve voted for you. I always thought you intelligent and not as wrapped up in party politics as some are. But your attitude on this just doesn’t quite hold up in the wash.

    In other words, Mr. Ramsey, you’d rather pass the buck at a city level, and more than likely, still oppose it at a state level? If I were your alleged “gay friends,” I’d watch my back around you, at least politically.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  54. Dixiegirlz says:

    @ Shad….You’ve hit upon why I’m very leery of organized fire and brimstone religions. It seems very conveniently a control measure for the masses. But then maybe the masses need fire and brimstone to keep the hooliganism in check and under control.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  55. TJ says:

    “He does {command} loyalty in the sense we are {supposed} to love Him.”

    According to Christian theology, mankind has free will, and while God may desire for us to love Him, it is not a “have to.” To say God demands it definitely puts him in the tyrant category, and from reading your post and those of ones whom say they know you, it probably is not your intent. However, it is that very language that puts many people at odds with any form of organized religion.

    Besides, how the question of gay relations became so blown out of proportion by the “church,” is beyond me. There are SO many other categories that are just as much sin, as being gay is supposed to be. How about lying, stealing and lusting? God never made a list of the “worst” sins, supposedly they are ALL equally repulsive to Him. Did you ever tell someone you would do something, then didn’t? You’ve lied. Oh, yeah, I forgot, those are “white” lies…”you’re looking great!” Did you ever “borrow” a pen from a bank or your office? You’ve stolen. Did you ever “wish” for that really cool looking car, or how about the latest computer or phone? You’ve lusted.

    So, who goes to hell first? Are the flames in hell lower for some sins than others?

    Anyway, that all assumes a person believes in all that, anyway. And to presume to know the mind of any deity is folly, I think. Even by having to use human language to define and express perceptions of God, is in fact, diminishing the very deity one tries to understand.

    Okay, I’ll stop there. I expect a lot of thumbs down, but that’s okay. I don’t think I’ll go to hell for it ;-D

    Thumb up 6

  56. Michael Muller says:

    There’s a comprehensive run-down on what Scripture says about homosexuality over at The Christian Bible Reference Site that’s both succinct and objective, TJ.

    It’s worth a look and might provide some valuable context for the discussion.

    Cheers,
    MM

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  57. TJ says:

    “There’s a comprehensive run-down on what Scripture says about homosexuality over at The Christian Bible Reference Site that’s both succinct and objective”

    Thanks, Michael. I will look it up, although I am pretty well-read Biblically. I am curious about any extra-Biblical references from other scholars of the non-radical sort. For example, did Josephus (a Jewish writer) make any such references? Or, are all references based on accepting the Bible as the sole source of wisdom?
    I guess I don’t have much to add if all the references must come from the Bible, as my reading sphere is a bit wider. Are YOU agreeing with those references, or are you just providing resources?
    I will be looking for information about the dates they were first written(or, thought to be..or passed down through oral tradition), the cultural context, and the language it was derived from. On to the link…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  58. shadmarsh says:

    “There’s a comprehensive run-down on what Scripture says about homosexuality over at The Christian Bible Reference Site that’s both succinct and objective, TJ.”

    Semantically speaking it would seem that God doesn’t have a problem with lesbians.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  59. D.Dial says:

    It’s truly puzzling how so much attention is directed to issues like homosexuality between consenting adults by local church leadership, when there are deep seated problems within the community that need attention. Child abuse, domestic violence, public corruption, ingrained prejudices, etc. All of which cause serious damage to society.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  60. TJ says:

    “It’s worth a look and might provide some valuable context for the discussion.”

    Michael, thanks for the link. While I was familiar with the reference, I saw that the commentary was trying to be balanced. I appreciate any discussion where both sides can be expressed and respected. Whether anyone else agrees, I found the information useful, just to see how the verses were originally formed (such as the idea of the death penalty being used because there was not much else available at the time…and the use of the word abomination and what all that included.
    I found interesting the idea that homosexuality was referenced less in the NT and possible reasons.

    I hope other people will view this link, as well.

    I suppose as long as people strictly use the Bible as the only authoritative commentary, there may be many discussions I must out of respect bow out of.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  61. TJ says:

    “Don’t knock it, all the cool people are in hell.”

    I guess it depends upon what level of flames their sins deserved, or if they brought their own ice ;-D

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  62. Michael Muller says:

    Thank you for the comments, TJ.

    As you might have guessed, I also provided that link for those who might not be entirely familiar with scripture. The information is helpful in formulating an answer to your original question about how the victimless crimes of adult consensual sex became conflated with the more serious violations of God’s law (at least from our Western, 21st century secular perspective) like lying, theft, and murder — particularly this passage from Paul’s Letter to the church at Corinth:

    “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Fundamentalists love to quote that line, and it’s why folks like the Reverend Runion would send The Gays off packing to the same camp as all those other evil undesirables. To a fundamentalist there is no gray, no matter of degree. It’s all “you’re for us or against us” black and white. Case closed.

    I suppose that’s why people like The Reverend Runion and The Mayor Bellamy have such a problem with the Equality Resolution. You and I see it as promulgating greater tolerance. They see it as evil, spitting in the face of God. City Council may as well have passed a resolution celebrating prostitution or idol worship, and it’s why Mayor Bellamy consistently votes against beer being sold at city-sponsored events. She fears the fire and brimstone that such wicked behavior would surely bring.

    And to your point about having a wider reading sphere — that doesn’t impress small-minded religious bigots like Runion or Phelps or Bellamy who use literal scriptures to justify their prejudices. Neither does critical thinking. It only invites sin, of which debate is apparently the greatest. Forget the Church Fathers, forget the great ecclesiastical councils, forget the great philosophers, forget tradition, forget science, forget modern understanding of sexuality, forget history itself. The Bible, in all its non-contradictory literal truth, is all they need.

    There’s a wonderful little book by Dan Helminiak (now an international bestseller) called What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality that provides the cultural context, examination of language, and extra-scriptural references you are looking for. From the forward by the Right Reverend John Spong, Episcopal Bishop and biblical scholar:

    “”Had I lived in an earlier part of history, I would have seen the Bible quoted to condemn Copernicus, who asserted that the earth did not occupy the centre of the universe, and Galileo, who said that the sun did not rotate around the earth. I would have seen the insights of Isaac Newton challenged by a biblical view of God that could only be described as supernatural magic. I would have witnessed the church’s attack on Charles Darwin in the name of a brand of creationism that today is totally dismissed.

    Father Helminiak’s…work will also engender hostility, maybe even in official church circles. That is always the way it is when prejudices are challenged, even the prejudices of those who claim to speak for God.”

    And Shad, you are indeed correct about girl-on-girl action. From Rabbi Jacob Milgram, the renowned Old Testament scholar (emphasis mine):

    “The Bible’s impurity rules are part of a symbol system representing the forces of life and death. Israel is required to avoid these impurities and adhere to the laws commanded by God, who promotes the forces of life. Thus in the same chapter we read, “You shall heed my statues and my rules, by doing them one shall live” (Leviticus 18:5). A man who discharges semen, whether intentionally or otherwise, is declared impure and must purify himself by bathing (a sort of re-baptism) before he is permitted to enter the Temple or touch sacred (sacrificial) food (Leviticus 15:16-18). Why? Because semen stands for life, and the loss of semen symbolizes the loss of life.

    Note also that in the entire list of forbidden sexual unions, there is no prohibition against lesbianism. Can it be that lesbianism did not exist in ancient times or that Scripture was unaware of its existence? Lesbians existed and flourished, as attested in an old (pre-Israelite) Babylonian text and in the work of the lesbian poet Sappho (born c.612 B.C.E., during the time of the First Temple), who came from the island of Lesbos (hence lesbianism). But there is a fundamental difference between the homosexual acts of men and women. In lesbianism there is no spilling of seed. Thus life is not symbolically lost, and therefore lesbianism is not prohibited in the Bible.”

    So it seems that you may continue your extensive internet research in this area without fear of divine reprisal. ;)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  63. Michael Muller says:

    “It’s truly puzzling how so much attention is directed to issues like homosexuality between consenting adults by local church leadership, when there are deep seated problems within the community that need attention. Child abuse, domestic violence, public corruption, ingrained prejudices, etc. All of which cause serious damage to society.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Davyne. Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie wrote a good column on the subject last year (emphasis mine):

    I agree with the theory that people who are sexually repressed are those most likely to repress others. This has happened with predictable regularity in the modern era. It applies to the English in the Victorian era, the Boers in South Africa and in equal measure to the Religious Right in America. To take one example, I can find no other explanation for the fury of the fundamentalist attacks on gays and lesbians in this country. Not only are gays out of the closet but sex is out of the closet, and now that gays are an assertive public presence, some Americans are profoundly uncomfortable…

    …Still, even if we recognize the point made by fundamentalists, the Bible, both Hebrew and Christian, has far more to say about caring for the poor, loving one’s neighbor, and justice in the world than about eradicating sexual sin. Sexual obsession is the only explanation that I have for their focus on a range of sexual issues — homosexuality, pre-marital sex and abortion — to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

    The encouraging news is that Americans are no longer buying this truncated version of religious belief. We have known for some time that fundamentalist religion is not growing in America. Indeed, it reached its peak membership in the early 1990s and has been slowly declining for almost two decades.

    A primary reason for this decline is that Americans, who remain a deeply religious people, have set aside the sexual obsessions of the Religious Right. While they see personal morality as an important religious concern and respect those with sexual mores of a more traditional kind, most of them have simply lost patience with efforts to turn the moral clock back to the 1950s. This is especially true for younger Americans, who have cast off the repression of an earlier era. (Aging baby boomers often agree with them, even if they are more conservative in other ways.) Worried about their jobs and struggling in a depressed economy, they have been forced to delay marriage and find absurd the idea that pre-marital sex is unacceptable for adults. Furthermore, they are committed to diversity, and most have friends of all sexual orientations; the last thing they are interested in is passing judgment on gays and lesbians.

    But the 1950s are over, never to return. As the Religious Right has discovered, a “just say no” approach will not work and will leave Americans alienated and alone. It is time for others both to expand religion’s horizons and to offer thoughtful and sophisticated thinking on matters of sex.

    Wendell Runion and the other aging, sanctimonious bible-thumping geezers resent that fact — and they indeed seek to turn back the clock — back to a time when women were kept barefoot and pregnant, colored folks knew their place, and fags stayed in the closet.

    Boy, the way Glenn Miller played. Songs that made the Hit Parade.
    Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
    Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
    And you know who you were then. Girls were girls and men were men.
    Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
    People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
    Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  64. TJ says:

    “Neither does critical thinking. It only invites sin, of which debate is apparently the greatest.”

    Michael, I appreciate your thoughtful response. I enjoy the give and take available at SruHoo, and it helps me feel I am not alone in how I view things

    -I don’t experience this at most churches.

    I fear your statement I quoted above is quite true. It was penned quite impressively by Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, in the chapter titled “The Grand Inquisitor.” He expressed his dismay with the organized church and how people so willingly abdicate their critical thinking, preferring to have “comfort” and not struggle with their own dissonance.

    I REALLY don’t understand the mentality that says, “you should just believe, and not worry so much.”

    As if MY journey causes THEM discomfort and that I should surrender so THEY can feel more at ease.

    Of course, this is a generalization, and I know there are many exceptions.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  65. Michael Muller says:

    Indeed, TJ.

    I suspect, as in The Brothers Karamazov, the Jesus of the Bible would be unrecognizable to many of today’s Christians — including The Reverend Runion and his pharisaical ilk.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  66. TJ says:

    “I suspect, as in The Brothers Karamazov, the Jesus of the Bible would be unrecognizable to many of today’s Christians — including The Reverend Runion and his pharisaical ilk.”

    Yes, I agree. Imagine their horror as Jesus reaches out to hold the hands of someone with AIDS to comfort them, or hugs a homeless person in Pritchard Park, leaving his clothing smudged and smelly. Imagine if He then went from there on to one of their mid-week Bible Studies.

    Either they would be angry at Him for shining the light on them for their lack of compassion, or they would again reject Him outrightly, thinking surely He doesn’t realize with whom He socializes.

    It still amazes me that people can read stories about Him, claim to follow Him, then proceed to live antithetically-and somehow rationalize how they are the ones in the right. :-S

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  67. Dixiegirlz says:

    “the Bible, both Hebrew and Christian, has far more to say about caring for the poor, loving one’s neighbor, and justice in the world than about eradicating sexual sin.”

    If this were the primary focus of organized religions, I believe there would be quite a few less skeptical of the real motives behind the homophobia, and the attempts to put women back in the kitchen, obedient, barefoot, pregnant and usually very abused.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  68. Michael Muller says:

    In a recent conversation on Facebook, Mountain Housing Opportunities Executive Director Scott Dedman took me to task for making my criticism of Mayor Bellamy too personal. I responded just now and reprint the relevant exchange below for those of you not on Facebook but who might be interested:

    Scott Dedman:

    Michael, I don’t like to disagree on FB, but here goes anyway….

    I strongly agree with the Equality Resolution, I signed the petition on the NCCommit website and posted my strong support here on Feb 13. But I believe that directing the attack in this personal way doesn’t help the the issue or the City. I disagree also with personal attacks from the other side of the issue, and there certainly have been some.

    The better target is the issue, not the person. At least not in such a personal way, just my opinion. You know that the Mayor and I worked together at MHO until four years ago, but I would feel the same about such a personal attack on any member of Council or Mayor. These folks have to be true public servants to listen to hours of discussion on issues such as Pawn Shop regulations, for example, and to stay till 10 pm as they did tonight, and have truly crazy folks threatening them and calling them every kind of name. (There was just such a threatening guy making gun gestures with his hands, who was ushered out by police tonight. It made me think of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona.)

    For the record, here is what I posted on FB on Feb 13 with a link to the NCCommit petition supporting the Equality Resolution:

    “City Council will consider this Feb 22. Thanks to Gordon Smith for letting me know. I’ve signed to show my support and sent this comment: It is central to our national identity that all are created equal, yet our laws still don’t make it so. This resolution simply says what is, that we are all fully human. Thanks to NCCommit for giving us this opportunity to support what is and what should be.”

    My response:

    Tell the transgendered person who is denied employment because of the way he looks that “it’s nothing personal.” Tell the effeminate kid who gets his ass kicked at school on a regular basis that “it’s nothing personal.” Tell the widow who owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes because her legal marriage isn’t recognized by the federal government that “it’s nothing personal.” Tell the police officer who puts her life on the line every day for her fellow citizens that her family isn’t entitled to the same benefits as other city employees that “it’s nothing personal.” Tell the hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding, god-fearing gay citizen who dedicates his life to helping the homeless that he’s no better than a child molester that “it’s nothing personal.”

    No, it’s very personal. And with all due respect, it’s easy for straight folks (no matter how sympathetic) to see this as just another policy debate. But we aren’t talking about development incentives or LEED certifications here, we’re talking about civil rights. We are talking about fundamental dignity and respect.

    The Mayor chose to make this personal when she slammed her door in the face of the city’s gay employees last year (“I’m not going to support the motion. I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when the information comes back.”) or when she uses her tongue-talkin, Bible-totin’ beliefs to justify her clear prejudice a few weeks ago — and in the process needlessly alienating the thousands of gay people who love Asheville and choose to make it their home.

    Your implication that my silly play on words in any way rises to the level of a threat is disappointing. I have enormous respect and affection for Terry, as I think most citizens of Asheville do. But she is not above criticism. She must be held accountable for how she votes and the way she thinks. It’s part of the job description.

    Thank you, Scott, for your thoughtful comments and the opportunity to respond here. I have nothing but greatest admiration for the work that you do and your commitment to ensuring that all of Asheville’s citizens — rich and poor, gay and straight — are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

    Scott Dedman:

    Thank you Michael, a good discussion. I agree with you that the issue is deeply personal and very much about fundamental dignity and respect, an issue of civil rights.

    All my best,
    Scott

    And me:

    Back atchya. And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    MM


    You can read the whole thing, including other comments, on my Facebook page.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  69. TJ says:

    “But then maybe the masses need fire and brimstone to keep the hooliganism in check and under control.”

    Maybe THAT’S what’s wrong on SruHoo. Not enough fear to keep you hooligans in line (oh, I forgot, I am here, too;-O ). ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  70. TJ says:

    “Child abuse, domestic violence, public corruption, ingrained prejudices, etc. All of which cause serious damage to society.”

    I agree, as well. Of course, it’s no longer acceptable to publicly “blame the victim,” so many of those things we think need to be “fixed;” but we don’t have “face it” daily, therefore it is easier to just throw out a few dollars here and there and claim an end of year tax deduction.

    To admit that means we might become responsible, doesn’t it?

    Homosexuality is a CHOICE, don’t you know, so we just need to beat it out of you and then you might see the light. 1. It’s your fault you choose to live a gay lifestyle. 2. If you would just see the truth, then you could be like me and be happy. 3. If you refuse to see the truth, then you’re a scourge on our society, so we need to get rid of you. 4. We can’t send you to the gas chambers anymore, but we sure as hell can make your life as miserable as possible, so either you leave me alone in my little bubble, or kill yourself to free us of your presence.

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  71. TJ says:

    “Thank you Michael, a good discussion. I agree with you that the issue is deeply personal and very much about fundamental dignity and respect, an issue of civil rights.”

    Yes, thank you M.M.

    Thanks for putting that here…I personally don’t “do” FB, but that’s another topic.

    Whether or not one is gay, it still is deeply personal, obviously, to everyone. It is profoundly personal when any person is made to feel “less than” simply because another disagrees with their life. It is profoundly personal when people sit around and debate “policy and procedure” as individual and collective lives are damaged and/or destroyed because it is okay still to do harm to another emotionally and physically while a blind eye is turned.

    It is VERY personal as concerned others have to wait while those whom would make laws and regulations bring shame to our country for treating citizens as non compos mentis or just outrightly sinful and in need of judgment and condemnation. Germany took decades to have to outlive the collective shame they experienced over what on man prescribed for their fellow citizens, and a country was divided.

    How long will it take for Americans to outlive the shame we bear for being such a “modern and progressive” country for the world to “look up to,” and yet we still lack the basic compassion we complain about other countries not having. When will another country have the courage to stand up and say they refuse to send their cargo here until all OUR citizens are given basic rights and treated with dignity?
    (oh, I forgot, some of those are businesses in countries that still refuse many human rights-that must be why America is okay with that).

    So, perhaps it will take a divided country to bring that about. I thought we had learned our lessons from the North vs. South era, but I guess not.

    Who’s going to tear down our Berlin wall?

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  72. TJ says:

    Oops, sorry, I tried to add this on the last part, but I missed the time.

    Just want to be clear here… not trying to get all “Hitlery” with my last post… so I hope I don’t get banned for being a bad influence. No intentional correlations, other than what I said.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  73. Jessica Britton says:

    Sometimes, the best weapon is laughter…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnRe8NFwQMc

    Defenders of Marriage
    words and music by Roy Zimmerman, © 1998 Watunes (BMI)

    Every time we think about same-sex marriage
    It makes us sick to our guts
    I mean, two people who want to commit to a stable
    Monogamous life-long relationship
    What are they, nuts?
    It’s unnatural!
    Now a man should not lie with a person who is a guy
    He should only lie to his wife, the bible is clear
    We’re —
    Defenders of marriage
    In three-button suits
    We’ll raise our double standard and see who salutes
    Defenders of marriage
    Defending the institution against people who want to get married

    Every time we think about same-sex parents
    “Oh, my gosh!” we exclaim
    I mean, two people who want to provide a protective
    And nurturing family environment
    Have they no shame?
    It’s so deviant!
    It’s the Lord’s holy word, as my second wife said to my third
    That a family’s based on obligation and fear
    We’re —
    Defenders of marriage
    Connubial narcs
    Ever vigilant and patriotic patriarchs
    Defenders of marriage
    Defending the institution against people who want to get married

    One summer evening when my woman was doing laundry
    I shared a six-pack with an old John Bircher
    And oh so wisely he imparted an ancient quandary, to ponder
    He said, “It’s nature versus legislature.”
    [Spoken] Are people born gay, or do they turn gay just to piss off Dick Armey?

    We’re an army of dicks
    With a militant stance
    Let’s get the government out of our lives and into our pants
    Defenders of marriage
    Defending the institution against people who want to get married
    And have their insurance carried
    And be beneficiary’d
    And be next to the ones they love when they are buried

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  74. earthtrekker says:

    JessicaB: Everyone should suspect any research or analysis of research and subject it all to examination.

    Mr. Smith: I believe in an old earth, though the existence of intelligence and free will in nature leads me to think they are behind everything that exists.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  75. shadmarsh says:

    “I believe in an old earth, though the existence of intelligence and free will in nature leads me to think they are behind everything that exists.”

    What does this even mean?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  76. Jessica Britton says:

    earthtrekker says:

    “Everyone should suspect any research or analysis of research and subject it all to examination.”

    Perhaps you should take your own advice, rather than just searching for research that reinforces what you already believe.

    “I believe in an old earth, though the existence of intelligence and free will in nature leads me to think they are behind everything that exists.”

    If you honestly believe that intelligence and free will in nature are behind everything that exists, doesn’t it stand to reason that LGBT people have a purpose here?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  77. earthtrekker says:

    Everyone has a purpose.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  78. Jessica Britton says:

    earthtrekker says: “Everyone has a purpose.”

    If you honestly believe in a intelligent Creator, why would you continue to spread the myths and lies of the far right about people who are part of His design and purpose?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1