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Archive for Monday, April 23, 2007

Local pastor helps rally for gay rights

Clergy members gather on Capitol Hill to support changes to hate crime legislation

April 23, 2007

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A trip to Washington, D.C., last week made local pastor Josh Longbottom part of history.

Tuesday on Capitol Hill, he and 250 other clergy members from all 50 states gathered to encourage Congress to include gays as a protected class in hate crime legislation and to make it a federal crime to terminate a person's employment based on sexual orientation.

"There hasn't been this kind of gathering of clergy to show our support for the right of people of various sexual orientations," said Longbottom, an associate pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt. "It's been a long time waiting to happen. For so long, it's been that clergy has been against gayness."

The Matthew Shepard Act

That same day, the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security began hearings on what's been called the Matthew Shepard Act.

Named for a University of Wyoming student who was beaten and killed because of his sexuality in 1998, the bill would include sexual orientation, gender and gender identity in federal hate crime laws.

Currently, race, religion and national origin are protected classes under federal hate crime laws, which can increase criminal sentences in crimes where a victim was singled out for being a member of a protected class.

Similar measures have been defeated in Congress in the past, but Longbottom thinks this year could be the year the bill has a chance of making it to the president's desk.

"That's hard to measure. With Kansas, it's pretty clear who's on what side," Longbottom said. "But I think it makes a real difference ... that this level of support was shown. I think this is a big year for it given the last election results."

As the sole clergyman from Kansas, Longbottom met with Rep. Dennis Moore, and with representatives from the offices of Rep. Nancy Boyda and Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback. Moore and Boyda's districts both include parts of Lawrence.

Longbottom said Moore seemed receptive to the legislation; the positions of the others were less clear.

Jason Fizell, district director for Boyda, told the Lawrence Journal-World that because the legislation was recently introduced, she had not yet formed a position on it.

Representatives from Brownback's and Roberts' offices were not immediately available for comment.

A trip to Capitol Hill

Longbottom got interested in making the trip to Capitol Hill when he was contacted by the Human Rights Campaign, a national group working for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, as it started organizing Tuesday's rally.

Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, said it was an easy decision to let Longbottom make the trip not only for the cause of supporting gay rights but also because the rally showed there are many Christian churches supporting those rights, contrary to some stereotypes.

"I think it's historic because I think, unfortunately, a lot of clergy that have been grabbing the headlines have been clergy that have not been part of welcoming gays and lesbians," Luckey said. "Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, they're the ones that tend to be in the news and I think it's important for there to be a balance."

Hate crime law in Kansas

Under Kansas law, unlike federal law, criminals who single out gays as victims, as well as other protected classes, are liable to face enhanced sentences.

But Tom Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said the hate crime statute tends to be ignored by judges.

"I'll be frank: It doesn't get used," Witt said. "It's just being ignored. To the best of our knowledge, not just for sexual orientation but for most all hate crimes, very rarely does it get used in the state."

Gays also are not protected under Kansas employment laws.

That fact surprises most people in Kansas, according to Maggie Childs, chairwoman of the Lawrence chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition.

"There are a lot of people who think it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation," Childs said. "But it's legal in some places to discriminate that way."

A bill to include sexual orientation in the Kansas anti-discrimination laws was introduced to the state Legislature this year. But Senate Bill 163 died after a hearing in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in January.

Lawrence is one place in Kansas where discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited.

Trying to make a difference

Longbottom acknowledged that gay rights hadn't been at the forefront of his mind before his trip to Washington, but now it's an issue he'll watch closely.

"It was fantastic. I thought, first off, it was so well organized and it was an issue of importance in our times," he said. "I felt like we made a difference and I felt really happy for the (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community that progressive clergy had finally showed our stance in support of them.

"I'm really happy this showed the diversity of Christianity."

Comments

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

To the State, marriage is a civil contract. Religion's got nothin' to do with it.

leadrain 7 years, 8 months ago

Enjoy while you can. Soon, Rev. Phelps will bend over backwards to make an A-- of himself and all you're hard work and determination will be underminded and cast under the shadow of Fred's huge butt. GAY?STRAIGHT? all people to me. Best of luck.

Jake Esau 7 years, 8 months ago

One of these days people are going to have to realize that gay people exist, they cannot change who they are, and they are people just like everyone else. It's unfortunate that it is taking so long for that to happen.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

"Named for a University of Wyoming student who was beaten and killed because of his sexuality in 1998"

The people who killed Matthew Shepard will tell you that he died over a dispute about drugs. The GLT community should look for a more appropriate poster-child.

"they cannot change who they are"

Simply not true. I've met people who have changed from gay BACK to "who they are" (straight). No one is born gay. Even the people who did the brain studies on gays in the 80's stated that conclusions cannot be drawn from their limited research. The more we keep repeating "God made them thus" the more we endorse a lie that has no Biblical or scientific foundation.

People like Longbottom give some the impression that homosexuality is sanctioned by God and His Word. A very simple study of the text makes it clear that it is not at all approved by God. No one seems to want to let God's Word be God's Word because no one wants to "polarize" an issue. Jesus was a gentle man, but he was an amazingly polarizing figure in history. Being a Christian means that you buy into the truth even when it makes you uncomfortable. That's what "Lordship" is about: letting God be God, and not trying to change Him to fit OUR sins.

God loves gay people, but he is not "pro-gay".

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

""I'm really happy this showed the diversity of Christianity.""

Christianity accepts "both Jews and Gentiles" and peoples of all nations, but there is no diversity of morality in the Christian faith. God has stated clearly that there are some black & white moral issues, and this is clearly one of them. If you are NOT a Christian, then it's reasonable that you might not regard what God says on the subject. If you ARE a Christian, don't buy into the misinformation. Take it upon yourself to be like the Bereans in the book of Acts: study the text FOR YOURSELF, and let the text lead you to a conclusion. Don't take it from me, and don't take it from Longbottom: find out for yourself by opening your Bible and reading.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

"The people who killed Matthew Shepard will tell you that he died over a dispute about drugs."

Yes, and I'm sure that murderers are trustworthy in their accounts as to why they killed their victims, all the time.

I've also met people who claimed to be homosexual and then changed back. I've known them during those times, and those people are the ones who were never gay, but were simply experimenting for one reason or the other, usually due to a bad relationship or abuse. Others, they always felt the way they felt, so they claimed. I'm going to take them at their word, as the only reason you offer not to is an archaic book that I see no evidence, scientifically, to show that it is the book of the word of God. Until you can prove that, scientifically, you have no basis on which to claim rightness.

EXks 7 years, 8 months ago

"The people who killed Matthew Shepard will tell you that he died over a dispute about drugs. "

---- OldEnuf

Who are "these people???"

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 8 months ago

Support "hate crimes" legislation and support the thought police.

"Hate crimes" legislation = bad public policy.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 8 months ago

God loves anyone and everyone. Back then, Jesus accepted Jews and Gentiles, and we are all "gentiles". The ten commandments do not state that people should not be gays or not accept gay. It only tells us what not to do. It doesn't say that gay marriage should be banned, you can interpret whatever you like. It only tells you not to commit adultery, murder etc. So even if gay couples married, they are bounded by the same commandments, i.e. they cannot commit adultery, like any straight couples. What's not in the bible doesn't mean God bans their existence. There are too many things to state in the bible, and gays are not that prominent in those days, so it isn't an issue.

What Jesus had said was revolutionary in those days! Remember, whoever dare to say that he's the son of God?! Whoever dares to say that Mary conceived without having sex?! It was revolutionary just as today! Let's not forget, accepting gay marriage is a must as it is just as revolutionary! The only difference is that we're living 2000 years after Jesus becomes the right hand man of God!

blackwalnut 7 years, 8 months ago

Pastor Longbottom, good on you.

And who cares if this riles up Fred Phelps. Phelps and his ugly band of family members do more to shine a light on the ugliness of anti-gay prejudice than almost anything else. Let Phelps foam at the mouth and show the world how prejudice looks.

Last time I visited the Lied Center the Phelps crowd had a TEN YEAR OLD BOY holding one of the ugly signs. They are poisoning children's minds with hatred.

guesswho 7 years, 8 months ago

Why not let God decide during each individual's judgement day who lived in sin; and we take care of the secular side and make sure all people have equal access to the laws of this country - including propery rights and employment rights.

Bill Chapman 7 years, 8 months ago

Rednecks is great people - I readily admit to leaning (if not actually being one) towards that way: I like guns, hunting, fishing, working on old cars, grilling meat over an open fire, etc.

Now hillbillies - those is a whole nother kinda animal. Mosta dem neva even seen a skool!

lmm 7 years, 8 months ago

Phelps........such a sad saga...........Topekans learned long ago not to shed light on his hate. Nothing in the media. They TRIED to stop him...fought back the only way possible.

I spent time this past weekend on the internet learning of his past. What a hateful monster to his own 13 children. Physical abuse....he should be in jail. Sent those children out to sell candy to support his habits. Beat them. Four left his cult. Poisoned the mind of the others. Sad.

motomom 7 years, 8 months ago

jesus never mentions homosexuality once. but he does mention how we need to help the oppressed and down trodden many many times...seems to me what is more important to him is assisting folks out who need a helping hand. and remember his greatest command to us, as well???????? thanks, longbottom...i wish ya well!

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

...but there is no diversity of morality in the Christian faith."

That's an outrageously ill-informed comment. But then many calling themselves "Christians" regularly sniff their neighbors and think them beneath their unique views. The history of Christianity is largely comprised by a diversity of morality (often violent).

"Jesus was a gentle man, but he was an amazingly polarizing figure in history."

And yet Jesus is hardly polarizing on THIS issue. He is silent (which must be confusing for "Christians" like OldGoof whose religion seems to be founded upon hatred of gays). You can follow Jesus or follow man but you can't follow both. OldGoof is old enough to know better.

"A very simple study of the text makes it clear that it is not at all approved by God."

Yes, the Bible is crystal-clear: eating lobster is an abomination! Women are chattel! A father taking his child's life is not murder! Slavery is a-ok! And from Christ's own lips: divorce and remarriage are forbidden! (On gays, its far from "clear," although disapproval is often and traditionally inserted into the text by the hand of man.) Its amazing how people so easily read out of the Bible anything convenient but insist on a traditional translation of a text that contains not one recognizable gay person (let alone, couple!) from one cover to the other. Do such people wander the night killing black cats as Satan's minions?

One wonders how it is that the adjective "Christian" is taking more and more to be not a synonym for open-hearted, charitable, generous but rather mean-spirited, bigoted, self-righteous.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

Jesus never mentioned a lot of things. If you use that measure, incest is "OK" by Jesus. If you use the "not in the 10 Commands" approach, again: OK to have sex with children and animals.

"What's not in the bible doesn't mean God bans their existence. There are too many things to state in the bible, and gays are not that prominent in those days, so it isn't an issue."

You don't know what you are talking about. The Roman army ENCOURAGED homosexuality to distract their troops from the loneliness of long military campaigns. The ancients wrote the book on homosexuality. Read the first chapter of Romans. Paul SPECIFICALLY addresses homosexuality in Roman culture, and makes it clear that a society the rejects God will begin to accept these sorts of practices.

Which, in a sense, is where moral conservatives have it all wrong. Homosexuality is not causing the decline of morality, it is a symptom of the fact. Historic fact: homosexuality is what happens when a culture rejects God, and it is also a precursor the the decline of said culture. That pattern has been true many times in history. Western culture has rejected the Lordship of God, and so we spiral downward into behaviors that go against nature. We become at odds with nature.

mick 7 years, 8 months ago

The Christian "church" is in apostasy.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 8 months ago

"homosexuality is what happens when a culture rejects God"

That is absolutely not a historic fact.

There is no way to test the factuality of something as vague and generalized as a culture rejecting a god.

fact - "something that has actual existence"; "an actual occurrence"

Your anonymously posted words are offensive to the many homosexual individuals with strong religious beliefs, whether it be a sect of Christianity or another religion.

rhd99 7 years, 8 months ago

Whether or not people are gay, straight, black, white, etc. etc., FRED PHELPS is not the final judge. The sooner we figure that out, the better.

Confrontation 7 years, 8 months ago

"Even the people who did the brain studies on gays in the 80's stated that conclusions cannot be drawn from their limited research."

So, how does this prove your point? Since there's been limited research, how is the bible (your interpretation) a more reliable source? Quoting from the bible is just as reliable as quoting Mother Goose stories. They are both fables that were created by man, and not revealed by some God. You look for scientific proof that people aren't born gay, and I look for any proof that the bible is more than a work of fiction.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 8 months ago

This legislation is blatant fascism. It is indeed thought crimes legislation.

Certainly this fellow is welcome to speak out on issues of concern to him, but they have delusions of grandeur to think that they're in the same league as Falwell and Robertson.

Finally, Phelps is an aberration. No other church welcomes him, or accepts his demented interpretation of the Bible. In fact, in many ways this fellow and Phelps have more in common, given their deviant interpretations of scripture, than Phelps would have with pastors who simply speak out in love against what they perceive as sinful conduct.

Ron_N 7 years, 8 months ago

Let's expose the Matthew Sheppard Act for what it is. There are versions of this hate crime legislation bill which silences Christianity on both the Senate (S. 1105) and House (S.B. 1592) floors. This "so called" hate crime legislation devalues human life, silences free speech, and could criminalize Christianity. It devalues human life by creating a different and more valuable class of people. This class of people would be protected based on their actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. Example: If you were to cause bodily injury (or arouse anger, alarm or resentment in Minnesota, or if your speech intimidates in California and Pennsylvania) to someone in this protected class, your penalty for this bias motivated crime would be more severe than if you committed this offense against grandma. Therefore grandma's life and well being is less valuable than someone in the protected class. As one writer put it "you get a discount for killing grandma". The extra penalty then is really based on your thoughts not your behavior. Who then determines your thoughts? This bill empowers local law enforcement to be the thought police and would allow the federal government to intervene and prosecute. The federal government now determines which crimes are worse according to the motivation behind the crime and/or by the actual or perceived sexual identity of the accuser. Instead of letting the ideas do battle in the public square hate crime legislation tries to squash dissenting ideas by criminalizing them. If you can't win an argument maybe you can make your opponents argument illegal. Hate crimes legislation is nothing but a political weapon to silence the free speech of their opponents and enforce their own political, social, and religious beliefs without the healthy, rigorous, and passionate dialogue found in the open marketplace of ideas, which the last time I checked was in violation of the first amendment. Christians have already been prosecuted and fined in Canada and jailed in Sweden for publicly expressing their religious belief that homosexuality is wrong (it's wrong for a lot of other reasons besides religious, but that will have to be another post). American Christians could be next if the current hate crime legislation becomes law. Tell your elected officials that you oppose hate crime legislation because it legislates thoughts rather than behavior and it undermines freedom of speech and our religious liberty.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

"This class of people would be protected based on their actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity" Last time I checked, being a grandma makes her a woman, a protected class. Ditto Christianity.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

"It devalues human life by creating a different and more valuable class of people."

You know, I agree. I oppose so-called "hate crimes" legislation on principle.

That said, I know of no reason why gays would be the only targeted group excluded from such legislation.

So, Ron - FIRST, exclude the larger, more powerful groups, then let's work our way down to small, less powerful groups like gays. I say, you start with WOMEN. Once you've got that done, I'll help you move on through the various racial and cultural minorities, and finally, we'll arrive at gays. How long do you think you'll survive such an even-handed approach? (I'm giving you 30 seconds, myself.)

Re workplace discrimination, Americans favor this bill by such large margins that most people think its ALREADY law! Failure to pass such a bill favored by an overwhelming number of people brings into question whether we are a democratic society at all.

fletch 7 years, 8 months ago

"Christianity accepts "both Jews and Gentiles" and peoples of all nations, but there is no diversity of morality in the Christian faith. God has stated clearly that there are some black & white moral issues, and this is clearly one of them."

I better not see you eating shellfish, touching a football, planting two different crops in the same field, or failing to stone a disobedient son, because God was fairly "black and white" on those issues, too. Come to think of it, they were in the same chapter.

lunacydetector 7 years, 8 months ago

did the Lord destroy any cities with fire and brimstone just because folks didn't roll out the welcome mat to strangers? no.

did the Lord destroy a city because a gang of homosexuals wanted to sexually harass and violate (by rape) the civil rights of a couple of men (really angels)? why yes, he did.

isn't it funny that liberal churches are losing members while conservative churches are gaining members?

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

"isn't it funny that liberal churches are losing members while conservative churches are gaining members?"

Not at all. Human beings like simplistic answers.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

But its okay for a dad to pimp his daughters like the dude did in that particular story? Oh, and don't forget the part where the curious woman was destroyed.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

Ahhhh. . . . juct because.

Posted by lunacydetector (anonymous) on April 23, 2007 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"did the Lord destroy any cities with fire and brimstone just because folks didn't roll out the welcome mat to strangers? no."

Correct.

"did the Lord destroy a city because a gang of homosexuals wanted to sexually harass and violate (by rape) the civil rights of a couple of men (really angels)? why yes, he did."

Errr, no. For the same reason as above: because it didn't actually happen. God did not, ever, Smite a city. Or maybe it did. Maybe, over a year ago, God Smote East Lawrence and parts of campus with a microburst. Sure, not as hard hitting that day, but maybe God was just tired. Or maybe it was a midemeanor offense. Stealing from the collection plate or something.

"isn't it funny that liberal churches are losing members while conservative churches are gaining members?"

Like, haha funny, or irony funny, or what? I don't see why you'd be surprised. When times change rapidly, people get scared, and so they tend to adopt resistent attitudes. Which leads naturally towards conservativism.

Although, I'd be interested to see the figure that justifies your statement.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

Marion: I ask again, are we to trust the words of the murderers and their collaborators involved? I read all three of those links (including the last which was a heavily biased hearsay editorial) and the only new information revealed (six years after the fact) was the murderers themselves saying that they were only motiviated by drugs and money. And the witness, who also says that she initially said that it was about his sexuality to get them off lighter. It undoubtedly included drugs and money, but there is very little evidence to support that it did not also certainly include his sexuality. At any rate, bah, whatever. Having a specific instance or face to show the world is the only way that a problem is made real to people. I'm sure most historical figures that stand out in these cultural divides only reflected the figure they were made out to be in a loose fashion. Because the only time they fit into these little boxes is here, on discussion forums.

ksmoderate 7 years, 8 months ago

Isn't it funny that a person who goes by the screen name "lunacydetector" believes in Angels?

craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

Jesus doesn't remain silent on the issue. The word in John is very clear that "The Word was with God and the Word was God". God and Jesus are one in the same so when you read the text, just because it isn't in red doesn't mean that Jesus didn't speak against it. He speaks against homosexuality as well as all other sexual sins in the old testament and the new multiple times.

craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

What also is terribly disheartening is that teachers of the word will be held to a stricter judgement according to the scriptures, so not only is Longbottom doing his congregation a horrible service, he is setting himself up for a rude awakening.

Ron_N 7 years, 8 months ago

Jamesaust

"That said, I know of no reason why gays would be the only targeted group excluded from such legislation.

So, Ron - FIRST, exclude the larger, more powerful groups, then let's work our way down to small, less powerful groups like gays. I say, you start with WOMEN. Once you've got that done, I'll help you move on through the various racial and cultural minorities, and finally, we'll arrive at gays. How long do you think you'll survive such an even-handed approach? (I'm giving you 30 seconds, myself.)"

Right, when we are all done we are all one big protected class called humanity. This is true equality

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

craigers is back again with his "every word in the Bible was spoken by Jesus" theory. Rememeber, putting words into God's mouth is blasephemy. What's the punishment for blasephemy? Stoning as I remember it from Leviticus.

Remember Isaiah 34, replete with "unicorns" and "dragons". Seriously dude, UNICORNS? You want people to believe Jesus blathering like some sort of Dungeouns and Dragons geek?

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

So if Jesus never personally addressed homosexuality, but we are to interpret the whole Bible as being Jesus's words, then why focus so much energy on this particular sexual sin? Why not focus your energies on adultery and neighbor-coveting, two sexual sins that actually do destroy marriages? Why stop there? Where's the clamor for enforcing the killing of disobedient children and wives? Why are y'all still wearing mixed fiber clothing and eating lobsters?

craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

Jamesaust, I'm not asking you to believe what the word of God says, but if you are going to do your own spin on what Christ says and doesn't say, then look at the whole picture and what the words literally say. I'm telling you what the bible says, period. I'm not going to discuss this with people hell-bent on reinventing what was written over 1900 years ago. Interpret what you want, but I will rely on reading the scriptures and looking at them in a favorable light instead of looking for every chance to deny God so my self-righteous existence can be justified.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

What about adultery? Mixed fibers? Stoning disobedient kids?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, Craigers put it well. This huge discussion is easy to boil down:

I'm approaching this topic from the perspective that God has clearly shown us His views on the topic in the Bible. The Bible is clear. I follow that. What I don't get is how Longbottom and others like him can call themselves Christian when they dont' respect the book that tells us about Christ. This is NOT about hate or bigotry, this is about having faith that God really does know what He's talking about. He has drawn the line. If you disagree, it's not because you and I have a different spin on this, it's because you disagree with God.

If you want to disagree with God, go ahead and do so. But please don't do it while at the same time calling yourself a "pastor" of His church.

Jamesaust: I'm not going to spend my day typing explainations to you about Old Testament Law. You have to decide for yourself: if the "mixed fiber" passages confuse or infuriate you, then you either have to pursue a more complete understanding of those passages, or you can toss out the whole book. What I don't think any of us can do is turn God's law into a cafeteria: picking and choosing what parts to have faith in, and what parts don't fit MY IDEAS about the truth. Either the Bible really is from God, or its all a LIE.

Either believe the Bible, or don't. Saying that homosexuality is OK is "don't". But, when "pastors" get behind ideas that God has clearly denounced as sin, they cease to be followers of God. They become followers of culture, or of themselves... but not of God. It's a modern day version of idolatry - "I have found something better than what God has given".

I'm busy, so I doubt I'll be back to add to the discussion. Y'all have a good time going at each other without me.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

"Posted by spacystaci8 (anonymous) on April 23, 2007 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Scene - You probably believe the Da Vinci Code too, huh? A great FICTION story."

I don't know how much more or less weight I carry than scenebooster, but I believe that it's a well established and known historical fact that the books were written largely by scribes off of oral tradition and historical record (I believe) after the deaths of Jesus and all his principle desciples. Not long, but definitely after.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

Confusion and irritation is not the issue. The issue is, y'all pick and choose at least as much as other posters here. You obsess about homosexuality passages, and ignore all the other sexual sins. You ignore or explain away all the other laws regarding human moral behavior, such as wearing mixed fiber clothing or eating proscribed foods. If one is to maintain that every word in the bible is true, and the laws of God must be followed, then it follows that you must follow all the laws, not just the ones that suit YOUR particular prejudices.

pelliott 7 years, 8 months ago

Good for Longbottom.

phelps and murderer's claims should not share this groups story, it is easy to beat that.

Keith 7 years, 8 months ago

You know, it's pointless to argue with these Paulists, much as they claim to be Christians, most of the time the passages they adhere to are from the tax collector who founded the religion, not the teacher who brought the message of love and hope.

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

I dislike the idea of trying to make a jury decide what a person feels.....Let's say I got into a fight with one of the many gay guys I know and it went to court...Now I have to convince 11 people that I punched bob in the nose NOT because he likes men, but due to the fact he is an arrogant a$$hole when he is drunk and violated my personal space.....Same for if bob was black or a muslim etc,etc,........If my hypothetical assault on bob warranted jail time, it should be the same for whoever bob is.....And yes as a straight white male I am feeling pissed off about being penalized for the supposed abuse of my standing as a member of the majority......I've yet to see all the great privilages I supposedly have as compared to other human beings.

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

Whoops.....typo. Does anybody remember the incident that happened in front of the replay 4 or 5 years back? That incident was turned into a hate crime by political activists and the guys lawyer.....I see way too many ways this law will be abused. As for the sheppard case.....If you have some body tied up and beat them to death it should be murder 1....while they may of not originally planned to, once you have somebody restrained any action after that is premeditated.......A better example of hate crime would be the idiots who dragged that black dude to death in texas(?).....but once again The penalty for such a heinous act should so sever that there would be no room for any extra punishment.

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

and it's "rednek" if you are being friendly about it....just like the spelling "nigga"...... Most likely this post will be taken off the board, which shows blatant hypocrisy.

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

it's all good...I just felt like being picky about something trivial and stupid(after dealing with it from others all month I decided it is my turn)

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Here we go again. Big, fat, cafeteria size can of worms. You are either a Christian or you are not. I know it could be a shocker to some of you but no one is perfect, God created us that way on purpose. I wouldn't say he condones homosexuality, but at the same time we should treat everyone how we would like to be treated, including gays, homeless, and just generally mean people. I don't agree with homosexuality but I would never treat someone disrespectfully just because they are.
Scene-half the scriptures you quoted have nothing to do with any of this. Or was that the point? Why are you such a hater of Christianity?

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

p>christiananswers.net ---the place to go to read about the finding of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is very interesting reading. There are so many archeaological findings to support much of the Bible. You don't have to believe it but it seems far too complex to be coincedence.

bugmenot 7 years, 8 months ago

Does that website explain why some Christians adhere so strictly to the text of the Bible (gays are wrong) but gleefully ignore other passages (shellfish is wrong)? I notice no one will touch that hypocrisy with a ten-foot pole.

Unless anyone will explain why some of the position switching between the biblical text and current mores (slavery, shellfish, mixed fibers, etc.) is okay and others (gays) are not, we're going to go ahead and assume you're just believing the parts of the Bible you agree with and ignoring the rest of it. Which is wrong.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Actually John 8:7 is one of the few I thought relevant. I do believe the bible is the word of God. Absolutely 100%.

bugmenot 7 years, 8 months ago

Then, do you eat shellfish? Do you wear clothing of mixed fiber? If you do, then you're a hypocrite. Either you believe it 100% (in which case, even though I don't agree with your belief that gays are "wrong," at least I can respect that you genuinely and non-hypocritically adhere to a doctrine which proscribes this belief), or you're just picking out the part that says "gays are wrong" and ignoring the other parts because they don't fit your lifestyle. That's just not appropriate because you're using one of the historically recorded but now-archaic practices/beliefs to advance your hate of gays.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Bug me not-Hello, I do not hate gays. THe Lord tells us to love your neighbor, that means all of them. I sin too, just in different ways. Everyone sins, I am not saying I don't. I have a cursing problem but that doesn't mean I am going straight to hell. Much of the Old Testament law was "wiped clean" when Jesus died on the cross. That is why we don't perform sacrifices and keep women locked up inside when we are on our period. It is safe to eat shellfish and play football you won't go to hell for that. Can't find it in the New Testament.

Scene- all scripture is God breathed. Read some prophecy in the OT and see if you think it is coincidental to the NT. These things happened many years apart and were predicted accurately.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

Scene, no its like I said earlier. God said "never mind" about SOME of the old testament rules and regs, but not others. So its all the literal word that we have to follow literally, except the parts we don't.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

1 Cor 6:9-10- ref. homosexuals.

How do you figure I am a hypocrite?

Bring it.

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

Jesus ain't Paul, contrary to popular opinion.

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

God's plan = same as the Cylons?

All kidding aside...well, if all kidding really WERE aside, we wouldn't have to be reading the blathering drivel of staci, dad, craigers and lunacydetector. Wouldn't that be nice?

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Uh no I don't think there are problems with that statement. Read the book of Daniel. Those things were predicted to happen before they did.

Did your parents drag you to church by your ears when you were younger?

The New TEstament was written by Jesus' apostles, who lived, breathed, walked and talked with Jesus. I think they would know

mom_of_three 7 years, 8 months ago

My grandparents made me go, and that's why I can't go to church now. I am too confused.
I was told that only certain religions would get to heaven, but I was scared that my religion was the wrong one. I also had trouble figuring out if all the churches went by the bible, why there were so many different interpretations. Some religions don't drink, or dance, and some don't allow women to wear pants, and others don't allow birth control.
How can all of these rules come from the same book?? Is it open to interpretation? If yes, then no one who has posted here is wrong. Since my confusing younger years, I have decided He loves everyone. My other grandfather always told me God was everywhere, and his church was outside with nature. Now that I understood.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

craigers, you need to not only believe in Jesus but start believing Jesus. Otherwise, you might just as well come out and say "I'm a big bigot, just like the Lord." As I've said before, you (and the Phelpses for that matter) are free to believe whatever you'd like just keep it out of others' way.

OldGoof - "The Bible is clear."

Which no doubt explains why Christians have agreed on what the Bible says (and even what is in/out of the Bible) since the beginning of time right on down to today.

Sorry, but I'm not "confused" in the least. The Bible says many strange and bizarre things that Christians now and for quite some time have read 'with a grain of salt.' We just admit it; you live in denial - probably with Isaiah's "unicorns."

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Scene - You probably believe the Da Vinci Code too, huh? A great FICTION story.

classclown 7 years, 8 months ago

I am utterly appalled. Each and everyone of you posturing, convinced you are right and those that disagree are idiots over whether or not gays are normal or not.

Yet not one of you apparently caught on to the fact that this pastor who is pushing for special rights for the gays has the name "Longbottom".

What is with you people? Are you all so caught up in your own sense of righteousness that you fail to see the humor in that?

While it wasn't in the article, inquiring minds want to know. Do they enter his church in the back door?

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Longbottom is the first thing I saw in this article, clown, which is naturally what first got my attention. But I was waiting for someone else to mention it.

And he's pushing for EQUAL rights, not special rights.

And yes, classclown, those that disagree with me on whether being gay is normal are not ARE idiots.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

"The New TEstament was written by Jesus' apostles, who lived, breathed, walked and talked with Jesus."

Uh...no. The Gospels date a few centuries after Jesus. I don't believe there's even controversy on that point (outside of maybe Craiger's cartoon version of the Bible). Much of the rest of the New Testament was written by Paul, who anyone who ever paid attention in Sunday School would know never lived or walked with Jesus AT ALL! Nor never claimed to. Indeed, the fact that Paul comes LATER after Jesus' twelve apostles has, from the beginning, been a source of trouble for the Church (with some Christians, long since put to the sword, denouncing Paul as an apostate).

"You probably believe the Da Vinci Code too..."

Hardly. But it is incontravertible that "The Bible" took centuries to form and what books were included and excluded was, from Day One, a controversy. Heck, even Protestants and Catholics can't agree on what "The Bible" is and that's with both having a common root more than halfway through the history of Christianity. And that's before you even start trying to translate anything.

Most of Paul's writings address twin issues: (a) how to widen a "Jewish" religion to the wider world (Judaism being an exclusionary religion), and (b) how to get converts to Christianity to abandon their non-exclusive religious culture for a single religion claiming to be the sole means to God. Little surprise then that Paul spends significant time (and ink) on such presently irrelevant issues such as temple offerings and prostitution (the source of your "homosexual" verse). While some might see Paul as the 'Taliban apostle' most of the Church has long since found ways to soften his claims (such as an ennobling of celibacy, a generally unfavorable view of women, and a mixed message about slavery) particularly by emphasizing in their place the virtues of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, love, peace, and gratitude (so sorely missing in so much of those "Christians" criticizing this "scare-quote" Pastor).

EXks 7 years, 8 months ago

How many Christians know that King James 1 (who commissioned the King James Bible and to whom it was dedicated) loved men and had sex with them??? This is a historical fact.

Don't belive me?? Do a Google search!

purplesage 7 years, 8 months ago

I do not understand individuals who call themselves Christian clergy who take positions 180 degrees opposite of the Bible. You may be "clergy" but it certainly is not "Christian". Jesus said that the real test of love for Him is obedience. It is not obedient to make Scripture subservient to one's social / political agenda.

Evidence is good that the Gospels were completed by the late 80's and early 90's A.D. - as churches realized that Jesus' promised return may not be as imminent as they had supposed and the eyewitness to His life and work were dying.

Fred Phelps is an extremist. His positions on gays, America, the Church are as out of step with New Testament Christianity as are Josh Longbottom's. No, I am not saying that Mr. Longbottom would resort to stick figure pornography to promote his ideas.

From the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah to the OT Law to the NT texts quoted above, the Bible is consistent on the practice of homosexuality. It is also consistent on its position of heterosexual immorality. Both are sexual sins.

mommy3 7 years, 8 months ago

Way to go Oldenough! Isn't it scientific proof enough that God made Females and Males to fit together? Why would something made for "waste" be normal?

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

purplesage: "Fred Phelps is an extremist. His positions ... are as out of step with New Testament Christianity ..."

No they're not. They are close to your own. Phelps has the courage of his convictions. You have only temerity of your own.

The truth is that while Phelps is about as far as you can be from Christ and still claim to be a Christian, he is in fact within the NORMAL range of the Christian faith on this topic (as ugly as it may be) - just as Longbottom is too.

How is it that whenever someone like Phelps immerses himself in the Christian faith but adopts policies you disagree with - in some cases with whole branches of Christian faith in determined, vociferous support of - that they're just "out of step"? How do you KNOW that he's wrong but you're right? Likewise, how do you KNOW that Longbottom is wrong? Do we flip the Bible open, put our finger on a random verse, and twist its meaning to best fit the question like it was a "magic 8 ball"? Do we take some democratic vote?

Ironically, this topic and comments also provide a useful insight into the modern struggle in Islam to deal with the same type of extremist misuse of religious faith especially by those who so greatly fear modernity, knowledge, and rationality rather than adherence to rote obedience to dogma. How difficult it is for some Christians living centuries into a post-Enlightenment world to reason for themselves; how much harder for Muslims who have never experienced their own Enlightenment.

"Jesus said that the real test of love for Him is obedience."

That's incorrect. (Are you sure you're not a Muslim? Seriously, if you're looking for straight-forward rules of obedience then you have the wrong religion!) Rather, obedience of faith is demanded - listening to God with your heart, reasoning with your conscience, reconciling your imperfect understanding of the word of God with your imperfect understanding of truth rather than bending truth to your inherently incomplete knowledge of God. John says: In the beginning was "logos" - God, the Word, Reason, Logic, for all are the definition of "logos". There can be no contradiction.

"It is not obedient to make Scripture subservient to one's social / political agenda."

So why do you insist upon doing just that? And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Some people ache desperately for others to be in charge, to tell them what to do, what to believe, what to disbelieve. Many people get a headache immediately upon being asked to think and reflect upon the mysteries of faith, so much so that they stop thinking and just accept the simplest, cartoonish answer they're given.

denak 7 years, 8 months ago

"....Way to go Oldenough! Isn't it scientific proof enough that God made Females and Males to fit together? Why would something made for "waste" be normal?.."

I should leave this alone but not going to.

It might interest some of you to know that the number one sexual practice of homosexuals is oral sex. Which is also, a favorite of heterosexuals. In fact, it is pretty much standard practice.

Anal sex is also fairly common for heterosexuals.

So, if you have a problem with homosexuals and their sexual practices, I suggest you join a convent because more than likely, you are doing the exact same thing.

But please don't tell me if you are because I don't care just like I don't care what homosexuals are doing in the bedroom because this issue really has nothing to do with morality.

It has to do with the 14th amendment to the constitution and whether or not the state has the right to deny the rights and priviledges of one group to another group.

All this religious posturing has nothing to do with the legality of denying homosexuals the right to marry.

Dena

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Dena I like where you're coming from but I think Ubermime was being sarcastic about Oldenuf.

galfromku 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry... redneck is NOT a racist term. I should know.. I ARE one, and I date one. Redncek is more a lifestyle.It does not matter if you are black, white, or purple..... a redneck is someone who might have an engine or carborator in their living room, marries their cousin, has an old toilet in their yard for a planter.... stuff like that. It is a "hillbilly" way of life and thinking. I'll bet you could fine people of several different races that could fit into that catagory. Besides, y'all act like redneck is a derogatory thing to say. I LOVE rednecks and am proud to know all of them that I do. The definition of redneck is definitly a generalized slang term, but racist... no way!

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

denak - its quite informative that by the time the Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy laws, that sodomy had become synonymous with homosexuality. Four states, including Kansas, had so reformed the definition of sodomy that it ONLY meant same-gendered sex. (Interestingly, in Texas, lesbian did not seem literally covered by the law. What's more, Texas has completely stripped bestiality from its criminal code with the irony that sex with a same-gendered animal was a-OK but sex with some person of the same gender was a felony. Now that's Texas justice!)

Of course, as I noted before, sodomy is a belief invented by biologically ignorant monks in the middle ages (ironically too reliant upon ancient pagan Greeks) to any form of non-reproductive sexual act. In other words, sodomy never cared whether its practitioners were same-gendered or opposite-gendered, nor whether they were married or not. Even vaginal sex using a natural (pregnancy) or unnatural (e.g., condom) impediment to unfettered prolificacy is sodomy, and forms that basis of certain religions prohibitions even unto today.

(All of which is perfectly logical if you believe that the 'male seed' literally contains a miniature baby that will perish unless safely delivered into its incubator, a/k/a, mother. Or, laughable if you have a high school knowledge of human biology.)

Linda Endicott 7 years, 8 months ago

Since we are supposed to have separation of church and state in this country, why should we have laws allowing discrimination against ANYONE, based solely on someone's religious beliefs?

Linda Endicott 7 years, 8 months ago

So the former "personal beliefs" that blacks were somehow inferior and thus could be discriminated against were okay?

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

let's get off religion and get back to the hate crime stuff. And the term "redneck" has turned into one of the acceptable hate words in the pc lexicon.......They do not use it to mean a person with strong rural ties and a penchant towards things country.....No, they mean a slack jawed yokel, a mean spirited bigoted sister banging meth head.......The guys who beat up mirecki were not called religous fanatics, they were called rednecks....the guy who shanked that basketball player, a redneck....Go through the messages on this board and show me how many positive uses of the word you see......What's ironic is that most rednecks and real hippies have a ton in common.

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

"Posted by Dambudzo (anonymous) on April 23, 2007 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The collection basket is not as full as it once was? Churches are reaching out to illegal aliens and gays?"

What an idiotic statement.
For one, illegal immigrants in this day and age are mainly Mexican. Most Mexicans are Catholic (I lived in Mexico at one point). Should they abandon their religion because they are not here legally? Would you?

Not only that, but this tells me that you have a very upper class, WASP-y view on religion. Let me guess....You're the one in church who is secretly judging what people wear, etc, rather than actually going for spiritual reasons. Jesus, regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, did not judge people. Clearly you do.

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by scenebooster (anonymous) on April 23, 2007 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"American Christians could be next if the current hate crime legislation becomes law. "

Boo hoo, the poor American Christian.

They only control the gov't at every level...so oppressed.

Especially the white, male ones.

Good call scene....White, Protestant men are so oppressed in this culture sigh Life's rough when you are the dominant minority-majority. Perhaps these people should read the article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh...

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by 75x55 (anonymous) on April 24, 2007 at 2:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Correct - but please find me a reason that gays should not be allowed to marry that isn't religious in its reasoning........"

"How's the turnabout - 'please find me a reason that anyone should be allowed to marry that isn't religious' ?"

Well, there are plenty of people who get married with no mention of God, Jesus, Christianity, etc. That's why judges, justices of the peace, boat captains and Elvises the world over are as busy as religious figures that conduct weddings. What's your point? Allowed to marry?! Are you the person who decides when it is OK for people to get married?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

"Local pastor helps rally for gay rights"

Talk about being a hypocrit!!! Despite how any of you feel about gaydom, a Christian pastor aiding a gay rally is totally hypocritical!!!

Watch the church members exit the congregation in a single file line for the next few moths, unless of course the pastor apologizes and goes into rehab.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

"Staci, OldEnuf, Craigers, LunacyDetector - none of you will address the blatant hypocisy (or the lack thereof) of your stated position?"

How many hours of typing would it take to keep up with your energy level? I'd continue to engage in this if I thought it would come to a conclusion. But, as is often the case, this is just another endless, verbally abusive debate on the LJWorld message boards. I actually DO have very good answers to all your questions, but "life" is calling, so I'm not going to hang out here all day trying to convince a bunch of people that "I'm right". It's not productive and it's not fun.

I've spent my afternoon putting together a Powerpoint for a class I'm teaching at church. My audience there will actually GET SOMETHING from my efforts, so I've made THAT a higher priority than THIS.

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by i_have_only_valid_opinions (anonymous) on April 24, 2007 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Local pastor helps rally for gay rights"

Talk about being a hypocrit!!! Despite how any of you feel about gaydom, a Christian pastor aiding a gay rally is totally hypocritical!!!

What about that is hypocritical? Is it a given that all Christians are anti-gay? I must have missed that in religion class.

farmgirl 7 years, 8 months ago

"Watch the church members exit the congregation in a single file line for the next few moths, unless of course the pastor apologizes and goes into rehab."

Plymouth congregation is an "open and affirming" congregation, which means that "membership is open to people of all sexual orientations to fully participate in the ":life and leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of participation in our community of faith." (from the Plymouth web site http://www.nvo.com/plymouth/openandaffirming/)
Also, here is the United Church of Christ (UCC) webpage regarding "open and affirming" http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/ona.htm. Plymouth is a UCC.

What Josh did is totally in line with the beliefs of the UCC and Plymouth Church.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

Love the sinner, hate the sin doesn't mean going against Christian teaching and accepting the sin. How dumb of a comment is that?

Yes, they love murderers with a Christian love and hope for their lives to turn around, but they must fight for their right to kill people? Stupid.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

farmgirl...thanks for the info. I did not know that they were an bassackward congregation. They must have some spin doctors in their congregation in order to justify being so open to supporting gay rights. Do they have a pro-choice attitude too? Do they serve shots of whiskey for communion? Support drunk driving by offering free info on how to beat breathalizer tests? After all, we have to accept everything or we are not a loving church right?

I wonder if they even read the bible in church. Obviously not. Or maybe just the parts they decide to practice AND preach.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

"Watch the church members exit the congregation in a single file line for the next few moths, unless of course the pastor apologizes and goes into rehab."

The only pastors we see like that are the ones preaching fire and brimstone in the morning and lying with (male) prostitutes and snorting coke in the evening.

farmgirl, you've got some gaul! Pray to Jesus and turn off the tele-evangelists.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

Please respond, scenebooster. I'd like to read what you ahve to say about how justify and accepting sin is the same as loving the sinner. Please!

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

First, he justifies it by going out to support gay rights. That one is simple. Think it through. They used the "support" which means they condone it which means they accept the sin. Black and white.

Yes, the Bible says something about it. It says to preach the Bible. The Bible says sodomy is wrong. Man and woman only. But, hey, if they have a translation that has been updated by God himself that says being gay is OK, they could make alot of lives easier by sharing that version with the rest of the world.

I haven't said anything condemning anyone but the church and this pastor. And yes, the entire church because the entire church believes this crap. You have no idea what individuals are in my life. Therefore, you have no idea if I practice what I preach: love the sinner, hate the sin.

It's pretty simple really. Read. Practice what you preach. Preach to others. Don't be a pansy and accept sin as OK because it close to your own heart. As far as I know there is no revised version of the Bible that says, "Well, now that there are so many people out of the closet, I guess homosexuality isn't so bad. Go ahead and enjoy it at the small cost of our universal moral values. While your at it, throw in some other changes, uh, adultery is good to go now, throw in some heaping handfuls of robbing and raping, that should be enough for this century. Look for a revised list of changes in 3005. Signed, God (also known as Mr. Wavering Values)"

?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

You have obviously never sat down and studied the Bible with someone who really knows it. Otherwise, you wouldn't be trying to justify something that is considered sin. If you are not a Christian and believe that being gay is OK, then go for it. But acceptance of that as a part of a "Christian" lifestyle is going against the Bible's teachings and against God. Therefore, no church should condone it. They are wrong to do so.

Christian can never equal gay. Period. That doesn't mean a church shouldn't welcome them in in an effort to support them in changing their lifestyle. But, it does mean not supporting and promoting that lifestyle because it is sin.

Let's agree to disagree. I'm tired of hearing the same weak argument.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

You are funny, scenebooster. You don't want anyone to base an argument on religion (because I assume you are not religious), but you expect a religious person to accept a non-religious and non-Bible based argument. You go on with your beliefs, but don't fault others for doing so. Have you forgotten that this entire country we live in was founded on religious belief? In GOD?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

Obviously not yours, scenebooster. Most religions believe in the one true Almighty with variations. You, my anti-religious friend, must believe in none. Or you've made up your own rules to fit your lifestyle. But, tell us all why we can't have our own beliefs if you can? And why Christian beliefs are in line with the countries first moral beleiefs, but your argument against all of those beliefs should be the stronger one? The greatest country in the world has thrived and prospered because of our foundation. And you want to tear that all down so you can justify a sinful lifestyle. Well, your wish is going to come true sooner or later because too many people are off track and believe as you do. As is said, you reap what you sow. Unfortunatley we will all be dragged down with you.

Enjoy the ride, but wear a helmet because it might get ugly.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by 75x55 (anonymous) on April 24, 2007 at 4:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

i_have_only_valid_opinions - [tip of the hat]

scene...I think you have the answer.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 8 months ago

You want to hear it over and over? Are you reaching out and saying you want us to convince you because you are wavering in your beliefs? I'm here for you.

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Opinion, you calling yourself a Christian is hypocritical. LEARN TO SPELL and live up to your name, I have yet to see any opinions of actual value. All I've seen from you is backhanded bigotry.

Kodiac 7 years, 8 months ago

Valid,

I am confused now. Are you suggesting that our country is based on a particular religion? Some particular God? So what kind of religious country would have as its first amendment "Freedom of religion" which also implies freedom "from" religion? Can you find some reference to the bible in the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution? Can you find anything in reference to "Christianity" in there? How about Jesus?

And the other thing, what is it with you DOOM and GLOOM Christians. Just because y'all are "suffering" doesn't mean the rest of us have to. If you want to believe everything is going to h*ll in handbasket and have that miserable outlook on life fine by me. Me? I prefer the sunny side of life and to think of my cup as half full. Even though we(as in humanity) may have a long ways to go, I think we have come a long ways from where we were.

...."Every day and in every way, we are getting better and better.....

Cheers Valid

Larry Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Jamesaust "The Gospels date a few centuries after Jesus." That is correct only for the false gospels (which are not in the Bible.) All of the New Testament was written within 100 years of Jesus' death.

Jamesaust (again) "The truth is that while Phelps is about as far as you can be from Christ and still claim to be a Christian, he is in fact within the NORMAL range of the Christian faith on this topic (as ugly as it may be) - just as Longbottom is too."

Actually there is one very large difference. Phelps states that God hates people. This is a complet and utter lie from the pits of hell. Do not be deceived, Phelps is a liar. I trust you know who the Prince of Liars is.

In general:

And as to the "shellfish" and other "why aren't you doing this?" remarks: Quoting out of context is always a lot of fun and may confuse some but you really need to read the whole thing to understand what is really going on.

I'd be glad to get together with you to explore the subject if you want.

Larry Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

And while I'm at it for those who claim Jesus did not talk about homosexuality: God says in the Ten Commandments that you are not to have sex with anyone but your spouse. He also says that only a man and woman can get married. Jesus repeats the same point. So the real issue is not what sex the two people are, but are they married according to the way God designed? If not, they should not have sex. If they are, they should only have sex with each other.

Jesus also made that point several times.

It's not really very complicated.

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Larry you scold Jamesaust for quoting out of context...yet you do the same? You do nothing but emphasize the hypocrisy of people like you. Quoting Leviticus is no more quoting out of context than you making the broad generalization that Jesus mentions being gay and marriage specifically. Follow-up or shut up.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 8 months ago

Well the handful of us Christians out there realize that the Bible says we would be persecuted, so really what can we expect. MY God can beat up your gods!! Look at what happened in the past to those who worshipped false idols. You take your gods and I will take my Almighty. Really all you have to do to be a Christian is accept Jesus as your Saviour and believe He died on the cross to bear our sins. No one is perfect, we just try to do the best we can and repent when an error is made. Its a simple concept.

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Take your concept and self-righteousness and keep it away from the rest of us who would rather live normal and productive lives.

What happened to those who worshipped false idols, Staci? The Romans were Christian when they fell. China thrived for thousands of years, much longer than the Romans did. China is still thriving. Technically, Rome did better as a pagan empire than as Christian.

And it's you who have trouble understanding a simple concept: It's not a choice. If you believe in a God, fine. But you'd also better believe that he made everyone who they are, including gays.

And capitalizing certain words doesn't make you a good Christian.

budwhysir 7 years, 8 months ago

Oh great another one of "those" articles that will drag on forever around here. Why is this type of stuff such great news?? Why does everyone spend so much time arguing about things like this. Live and let live is my moto.

Kodiac 7 years, 8 months ago

"There are a VAST number of agnostic quotes of Lincoln, predating 1862/3. He came to faith quite late in his life."--75x55

While I think this is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, I do find this simplified thesis being presented by 75x55 about Lincoln's "conversion" to be quite uninformed and not substanciated. It is clear from most biographies written about Lincoln, that Lincoln's personal religious views were very private and have always been regarded as something of an enigma from a public standpoint. Lincoln not only said many things that were agnostic but also said things that demonstrated some type of religious belief throughout his entire life.

Frankly, I am surprised that you would say something so recklessly ignorant 75.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

75x55,

Some unsettled business:

1) Do you believe that human life begins at fertilization?

2) Why do you believe that human life begins at fertilization?

3) Where in the bible does it state that human life begins at fertilization?

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

"Yes, the Bible says something about it. It says to preach the Bible. The Bible says sodomy is wrong."

Uh...no. Jesus says: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

As many have already pointed out Jesus does NOT say that "sodomy" (whatever we're supposed to guess translators think they mean by this word) is wrong or issue any on-topic command (short of love thy neighbor). Nor comes close. Nor would anyone in that time have had a clue what "sodomy" was (unless one referred to the uncharitability of Sodom, which is quite a different concept).

(I believe the closest we ever came was a claim that in blessing a wedding couple Jesus implied a bias against gays. And then there's "craigers" cartoon theology that solves this dilemma by finding that every word in the Bible must, for some reason, be treated inseparably from Jesus' own statements.)

It comes as a continual shock that people claiming the mantle of Christianity can be so ignorant of Christ and the Bible. Even more so the Biblio-idolators who worship the Bible as the flawless, literal Word of God. No one with the most superficial understanding of the evolution (eek!) of the Bible or its translation could possible expect anyone to take them seriously.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

LarryM - au contraire, I'm quoting very much IN context. At least in this context (pun), "out of context" is a fancy way of saying: without the addition or subtraction of/from the text so that I can make the words say what I want them to say. Ironically, the topic of this article "gay rights" is a perfect example of a valid "out of context" issue, especially seeing that in the vast sweep of the Bible there's not a single recognizable "gay" person in it (pace David, or Ruth, or that whole band of disciples business).

Re dates: For example, there is a general consensus that Matthew was written between 70 and 100 A.D. The oldest piece of archeological evidence related to any Gospel (John) dates from 125 A.D. That, of course, does not prove that no other evidence exists undiscovered or explain why it doesn't exist but the lack of contemporary corroborating reference to any Gospel from Christian and non-Christian writings whose provenance is not in dispute does raise questions. In other words, there's some quantity of Church writings from this period and historical writing but none referencing, let alone quoting, any Gospel.

Re so-called "false" Gospels, while I don't find myself accepting of these, I do note in passing that at least the major ones - Peter, Thomas, James - have dating issues not different in quality from the traditional Gospels. This is hardly surprising since early Christianity varied considerably in its theology and non-standard (a/k/a, heresy was quite widespread and even at times majoritarian).

"God says in the Ten Commandments that you are not to have sex with anyone but your spouse."

Really, where? You're not talking about prohibitions on married people having sex with persons other than their spouse, are you? Thanks a tad different. (Of course, Exodus and Deuteronomy both require a man who has raped a woman to marry her afterwords but that doesn't seem to be your claim. Exception: if the man was engaged to the woman and rapes her then he should be put to death IF the rape occurred in the country; if it was the city BOTH should be put to death.)

(BTW - the penalty for adultry is death. Why is it that Sam Brownback hasn't introduced a Adultery Death Act in the Senate?)

"He also says that only a man and woman can get married."

Really, where? (Or are you merely saying there's no example contrary to this?)

"Jesus repeats the same point."

Really, where? (Is this right before he commands his disciples to abandon their families and follow him?)

(BTW - Jesus is, in contrast to all this, QUITE clear about divorce. When will Sam Brownback introduce a bill in the Senate to ban divorce?)

"It's not really very complicated."

As long as you work really, really hard to never think about it.

craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

And Jamesaust proves his arrogance once again. Scripture was God-breathed and the Word was God. Should I underline or anything else? Have a nice day James and keep on throwing insults. If it makes you feel better go for it.

Kodiac 7 years, 8 months ago

Craigers,

Careful there dude.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Mat. 7:1-5).

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Mat. 5:13-16).

Be light my friend....

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

"Posted by i_have_only_valid_opinions (anonymous) on April 24, 2007 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You have obviously never sat down and studied the Bible with someone who really knows it. Otherwise, you wouldn't be trying to justify something that is considered sin. If you are not a Christian and believe that being gay is OK, then go for it. But acceptance of that as a part of a "Christian" lifestyle is going against the Bible's teachings and against God. Therefore, no church should condone it. They are wrong to do so.

Christian can never equal gay. Period. That doesn't mean a church shouldn't welcome them in in an effort to support them in changing their lifestyle. But, it does mean not supporting and promoting that lifestyle because it is sin.

Let's agree to disagree. I'm tired of hearing the same weak argument."

Religious texts have many different interpretations. Literal, figurative and symbolic interpretations are alternately accepted and denied by many faiths. So this idea that only a person who "really knows" the Bible can be a true believer is stupid at best, at worst, bigoted.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 8 months ago

No church should condone it?

It is not up to the church, or any human, to condone any kind of behavior, or to punish any behavior they consider a sin.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.

Not yours.

Besides, don't you remember Jesus basically saying that church was for sinners? Remember him saying that you should go after the sheep that have strayed, and not concentrate so much on the ones that stay there?

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

Crispian: Really, I'm going to have to say that the religious argument against homosexuality has more basis than one that says it doesn't matter. I think that it's pretty obvious that those who support it are going against a tenent of their chosen faith. The mistake is, of course, that that is a bad thing. To consider it a primary tenant, in the first place, is pretty spurious, as it's one item in a very large list of things you shouldn't do, including eating shellfish. Of course, you probably know all this, which makes me wonder why I even addressed it to you. At any rate, I don't think you can say it's a matter of interpretation. At least not on a black and white level. Personally, I would tend to stick with the idea that its status as sin doesn't mean anything.

At any rate, the dogmatic, absolutist following of scripture is the real problem. There should be nothing wrong with melding and discarding of different tenants and rules, regardless of the source.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps then we could get Ubermime's super religion and turn us into a nation of daoist immortal, buddhist enlightened, sanctified spiritualized superheroes.

Larry Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Jamesaust: (part 1) LarryM - au contraire, I'm quoting very much IN context. At least in this context (pun), "out of context" is a fancy way of saying: without the addition or subtraction of/from the text so that I can make the words say what I want them to say. Ironically, the topic of this article "gay rights" is a perfect example of a valid "out of context" issue, especially seeing that in the vast sweep of the Bible there's not a single recognizable "gay" person in it (pace David, or Ruth, or that whole band of disciples business).

(LarryM) Ummm see Genesis 19:5 "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them" (7) "No.. don't do this wicked thing" (LarryM) the "shellfish" "stone your children" "mixed fiber" stuff is taken out of context.

Re dates: For example, there is a general consensus that Matthew was written between 70 and 100 A.D. The oldest piece of archeological evidence related to any Gospel (John) dates from 125 A.D. That, of course, does not prove that no other evidence exists undiscovered or explain why it doesn't exist but the lack of contemporary corroborating reference to any Gospel from Christian and non-Christian writings whose provenance is not in dispute does raise questions. In other words, there's some quantity of Church writings from this period and historical writing but none referencing, let alone quoting, any Gospel.

(LarryM) Which is not "a few centuries after Jesus." The dates I find are: Mark 50 70 AD, Matthew 50 70 AD, Luke 59-63 AD or 70 80 AD John 70 85 AD, Acts is Luke continued, Romans 57 AD, 1 Corinthians 55 AD, Galatians somewhere between 51-57 AD

Re so-called "false" Gospels, while I don't find myself accepting of these, I do note in passing that at least the major ones - Peter, Thomas, James - have dating issues not different in quality from the traditional Gospels. This is hardly surprising since early Christianity varied considerably in its theology and non-standard (a/k/a, heresy was quite widespread and even at times majoritarian).

(LarryM) The "false" gospels date 250 AD and later.

Larry Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Jamesaust: (part 2) "God says in the Ten Commandments that you are not to have sex with anyone but your spouse." Really, where? You're not talking about prohibitions on married people having sex with persons other than their spouse, are you? Thanks a tad different. (Of course, Exodus and Deuteronomy both require a man who has raped a woman to marry her afterwords but that doesn't seem to be your claim. Exception: if the man was engaged to the woman and rapes her then he should be put to death IF the rape occurred in the country; if it was the city BOTH should be put to death.)

(LarryM) The original meaning is that you can only have sex with your spouse. Or more precisely that the man can only have sex with his wife. We have diluted that concept.

(BTW - the penalty for adultry is death. Why is it that Sam Brownback hasn't introduced a Adultery Death Act in the Senate?)

(LarryM) see Jesus' statement on adultery. Again, an "out of context" statement.

"He also says that only a man and woman can get married."

Really, where? (Or are you merely saying there's no example contrary to this?)

(LarryM) Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.

"Jesus repeats the same point."

Really, where? (Is this right before he commands his disciples to abandon their families and follow him?)

(LarryM) Sarcasm makes me think you really don't care about the truth. But the answer is Matt: 19:4-6

(BTW - Jesus is, in contrast to all this, QUITE clear about divorce. When will Sam Brownback introduce a bill in the Senate to ban divorce?)

(LarryM) That is right He said stop sinning He did not have her killed. He also did say there were reasons to get a divorce. (Matt 5:31)

"It's not really very complicated."

As long as you work really, really hard to never think about it.

(LarryM) huh? Looks more like as long as you don't really read it and research the Greek. These questions do not require a PHD in order to find the answers. They do require that you really want to know. You do appear to be working very hard to not understand. If you want we can get together and study what the Bible actually says as opposed what the various "trash the Bible" websites say.

Larry Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster: It is a small part of a bigger issue. You are not supposed to have sex with anyone but your spouse. This means ALL sex outside of marriage is a sin. The sex of the participants is irrelevant.

Strangely enough, if you live with someone before marriage, there is only a 12% chance you will actually marry that person and a 70-80% (don't quite remember) chance you will get divorced. So sex before marriage is a really bad idea.

purplesage 7 years, 8 months ago

I can't cite it, but have heard a Lincoln quote that Gettysburg figured into his journey to faith in Christ. The address was certainly not written by an agnostic / atheist, though the Christianity is not expressly espoused.

Jamesaust, "If you live Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15, Jesus) so no, this is not an Islamic concept.

Jesus commanded love of God and love of others. Love does not necessarily condone, nor does it have to accept all forms of behavior or variety of "lifestyle". In fact, Jesus was pretty hard on some of those He referenced as white-washed tombs and hypocrites.

Perhaps I should say, at one level, that Phelps tactics are extremist. And obscene. But at another level, his message of hatred is clearly not that of the Bible and cannot be construed from even a cursory reading thereof. I find his website abhorrent, celebrating the tragedy of war and its victims, hatred for this nation that allows him the freedom to carry on as he does. He thinks Billy Graham - and most everyone else is hellbound and celebrates it. Not my view, to be sure.

jonas 7 years, 8 months ago

"Strangely enough, if you live with someone before marriage, there is only a 12% chance you will actually marry that person and a 70-80% (don't quite remember) chance you will get divorced. So sex before marriage is a really bad idea"

LarryM: You don't think that has anything to do with the simple correlation that people who wait to have sex until marriage likely have a more traditional, conservative view on marriage in general, do you? Sex before marriage is really bad idea, then, only if you consider marriage to be, absolutely, a good idea. Clearly, you do, unless I'm reading more into your post than I should. However, I think you can make a strong case that marriage as absolute good is a deeply flawed argument.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

Larry M --

  1. no
  2. no
  3. not even close
  4. no 5 and thereafter. - what a perfect example of rationalizing and making excuses for each and every gap between what you wish to believe and the evidence available to support that belief. You've made my case for me.

Re "false" Gospels, as a sidenote based on off-line questioners, again, without endorsing such texts, it is very INTERESTING to watch who is and who is not threatened by these Gospels. Crudely, Christians now and for two millenia can be divided into two groups: (A) those who believe Christianity is about a set of rules to be handed down by God and obeyed and that completely and without error describe the sole means of moral life (incapable of modification by revelation, consensus, rationalism, or science), and (B) those who believe Christianity is about the love of God for his creation and the redemptive sacrifice made for them. "A" people often lose sight of God's love, say the "B" people; and the "B" people don't put enough emphasis on doctrinal absolutes, say the "A" people. But "false" Gospels only frighten the "A" people. When you've got a strict, fully understood, unchangeable set of rules, you can hardly allow them to be altered in the slightest (or, as in divorce, you must pretend they haven't been altered). But, when the primacy of God's love is the focus, it is of little or no difference if some "false" Gospel appears to be little more suspicious as a traditional one (and no, they weren't written any later and that's documented by third-party accounts, but I can guess who is desperate that they be seen to be false).

Re Biblical translation: funny, but as I was flipping channels last night, I ran across a documentary on the struggle and death many went through to force translation of the Bible into English (and other vulgar languages) against a desperate, forbidding Church that feared loss of their solitary, exclusive voice on exactly what Christian was and was not. How ironic then that the very same types of people are still around in the 21st century putting forward simplistic, fairytale stories (in many cases directly contrary to known fact) of how the Bible was constructed by man and what it does/might say - NOT because alternatives necessarily disprove Christ or his death or his resurrection but because they cast doubt or inspire debate on lesser, doctrinal details that some cling to.

Larry Miller 7 years, 7 months ago

Jonas: "I think you can make a strong case that marriage as absolute good is a deeply flawed argument."

If children are involved, marriage is absolutely the best way to raise them. In addition, we know that married people live longer. All the research I've seen shows a proper marriage to be good for people.

deec 7 years, 7 months ago

Why do you feel marriage is the best way to raise children? What about marriages rife with beating, adultery, and alcoholism? And, since you do feel that way, why deny the best way to the children of parents who are gay?

Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

Your prejudice is your own, don't blame it on God.

Larry Miller 7 years, 7 months ago

deec: proper marriage! and for children, it is the relationship between mother, father, and children that provides the best environment.

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