October 30, 2014

The Real Issue (that no one wants to talk about)

the-desperate-kiss-in-brokeback-mountain

Thanks for a lively discussion. Comments closed.

Note: This post contains frank content of a sexual nature.

Note 2: This week, the Christian world has been abuzz about the World Vision decision and the reversal of that decision. Tomorrow, Mike Bell will address that issue specifically. Today’s post grows out of some self-examination that came as I thought about various articles and comments I read about the WV situation, which were often strongly worded and even inflammatory. Why do Christians seem to be so obsessed with this issue of homosexuality?

* * *

“Gay” and “homosexual” are polite terms for an ugly practice. They are euphemisms. In all the politeness, we’ve actually stopped talking about the things that lie at the heart of the issue–sexual promiscuity of an abominable sort. … And I think it would be a good thing if more people were gagging on the reality of the sexual behavior that is now becoming public law, protected, and even promoted in public schools.

- The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing
Homosexuality and “Gay Marriage”

by Thabiti Anyabwile

Let’s get real.

The most basic reason many Christians and other cultural conservatives are opposed to homosexuality is not because the Bible teaches it, because they have high moral standards or an exalted view of marriage. At its root, their disapproval is not about ideas. It is not first about values, family or otherwise. It is not primarily about social concern or the welfare of children.

These are the things people talk about. These are the reasons people give. These are the talking points in the debates and articles. But they are secondary to the real issue.

The real issue, the one no one wants to talk about, is that many Christians and moral conservatives are repulsed by gay sex. It’s a visceral thing, not an intellectual thing. It’s about what they feel in their gut, not what they find in their Bibles. When they say it’s an “abomination,” what they mean is not that homosexual practice is worthy of judgment, they mean it makes them gag. When they say it is “unnatural,” they are not advancing a natural law argument, they are saying “Yuck!” They find gay sex repugnant, sickening, gross.

Gospel Coalition Council member Thabiti Anyabwile admits and actually advocates this when he writes:

So what are we talking about? (Warning: Obscene descriptions follow. If sensitive in conscience, skip the block quotes below and go to the conclusion)

We are talking about one man inserting the male organ used to create life into the part of another man used to excrete waste. We are talking about one man taking the penis of another man into his mouth, or engaging in penis-to-penis grinding.

We are talking about a woman using her mouth to stimilute [sic] the nipples, vulva, clitoris or vagina of another woman, or using her hand or other “toys” to simulate sexual intercourse.

We are talking about anilingus [sic] and other things I still cannot name or describe.

That sense of moral outrage you’re now likely feeling–either at the descriptions above or at me for writing them–that gut-wrenching, jaw-clenching, hand-over-your-mouth, “I feel dirty” moral outrage is the gag reflex. It’s what you quietly felt when you read “two men deep kissing” in the second paragraph. Your moral sensibilities have been provoked–and rightly so. That reflex triggered by an accurate description of homosexual behavior will be the beginning of the recovery of moral sense and sensibility when it comes to the so-called “gay marriage” debate.

Despite what he says, this is not “moral” outrage. Anyabwile’s words describe a physical and emotional reflexive reaction to something he finds shockingly distasteful, as though someone set a plate of stinking, rotting food in front of him.

In case you are wondering, I find Thabiti Anyabwile’s words and attitude repulsive.

But on the other hand, I am going to confess something here.

I will admit to having some of this reaction myself — not to the extent Anyabwile describes, but an aversion nevertheless. I’m not attracted to gay love stories. I have no interest in seeing films like Brokeback Mountain, and my chest still tightens a bit when I see a same sex kiss on television. It wouldn’t be honest for me to write this and not come clean. I try not to let my unease influence the way I treat others, but it is there nonetheless. I have gay friends. I get along with them great, but I find we don’t talk about such things the way I might talk with my heterosexual friends about intimate matters. It’s too uncomfortable.

Maybe some of this just means I’m your run-of-the-mill heterosexual, wired to respond to women, not attracted to members of my own sex and not interested in the experience.

However, I wonder. Where does the visceral reaction in me come from? The reflex? The discomfort? Was it a part of my upbringing? I don’t consciously recall being taught or influenced to feel this way. Was it an invisible, essential element in the moral atmosphere I breathed here in the U.S. heartland? Was it something I absorbed from the examples of people around me? Or am I so out of touch with my inner world that I can’t recognize my own innate prejudices or realize why I might feel threatened by homosexual practice? Am I just immature? Too small-minded and constitutionally weak to overcome my biases? Sometimes I wonder if my gay friends can see right through me and if they consider me a closet homophobe.

What bothers me most is that, as a follower of Jesus, my most visceral reaction to my neighbors should be grace, kindness, love, and forbearance. That is the reflex of the Spirit, right? I mean, it’s okay if I don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle or consider their ideas foolish or don’t think their choices are good. It is also all right if I don’t find things they do stimulating or take interest in their private behavior or enjoy depictions of their subculture.

But for God’s sake, I’m called to love my neighbors, to serve them, and even lay my life down for them. That’s the Jesus-shaped reflex. And Jesus calls me to do that even if, for whatever reason, I find myself in a position where they are my enemies.  I fail to see how anyone can love like Jesus while harboring the kinds of feelings people like Thabiti Anyabwile promote.

I don’t trust myself (or anyone else for that matter) to nurture “moral outrage” within when it comes to relating to others. Mainly because I don’t believe it reflects genuine “moral outrage.” And I for one want to own up to my weakness here.

Maybe, if we can start talking honestly about what we’re really feeling instead of covering all that up with talk about ideas, principles, values, and “biblical” standards, we might actually come to understand each other a little more and make some progress in promoting genuine love and respect.

Comments

  1. I have gay friends. I get along with them great, but I find we don’t talk about such things the way I might talk with my heterosexual friends about intimate matters. It’s too uncomfortable.

    Uh, Mike. Just for the record. I don’t have those conversations with my heterosexual friends either!

    • I know and agree, Mike. Maybe I phrased it wrong. Let’s just say we joke and make small talk and have a general comfort level that is different.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > I don’t have those conversations with my heterosexual friends either!

      Ditto. Beyond just intimacy topics I find I cage my conversation with lots of people, if I know that on topic X we are miles apart. This doesn’t bother me; it certainly does not mean I do not respect or care about them. That is just part of living in a non-homogeneous environment – it can be awkward and sometimes uncomfortable, but the socially-mandated-cultural-solidarity of my rural red-blooded American youth was very frequently uncomfortable. I do not see how this minding-of-the-gaps can ever be eliminated.

    • Mike B., I look forward to your post tomorrow.

      Mike C., I appreciate your honesty. Read the comments below. No surprises except I don’t recall the last time so many comments were submitted so quickly–might have a record-breaker here.

      Busy day today, so I will save my stuff until tomorrow when I read Mike B’s take on this subject.

      BTW, I’m surprised that no one here has said anything about the “Rev.” Phelps who passed away a week ago (unless I missed something). I was hoping to be in agreement with everyone for a change. I refer to his nutty views, not his death.

    • I grew up with hetero female friends who would share with me and any other woman in ear shot about very intimate details about their sex lives… it grossed me out, it was awkward.

      Your sex life should be private, not something you should blab about to family and friends. If you and your spouse are having problems in that area, go see a professional therapist, that’s OK, but blabbing about it to all and sundry, just no.

  2. Christiane says:

    sometimes I feel like these far-right Christian seminaries teach advanced courses in finger pointing, and in order to shore up public acceptance of finger pointing as ‘a Christian virtue’, they couch it in terms like ‘truth in love’. But it occurs to me that it is EASIER for them to make progress in advancing ‘finger pointing’ as acceptable IF they choose among their sinners, those people who are the most ‘not like them’. This increases the height from which they can stand while looking down on ‘that other sinner’ . . . the finger pointers, of course, trumpeting how they are above that sin and have the biblical ‘authority’ to be scandalized by the objects of their contempt . . .

    Christian ? I don’t think it is either, but how can holier-than-thou finger-pointing be exposed for the un-biblical, un-Christian behavior that it truly is among these extreme far-right individuals, in a way that resonates with their sincerely-held views of Christ’s teachings ?

    In the temple, we do not know what the publican had done that he was sorry for, but we do know that among the two men, the publican and the Pharisee, the one God viewed favorably was the humble broken man. Why is this so hard for the Christian far-right to understand?
    ?

    • It’s also hard for the Christian left to understand. The law, God’s law, is a means that He uses to humble us, and break us, expose us…and drive us to Christ.

      Homosexual sin clearly goes against God’s law. It’s no worse a sin than my sin or your sin…but it is sin nonetheless.

      We must never affirm that sin. Even as we love and accept the gay person as we do any other sinner who sits in our pews.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Why must we flit back and forth between these two poles? Why is a criticism of one always met with an oh-yea-but-them-too? These knee-jerk counter-points betray a failure to seriously consider *the point*.

        • Because we ought be fair, and we ought be willing to criticize our own, as well as our adversaries.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            You’re not being fair if you’re mischaracterizing the argument being made.

            I recognize the importance of “God’s law.” I also accept that the primary source for that law is an ancient text that was written and compiled centuries ago, over the course of several centuries, by many people, to a wide variety of audiences, in several genres, for many different reasons. Before I use that text to determine what God wants, I chose to accept that might not be as cut-and-dried as, “These Bible verses tell me to do…”

            Given all the factors that I mentioned above, I accept that the Bible is not a guide on what to do, but the revelation of the One I’m doing it for.

            Given all the factors mentioned above, I accept that there are several instances in which the Bible condemns homosexual activity, and that each one of those instances, both separately and collectively, are not even remotely similar to the same-sex relationships or nonheterosexual orientation identities that exist in 2014.

            Given all the factors mentioned above, I conclude that the Bible is neither the final, nor a comprehensive, source of moral instruction (which makes me feel better, otherwise, it would appear that the Bible endorses animal cruelty, mass murder, and slavery, and only wags its finger at acts like rape and abortion).

            Given all the factors mentioned above, I refuse to make conclusions about the morality or immorality of an action just because I find it “disgusting.” Instead, I understand that impulse is a reflection of my personal, cultural lens, and will not run to the Bible to find a verse that will validate my emotional response.

            Given all the factors mentioned above, I reject the idea that I have to choose between sane, scientifically proven, non-reactionary theories and medical findings regarding sexual orientation identity, and Scriptural authority. The two are not in conflict, and I affirm that it is utterly ridiculous to assume that they are.

            Your argument is not hard for people to understand, Steve; it’s just wrong.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Your comments still sound like sermons from a pulpit.

      • For me, it’s not a battle over homosexual behavior, it’s a battle over the Bible. Is it truly God’s word to mankind and does it say what it so clearly says. And then there is always Satan and his attempt to under cut God’s authority; Gen. 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said….”
        Satan’s attack never changes – attempt to undercut God’s Word.
        *
        So much of the secular world believes homosexual behavior is okay. So be it. But sadly, so many people who present themselves as Christian also appear to accept the secular view. At that point, they have simply denied revealed Scripture, and voted with the world, with Satan.
        *
        “Has God indeed said?”

        • @ Seneca.

          It’s not just homosexuality.

          There are already a lot of Christians who are denying that the NT forbids hetero pre-marital sex. People (even ones who still consider themselves Christian) are desperate to diminish or explain away Bible verses that discuss sex as being for (hetero) marriage only.

    • STRAW MAN ARGUMENT ALERT!!!!

      “sometimes I feel like these far-right Christian seminaries teach advanced courses in finger pointing, and in order to shore up public acceptance of finger pointing as ‘a Christian virtue’, they couch it in terms like ‘truth in love’. ”

      An example to cite with the accusation would be more appropriate. Otherwise it is just a “straw man” being set up so that the commenter can “knock it down”.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        For evidence, go into any mainstream Christian community and ask folks to start talking about homosexuality. If you don’t have that kind of time, there are plenty of books written by people who have explored far-right Christian seminaries and the theology they affirm. The Unlikely Disciple is one source. So is Pastrix. Start from there. Enjoy your reading.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      sometimes I feel like these far-right Christian seminaries teach advanced courses in finger pointing, and in order to shore up public acceptance of finger pointing as ‘a Christian virtue’, they couch it in terms like ‘truth in love’. But it occurs to me that it is EASIER for them to make progress in advancing ‘finger pointing’ as acceptable IF they choose among their sinners, those people who are the most ‘not like them’. This increases the height from which they can stand while looking down on ‘that other sinner’ . . . the finger pointers, of course, trumpeting how they are above that sin and have the biblical ‘authority’ to be scandalized by the objects of their contempt . . .

      The Zero-Sum Game, where the only way I can raise myself higher is if I push someone else down.

      “BLAME CANADA!!!!!
      BLAME CANADA!!!!!
      BEFORE ANYONE CAN THINK OF BLAMING US!!!!!”
      — South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

    • Christine, I’m far right myself, and this stuff is just as bad from the left, and from some moderates.

      The left, and the Liberal Christians constantly blab and yak about homosexuality on their blogs, or it comes up at least once a week, if not more.

      Though I don’t agree with homosexuality, it’s not a very hot button issue for me. But I get real tired of liberal or moderate Christians who constantly discuss homosexuality (at least this blog hasn’t discussed it too much, from what I’ve seen, but plenty of other sites I visit do discuss it all the time) and make any and every one out who objects to homosexuality for any reason at all as being the most hate filled jerks ever.

      Anyone who does not agree with homosexuality completely, whole heartedly, and unabashedly is automatically equated to wacko eccentrics such as Fred Phelps.

      It’s like with the YEC (Young Earth) topic. I am YEC, but I don’t care to debate the topic too much with the OE (Old Earth) crowd, but lord -o- mercy, I get sick and tired of seeing OEers depict every single last YEC as being a dim witted, uneducated yokel on these moderate- to- left wing Christian sites.

      I see the same thing, the same attitudes, on post-evangelical or liberal Christian blogs about homosexuality: anyone who is not fully sold out and peachy keen with homosexuality or homosexual marriage is demonized out the yin yang.

      God forbid Franklin Graham or some other prominent Christian figure publicly issues a perfectly rational and civilly worded statement disagreeing with homosexuality or something related, they still get torn to shreds on liberal Christian sites over it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        The left, and the Liberal Christians constantly blab and yak about homosexuality on their blogs, or it comes up at least once a week, if not more.

        As in “The love that Dare Not Speak Its Name” became “the love That Won’t Shut Up”?

  3. Yep, this is precisely the problem. Christians make much ado about homosexuality solely because they find the idea repellent. And, I might add, we make much ado about abortion for the same reason.

    Likewise why vegans protest against killing animals, or people who oppose the death penalty make a fuss about that. None of these are logical reactions. They’re all visceral. That’s why we can’t have logical debates about them: We try, but opponents always descend into You’re wrong; you’re vile; how could you?

    We need to confess the prejudices, and deal with them, before we move forward.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      You can certainly have debates about these topics. I’ve seen them.

      But –
      (a) You need to be selective in who you invite to the debate. A debate can only occur between parties interesting in having a debate; not between parties for whom the opponent is an “enemy”. Yes, this will involve *excluding* some view-points. Some view points cannot be at the table as they fundamentally do not recognize the legitimacy of `the table`. They would rather be on the street-corner. As a society we need to grow up and recognize this. Doing so is not “discrimination” – they are where they want to be. Not recognizing the role of the `the table` in society IS a cultural/social/political principle of some groups.
      (a.1.) How many meetings have I seen rendered completely pointless by the [well-meaning?] demand by someone to recognize ‘all parties’. So everyone else sits and plays with their phone while one soul disrespects all of them and hogs the floor. And nothing happens – except more resentment.
      (b) Ask more specific questions. I was at a recent-ish debate on “Does Christianity make America better?” between a semi-serious “right” frequently publish luminary and a Free Thought spokes-women. But it was not a debate, it was a show. Problem: What American? What Christianity? What does “better” mean in this phrase? “better” for whom? It couldn’t help itself but descend into a dog-fight. Because the question sucked and no prior common ground was established between the participants.

      Confession of prejudices is of critical importance, as you say. But so is dealing realistically with conflict. That involves being respectful enough to *fully* recognize people’s positions [including that those positions may be irreconcilable].

      Point (b) is *especially* true of the Abortion issue. It is probably the number one fly-over debate where participants merrily just skip over all the core questions, rendering the discussion nothing but a dog fight. It makes enemies of parties that practically share many common goals.

      • Yes! Internet Monk has a tendency to carry its debates to corners of society which may have a following among American evangelicals, but would otherwise be regarded as cranks.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      To paraphrase Malcolm X, “Homosexuality is the Bright Red Murder Flag for the Christian.”

    • cermak_rd says:

      Actually, IL had a debate about the death penalty. There was not a thread of your vile and going to hell. It was about wrongful convictions and the expense compared to life imprisonment without parole. It was such a boring debate no one has considered selling a DVD set of the great debate on it.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Exactly. The key to a good debate is to keep it at ground level, where there are data points to discuss, and universally recognized facts. Attempts to debate The Grand Questions are rarely actually debated, and even more rarely go anywhere, move anyone, or change anything.

    • You said,
      Yep, this is precisely the problem. Christians make much ado about homosexuality solely because they find the idea repellent.

      That could be part of it, but…
      As I’ve said in 2 or 3 other posts on here, the left makes it into a huge issue too and insists everyone simply must embrace homosexuality, even if it violates the person’s personal values or conscience. I see that as being very problematic as well.

  4. Frankly, if one takes Thabiti A’s rather juvenile approach to describing sexual behaviors that straight people engage in, the list will sound pretty unplesant, too. Equating people – individuals with petsonalities, thought, hopes, dreams, senses of humor and all the rest – solely with what they do/dont like sexually is to turn them from three-dimensional human beings into stetetypical caricatures. And i dont see how that can ever be right.

    Also sorry to see that WV caved to the pressure, but not surprised. And now this backlash has sent plenty of people barricading themselves in the closet yet again. *so* unhealthy and, imo, just plain rong

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      This aspect of the gender identity fight is very disturbing. Like – is someone really fundamentally described by who/what/when they are sexually aroused? That trumps all the other stuff that makes a citizen? The way this gets talked about really bothers me. When I think “me” – “heterosexual” is not the first thing that lunges into my mind. Yeah, yeah. the gender activists will tell me that is because I am the ‘cultural normative’ or some such; but when they do that I just think: “bull crap”. There is certainly something to that argument – a facet of you that is hated certainly becomes more important to you – I know that [I read books... for fun... and grew up in rural America - that doubled down my book-worm-ness]. But to the degree these people seem to claim, I don’t buy it.

      • Radagast says:

        “When I think “me” – “heterosexual” is not the first thing that lunges into my mind.”

        Agreed Adam.

        Personally, I feel I am getting this whole identity thing rammed down my throat. Every show on TV has gone way out there to promote this behavior as an identity. Let me tell you… I -don’t-care-what-you-do-in-your-bedroom! And if that is what defines you, if that is what you need me to know, then I wonder if there isn’t more that needs to be addressed.

        Chaplain Mike – sorry, don’t agree with you. I know lots of people, and guess what, some of them are gay. Do we need to suggest that I walk a mile in their shoes, go spend some time in sexual relations with the same sex? Sorry.

        Personally, I believe as this behavior becomes mainstream, other sexual behaviors will come to the fore-front. Accept me because I do this, it is who I am! Take any sexual behavior, Chaplain Mike, and switch it into the blog you wrote above, give some graphic sexual discussion around it, and it will read the same. We are to love everybody, accept everybody, walk a mile in their shoes, and be all right with everything. I think that boils down to relativism and as long as everyone’s happy then we are all ok. My idea of right and wrong is not the same as yours kind of thinking….

        To sum it up then, from my opinion I do not care what you do behind close doors with a consenting adult. It is none of my business. I will love you and treat you as any…. if you are an a$$ I will pray for you but will not put up with your a$$inine cr@p, if a good person I will get to know you (doesn’t matter what you are doing in private). If you engage me in conversation about how your particular lifestyle or identity should be taught in schools I will offer my opinion against. If you believe that’s a wrong opinion and I should come around to your way, well then accept me, or don’t ask me the question next time.

        • Jeff, there are other elements of this discussion and you touched on a legitimate one. I don’t like it when anyone acts out of a political or cultural agenda to promote something and insist that everyone must agree or like it.

          That’s not really the point of the post, but the more homosexual behavior becomes publicly portrayed, the more people who are repulsed by it will have a “gag reflex” — unfortunately they probably won’t admit to it, but will want to talk about “biblical values.”

          • C Mike said,

            “That’s not really the point of the post, but the more homosexual behavior becomes publicly portrayed, the more people who are repulsed by it will have a “gag reflex” — unfortunately they probably won’t admit to it, but will want to talk about “biblical values.””

            Did you ever see the book After The Ball, or read of it? It was written by a couple of homosexual guys back in the late 1980s or so. It’s a whole strategy of how to mainstream homosexuality. The homosexual guys who wrote that book said they realize a lot of straights will find homosexual sex acts “gag worthy.”

            So they came up with several strategies for getting around that, one of which was to instruct homosexuals to stop using the word “homosexual” and start using the word “gay.”

            Another strategy that I remember reading of from that book was to wear down public resistance to homosexuality by just sticking it out there in people’s faces constantly and talking about it all the time.

            There are several sites that have information about the book. This is one:
            Same Sex Marriage: ‘Thoroughly Tiresome,’ by Design

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          >> “When I think “me” – “heterosexual” is not the first thing that lunges into my mind.”
          > Agreed Adam.
          > Personally, I feel I am getting this whole identity thing rammed down my throat.

          Absolutely, 100%.

          I know that some will castigate me ruthlessly for the thought… but I admit to thinking when hearing someone go on for half-an-hour about their identity issues… “man, you *really* need to find a hobby”.

          Obsessing about something other than oneself is healthy! :)

          > Chaplain Mike – sorry, don’t agree with you. …

          I suspect you are not reading the post in the correct light; I do not take the same tone from the post which you have taken.

          The point [I think] is that the conflation of one’s visceral reaction with morality can be misguided. And that reacting morally more vigorously to that which causes visceral offense than to that which does not personally cause offense may be more pretense than true moral affront.

          • Understood … and you are probably correct in that I am not taking the post in the correct light…. I was probably more reactionary on this one than giving it a deeper read…..

          • You said,

            “The point [I think] is that the conflation of one’s visceral reaction with morality can be misguided.” As I said i a post below, it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

            The police I mentioned below in another post who found the dead girl’s severed head in a cooking pot on a stove “gagged” at the sight and found it disturbing to behold or think about, but also, I would assume, had logical, rational reasons for being against the murder of young women and subsequent decapitation of her corpse.

          • I forgot to put the closing bracket on my blockquote above, so some of my remarks got mixed in with the person I was quoting.

            Hopefully everyone can sort out where his comments end and mine begin… but for the record, my comments start out with the comment,
            “As I said in a post below, it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

        • You kind of took what I said and did a 180 with it, deflecting the points that CM made and that I was attempting to make. ThabitiA redfuced human beings to one thing – sex acts. Ones that he personally finds repulsive.

          There is no acknowledgement of common humanity in what he says; no love for the people he sees as so very Other. Which is painfully ironic, given that he is an African immigrant.

          • Christiane says:

            ? but then, within the patriarchy-following denominations who are Christian conservatives, isn’t it held that the SEX of a person is more dominant a part of their humanity and eternal personhood than many other considerations . . . even in spite of biblical verses like these from Galatians 3:

            “27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

            it gets complicated, I know, but how is patriarchy related to the revulsion ? I suspect a connection, but I can’t connect the dots here. I’ll leave this out there for others to think about.

          • Numo said,
            “ThabitiA redfuced human beings to one thing – sex acts. Ones that he personally finds repulsive.”

            A lot of homosexuals do that very thing, too. They identify themselves by their sexuality only or predominantly. Maybe not all, but certainly a huge chunk of the very vocal ones I see in the media all the time.

          • No, Daisy – by their sexual orientation. That is not the same thing. At all.

      • I think you are confusing “gender” with “sexual preference” in your statement. Certainly BOTH are contentious issues, but this discussion is primarily about “preference”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Frankly, if one takes Thabiti A’s rather juvenile approach to describing sexual behaviors that straight people engage in, the list will sound pretty unplesant, too.

      Like you find in Mark Driscoll Bible Study series and juiced best-sellers?

    • You said,
      Equating people – individuals with petsonalities, thought, hopes, dreams, senses of humor and all the rest – solely with what they do/dont like sexually is to turn them from three-

      A lot of homosexual groups – maybe not all individuals, but some – do seek to define themselves based on their sexuality alone (sexual acts), though.

      Even apart from the homosexuality topic, I find this sort of double thinking among secular feminists and their discussions of sexuality, birth control, etc.

      That is, they want American tax payers to fund birth control, stop what they call “slut shaming” behavior (they don’t believe any one should judge anyone for anyone’s sexual activity).

      They tell you to “stay out of their bedrooms” but then invite everyone back in to their bedroom by demanding funding or acceptance or by talking about this stuff on blogs, TV shows, and radio shows. They hold marches and parades.

      I see some homosexual groups do the same thing. They argue people should stay out of their bedrooms, but then some of them hold vulgar public parades where there is nudity and sexual acts taking place on street corners or floats.

      They don’t want this type of behavior being judged, but the real far out ones put it all out there in public – but people aren’t supposed to form opinions or pass judgement?

      You have loud mouthed, incredibly obnoxious homosexual activists such as Dan Savage who publicly discuss sex acts in even more brazen, obscene terms than preacher Mark Driscoll (and I think Savage has a weekly, nationally syndicated sex advice column, or did at one point?). They put it out there but then get upset when people pass judgment about what they’re talking about.

  5. Vega Magnus says:

    Everything gay people do sexually can be done by straight people too. Thus, objecting strictly for physical reasons like he is makes no sense.

    • Absolutely right. Additionally, saying gross = assurance of a thing being sin would necessarily damn surgery, eating boogers, farting, vomiting, and anything a child does before the age of four.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And there’s another factor: The Squick Factor and Bright Red Murder Flag seems to apply to MALE homosexual behavior more than FEMALE homosexual behavior. (Because guy-on-guy hits a little too close to home?) I wonder how many of these low-rent Fred Phelpses are searching the Internet for HAWT Lezbo Action. Because girl-on-girl is a common form of STRAIGHT porn.

  6. Here is the thing though, I would find anal sex repulsive for either homosexual or heterosexual couples to engage in. I have no reaction to gay couples kissing – I live in Vancouver so I see it a lot, it is just normal, it doesn’t repulse me, but then, I have no reaction to heterosexual couples kissing (well, I sometimes think ‘get a room’, when teens go at it in public).

    Moral outrage for me is towards pedophiles. Once, an older man’s eyes lingered too long on my daughter, she was quite young and I was livid. That is moral outrage. Outraged when pastors are caught and excused, outraged when a guy who sexually abused his 18 month old daughter, got caught on a nanny cam (mom thought a babysitter was upsetting her daughter) only got 6 months in jail, that sort of stuff. That is moral outrage.

    But, I don’t think gays can enter into a God Sanctified Covenant of marriage. I know, I know, I am (insert pejorative word). I also don’t think the New Testament is pro-marriage; it is pro-celibacy. The early church was pro-celibacy, for a long, long time (seven centuries). Why? Likely because they read Paul’s writings (after the 3rd Century) that way. When a marriage is sanctified, it is a life long covenant. That means, if the spouse is a jerk/b*&*^tch whatever, and runs off, you, who have entered a covenant with them are not free to remarry.

    The wronged party (if there is one) can’t stop them from divorcing, sometimes a divorce is needed to protect oneself or the kids from the abusive spouse, that is fine, as long there is anticipation they could change, return to Christ and then recommit to the marriage – for some that may never be possible, but, we can’t remarry until the abusive/leaving party has passed on. A pledge of marriage is a promise. Hosea had to remain faithful to Gomar, God doesn’t promise us a great marriage. Marriage as a covenant between two people before God. That means no remarriage ’til death do us part’. It is why I feel strongly that women should always have careers and maintain them to some degree – if a spouse runs off, they need to be able to care for their family, and hopefully not on minimum wage.

    So, the church has permitted remarriage – if you read the verses around divorce carefully, you can see that occasionally divorce is permitted, but remarriage is not. How can someone make a lifelong covenant with one person, then, while they person they made that covenant with is still alive, make a lifelong covenant with someone else? Something rings hollow before God here. But, the church has begun to re-marry people. Should we allow them to serve in World Vision? Sure, we aren’t valuing marriage the way the early church did. There is no longer an expectation of celibate sacrifice for adults (once they have married). There will soon be no expectation of abstaining before marriage, as more and more churches shrug their shoulders at this behaviour. Next, there will be no expectation of heterosexual marriage (in the Western world).

    What does that mean? I don’t know. Do we ban re-marrieds from World Vision? Would there be equal outrage if it was discovered they did allow them? Do we ban people who weren’t abstinent before marriage to work for WV? Would there be moral outrage if this was determined? So, I completely agree with you, the church saves moral outrage for homosexuality and little else. That is nasty to a group of people who really don’t deserve to be singled out the way they are.

    I live in a country that marries gay people, it really isn’t a big deal. Why would it be? We also remarry heterosexual people. If God was going to send wrath, shouldn’t he have done that once we opened the floodgates to divorce and began remarrying people in huge numbers (1970s)? If he didn’t then, why would he send his wrath in the early 2000s for allowing gay marriages?

    But, I still see marriage as something God has blessed between a man and woman. He can bless it through fertility, and give the infant a safe place to grow up. Yes, some people can’t have kids, but most won’t know this until they try. And, trying before marriage is wrong to Christians. So, infertile people go into marriage with an intent to procreate. I suspect that is why marriage is so valued. It creates a safe place for kids to grow up. Now, obviously, gay people can adopt children and also provide a safe place for kids to grow up. But, and I think we have to look at the larger picture here, any time an adoption occurs, the child is growing up apart from at least one of her/his biological parents, usually both. Studies are showing the best outcome for a child is being raised by their healthy (not addicted, not mentally ill, not too ill to care for, but healthy) biological parents (2 of them). Every other combination, although sometimes necessary, predicts less optimal outcomes. That is why social workers work to maintain a family unit before considering adoption, unless it is unsafe to do so. It isn’t like non-traditional families will ever run out of people to adopt, and I am thankful for every single parent (gay, straight, single) who adopts children needing homes, but lets face the facts that adoption is a necessity for children due to tragedy. That tragedy works against the child in ways we don’t fully understand. Sanctifying marriage is about blessing and supporting parents to raise their offspring together. When you bless other combinations, you are putting together something that is second best for the future potential offspring, and calling it equal. That isn’t fair to the children.

    Go back to the remarriage issue.

    How well do children cope when their parents remarry? They were first shuffled from parent to parent, now they are shuffled from new sibling set to new sibling set. That is tough on kids. Is it tougher than their parents living in two separate places? Well, that depends. However, the more disruptions to a child’s sense of stability, the worse the outcome in educational achievement, that is well documented. Any move sets a child back about 3 months, but a move due to separation can set children back 6 months. Would it be better if the parents had first examined if they were really fit for a lifelong covenant, beyond feelings of passion? If a parent had doubts about the spouse previous to marriage, a realization that the outcome may be lifelong singleness may have forced the spouse to reconsider the failed marriage to begin with. It would help if marriage was taken more seriously than it is in many churches today. Rushing into marriage, just to be married, is always a bad idea.

    How well do kids cope in same sex homes? Well many studies have been done. One of the big factors against them is: no same sex home has two biological parents in it, so the deck is stacked against them from the get-go. If we realize all children are better off (this is from massive studies) with two healthy bio parents, does the gay lifestyle create a situation where parents are creating a child that won’t be raised by at least one of their biological parents (sperm donors, for example)? New research is showing many donor-concieved children are not happy with their situation. They feel the parent’s desires where considered over their own need for information. They feel resentful for being denied access to their donor parent information. Is this ethical? Time will tell, but there are quite a few upset donor children out there, it may be something that needs to be rethought in the future. I get that this is the same argument agains infertile couples marrying – all 1% of them who actually know they are infertile before trying – but it is worth considering.

    So, what about child-free marriages? The world is awfully crowded. I have no issue with this, but just because couples get married and don’t follow the traditional path of creating space for a new human being to grow up safely and well in, doesn’t negate that Christians have taught, through the ages, that marriage is symbolic of Christ and his Bride. That the bride is a woman and the groom is a man. Perhaps that is just old fashioned, perhaps we should bless all loving unions? Perhaps. But I don’t think the church universal, and especially, the church international is OK with same sex marriage covenants. In cultures where children aren’t just a blessing, but a necessity for survival, gay marriages undermine communities need of children to support aging parents. If a man, a son with many obligations towards his parents, marries a man, ignoring all the shunning that would occur for the family, that son will have no children. Poor people cannot adopt as easily as wealthier people can. A childless son, with aging parents to support when he grows older is a huge liability in a developing country. If he falls sick, there is no hope of a grandchild stepping in. To marry a woman just to get a son, then leave her or ignore her for an attraction is something the Bible is clearly against. It is a very western view that marriage is about falling in love first. In many parts of the world, marriage is about commitment and security, love is only a possibility, not a promise. However, poor women suffer if poor men allow their attraction to other men/women guide their life-decisions. A poor woman may end up alone, divorced while the husband lives with the children on his family farm, or the wife ends up a third wheel and the poor man’s resources are divided between his spouse and his lover – but he is too poor to properly support both, so the wife suffers. I lived in India and Nepal – there was nothing worse than a spouse who had taken a second wife (usually due to infertility), the first wife was terribly treated, often she left the home. It would be just as bad if the second ‘spouse’ was a male lover.

    Anyways, that is my view on all this. Sure, it may change, but I can’t see the Catholic or E.O. churches changing anytime soon, nor the developing world churches changing. If they don’t, is it only because we are more enlightened? loving? correct? I am not sure I want to rush into this yet. It may be nothing, but there may be a reason for heterosexual marriages being what the church has blessed. I am not convinced gay marriage is something we need to bless right now. We can allow the courts and country to marry them, give them all the same rights, but I am not there yet on the church sanctifying these unions. I would prefer the church to re-examine its modern views on marriage. I think the whole ‘fall in love’ view of marriage is actually what is chipping away at marriages. What happens if a couple ‘fall out of love’? Is the marriage over? Not according to the apostle Paul. He never promised us our sexual desires would be fulfilled, it was never considered a necessity for him. Does it need to be for us.

    Finally, I have never seen a well supported argument for gay marriage beyond attraction. If that is the case, the Bible isn’t very pro-attraction, St. Paul tells people to ‘love their wives’ something that wasn’t done in that culture. Men had mistresses, or male lovers, to love. Wives were for legitimate heirs, not love. So, where are the non-attraction arguments for allowing gay marriages? It is always cloaked in “they are attracted to the same sex” and my view is “so?” Paul wouldn’t have cared. Really. Homosexuality was common in his day. He just told all the gay men to go love their wives (they had wives even if they were gay). That wasn’t very loving some may argue. Actually, it was very loving – to their wives.

    • …Moral outrage for me is towards pedophiles. Once, an older man’s eyes lingered too long on my daughter, she was quite young and I was livid. That is moral outrage. …..

      I feel the same as I have a good number of children including four daughters…. that being said I have a feeling sometime in the future someone will be carrying on this same conversation only using this issue. Of course that seems horrifying. Yet, if painted in a different light then it can be presented differently. For example, I read a story a few days ago that Iraq is now allowing marriages as young as eight. To me that is playing out pedophilia, yet in other countries it is a legit practice. One could argue that if they are both consenting…. so then we would be having this discussion about how we are reacting because of the feeling in our gut. It is all in how one packages things. I hope I have passed on from this life when this becomes more mainstream.

      • Exactly. This is why, Radagast, that moral decisions need to be made on the basis of principle, not predispositions; God, not guts.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Here is the thing though, I would find anal sex repulsive for either homosexual or heterosexual couples to engage in.

      You are definitely not a fan of Driscoll’s Real Marriage. Guy has covered both ends of the digestive tract in his semons and books.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      St. Paul tells people to ‘love their wives’ something that wasn’t done in that culture. Men had mistresses, or male lovers, to love. Wives were for legitimate heirs, not love.

      As one ancient culture put it, “Women for breeding stock, Men for love, Boys for pleasure.”

      (Even in later Christian Europe, marriage was to breed legitimate heirs to pass down land, wealth, slaves/serfs, and political power like any other personal property. An upper-class man married a wife for political alliance and breeding stock, and got what we’d call “romance” on the side. In upper-class households, husbands & wives often had separate bedrooms until around the 1930s.)

      It has long been my belief that a male-supremacist culture will have both an attraction and repulsion to male homosexuality. When women are literally subhuman livestock, how else can you have sex with another PERSON? Yet one PERSON has to get penetrated like a woman, thus making them subhuman. (Very Un-Manly.) Radio talk host Dennis Prager took a lot of flak for a Web essay that before Torah, sex was not defined as between male and female but between Penetrator (Dom on Top) and Penetrated (Sub on Bottom), like a prison rape or animal forced-dominance display. This dovetails with my reading between the lines of Thomas Cahill that Torah was given to force humans to Transcend the Animal.

      So, where are the non-attraction arguments for allowing gay marriages? It is always cloaked in “they are attracted to the same sex” and my view is “so?” Paul wouldn’t have cared. Really. Homosexuality was common in his day. He just told all the gay men to go love their wives (they had wives even if they were gay). That wasn’t very loving some may argue. Actually, it was very loving – to their wives.

      St Paul was writing to churches in ancient Hellenic culture. Ancient Hellenic culture was so famous for male homosexuality as the norm that even the Romans (no slouches themselves in the sexual dominance department) called it “Greek Love”.

    • I’m sorry I have not yet read your whole post, it was very long, but I did want to say based on part of it that I saw, that I find it hypocritical that World Vision was fine at one point with hiring homosexual married people but were still demanding that single adults remain sexually abstinent.

      I’m a 40- something virgin waiting for marriage (hetero marriage) to do the deed. Yes, I’d like to be married, and yes, I have a sex drive and want to have sex with a spouse.

      I resent how some factions of Christians bend the rules and give a rubber stamp of approval to any and all things homosexual (as in homosexual marriage, or giving a pass to homosexuals having pre-martial homosexual sex) but still tell HETERO adults singles such as myself, “Nuh-uh, no nookie for you!”

      (I may never marry. I may die at age 75 never having married, so do not even trot out the “but you have a chance of marrying!!!” Me having “a chance” does not mean it will happen.)

      Christians need to be consistent about sexual sin. One side of them wants to water down sexual purity teachings to make things nicer for homosexuals, but then they still tell the hetero adult singles, “but no, still no sex for you, sorry, but you still gotta marry first if you want sex!” It’s a huge double standard.

      • Daisy… I like you, but I think you go way too far here. If you can’t or won’t accept the difference between indiscriminate sexual behavior (no matter who is doing it) and marriage, OK. But please be advised that

        – that train already left the station

        – in due course, the anti-LGBT stance of many evangelicals is going to be a clear embarrassment

        – nobody comes into this world with a guarantee of anything, very much including a future spouse. I’m not married and never have been, and neither are you. We both need to deal.

        Further, I hope you are aware that gay folks are reading here. Some of them are faithful church members. Would you speak to them face to face in the way you’re speaking of them now?

      • The thing is, we don’t all agree on what constitutes sexual sin. Ergo, there’s a wide variety of views, both in church and out of it.

  7. Thanks for writing this. It calmed me down after how angry and frustrated I was with Christians after reading about the reaction against world vision.

    This article http://thesinfulscientist.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/why-are-christians-so-concerned-about-sex-sfw/ is a very interesting read into the world Paul was dispensing sexual advice to. The gospel is about liberation for the poor, oppressed, and marginalised. If it happened back then for the sexual oppressed then it will happen in the future too.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > The gospel is about liberation for the poor, oppressed, and marginalised

      That is ONE of the things the gospels are about. [1]

      The Gospels spend a fair amount of time talking about individual sin and the reality of sin/evil.

      [1] Socialist/Leftist speaking – I’ll take my turn being the one to point this out, in the interest of fair-play. I rarely get to be on this side! :)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Again, Gordon, the subject punched the Bright Red Murder Flag button of one of the strongest (if not THE strongest) Taboo in all Christendom.

    • I don’t know if I have the fortitude to read it if it’s another secular feminist or homosexual apologist piece that attempts to re-cast Paul as being totally cool with hetero or homo pre marital sex.

  8. And that gag reflex or repulsive feeling/reaction you experience when seeing or thinking about same-sex activities between you and another male or between two males is exactly what Kinsey 6 males and females feel when they think about engaging in sex or romantic kissing with opposite sex persons.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      For that matter, some straight people have similar reactions to seeing or thinking about straight sex between two people not considered attractive, or between an attractive and an unattractive person, or when one or both parties is an older person. It is unfashionable nowadays to admit it, but not that long ago people expressed similar reactions to straight sex between persons of different races. We could go on. The point is that unless someone has appointed you god-emperor of the world, your personal reactions to two consenting adults having sex is relevant to no one but you, and to believe otherwise is narcissism.

      • Right. You want a gag reflex over heterosexual sex? Think about what it must have been like the night you were conceived.

        • Also right. Look at your friendly neighborhood megachurch and see who the best-sex-ever sermon series is playing to. You won’t see “Like two fawns, yes, lovely twins” as a text aimed at the Scoot-Around crowd. So as HUG points out, there is NO sin problem with the alimentary canal, because a certain influential megapastor says Jesus gives a naughty-time pass to young born-again married heterosexuals. We like to think about sex almost more than doing it, and its only gross when we imagine sex between the wrong people.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            So as HUG points out, there is NO sin problem with the alimentary canal, because a certain influential megapastor says Jesus gives a naughty-time pass to young born-again married heterosexuals.

            I still think there’s a strong element in there of justifying Influential Megapastor’s own sexual proclivities/fantasies.

            Kind of like all those “Temptations of the Saints” stories (usually sexual temptations), except “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!” instead of “Thou Shalt Not.”

      • Sex between OLD PEOPLE??? How DISGUSTING!

  9. I think you’re giving too much weight of meaning to visceral or emotional reactions. It’s like the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” So you feel repulsion towards the idea of gay sex and you don’t want to watch Brokeback Mountain. OK. But you are able to treat the gay people around you with respect and dignity. One of these things matters. The other one doesn’t matter at all, honestly.

    A lot of gay men think women are repulsive, apparently. I know about this only because some of them choose to express that in the crudest words possible. As for the rest? I would never know, because they treat me like a human being. So if they privately are repulsed at the idea of my body, who cares? They’re not my husband, they don’t need to be that close. All that counts to me is their outward behavior towards me.

    You can have respect, compassion, and charity for someone while being repulsed at the thought of what they do in the bedroom. In fact, a lot of people are pretty repulsed at the idea of their parents, for instance, having a sex life. Intellectually they know it’s healthy and normal, etc, but it’s also a normal, unremarkable phenomenon for an adult child to be squicked out to an extreme when they accidentally overhear mom and dad having an intimate moment late at night.

    It’s a physical reaction that marks a boundary. It’s ok to have that reaction. Stop beating yourself up about feelings. What matters is how you treat others.

    • doubting thomas says:

      Hear, hear

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Ditto.

      I haven’t felt much of any physical reaction to socially appropriate `homosexual` displays [holding hands, kissing, etc... in public]. For whatever reason, or none, I just don’t care.

      But people who mangle and pierce themselves, or are tatt’ed up. It repulses me, physically. I do not want to look that them. I force myself to make eye contact when speaking with them, etc… That is what matters, not what my gut says.

      • Ditto.

        I haven’t felt much of any physical reaction to socially appropriate `homosexual` displays [holding hands, kissing, etc... in public]. For whatever reason, or none, I just don’t care.

        But people who mangle and pierce themselves, or are tatt’ed up. It repulses me, physically. I do not want to look that them. I force myself to make eye contact when speaking with them, etc… That is what matters, not what my gut says

        Hear hear. I’m too busy being mortified by my own sexual sins of the heterosexual variety to be mortified by someone else’s. However I do feel real repulsion upon seeing tattoos, particularly neck tattoos, which seems to be a real plague in downtown Hamilton Ontario…

    • Jennifer E. says:

      I think the point to be made about visceral/emotional reactions is not so much that the response is wrong, but that it’s wrong when we use those experiences to justify our positions that something or someone is “bad, abominable, etc.”, which is what Thabiti Anyabwile is doing in his essay. Just because we have an emotional response to something doesn’t make it defacto morally wrong.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        +1

      • Exactly, Jennifer. What Anyabwile is doing is using his visceral/emotional reaction to justify an imagined moral outrage and then making that kind of outrage against homosexuality a central plank of the gospel. Or so it seems to me.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Furry Fandom is VERY gay-heavy. (A legacy of one of its founders.)

        Gay PDAs of any sort squick me out. BAD.

        There are two different reactions when my squickiness is known in Furry Fandom. The more decent one is to refrain from queening in front of me out of consideration. The other is to get in-your-face with hot-and-heavy and play the “HOMOPHOBIA!” card when I react. It’s the difference between being considerate and being an A-hole, and the A-holes on both sides have dominated media coverage and the debate.

        • Outsiders will be left wondering what social mores normally prevail in Furry / Brony fandom.

    • Kathe …. probably get lost in the responses but … ++++ 1!

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      A lot of gay men think women are repulsive, apparently. I know about this only because some of them choose to express that in the crudest words possible.

      That has a lot more to do with male privilege than the deviance of nonheterosexual orientation. But that’s another topic for another day.

      So if they privately are repulsed at the idea of my body, who cares? They’re not my husband, they don’t need to be that close. All that counts to me is their outward behavior towards me.

      Private revulsion and outward behavior are never truly separate; any counseling psychologist worth his or her salt will tell you that. If someone is repulsed by something that is a fundamental part of who you are, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice.

      The reason why this post exists today is because this private revulsion toward LGBT identity is not private; it is very public. It is guiding public policy, distorting Scriptural interpretation and marginalizing people whose only fault is that they don’t meet a traditional definition of “normal.”

      Just consider yourself lucky that having breasts and a vagina are not considered “abnormal.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Just consider yourself lucky that having breasts and a vagina are not considered “abnormal.”

        You’ve never seen X-Treme Patriarchy, whether Christian, Muslim, or the secular Manosphere types. There breasts and vagina ARE not so much abnormal as subhuman.

      • “Just consider yourself lucky that having breasts and a vagina are not considered “abnormal.””

        Pardon me?

        I still live in a world where most medications and diagnostic criteria are developed around studies done on males, don’t I? Where most discussions of sexuality and sexual ethics are based on male response, ways of seeing, and temptations. Where contraception and maternity care both are controversial subjects, and where women are given a mere 6-12 weeks after childbirth before being expected to be back at their work stations. Where women are thrown out of Victoria’s Secret locations for nursing an infant. Where menstruation is still, in an era where we have Miley Cyrus, considered a taboo topic, and which even merits a “trigger warning” on the left.

        Your presumption reveals a lot about where you’re coming from, sir.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          For the most part, you’re talking about male privilege, not the abnormality of the use of body parts. They are very, very closely related, but they are separate concepts.

          However, your comment about breastfeeding makes a lot of sense. Who are these people to tell you about the proper use of a woman’s body parts?

          Let’s just dwell on that for a moment…

          • I don’t know what you think I am arguing for, but I get the impression you are lecturing me, and I don’t appreciate it.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I’m not sure I’m lecturing you as much as I am profoundly confused by your statement which suggests that you are well aware of the presence of male privilege and are (understandably) enraged by it, but you can’t send any of that awareness over to LGBT folk. If you don’t appreciate the observation, that’s another response to which you are entitled, but you can’t be surprised by my reaction.

          • Well color me equally surprised by your awareness of male privilege…and how you feel free to use YOUR male privilege against me. I guess I “deserve” it because you perceive me as an ideological enemy, though.

            I still don’t know what you think I am withholding from “GLBT folk.” My comment was that our feelings don’t matter as much as our actions. I stand by that.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I would love to see how I’m using my male privilege against you. If you’re referring to the fact that I disagree with you, and I’m a guy, that’s not male privilege; that’s a debate. If you’re referring to the fact that I said that society doesn’t view breasts and a vagina are not considered “abnormal,” that’s not male privilege; that’s an observation of typical American society. Granted, women are treated like second-class citizens in a lot of male-dominant institutions in this country, and that means their body parts are under more scrutiny and regulation than, say, a handgun. But my point is that the female body–in specific, the able-bodied, heterosexual female-identifying woman’s body–is not considered inherently abnormal the way same-sex sexual activity is (and that’s all same-sex sexual activity, male and female and everything in between).

          • Of course you can’t see your male privilege. You’re swimming in it. And your patronizing, snide responses show it again and again when you talk to women–not just on this thread.

            I am not engaging you after this post.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Very well. If this is what you think male privilege is, though, you’re wrong. You’ll just have to figure that out on your own.

      • Marcus – if I may, I thought the part of your comment that Kathe objected to was over the line, too.

        But then, I am not male.

        If you recast what you said as a less than sensitive comment to you about black folks, I think you’ll get her drift.

  10. FYI – after years of ignoring it, I watched Brokeback Mountain on Netflix several months ago. Very good movie and not an excess of sexual stuff. Anne Hathaway briefly topless. I don’t remember if there were any bare rear shots of Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhaal.

    • Maybe some brief frontal nudity of a Ledger.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So all the uproar around “Bareback Mount-em” was mostly hype on both sides?

      (Though South Park got in a good snark about hyped Art Films being “about gay cowboys eating pudding.”)

      • I don’t know what the hype was on both sides, but Ang Lee made a darn good film. Seriously.

        I will definitely rewatch it at some point and may even buy the Blu-ray for my collection.

      • Not gay cowboys–bisexual shepherds. (They actually do all kinds of jobs, one of them later does cowboy work.)

    • Anne Hathaway briefly topless.

      In Southern Baptist parlance, this is referred to as “objectionable content.”

  11. At first, I wanted to argue against the good Chaplain here, but then I remembered what *I* found most distressing about this whole situation – apparently for some Christians, expressing their disdain for homosexuality back home was worth more than keeping their commitment to give monetary and relational support to a needy child somewhere else in the world.

    If calling out somebody else’s sin (which Christ did only in moderation, and then mostly against religious hypocrites) is worth more than caring for the poor (which was a major priority for both Christ and the disciples), our priorities are light-years out of whack.

    • “If calling out somebody else’s sin… is worth more than caring for the poor… our priorities are light-years out of whack.”

      +1. Amen. That is truly straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. Now THAT topic is worthy of a post.

  12. Disclaimer: I am a nurse, and absolutely nothing regarding human bodies bothers me in the least, whether it is sexual or disease or injury.

    However……

    I think most people find the concepts of homosexual acts repugnant for the same reason that we find food with maggots disgusting, or gag at the sight and smell of three day old fish stew…..it is an innate reaction to something that is unhealthy. Normal intercourse not only produces pleasure, but also produces children, and “fits together” pieces of a puzzle in the way the Manufacturer intended.

    I am not suggesting that we are revolted by our brothers and sisters, made in the image of God, who have homosexual inclinations. But the basic fact, buried under all of the political correctness and ideology, is that homosexuality is an aberration, not one equal choice of many. I am sure that the name calling will commence, but this is not my personal opinion…..culture may change, but God and His choices remain.

    • Well stated. But homosexuals don’t feel the way you do. So you’re left having to say they not only employ a sexual aberration, but also a fundamental aberration of their “god-given” disgust about doing it. But that doesn’t follow , or there’s something also wrong with you for not naturally recoiling at the sight of blood, feces, pus, or internal organs. Most of us are deeply uncomfortable with all that and can’t understand your plain defiance of natural repulsion.

      • ab·er·ra·tion
        [ab-uh-rey-shuhn] Show IPA
        noun
        1.
        the act of departing from the right, normal, or usual course.
        2.
        the act of deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type.
        3.
        deviation from truth or moral rectitude.

        According to any of these definition homosexual behavior is an aberration, but that doesn’t necessarily mean “wrong”. Two out of the three description above assign no rightness or wrongness to an aberation whereas this discussion hinges on the third definition. We need to be clear on our meaning s.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Normal intercourse not only produces pleasure, but also produces children, and “fits together” pieces of a puzzle in the way the Manufacturer intended.

      So, all those heterosexual married couples having missionary sex the way God intended, yet not producing children, are unhealthy?

      If you’re a nurse, then you should know that the American Academy of Nursing doesn’t share your opinion. Neither does the American Nursing Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, etc. You might want to defer to their opinion regarding what’s healthy and what isn’t.

      • Yes, we must ALWAYS defer to an organizations description before making our own assessments…

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          If that organization is relying on fifty decades of evolving research and proven theory, then yes.

          Also, if you are practicing in a profession, the best practices of which are defined by those organizations, then yes, you should.

          • At WORK she should. Her personal opinions need not follow any professional guidelines. What a weirdly constrained and controlling way of life you are prescribing, here, as though we should each be a serf to whatever corporation or governing board covers our workplace.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Okay, I’ll make an exception for you, Kathe. You can adhere to the best practices of the ANA only in your role as a nurse. Once you come off shift, you can be whoever you want to be.

            My car mechanic can totally disregard the best practices for vehicle maintenance on his own car, as well. My doctor can smoke and do drugs. But when my doctor ends up in an ER, or you get stuck in traffic because my car mechanic’s truck broke down due to lack of proper maintenance, you can’t go up to them and tell them, “Really? You, of all people, should know better than that.”

        • Thanks, Oscar…..exactly why I am NOT an ANA member…they also support abortion on demand for any reason….

    • cermak_rd says:

      Curiously, I have no innate disgust toward sexual acts where everyone has consented to participate in same and no one walks away irredeemably injured.

      If non-procreative sex is repulsive, well isn’t flying solo the most common sort of sexual experience for young people?

      Plus a lot of the sex acts of gays can and are performed by straight couples as well.

      Most heterosexual couples in America have 2 children. Most of them have probably had a bit more sex than that.

    • I agree completely. I, for one, am a person who is attracted to both sexes. But the Bible, biology, and the confirmation of my heart, tells me one is God’s design while the other is a perversion of that design. It is for this same reason that I am not in favor of oral and anal sex even between husband and wife. Just because something is a turn-on for me doesn’t make it right. However, I have to say that I don’t care to know what other people do. That is between them, their spouse, and their God.

  13. Interesting point of view, Mike. I was thinking just recently that I’m the opposite. I don’t feel any strong visceral response to homosexual activity, and left to myself, in a neutral world, I wouldn’t really care about it one way or another. But I am intellectually convinced that the choice to engage in homosexual behavior is morally and spiritually wrong, so my visceral reaction or lack of the same isn’t important.

    The “gag” reflex, it seems to me, is largely a trained response anyway. I imagine there are people who feel it about interracial relations, while I know there are cultures that aren’t particularly revolted by feces or maggots. We can’t base a mature moral reaction on our gag reflex. The most it does for us is perpetuate the reactions of those who raised us.

    • I had to read this over a few times and think…. the guy who I know cheats on his wife, I have a gag reflex there, yet I believe it is an intellectual one shaped by my morality. There are women I know that are gay and I do not have any response, actually don’t even think about that aspect of them (and I spend time with them daily). My older teenage children bring home guys who have identified themselves as gay and again I am not emotionally affected. But inside, because of my faith I do think about the path they are embarking on, making this their identity, could cause additional obstacles in their life. I admit, I am older so my perspective, shaped by my morality, is different from many today.

  14. I don’t like this post at all…..because( I’ll try to keep it short)….

    The number one reason given for the coming evangelical collapse is “Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism……That opposition will be increasingly viewed as a threat, and there will be increasing pressure to consider evangelicals bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society”. Opposition to the world just isn’t graceful. We are continually proving that being salt is a compound issue and not to be approached as elementary.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > consider evangelicals bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society

      Indeed, this is happening. I will come right out and say it – I **do** consider Evangelicals bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society. The attitude, approach, and many of the ideals espoused by Evangelicalism render it irreconcilable with the vision of a civil heterogeneous society and economically equitable civilization.

      I left Evangelicalism because it was in so many ways just mean, blundering, reactionary, and un-nuanced – and now from a distance I realize how dramatically I underestimated actually how much it was/is all those things.

      I turn on Evangelical radio and am told I should fear and suspect the Palestinian brothers who own the store down the block. I should fear and be suspicious of the hundred or so refugees who live in the complex at the bottom of the hill. That people who fled across our borders in the hopes of a better life for their unborn child are “simply criminals”. I hear “reporters” refer to passed legislation, the law of the land, by slurred names rather than actual name of the legislation. There is a complete and total absence of any reporting on their `news` of anything outside a small circle of concern and a pervasive sense of threat and persecution – which is *insane* for white Christians in the midwest America. I started counting the uses of the term “us/we” and “them/those” once while driving between cities… I then turned off the radio.

      But Christianity is not Evangelicalism.

      >Opposition to the world just isn’t graceful

      No, I do not consider Evangelicalism to be these things because it is not graceful, or because it opposes the world [*1]. I consider Evangelicalism to be a negative because it is wrong/not-true.

      > being salt

      I do not believe in what Evangelicalism claims it is preserving, I do even accept that it is preserving anything. It looks and acts more like pepper.

      This is the college-roommate-problem. I suspect everyone knew one in college. The guy or gal who could never stay long in one apartment or dorm room because each and every roommate they had was insufferable…. The college-roommate-problem is the root of Evangelical decline.

      [*1] I believe Evangelicalism *embodies* the `worldly` perspective.

      • Adam:
        I am an evangelical. I do not live in USA. I did live there under the Carter administration.

        I am at times horrified by what I see being practised in the USA in the name of being evangelical.

        There are millions of evangelicals worldwide who would affirm a typical 10 point statement of faith that American Evangelicals would. We just don’t tie our faith to politics and culture wars.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > I am an evangelical.

          Maybe

          > I do not live in USA. I did live there under the Carter administration.

          Yes, I am, and can only, speak of Evangelicalism here. Elsewhere the appellation may mean something else. I do not see the same kind of tussles occurring elsewhere, at least no on the same scale – or they do not get reported on. And even then I’m only talking about the modern West, the third-world is another domain unto itself. No doubt “Evangelical” means something else again there. But here is neither there or over there.

          > I am at times horrified by what I see being practised in the USA in the name of being evangelical.

          I don’t find “in the name of” useful. So what is the “true” Evangelical? That construct is not useful. Those who own the TV stations, radio stations, publishing houses, and those who appear as talking heads in media – they own the label. They are the “Evangelicals”. Everyone else fighting for the label needs to realize they have been utterly defeated and find a new flag – otherwise join one of the numerous other vibrant and beautiful Christian sub-nations.

          > There are millions of evangelicals worldwide who would affirm a typical 10 point
          > statement of faith that American Evangelicals would.

          Perhaps. And maybe a bullet-point outline is a poor way to determine identity. To me this may be THE fundamental flaw in [American] Evangelicalism – metaphorically speaking it is an ideology oriented around Power Point slides, simple slam-dunk ‘canned’ answers; how can that not breed an attitude of for-me-or-against-me-you-are-in-or-you-are-out?
          .
          > We just don’t tie our faith to politics and culture wars.

          They are fused here, inseparable. If you took the war away it does not seem they have much to talk about.

          • They are fused here, inseparable.
            And that is precisely what is so confusing to many Christians outside the USA. One is very tempted to think that the gospel has been added to, much like the syncretism I saw in Latin America when I was a missionary.

            I used the example of the 10 points because I think that is something Americans can identify, to me, a bit more precise is David Bebbington’s so called ‘quadrilateral’ which is a tent that many can sit under.

            It is not a 10 point answer, but rather four main qualities which are to be used in defining evangelical convictions and attitudes.

        • You are right – it has been “added to.” That is one of many reasons that I’m no longer evangelical.

      • cermak_rd says:

        Now hold on here, pepper is a fine spice. Fresh ground it can make a simple omelette a feast. Maybe stale pepper.

  15. Mike, there are two things that must be kept in mind about Anyabwile’s original piece on this:

    (1) He was arguing that our gag reflex is tied to an intuitive moral sense. In other words, it is illegitimate to separate the moral consideration from the visceral reaction.

    (2) Anyabwile’s proposal did not get much traction among conservative evangelicals, who have basically disregarded his advice and refrained from talking about homosexuality in explicit terms. Anywabwile is not representative of the majority on this question.

    In defense of point 1 above, let me ask you this: are you planning to follow up this piece with another one on bestiality, where you separate the moral question of it from the visceral reaction that non-beast lovers typically have to it? And will you then make the case that, for non-beast lovers, it’s not really about morality but just about the yuck factor?

    • Danielle says:

      1. If we are relying on the “gag reflex” to tell us something about moral law, then we’re going to find out that there are many different moral laws. There is little more culturally or personally conditional that the gag reflex.

      This is lot like the starting argument some try: “We all “intuitively” know that sex should be like this….”

      Well, actually, we don’t. We’re here having this discussion because, obviously, these things are somewhat less obvious to me or to a LGBT person than they are to you. You don’t have to agree, but you might stop writing as though your feelings, thoughts, and conclusions are universally obvious to everyone else.

      2. I think your point that Anyabwiles is partly true: his particular take is not the universal evangelical argument on this. However, I’ve personally read his exact argument many times over the years, with more or less explicit language employed. It’s quite easy to launch his argument while being circumspect with language: all you have to do is run to the outer edges of what is taboo for your audience, to show how “shocking” you are going to be, and then say or hint at some aspect of gay sex. You don’t have to say that much to hint and who might be putting what, where.

      (In my experience, for some reason these comments are always paired with some kind of masculine defense of the affront this all is women, who are not receiving the attention of gay males. That’s always been a strange argument that says more about the writer than about homosexuals; is it really necessary to point out just because someone is not sexually attracted to you, they do not necessarily, or even in liklihood, harbor some kind of replusion toward or hatred of you?)

      The bestiality angle is one we should all know not to take by now; it has no relationship to the topic under discussion. But no, that doesn’t require an appeal to the gag reflex either.

      • Danielle,

        Anyabwile’s argument is not that we rely solely on a gag reflex to determine our morality. It is, rather, that God made the world to work a certain way, and humans have an instinctive reaction to things that transgress clear boundaries of creation.

        We must not go down the road of saying that revulsion at certain sexual practices is merely subjective. Here’s why: God made us male and female. The sexual fit is obvious from nature.

        If you want to argue otherwise, are you prepared to affirm that people who are repulsed by sex with animals, or by consensual incest, are merely expressing subjective feelings and not something about the way the world really works?

        And, if you want to draw a distinction between homosexuality and bestiality or incest, I would want to know, on what basis? Is it something about the way God made us?

        If that is your argument, welcome to fundamentalism. Let me show you around the place.

    • I think the first point is exactly what Chaplain Mike argues against. Finding certain things disgusting (feces, vomit, maggots, decaying roadkill, etc.) doesn’t mean that they are immoral. Immorality does not follow from disgust, which is Anyabwile’s argument. His conclusion may be right but it is not proved by his argument.

      • Anyabwile wasn’t arguing about objects being immoral. He was arguing about actions. There is an important difference there. Feces can’t be moral or immoral. They just are. But what we choose to do with our bodies is a moral matter.

        Folks, if we lose the ability to be repulsed by actions that are repulsive, woe to us. We have seared our consciences, and there is no end to what we will begin to approve of in the future.

        • Aaron, no one is suggesting we should never be repulsed by anything or that we should lose the ability to have true moral outrage. What I’m suggesting is that there is an unrecognized element that is often at the heart of all this “biblical” and “moral” talk about homosexuality. It goes unadmitted. We are not being honest with each other in our conversations. We’re not able to recognize what’s really going on inside us. Like the Israelites, we can’t tell the difference between what the Bible says about leprosy being unclean and the revulsion we instinctively feel when we see a leper and cross the road to avoid coming into contact with him.

          • So are you just saying that our reaction has to account for this element, and even though we have biblical convictions, this just adds to it?
            And that perhaps our reaction is as conditioned by our repulsion as well and that we need to examine that?

          • You second point is closer to the intent of the post.

          • It looks to me like what you are saying is that this unrecognized element is the real reason people like me oppose homosexual practice, not primarily because the Bible teaches against it. On what basis can you claim to know the hearts of conservative evangelicals? And why are you trying to put asunder (moral revulsion and biblical teaching) what God has joined together?

            God reveals himself through our created nature and through his written Word. If we find these things to be in harmony, what is the problem with that?

          • The “hearts” of many (not all) conservative evangelicals with regard to homosexuality are not hidden but loudly on display in their obsession with this issue. Despite the fact that it’s about approximately 2% of the population, it gets an inordinate amount of attention. To be sure, they are often just reacting to provocations from those who are pushing to keep it in the spotlight, but the intensity of passion and rhetoric being thrown around every day betrays that this has touched a special nerve among evangelicals. The World Vision situation exemplifies that. This is the major clean/unclean issue of the day, and evangelicals in particular are displaying what’s in their hearts in the most open way imaginable.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      In defense of point 1 above, let me ask you this: are you planning to follow up this piece with another one on bestiality, where you separate the moral question of it from the visceral reaction that non-beast lovers typically have to it?

      I certainly hope he does not. The only people who seem to obsess over the connection between bestiality and homosexuality are ultra-conservatives who cannot fathom a line being drawn between the sexual activity of consenting adults, and that of a human being with another species. Besides, even if we were to separate our disgust from our moral compass regarding bestiality, then toss out the issue of morality altogether, the medical community has already concluded that bestiality (unlike homosexuality) is an inherently unhealthy activity. Why? Because…science.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        And how does one carry over the concept of “consent” used pervasively in human sexually into bestiality?

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Ask the conservatives. They seem to know about consent in bestiality more than degenerate liberals like you or I.

        • Consent has nothing to do with any of our interactions with animals. Did the cow consent to be part of the cheeseburger you ate? Why bring consent up in this discussion?

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Does “moo” mean “yes?” If so, that cow was asking for it.

            No, consent has nothing to do with any of our interactions with animals; the lack of it means there is something fundamentally different between bestiality and two consenting adults in a sexual encounter.

            I’m really hoping you’re not claiming that consent should not be a factor in determining what constitutes healthy sexual activity. Rape, incest, statutory rape, sex between teacher and student, doctor and patient, priest and altar boy, etc. Sorry, TPD, but consent is a monumentally important factor in any sexual encounter.

            Granted, there is no Biblical support for that claim (there actually more to affirm the exact opposite), but I’m assuming that God’s okay with me siding with local authorities, state and federal statutes, the AMA, APA, AAP, etc.

          • “I’m really hoping you’re not claiming that …”

            Well since it doesn’t appear anywhere in my comments, no. My only point is that when talking about animals, consent isn’t an issue that needs to be considered. Although based on the comments above, I see it does make good fodder for undeserved jokes at the expense of those who disagree with you.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Thanks, it does make for good fodder for observational humor. If you’re looking for me to pay serious regard to any argument that compares homosexuality to beastiality, you’ve got the wrong guy.

            If we were talking exclusively about animals, then I would find it very odd that we would mention the term “consent.” However, since the argument about the unnaturalness or unhealthiness of homosexual activity has incorporated comparisons between same-sex activity and bestiality, consent does need to be discussed as a very, very important factor.

          • Of course. Why engage in honest debate when you can feel like you won with a lame attempt at humor.

            The comment that I commented on was talking exclusively about animals.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I’m not worried about winning; this isn’t a game. If you think it is, that’s your deal.

            And Adam’s comment was not talking exclusively about animals.

      • The medical community has concluded that homosexuality is not inherently unhealthy? My colon, they have. Show me that science.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          The AMA’s policy regarding sexual orientation is easily accessible online. Same for the policy of the American Psychological Association, the American Nursing Association, the American Pediatrics Association…

          I can go on for a while, Miguel. Really, just google “American (insert your medical profession) Association” homosexuality” and you’ll note that they all state basically the same thing.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Whoops, that was American Academy of Pediatrics, not the American Psychological Association.

          • Yeah, all I’m finding is medical services for GLBT, and support for equal rights and gay marriage, discrimination in the workplace, and the like. All politics. Show me the study that says “arsenokoitai” does no harm. I get that APA does not classify it as a mental disorder or anything. Not arguing that. But certain physical acts are not necessarily salutary, as far as I know.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Much of the evidence presented in the recent MI lawsuit that resulted in the temporary legalization of same-sex marriage in the state (before a ban was ordered pending appeal) has all the evidence you need. I’m sure that if you go look up the testimony for every court case in every state that legalized same-sex marriage, you would find similar evidence that affirms that homosexuality is not inherently harmful. Neither is same-sex marriage or same-sex sexual activity.

            Just in case there’s a problem with that, here’s the APA stating that homosexuality is not a mental disorder: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx#.

            And again, that same-sex relationships are not inherently unhealthy: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx?item=12.

            In their stand against reparative therapy, the Pan-American Health Organization was quoted in a 2012 AMA article:

            “Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure,” PAHO Director Mirta Roses Periago, MD, said. “There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation.”

            The AMA opposed reparative therapy for the same reason, and continues to do so.

            Seriously, this is not hard information to find. If you can’t access it, I strongly suspect you have a homophobic web browser.

            As far as whether or not “arsenokoitai” does no harm, I cannot do that any more than I can order a taco from Pizza Hut. There is about 2000 years of social evolution between the time when Paul wrote that letter to the Corinthians and now. The cultural phenomenon of sexual activity in that historical epoch is so radically different from this one that a reasonable comparison between the two would be illogical. Sexual orientation, as a concept, did not exist back then. Neither would the concept of same-sex marriage or gender identity–at least, not the way that we conceive of it in the 21st century. This isn’t even apples and oranges; it’s apples and kangaroos (the first noun I could think of that was radically different from apples).

            Certain physical acts are not necessarily salutary. No argument there. Prolonged, unprotected, non-consensual and/or aggressive sex of any kind, heterosexual or otherwise, is harmful. But there is no evidence to prove that homosexual activity inherently falls under the category of harmful sex. The professional organizations that I mentioned before would not support anti-discrimination, equal rights, etc. for the LGBT community if there was credible evidence to suggest that it does fall under that category.

  16. It may be worth noting that disgust issues have been studied by psychologists and that there is a good body of literature on how we find things disgusting in various cultures and how that can change over time.

    A book that takes it into the realm of Christianity is by Richard Beck – Unclean: On Purity, Hospitality, and Morality. I found it immeasurably helpful in understanding how I viewed the “other.”

  17. Patricia Stewart says:

    RIght now I am preparing a devotional for a cancer support group I facilitate. The topic is Christ IN me. For the follower of Jesus, the reality of His incarnation should (imo) give one pause when considering where to take Him. So, for the believer, is homosexual union glorifying to the One who has taken up residence within? Not for one minute will I believe that the new nature given by the indwelling Christ will ever incline us to what God has declared sin. This goes for homophobes too. My 2 cents.

  18. I think most Christians only feel this way about homosexuals because the Bible mentions clearly in several places that gay sex is not accepted by God. What bothers me is that evangelicals of the past have completely ostracized gays, if i were a gay person i would feel that evangelicals view me as sub-human. This goes against everything that Jesus did, if anything He would reach out to homosexuals. Im always amused at how some Christians quote Paul saying that people who practice homosexual sex will not make it to heaven, in that same verse it also condemns liars and i think that pretty much includes all of us.

    • Context..Context..Context

      Do some reading of sermons of the era. It was not just homosexuality, it included drunkards, thieves, adulterers and unmarried sex and sometime those who owned TV sets.

      A friend of mine remembers someone being kicked out of church because they had a TV set (that was likely the 50s). I remember someone being ostracized by a church for living in sin (common law).

      I tire of people saying this is a special case, it is not.

  19. Michael Z says:

    Um, doesn’t picturing a *heterosexual* couple going at it kind of trigger your gag reflex too, at least if you’re not secretly lusting after one of them? Like, does it not sort of make you gag to… picture your parents in bed? Or Mark Driscoll and his wife and some of their more unusual sex acts? (Sorry for putting that image in your head, but I’m trying to make a point here!)

    What if the way God *really* made us, is to have an instinctive reflex against thinking sexually about anyone we’re not in a relationship with? Maybe the only reason we *stop* having that gag reflex is because of constantly training our minds by thinking lustful thoughts about people we have no business lusting after. Similarly, many people’s first reaction when exposed to explicit pornography is disgust – even if they would normally be attracted to the person being depicted. So it’s hardly surprising that Anyabwile’s pornographic writing would make people gag.

    If, on the other hand, what Anyabwile is arguing is solely that a heterosexual person will be repulsed by the idea of they themselves being involved in homosexual sex… isn’t that obvious? A gay person would feel the same way about someone of the opposite sex.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Okay, we might need to differentiate between picturing your parents going at it and a heterosexual couple engaged in sex. I sincerely hope that, if both images disgust you, they disgust you for vastly different reasons (please, please, please tell me they do).

      And if God installed some sort of instinctive reflex that prevents us from thinking sexually about anyone that we’re not in a relationship with, then that meter has been broken for millenia. I’m not 100% sure how the porn industry works, but I’m pretty sure none of those filmmakers are scratching their heads, thinking, “How are we going to sell all this porn? People will find it so disgusting!”

    • I remember many letters to the editor of Focus on the Family magazine years ago. They had put a picture of a pregnant woman on the cover. You would not believe the number of people committed to “family values” who objected out of disgust. I remember one who said she didn’t think pregnant women should go out in public because it just causes others (like her) to imagine what she had to do to get in that condition.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And then there was the case several years ago about Christians and breastfeeding.

        When breastfeeding becomes An Unnatural Act, better start checking your closet for Rod Serling.

  20. Marcus Johnson says:

    I have gay friends. I get along with them great, but I find we don’t talk about such things the way I might talk with my heterosexual friends about intimate matters. It’s too uncomfortable.

    I think it’s really great that you admit this. I had to admit it, too, and I wish more of my friends who “have gay friends” would admit their discomfort. Our society has ascribed a privileged status to male-dominant heterosexual activity, to such a degree that we have deemed our revulsion and our resistance to really bonding with our LGBT brothers and sisters as “natural.” Until we can acknowledge the privileged aura, we will never be able to identify discrimination where it exists.

  21. Kenneth B says:

    Relevant Patton Oswalt. Warning: high probability of offense to some people.

  22. Peace From The Fringes says:

    Seems that at the base of this argument is what our reaction should be (as humans, Christians, citizens, etc.) to the “gut reactions” we experience when encountering various things in our interaction with other souls.

    Please tolerate what may sound like a simplistic comparison, but I think it demonstrates my point. Personally, when I hear someone with a strong, dominant southern accent,my knee jerk reaction is that they must not be particularly bright. There, I’ve admitted it!

    However, just because this thought, or any other, flits across my mind doesn’t mean it has validity or somehow needs to be “respected”. I need to drag it out into the light and ask myself why my head is sending me this message and what I should do about it. Obviously, it needs to be dismissed — it’s probably related to something in my deep subconscious or distant past. It is unrelated to logic or fact. Once acknowledged, I can address it and begin to exorcise it. I certainly wouldn’t act on it or try to defend it!

    [By the way, there is one important exception to this nasty personal prejudice: Timothy Olyphant. He can talk to me any old time he wants.]

  23. I am repulsed by sodomy – sorry, it’s the truth. If sodomy goes against the natural order of God’s creation, as I believe it does, why should I be criticized for being repulsed by it. If you are trying to say that Christians should never be repulsed by any kind of behavior, as this post seems to imply, that’s where we part ways.

    This does not mean that I am repulsed by people who have homosexual attractions, or even practice sodomy. Binge eating repulses me too, but I don’t hate gluttons (I am one often).

    • I’m saying that people who are repulsed should be honest enough to say that is the issue, rather than covering it up with a lot of bogus talk about “biblical values.” We can’t have real discussions with others if we’re not honest and if we are constantly justifying our real problem (our repulsion) by moral arguments.

      • I don’t think being repulsed by gay sex and having concern for social welfare/family values are mutually exclusive. The underlying reasons are the same. If someone believes certain behavior goes against God’s natural order, then it is understandable for that person to feel a sense of visceral opposition to that behavior and also to see it as a threat to God’s established societal order (the family). I don’t see where the hypocrisy is that you are referring to.

        • I’m saying it usually happens the other way around, and we don’t know ourselves well enough to admit it.

          Let’s try an exercise: Imagine yourself an Israelite who has been taught that leprosy is unclean. It is a point of doctrine for you to believe this and your practice to stay separate from lepers. However, you also have a deep visceral revulsion toward leprosy, its appearance, its smell, even the smallest indication that it might be present. You consider it unclean and disgusting. Jesus comes along and you watch him not only come into close proximity with a leper, but he actually touches him, talks to him, treats him just like he treats you and everyone else.

          You get in an argument with Jesus about the uncleanness of lepers. How will you frame your argument?

          • I don’t really know how to respond to that. I don’t treat gay people any differently than I treat anyone else. I have gay friends. I don’t think they are unclean any more than I am unclean. I try not to judge the condition of anyone’s heart. All I’m saying is that I don’t think you’ve made your case that conservative Christians are being hypocritical when they frame their opposition to a perceived homosexual agenda in the terms they do rather than being more upfront about their “gut feelings” about sodomy.

          • Clay, “hypocritical” is not the right word. I’m saying many of them don’t recognize the source of their moral outrage.

            Now it may very well be that enlightened readers of Internet Monk would never base their moral reasoning on something as crass as the “yuck” factor, but I think there are large numbers of folks out there who do, and who can’t see that this is what’s really going on.

          • You said, “I’m saying that people who are repulsed should be honest enough to say that is the issue, rather than covering it up with a lot of bogus talk about “biblical values.” You’re right, hypocrisy probably is the wrong word, but you did imply that people are dishonest and that their talk is bogus. I don’t think that is the case, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. That the opposition to the act itself is tied to the sense that it goes against God’s created order – it’s all the same impulse.

            I don’t understand your point that people feel revulsion to sodomy makes their talk about values and family bogus.

        • I would like to add that I think the real problem when discussing my “repulsion” to sodomy, is that I am more repulsed by the sin I see in others (sins of various sorts) than I am by the sin I see (or don’t see) in me. In this way, I (and probably many other Christians) are more like the pharisee than the publican.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I’m saying that people who are repulsed should be honest enough to say that is the issue, rather than covering it up with a lot of bogus talk about “biblical values.”

        I’m honest enough to say a lot of it is the Squick Factor — it squicks me out like you wouldn’t believe.

        And if a gay guy (or couple) knows about it and is considerate, they refrain from queening in front of me when they find out it squicks me out. That is common decency, if nothing else. And there’s a BIG lack of that common decency on both sides; guess that gets thrown under the Righteous Cause bus.

  24. Cedric Klein says:

    “Conservative Christians oppose homosexuality, not so much out of belief in the Bible, but because they’re grossed out by it.”

    Bull.

    If that were true, a great many straight male Christians would have no trouble with lesbianism, or having multiple female partners simultaneously.

    Yes, I do think two guys going at it are gross, but I have no animus against them over that.
    And I’ve concluded that in a secular society, there is little reason not to allow gay marriage.
    I do think that in adopting children, all else being equal, that God/Nature arranged that one man & one woman are needed to make a child & that it is best for a child to be nurtured in an intact heterosexual relationship.
    I have gay friends, male & female, one of my best friends being lesbian.
    They know my Christian faith & that my beliefs about same-sex relations stem from that.
    They also know I care about them & respect them, but I don’t agree with them.

    I think it’s clear in the Bible that a Divinely-sanctioned Christian marriage is impossible in a same-sex relationship & that same-sex activity disqualifies one from administrative & teaching authority in the Church. And I do not think it’s unreasonable or uncharitable to end support for a Christian ministry that takes such an unBiblical view. It is the ministry that has seriously erred and I am glad to see it recognized the error.

    And I wish I could believe otherwise. I have read the pro-gay Biblical interpretations that revise the “clobber verses” to condemn pedophilia, pederasty, prostitution, promiscuity and predatory sex (lots of Ps there!), but not loving committed same-sex relationships. And I just don’t see how the plain meaning of Scripture is anything other than the traditional view held by Synagogue & Church for three millenia.

    IM is getting dangerously close to “Accepting & Affirming” – maybe we need to look back to see what Michael Spencer wrote. Yes, I know he changed views on things over the years, but he was pretty consistent on this.

    • Oh Cedric, you’re so above the fray. I’m glad for you.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      If that were true, a great many straight male Christians would have no trouble with lesbianism, or having multiple female partners simultaneously.

      I went to a Southern Baptist university for my undergrad, and I can tell you that if you searched the browser history of “a great many straight male Christians,” you would find ample evidence to suggest a significant comfort level with lesbian sex or orgies with multiple female partners.

      Ample evidence.

      Big, ample, bouncy, sweaty evidence…in high definition.

      That should lead to some discussion about male privilege, but that’s a topic for another post.

      I do think that in adopting children, all else being equal, that God/Nature arranged that one man & one woman are needed to make a child & that it is best for a child to be nurtured in an intact heterosexual relationship.

      That’s a belief, not a fact. I don’t believe that, but I also don’t believe in the opposite, because belief requires that I rest on a truth in the absence of confirmed scientific evidence. There are way too many studies that have affirmed the theory that an intact heterosexual relationship is not a requirement for healthy child development. Because of that, I don’t have to believe that gay couples can raise children; they can. If you want to go against scientific evidence, then you need to rest on your belief, because that’s all you’ve got.

      I have gay friends, male & female, one of my best friends being lesbian. They know my Christian faith & that my beliefs about same-sex relations stem from that. They also know I care about them & respect them, but I don’t agree with them.

      I certainly can’t speak completely into your relationship with your friends, but I don’t see how you can respect someone if you are repulsed by the very thing by which you identify them. Personally, if our roles were reversed, I would go to those folks who I call friends and ask them if I’m being a good friend by identifying them by something I find disgusting.

      • I understand your point, Marcus: “I don’t see how you can respect someone if you are repulsed by the very thing by which you identify them.” But let’s try it with alcoholics instead. I know several. I love and respect them but despise any practice stemming from alcoholism. My position doesn’t seem contradictory to me. One of the reasons I despise their drinking is because I love and respect them. Of course that assumes that I believe addiction to alcohol is wrong and harmful. If someone didn’t agree with my assumption, as you don’t agree with Cedric’s assumptions, then contradictions arise. So yes, we differ in beliefs. All the more opportunity for love, learning, and humility. That opportunity must be one of God’s reasons for allowing us to think for ourselves.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          With all due respect, here’s why you can’t take my point and apply it to alcoholics:

          1. The medical community has affirmed through consistent scientific research that alcoholism is inherently unhealthy and destructive. They have also concluded that same-sex orientation and activity is neither inherently unhealthy nor destructive. So, if I have a concern for someone with a substance abuse problem, that concern is rooted in my recognition of medical evidence that they are hurting themselves, not a series of Bible verses that someone strung together for me.

          2. While I’m sure you despise their alcoholism as an unhealthy act, that doesn’t mean that you would define them by their alcoholism. Accept their alcoholic tendency, sure, but you don’t introduce them as, “my alcoholic friend, Marcus,” and I hope you accept them for all the complex parts of who they really are; otherwise, how can you hold out hope that they can overcome their addiction.

          • ok… but taking a very, very, narrow view and trying not to be graphic or offensive, frequent poking in areas not meant to be poked could cause tearing and be unhealthy and destructive as well… just sayin’…

          • Point taken, Marcus, but I also don’t identify anyone as “my gay friend” or even my “Italian-American friend.”

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            That is a very, very narrow view, Radagast. So narrow, in fact, that it jettisons both the reality that sexual activity involves more than just penetration and that medical research suggests that, done properly, anal penetration is not guaranteed to cause tearing of anything. Also, when using the phrase “not meant to be,” you’re engaging in circular reasoning, assuming that anal sex is unnatural because it just is.

            Unlike Chaplain Mike, I have little, if any, discomfort with talking about the particulars of sexual activity, so we can use real words.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            @Damaris:

            That’s great to hear. However, the point was not that it’s wrong to identify someone as “my gay friend” (although, seriously, that would get annoying after a while). The problem emerges when you identify a friend by the trait you find most offensive, yet still think that your relationship with them constitutes a real friendship. Unless you have a problem with Italian-Americans, then the connection between that statement and your original post about alcoholism falls.

          • Marcus – If you don’t believe in purpose and design then you have a point regarding what you are saying. But if you do believe in purpose and design then the Bible says things about marriage. He created them male and female, He gave them sex as a means of intimately rejoining those two halves AND as a means of procreation, marriage is a picture of the union between Christ and His Bride (the Church), etc. These things were designed for a purpose (a survey of the human body will confirm this) and their misuse is a perversion of that purpose. Just because you can figure out a way to exploit sex for other purposes while minimizing the negative consequences doesn’t make it right.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I do believe in purpose and design. Let’s play with your idea that sexual activity’s primary purpose is procreation. Does that mean that heterosexual couples either cannot have children are violating God’s “purpose”? That means people who marry past childbearing years, women who have hysterectomies, men who do not have viable sperm, etc. Were they issued bad parts? Did God just set them up for failure?

            What about heterosexual couples who deliberately choose not to have children for any one of a number of legitimate reasons? If they choose to have sex as part of an intimate relationship, and do not conceive, does God nullify the legitimacy of their marriage?

            The whole “sex as procreation” argument is a leftover from a time in which a family’s wealth and viability were based on household size. That is a cultural phenomenon, not a spiritual mandate. God never said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and if you don’t, here comes My wrath!” So you can call it “exploiting sex for other purposes”; I call it a normal part of a healthy, intimate relationship.

          • Marcus – I never made the argument that “sexual activity’s primary purpose is procreation.” Reread my comment and notice the “AND” in capital letters.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I read it. You argued that the purpose of marriage and sexual activity was for the sacred joining of two halves AND procreation. I assume that the capitalized AND presumes that the two must always be linked. And since same-sex sexual activity cannot possibly result in procreation, then I also presume you were claiming that that sexual activity for the sake of “the joining of two halves” (whatever that means) cannot be considered sacred. Sorry, but even though you claim that you were not suggesting that the primary purpose of sexual activity was procreation, if you’re affirming that the absence of procreation in same-sex activity strips the act of its sacredness, and since the “sex is about procreation” crowd never worries that much about what “the joining of two halves” means beyond the metaphor, then I concluded that procreation is to your concept of a God-honored sexual act as flour is to bread.

            We should probably get away from the whole “These body parts are designed this way,” too. It’s not found anywhere in Scripture, and it’s pure conjecture to make that leap.

          • My mistake. I should have said “as well as” instead of “AND.” My point was actually that the symbolism of rejoining of the two halves was more important than procreation that is why I listed it first. As far as what that means:

            Gen 1:27
            So God created Adam in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

            Gen 2:23-24
            Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”
            Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

            The traditionally understood implication is that the image of God was in Adam and that image was separated into Adam and Eve. Males and females each reflect the image of God from a slightly different angle due to our different predispositions. The spiritual and physical union during sex is a reuniting. Then you also have the symbolic imagery of Christ and His Bride, the Church. These are the reasons that marriage is sacred.

            And, yes, these body parts are designed this way. Take a look, it’s pretty obvious. Homosexuality is a disregarding of the evident physical design as well as a disregarding of the Divine symbolism revealed in the Bible.

      • I think the same can be said for the friend that steps out on his spouse. I might be repulsed by their behavior (and want to pound some sense into them), but this person is still my friend.

        I have a friend at the gym and she is gay, brings her partner in sometimes. She is a great little soul. If we were to get into a discussion about her relationship and we have skirted the issue in the past I would offer my two sense from a relationship perspective. But if we were to talk from how I felt about what she is doing I would be honest, just like I would bring honest opinion to the friend who is cheating. IF you ask the question….

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Okay, so now it’s marital infidelity. At least we’re not on the bestiality/pedophilia/incest kick. Baby steps…

          The same cannot be said for marital infidelity; you cannot logically equate that with same-sex orientation or activity. Same as with pedophilia and incest, marital infidelity has long been confirmed as unhealthy, risky behavior by the counseling psychology profession. Same-sex sexual activity has not.

          If you want to draw a comparison, how about doing it between same-sex sexual activity and a) something that you find repulsive and b) something which the medical/scientific/scholarly community has concluded constitutes dangerous/unhealthy/risky behavior?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I went to a Southern Baptist university for my undergrad, and I can tell you that if you searched the browser history of “a great many straight male Christians,” you would find ample evidence to suggest a significant comfort level with lesbian sex or orgies with multiple female partners.

        Ample evidence.

        Big, ample, bouncy, sweaty evidence…in high definition.

        Which confirms my comment a long ways above that the squick factor and Bright Red Murder Flag has to do with MALE homosexuality only. HAWT Lezbo Action is a standard trope of STRAIGHT guy porn.

        Aside: From 35 years in SF fandom, “Slashfic” usually appeals to those of the opposite sex of the characters being slashed. Kirk-slash-Spock fangirls are mostly female, Cagney-slash-Lacy fanboys mostly male. And you find a lot of slashfic and slashfic setups in My Little Pony fanfics, as most of the characters are female. (Lyra-slash-BonBon and Rainbow Dash-slash-all comers being so common one Brony even did a hilarious collectible card game on the subject.) Not much distance between Shipfic and Slashfic.

        And then there’s the bandwagon effect in media, where something becomes FAH-shionable. In TV, I noticed since Alien Nation in the Eighties that every time a future society is shown, there has to be at least one homosexual couple in the background to show how Progressive/Tolerant/Diverse We Are. And it becomes a fashion or fad. When I was first getting obsessed with MLP:FIM fanfic two years ago, there was a three-month-long fad where I learned more about the Equestrian Gay Scene than I EVER wanted to know — including herds of vigilante ponies out to trample “colt-cuddlers” and “filly-foolers”, Quoting a “Book of Celestia” chapter-and-verse for justification. My response to that one was “COME ON! LIKE YOU COULDN’T BE MORE OBVIOUS?” Took a while to adjust my fanfic filters to this variant of Rule 34 meets Sturgeon’s Rule.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          I suspect, though certainly cannot even begin to prove, that if our culture separated male and female homosexuality into unrelated categories, the response to female homosexuality would be far more accommodating, for the obvious reason that many heterosexual males find it hot (in theory at least: lesbian porn aimed at straight men bears little resemblance to actual lesbianism). Because we link it with male homosexuality, with its squick factor, female homosexuality gets condemned for the sake of consistency.

    • David Cornwell says:

      “Thou shalt not kill.” Or “Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Jesus)

      Over the years we’ve pretty much interpreted away the meaning of this commandment. We’ve managed to work out all kinds of exceptions and qualifications Yet we insist on sticking the Ten Commandments up on a courthouse square.

      But I suppose homsexuality is far more importantly dangerous to our moral health.

  25. David Cornwell says:

    Stephen E. Fowl in his book “Engaging Scripture” argues that for the purpose of biblical interpretation, that we must develop friendships with homosexual Christians. He points to the writing of Luke Timothy Johnson, Jeffrey Siker, and Richard Hays. The discussion revolves around using the model of Acts 10-15 as a way forward. Interpretation has never been a black or white thing, regardless of the arguments we make

    Fowl does not reach conclusions one way or the other, however.

    This model is a little complicated and needs explanation. If I had time I would outline the arguments, and some of the differing conclusions. Consult the above book if you are interested.

    • David I love what you say about developing friendships with homosexual Christians. It would do all of us good to start a long term relationship….and a long conversation “at the table” with those we don’t eye to eye with on the surface. This, I believe, would bring help us to see we have more in common than not. You’ve referenced Luke Timothy Johnson before and I’m looking forward to reading him.

  26. Kenneth B says:
  27. The visceral reaction is natural and a gift from God. Homosexuality is death. If you’ve known any gay people, you’ve surely perceived this. They are the most bitter and unhappy people on earth.

    • Oh, now there’s an enlightened remark. Wow.

    • Peace From The Fringes says:

      Oh, you’re adorable!

    • cermak_rd says:

      But what about all those bitter straight people? I’ve hypothesized that there’s a common bitterness quotient across any given segment of the population. However, I’ve failed to ascertain any reasonable test for determining the level of bitterness in any given subject.

      • Joseph (the original) says:

        But what about all those bitter straight people?

        they’re bitter because they ain’t getting any…

        just sayin’… :)

    • This is a joke, right, Michael Brown (or are you Scott Lively)?

    • Clark, you seem bitter and unhappy about this topic.

    • Maybe a reason they’re bitter and unhappy is because many of them live in constant fear for their lives, their jobs, and their security, suffer the continued rejection of families and former friends, and cannot be allowed to live normal lives in public or in private with their partners.

      As Dick Gregory once said: “When you went into a concentration camp, what you smelled wasn’t Judaism – it was Naziism. And when you go into an inner city ghetto, you don’t smell black people – you smell racism.”

      When you see gay people being bitter and unhappy, what you’re seeing is homophobia, not gay people.

    • Then why do they like to sing and dance, and fill the world with color through their practice of interior decoration and floristry?

  28. Your assertion is based on Anyabwile being the assumed representative of all “conservative Christians”. That is intellectually lazy and factually dishonest. You ought to at least strongly qualify your observation as that of being anecdotal and only that from which you have learned via your own experience. You act no differently than what you often chide as those fundies you mock as broad stereotypers and simpletons of little discretion and nuance in their treatment of issues.

    Now to the objection of personal revulsion…so what?

    Many Biblically forbidden activities have valid practical reasons which can and should be used in apoealing to our senses to demonstrate why, practically speaking, something is forbidden.Which leads us to your claiming ignorance of the origin of revulsion toward the perversion of homosexuality. Read Romans. God tells us, such revulsions are natural. We are informed by our senses as to the inappropriateness and yes, revulsion of sexual immorality and impurity. It is the absence of such revulsions toward sexual perversion which the Bible treats as those whose consciences are seared and cannot feel that ought be concerning. You appear to be concerned with the very opposite.

    Also your classic failed response about, “am I not suppose to extend grace to homosexuals” is just that, a failure to distinguish between describing the repulsiveness of something and interacting with the offender. While I am not fan of Anyabwile on many topics, so my motivation is not circling the wagons, Anyabwile was not dealing with a person but a topic. I am confident when interacting with homosexuals he extends grace along with all other sinners.

    But the worse offense you committed here is the grossly arrogant pressumption that you can read the minds of others.

    There is a point to be made about basing objections to immoral and perverse behavior only in personal/practical revulsion but you have adulterated this approach with hyper-stereotyping based on fractional sampling and claims of mind/heart reading only God can know.

    I think you are fast becoming the very thing on the left you protest a out on the right.

    • “There is a point to be made about basing objections to immoral and perverse behavior only in personal/practical revulsion but you have adulterated this approach with hyper-stereotyping based on fractional sampling and claims of mind/heart reading only God can know.”

      Thank you for at least acknowledging my point, Alex.

    • Rev. Dennis FitzPatrick says:

      thanks Alex.

    • “Your assertion is based on Anyabwile being the assumed representative of all “conservative Christians”. “

      I don’t think I said this or implied this, Alex. I see his article as an example, a rare public acknowledgment of an unrecognized undercurrent within moral conservatism, Christian and otherwise.

      • Well, it doesn’t help your argument by citing a sample comment of Anyabwile’s and nothing else of substance. But this is a lesser point. However, if it is rare to see this stated, maybe your suspicion that this is an unrecognized undercurrent ought to be bolstered by more citations. But as I said, it is a lesser point of the matter and your explanation is reasonable, though unsubstantiated other than the Anyabwile anecdote.

        • To be fair Alex, I am merely agreeing with Anyabwile’s assumption that this visceral reaction is (and should be) common. He is encouraging us all to get back to letting ourselves feel it in all its power.

          And please, Alex, this was a simple blog post designed to provoke discussion, not a dissertation to argue a fully reasoned position. It made a single point bolstered by an illustration and a reflection on my own feelings, and wasn’t intended as a paper with lots of arguments and citations.

          If you want to read a substantive book on the subject of how the psychology of disgust influences the Church, read Richard Beck’s book, Unclean, which another reader recommended earlier in the discussion.

          • Alex Guggenheim says:

            I willingly yielded to your explanation but arguing it isn’t a dissertation doesn’t license your broad brush and assertion. I might buy your overreach with the strong qualifier that you suspect your assertion to be true but that is not how you stated it. You did so rather emphatically and boldly with the “real reason” being without dispute. No matter the size of post, unqualified assertions aren’t intellectually honest and simply set up a straw man.

          • OK, you get last word. Do try to read Unclean by Beck though.

    • David Cornwell says:

      ” I am confident when interacting with homosexuals he extends grace along with all other sinners.”

      Joke? Why would anyone accept grace from such a graceless person? Or is grace redefined as some branch of the law?

    • “Also your classic failed response about, “am I not suppose to extend grace to homosexuals” is just that, a failure to distinguish between describing the repulsiveness of something and interacting with the offender.”

      One of the problems is that our sense of repugnance keeps us from interacting with the “offender.” People in the evangelical communities that I know, for example, (and I pastored in those communities for 25+ years) generally do not go out of their way to interact with their LGBT neighbors.

      • “One of the problems is that our sense of repugnance keeps us from interacting with the “offender.” People in the evangelical communities that I know, for example, (and I pastored in those communities for 25+ years) generally do not go out of their way to interact with their LGBT neighbors.”

        This I can agree with you on. But this is also why I’m confused as to why you framed your post the way you did. If the goal is to interact with LGBT people, why are you encouraging people to be more forthright about their feelings of revulsion to sodomy? That would surely not help build bridges.

        • “If the goal is to interact with LGBT people, why are you encouraging people to be more forthright about their feelings of revulsion to sodomy? That would surely not help build bridges.”

          First, we should be honest with ourselves about our feelings so that we can recognize them and deal with them. That’s helpful in any relationship.

      • There are too many examples of all of us finding something repugnant but still quite able to interact lovingly with someone. I would cite the idea of our parents as youth, engaging in sex, as something commonly repugnant to teens but that does not stop them from interacting and certainly not from loving.

        But the issue of “going out of the way to engage the LGBT neighbor” because we all know just now friendly and engaging the LGBT community is toward the segment of the Christian church which still identifies homosexuality as immoral and sinful and will not affirm LGBT as a morally valid lifestyle. But that aside…

        I doubt most people know the sexual orientation of their neighbors. Secondly, most people have very little time to “go out of their way”, they generally work, have a family to attend to, a private life of car repairs and doctor’s appointments and yard work.

        And frankly, most Christians I have encountered appear to do what the great commission states, “As you go”. They live their lives and as they encounter people of all types, they attempt to interact. Besides this as well, why does the LGBT community warrant some special going out of the way?

        Honestly, when I read about what you describe as Christians, I find this narrative overwhelmingly coming from the LGBT community about Christians and not what is observable. Most believers I have encountered are quite gracious in person and in their lives. I believe you give too much credence to the LGBT narrative about believers.

  29. Rev. Dennis FitzPatrick says:

    (just to be clear i buried my cousin who died of aides 20yrs ago.My moral outrage was against the priest who told him it was OK to do homosexual sex. Had I caught the priest we would have an up close personal discussion. He took care of it for me though and did the Judas dance.PTL we are as pastors doubly judged you know or have you even forgotten that. It is in the Bible. )

    It seems that the writer of this response no longer, if he ever did believe the Romans discussion in 1-3 about the law written on the heart. Is there any standard of law that you do accept? It is true that even lust for a woman not your wife is sin enough to send you to hell, (according to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount but don’t let that stand in you way) but the response that moral outrage is not to believed, I do not even know what to do with it. i presume the writer is a Pastor trained in some type of logic at some type of Sym. i don’t know if you just don’t like moral outrage or what. No culture has survived homosexual and out of wed lock marriage. It is a historical marker of thedecline of a society and culture. Homosexual sex is no worse or better than any other forbidden sex, but this does bring up a discussion off Grace, eventually.

    • As usual, Dennis, you miss the point entirely. And since I know from past experience that it is futile to argue with you, have a nice day.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      It seems that the writer of this response no longer, if he ever did believe the Romans discussion in 1-3 about the law written on the heart.

      As CM has chosen not to argue with you about the ridiculousness of your post, neither will I. However, I should point out your error in vocabulary. Chaplain Mike wrote the post for the forum’s discussion; you wrote the response. So, in that statement, you’re actually talking about yourself. Grammar Nazi drops it like it’s hot!

    • Dr. Neurobrain says:

      He died of *aides*, huh?

  30. It’s been a long couple of days for anyone who made the mistake of slogging through the internet commentary over the World Vision fiasco. I don’t have the heart to engage much more with it right now, having already done so in other venues.

    But I would like to thank Chaplain Mike for bringing up the issue and attempting to be candid. I am not sure the main issue is really the mass “gut reflex,” but its something closely tied to it—our entrenchment in cultural-emotional universe in which certain feelings and sexualities have been taboo and people holding them marginalized in a variety of ways.

    And I would like to say this:

    I’m afraid the source material discussed here has the potential to be deeply hurtful, especially to people who are raw from recent events. Inevitably, it will draw out comments that are hurtful. I don’t mean hurtful as in “boo hoo, poor me, someone said a mean thing.” I mean that the conversation can be alienating, hurtful on a deep level.

    Over the past 48 hrs, as usually happens when the waters are stirred on this topic, many people launched versions of the argument that there is can be no committed Christians who have embraced their sexuality as LGBT people, no true Christians who affirm them, and no organizations that can permit the existence of such individuals and still be called “Christian”. It is unthinkable, apparently, even to cooperate in parachurch context in pursuit of a mutual goal. This is different from saying one disagrees with an argument: it removes a place at the table from real people; rhetorically, it attempts to make them invisible. Likewise, the ‘appeal to revulsion’ that is sometimes made carries with a detestation directed at a person that belies their humanity and their worth.

    In the face of this, I think it is necessary to say that I stand in solidarity with any LGBT people reading this page. There is space for you at the table. You are worth seeing. There is nothing shocking or disgusting about you. Nothing.

    I say this with no animus toward those who hold opinions different from mine; I continue to engage in conversation with you, when that is desired, and I will certainly break bread with you. You will hear no anathemas from my corner. But I stand in solidarity with those who keep getting written onto the margins of the evangelical conversation on this matter.

    In all things, and especially this matter, peace.

    • +1

    • I read all of these comments, and it was yours, Danielle, that stirred my soul.
      I have walked a long road with IM on this subject, and I wondered if I would live to see the day when this type of conversation would ever take place here. I do believe Michael Spencer would have written a similar post as this were he alive today. He had that compassion that the Chaplain seems to have that allows one to see to the heart of a matter. Who knew it would involve the term “gag reflex”, but I would be hard pressed to find a better term to describe the situation.
      My father was a southern Baptist preacher, and I recall several times hearing my brother talk about gays. He would use the slurs to identify them, and said things like he would beat one to death if they ever came on to him.
      Anyone remember Jimmy Swaggart? He said if one ever did that to him, he would kill him and tell God he died.
      That seems to have been a reasonable reaction for a straight man to have in the face of unwanted advances from a gay, as if that would ever happen. Gay men in Mississippi and all across the south for that matter would certainly know better, and would know the probable consequences of those actions.
      It’s all societal and learned behavior to hate that which is different or scary or gross.
      I won’t launch into any thoughts of what the bible says on the subject. It has been talked about so many times, and at some point a person has to decide for themselves what they believe the bible to say on all issues.
      I just know that I was knitted in my mothers womb to be exactly who I am today. I know my Redeemer lives in me and directs my steps. The fact that I had to leave the church world to find this peace in my soul should be of great concern to most pastors, but I doubt that it is. If my father were alive today, I know he would be ashamed of this fact.
      If the church doesn’t find its way back to the love, it deserves the long, slow death it is experiencing for leading their sheep toward the steep rocky cliffs instead of to green pastures. You can’t love God and hate others and be effective. Drop the “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality and get back to just the love.
      I should have just made this my comment that stands alone, but Danielle, you moved me to comment. It is people like you in the faith that gives me hope for the world. There are people who understand the commandments of Jesus and how they relate in our world. Love the Lord God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves. It is those who know how to love ourselves that will be the most effective in reaching hearts and minds, and sadly, there are many standing in pulpits each week who really do not love themselves.
      They will know we are Christians by our love.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        It has, alas, been over ten years since a guy hit on me. I am getting old.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It’s been a long couple of days for anyone who made the mistake of slogging through the internet commentary over the World Vision fiasco. I don’t have the heart to engage much more with it right now, having already done so in other venues.

      Remember the BIG Chick-Fil-A to-do?

  31. Good try, CM. Your description of yesterday’s piece as “an attempt to strip away layers of Christian culture and find the truth embodied in Jesus” seems even more apt today. One would hope for a better response to this Annabelle guy here than in the evangelical world at large.but results are mixed. As for the World Mission CEO, his income is probably a thousand times mine, and he didn’t see this coming? Next time, check with me first. Too bad he can’t afford to resign. Not for incompetence so much as stupidity and lack of integrity. Admittedly he is good at back-pedaling.

    As it turns out, my best friends in the last five years have been a gay couple, not by intent or design, just that they were the ones I could best relax with, tip a few, be at home, trust, talk about important things like God, relationships, the difficulty of following Jesus, and if it happened to come up, sex. None of this possible with evangelical friends. As in real life, no final answers, but the following hints:

    1) Being gay seems to be something like being left-handed, in about the same ratio and with about the same importance. There was a time when one of the tasks of schools was to turn left-handers into right, with unfortunate consequences.

    2) You would not know my friends were gay if you met them. They and I agree concerning those whose appearance and behavior instantly identifies them as gay, that our response may range from amusement to abhorrence, but in any case it’s pretty weird.

    3) The Bible may or may not be plain about this issue, but it is a lot more plain about serial marriage/divorce, of which I am guilty several times over. Sorry, would like to help you out, but I’m working on my own back yard.

    4) As with staunch segregationists fifty years ago, sometimes some people just have to die before most of the rest of us can move on to more important things.

    • Travis Sibley, aka BigLove says:

      That is a wonderful look at the issue! Thanks so much for sharing and I agree with 1-4!

    • David Cornwell says:

      Charles, thank you. These are some of my thoughts exactly. In my last church, a revelation struck me: Gay people can and do know Christ. I was pastor of a small town church, and over the course of several years found that several my best lay people were gay. They spent time with me, explained the struggles that go along with realizing this, the accompanying despair, and cruelty that others, including family can dish out. One of these men, who now lives in another state, is one of my closest friends.

      Now, I do not know all the answers. I will never be able to explain it to an anti-gay fundamentalist, or maybe even a common sense interpreter of the Word. I wish we were at a place where we could accept our differences in interpretation, but am not hopeful. How the church handles this in the future, I have no idea.

  32. Travis Sibley, aka BigLove says:

    I don’t understand man on man gay sex but I have had gay male friends who found the vagina “gross.”

    Have never really found woman on woman sex to be offensive. Maybe I grew up seeing too much porn as a teen?

    All I know is that whatever anyone does sexually with another consenting adult is none of my business. Hetero, homo, swap-o-matic, submissive, dom, S&M…whatever.

    I am called to love. Period.

  33. “The real issue, the one no one wants to talk about, is that many Christians and moral conservatives are repulsed by gay sex. It’s a visceral thing, not an intellectual thing. It’s about what they feel in their gut, not what they find in their Bibles.”

    Baloney! The article as well as many of the posts here seem to be nothing but assumptions written to make the writers feel morally superior to those they are inaccurately writing about.

    I am a moral conservative who is not repulsed by the thought of passionately kissing a man. It is as appealing to me as the thought of passionately kissing a woman. But LGBT behavior is wrong because “the Bible tells me so” along with a long list of practical reasons. LGBT behavior may not be “the worsestest of them all” but it is sin. Also, there is nothing wrong with being repulsed by sinful behavior (though this particular one doesn’t bother me) so long as you do not treat the person engaging in that behavior with less love or dignity.

    • TPD, I said many not all and the fact that you don’t have the “gag reflex” doesn’t mean others don’t. You’re going to have to come back with something better than “Not me, so it can’t be true.”

      • Your phrase “the real issue…” implies a broad application, “many” is just a cya qualification. My argument was specifically patterned after yours. Your personal experience and anecdotal evidence convince you of one thing, mine of another thing. Neither has more validity than the other.

        By examining your motivations you can only determine YOUR motivations, not those of another. You’re going to have to come up with something better than “it’s true for me, so it must be true for them.”

        • Actually I’m speaking out of over 30 years of pastoral experience, mostly in conservative circles. It’s not an uninformed opinion.

          • I’m the son of a preacher, who was the son of a preacher. I graduated from Bible College and served 10 years (7 as an Associate Pastor) in the church my grandfather founded. Since leaving full-time ministry I have 20 years experience in all areas of lay church leadership and have worked for both secular and “Christian” organizations, for profit and not-for-profit, as well as owning my own “Christian” bookstore. When it comes to the Evangelical Christianity community, I think my opinions are just as informed as yours.

          • Okay TPD, we can stop the pissing match. In the end, I think this is more prevalent than you think and you believe it’s less so than I think. I still hold that it’s a good idea for each of us to know our own hearts when it comes to matters like this. Religious folks like us have to fear self-righteousness and and inauthenticity more than anything else. Like it or not, our kind has a reputation for not knowing ourselves very well and hiding behind moralistic pronouncements to cover all manner of personal brokenness.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I’m the son of a preacher, who was the son of a preacher. I graduated from Bible College and served 10 years (7 as an Associate Pastor) in the church my grandfather founded.

            That anything like “I am a Pharisee, Son of a Pharisee, a Student of Gamaliel”?

          • HUG – You caught my reference. And what I said above isn’t the half of it. When it comes to pedigree I can go toe to toe with anyone. I’m a 7th generation Anabaptist (who since left the church) and was told the stories growing up of my forefathers who were persecuted for their faith; The great-grandfather who spent 5 years in a Prussian prison for refusing military service, the grandfather who was beaten as a boy on the streets of Austria-Hungry because he refused to kiss the catholic priest’s ring, the preserved newspaper clipping (no joke – in Hungarian) about another great-grandfather who was extolled upon his death for his godly life even though the church refused to ring the bells because he wasn’t a catholic, etc, etc, etc. Then my immediate family where all my siblings are “born-again” and 4 of the 6 are either missionaries or domestic ministers, blah, blah, blah. Doesn’t mean a thing of course, but when someone wants to challenge my Christian street cred, I got bucketsful.

            As you can imagine, there’s just a wee-bit of spiritual pride in my family.

  34. I a bit surprised that nobody has pointed this out, but Chaplain Mike, it is quite possible that you are 100% backwards in your theory here. Perhaps those who shout the loudest are preaching to themselves. Think about it – Ted Haggard.

    I’m not accusing anybody in particular, but when I hear this kind of rhetoric, I can only wonder: Who are you really trying to convince? I mean, the graphic detail with which he describes homosexual encounters of various kinds makes me wonder how much thought he has put into it. I typically don’t analyze what repulses me with so much detail: rather, I try to avoid it.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Maybe it would help if you accuse someone in particular, Miguel. There are folks here who span the spectrum of thought on this topic, and I’m not sure who you’re trying to take into the back room and club for their lack of civility.

      I typically don’t analyze what repulses me with so much detail: rather, I try to avoid it.

      Maybe that’s the point of Chaplain Mike’s post, that we don’t analyze what repulses us, or why it repulses us, we just want to get it and anything that is related to it as far away from us as humanly possible. That’s the kind of logic that distorted the third commandment to mean “Thou shalt not use four-letter words.” Adults should be able to talk about this, and they should use real words when they do.

      • While I am not a fan of how Miguel approached this aspect of the conversation, I have to say he does have a valid point in his passive aggressive statements.
        Closeted gay men hate to a level that mere men can never attain because that hatred is of that person they fear they will never know. The sacrifice required to live an authentic life is more than most can muster the courage to take. Add to it the pressures from “Christian” friends or colleagues and that closeted man will likely remain hidden and bitter until they die or kill themselves.
        It sounds over dramatic, but it happens more than we care to admit it seems.

        • I insist that was not passive aggressive. It stands to reason that a portion of this type of rhetoric comes from the frustration of suppression. We can clearly never know which is which until somebody comes out or gets caught, but we should keep this in mind when we hear somebody denouncing “moral abominations” with such fervor. It always remains a possibility. I’ve seen this in myself (though not on gay issues): It is so much easier to preach against particular sins where you share in the guilt (I say this as a former youth pastor with plenty of hypocrisy in my message archive).

      • Marcus, I’m talking about the rhetoric in the post’s excerpt, not the commenters here. I’m find for a full vocabulary conversation. But when full vocab is used to assert how disgusting somebody else’s sin is, I’m tempted to think the protestation is a bit too strong to be sincere…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Perhaps those who shout the loudest are preaching to themselves. Think about it – Ted Haggard.

      And Rush Limbaugh, number-one fan of the War on Drugs while battling a secret Oxycontin addiction.

      And 100 years ago, recovering alcoholic Billy Sunday preaching against Demon Rum to the point Christ got completely left out of his preaching.

      And the joke that a lot of Psychiatrists are bat-turd crazy themselves, they went into the profession so they could self-medicate/self-treat in secret. It’s even worse if you’re a CELEBRITY Preacher maintaining a public image of Absolute Christian Perfection.

    • Final Anonymous says:

      Miguel, I could hug you. Seriously. I didn’t know how to phrase it.

      If there’s something sadder than an openly gay person suffering harm in our society, it may be a closeted gay person who can’t or won’t deal with their own truth. At least the former has some measure of peace with him/herself.

  35. Vega Magnus says:

    I’m not really prepared to take a position either way on this whole discussion, however, I do not find the argument that hetero sex is the only right way to do things because “the parts fit together” to be valid. Hetero couples do all sorts of stuff that does not involve the standard format of fitting the parts together, so those acts would have to be considered unnatural as well if the “parts fit together” argument is to be considered valid, and quite frankly, one is not going to get much support for calling non-standard hetero sex unnatural.

  36. I appreciate the point Chaplain Mike is making, but I would put it a different way. I think Christian opposition to homosexuality is because homosexuals are viewed as “the other.” True, there’s a revulsion to gay sex, but some also find gay handholding and kissing to be revulsive.

    Remember that scene in the 70s movie, “Deathtrap,” where, in the movie’s big reveal scene, Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine kissed? The reason the scene was so effective was that the audience was counted upon to be shocked and revulsed (indeed we were).

    It’s been stated many times recently that part of the reason for the gaining acceptance of gay marriage is that people have become more accustomed to seeing gays portrayed as regular folks on shows like “Will and Grace” and “Modern Family.” In other words, gays are becoming less of “the other.”

    I believe that the gay marriage legal issues will be resolved very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing Christians move away from the gay issues and focus on real “Biblical” issues.

    • Well put, Andy.

    • I would suggest that, on the whole, Christians in this country aren’t going out of their way to give their take on gay issues. Gay issues are being forced on us by our current culture, demanding an answer fromus. If fellow Believers are “repulsed” by those who are “repulsed”, then perhaps we should treat them as the “weaker” brother and not throw them under the bus as not “enlightened”. We are the Body of Christ. Love is our calling, for the world AND our weaker brother.

  37. I’m sure Jesus was gagging and tossing his cookies the entire time he was eating with tax collectors and sinners, just to make clear his righteous indignation.

  38. (Ha ha, “gag reflex”!)

    How can anybody in this day and age find blowjobs repulsive? They’re pretty much a relationship standard. If somebody went on this way about how disgusting cunnilingus is, I’d think they were gay.

    And butt sex, known to Christians as “sodomy”? I’m with the Feebles on that.

    Let me do some Mad-Lib style rewriting:

    ————————————
    “Evangelical” and “Christian” are polite terms for an ugly practice. They are euphemisms. In all the politeness, we’ve actually stopped talking about the things that lie at the heart of the issue–sexual bigotry of an abominable sort. … And I think it would be a good thing if more people were gagging on the reality of the religious behavior that has become public law, protected, and even promoted in public schools.
    ———————————–

    • You said,

      “How can anybody in this day and age find blowjobs repulsive?”

      Me, that’s who. I have no desire to perform that act on a guy.

      The vast majority of women I’ve known and chatted with over the years do not want to perform that particular act on their honey pies. The ones who do it find it disgusting and only do it to please the husband / boyfriend.

      Many women find anal sex physically painful and only do it because they are pressured to by the perverted boyfriend or spouse.

      It is my opinion that anal sex is un-natural for hetero couples and they should not be engaging in that behavior.

      • Yes, women have learned to “like” sodomy because pornified culture has made it such that a woman who is adamant about refusing to provide oral sex (since sometime in the 80s) and now anal sex (since the late 90s) is no longer “competitive” in the coupling market. I hate using economic terms, it is so crass, but it does describe reality to some extent.

        If you look at the cheesy women’s magazines and self-help lit, there are all kinds of mind games and “tips” aimed at making these activities less unpleasant and even tricking yourself into thinking you enjoy them. You will hear women on the libertine fringe scream about how “empowering” it is to give a great BJ or how anal sex is the best, but it is such transparent propaganda.

        But as we see above, the mockery and scorn and condescending nastiness from males such as Wexel is what a woman can expect to get, at least, if she admits she’s not on board with this stuff. THEY like it, so we had better like it, or else they’ll make us pay.

        • I said nothing about forcing anybody to do anything. I hope you all have fulfilling relationships, hopefully with partners whose tastes are similar. Alas, this is rarely 100 % true, and compromises get made. (For example, I find giving massages to be tiring and dull, but routinely succumb to wifely pressure.)

          As an empirical matter, BJ’s are pretty standard (except for lesbians, of course), as is cunnilingus (except for gay men, of course). That is, they have become expectations. I think this was more the result of 18th century improvements in sanitation than 20th century improvements in porn, but who knows. Also, the availability of sex information has skyrocketed since oh, the 1960’s.

          Anal sex is a minority indulgence among heteros, and so is on a different level, but you’d be surprised how many gay men are equally hesitant.

          • Your sneering assertion that someone who doesn’t like oral sex “must be gay” may not be a gun to anyone’s head, but it’s part of a nasty cultural pressure that is definitely at play.

            Don’t play coy. You’re a man of the world, apparently, since you’re an expert on everyone’s sexual habits. You know how men talk about bjs, the show of dominance, the whining entitlement, and the fact that a word that probably wouldn’t make it through the filter here, but which bluntly describes “one who gives a male fellatio” is one of the worst insults. Getting on one’s knees, etc–this is the very epitome of a degrading, subservient posture, and it’s not just considered such when taken on by a man.

          • Yes, a man who expresses disgust with cunnilingus is, as an empirical matter, probably gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

            You seem determined to associate consensual heterosexual practices with the perpetuation of patriarchy, and given the whole thing a BDSM overlay. Suffice it to say that this is not the experience of most couples. A sufficiently determined ideologue could even interpret marriage as a form of rape, since the participants can never truly be equal in a patriarchal society.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Animal forced dominance display, with the penetrated kneeling or crouching in submission before the penetrator.

          • Well if that bothers you so much, then one of you should just lie on your back.

            And are you against doggy-style sex as well? (I thought the “missionary position” thing was just an urban legend!)

          • You’ve overstepped several boundaries here, Wexel, but I’m sure you neither notice nor care.

          • Are you a moderator, then, or are you just playing the “church lady” role?

          • It’s extremely telling that you think any woman who wants to maintain sexual boundaries–including one who objects to a strange man offering unsolicited advice on sexual positions–would have to be a “church lady.”

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      How can anybody in this day and age find blowjobs repulsive? They’re pretty much a relationship standard. If somebody went on this way about how disgusting cunnilingus is, I’d think they were gay.

      Okay, Wexel, that’s the line I won’t even cross, and I got a degree in snark. If you want to confront what you see as hypocrisy in the mainstream Christian approach to sexual orientation, feel free, but you’ve circled back around to being more homophobic than what I would accuse anyone in this forum of becoming.

    • Wexel, you really are acting like a troll tonight.

  39. This just in. One of the evangelical “bishops” has chimed in:

    “As the World Vision episode illustrates so vividly, the same-sex marriage issue will act like a truth serum, dividing true Evangelicals from the faux Evangelicals who seek to travel under the Evangelical banner while denying the biblical faith of their Evangelical forefathers.” (Richard Land)

    This issue has apparently put the capital “E” in Evangelical! From whence does such passionate intensity, such moral outrage, such zeal to cast out the heretics originate?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I think they are correct.

      The fundamentalists won this fight as the neo-evangelical movement never built a center of gravity; the remaining neo-sympathizers cannot begin to match the network and resources of the fundamentalists in the fight for the capital-E. This issue is the fundamentalist’s chance to purge the house of the lingering neos and take the banner as the uncontested Evangelicals.

      And.. meh, they can have it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      This issue has apparently put the capital “E” in Evangelical! From whence does such passionate intensity, such moral outrage, such zeal to cast out the heretics originate?

      From the same place as the Taliban and the Killing Fields of Cambodia:

      The Arrogance of Utter Perfect Righteousness.

      “Nothing’s worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.”
      — Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity

      No, Captain, there IS one thing worse:
      A monster who KNOWS he’s right with God.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      This just in. One of the evangelical “bishops” has chimed in:

      Just an Evangelical bishop?
      Not one of the myriad Evangelical Popes?

  40. The one issue nobody really wants to talk about or support in conservative Christian circles:
    adult, single celibacy, people who had hoped to marry but are still single into their 40s.

    Nobody in Christianity wants to touch that issue with a 50 foot pole, except for the small smattering of Al Mohlers, and all they do is blame singles for being single and hound the Christian teens to marry by the time they are 25.

    This part of the blog post:

    “Despite what he says, this is not “moral” outrage. Anyabwile’s words describe a physical and emotional reflexive reaction to something he finds shockingly distasteful, as though someone set a plate of stinking, rotting food in front of him.”

    Why is it necessarily wrong or bad to be personally repulsed by a morally question behavior?

    A behavior can be discussed in purely intellectual terms, I suppose, but sometimes the content of said behavior can also legitimately have an ick, “ew yucko: factor to it.

    I just read a few articles the other day about the grisly 2005 murder of a young woman in the French Quarter by her boyfriend.

    Police walked into their apartment to discover that the boyfriend, before killing himself elsewhere, had cut the girl friend’s torso apart, put the torso in the fridge, cooked her head in a pot (the skin was starting to cook off showing the skull), he had cooked a thigh in the oven, and the hands and feet were in other pots on the stove.

    The detective being interviewed said it was the most grisly, disturbing murder scene he has ever come across in over 15 or more years of his police career, and his fellow police had to keep periodically stepping outside the apartment to collect themselves because they had never before encountered anything so awful.

    Anyway….

    I’m socially conservative, and I am more than burnt out by other social conservatives hyper-ventilating over homosexuality every other day, but those on the left – Christians and Non-Christians – also push the homosexual agenda constantly.

    Both sides, both hyper for and against homosexuality, are guilty of being consumed by the topic.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Absolutely nothing wrong with being repulsed by a morally questionable behavior. The problem emerges when one becomes convinced that their revulsion is evidence that a behavior is morally questionable.

  41. The issue “that no one wants to talk about”? Obviously not!

    And what about lesbians? Or does Thabiti Anyabwile think they’re pretty hot?

  42. And another thing: Bestiality laws are based more on the “ick” factor than any real social or legislative need. If a man has sex with (or rapes, if you like) a sheep, is society really any better off for jailing him?

    There is a wonderful comic called “Our Love is Real,” set in a future in which normal relationships consist of a human and a (sentient, language-using) dog. So when a man falls in love with a woman, the result is a star-crossed relationship which inspires disgust and confusion among all those around them.

  43. It looks to me like we have gone beyond our purpose here. Comments closed.