Posts tagged ‘homosexuality’
Way back in the beginnings of d-C (yea, March of this year), Roopster posted some troubling examples of what Jesus thinks about family values. Whether it was his youthfully pious mischievousness (Luke 2), his insensitive treatment of a man’s dead father (Luke 9), his over-the-top hyperboles on hate (Luke 14:26), or his inability to reconcile the institution of the family with service to God (Matthew 10:34-36, Luke 18:29-30, Matthew 23:9), Jesus didn’t seem as enthusiastic about family values as Focus on the Family and others lead us to believe.
I feel we should maybe, due to a slightly larger contributor and reader base, revisit that topic a little bit. It does seem awfully important in today’s politics, among other places, to distinguish oneself as a “family-values” proponent. Of course, this isn’t limited to the Christian Right: Muslims, Mormons, Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and other such religious groups all somehow believe their flavour of faith champions family values. I haven’t read too much of the The Book of Mormon yet, but it doesn’t take very long into the Tanakh or Koran to get the head scratching. When it comes to “family values,” it is rather surprising that the topic isn’t swept under the rug in embarrassment.
Of course when Focus on the Family and the Religious Right speaks about “family values,” the focus is rather limited to an oddball arrangement of minor issues that are blown up to make it seem like they are “[affirming] the Bible’s far-reaching impact on religion, culture and history…”
I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which humans will go to make one set of people somehow appear superior to another group. This is obvious as the debate about the homosexual lifestyle continue to be a hot topic in religious, social, and political circles.
This debate carries the weight of validation for an entire segment of people. It is not as if they require the validation of society to exist, for they will exist regardless. However, if and when society finally accepts them, those who are homosexuals will finally be able to life their lives to the fullest without fear of reprisal for being who they are.
Let’s face it, society has at various points in recent history sought to restrain or rid itself of varying segments of the population that it feared would change the status quo. These offensive segments typically reflected factors such as race, gender, intellectual capability, financial status, physical health, mental health and political ideologies. This list could go on forever.
Sexual preference continues to be at the forefront of the “get rid of them because they are different” battle…
The danger and the pain of the conflict between pre- and post-Enlightenment cultures were illustrated in a recent court ruling fining Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas, £5.2 million.
The church comprises around 70 members of the pastor’s (Fred Phelps) extended family. For years the church has denounced homosexuality and picketed the funerals of Aids victims. However, they later extended their pickets to the funerals of soldiers, who they say are being punished by God because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality. Last year, they caused outrage when they attended the funeral of Matthew Snyder with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “You’re going to hell”.
Matthew’s father, Albert Snyder, wept when he heard the verdict. “I hope it’s enough to deter them from doing this to other families. It was not about the money. It was about getting them to stop.”
Daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper – co-defendant along with another daughter, Rebecca Phelps-Davis – vowed to continue picketing military funerals…
I have a confession to make. I am a red-blooded, heterosexual male. Like most men, I love attractive women. I have never had what I would consider homosexual temptations, or any other attractions to the male gender. I know only a couple openly gay men, I don’t understand the lifestyle or mindset of the gay man, and I cannot conceive of how any man could be sexually attracted to any other man. I just don’t get it.
But that is not my confession.
My confession is, even when I was a Christian, I did not condemn homosexuality. Yes, I knew what the Bible said, and I remember how all my former pastors told us to ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’. I know that by and large Christians view homosexuality as major sin, and I was expected to agree with God on this issue and condemn it just as he did. But the truth of it is, I just never cared about that. I never told any of my fellow Christians at the time, but I am now telling you, the random internet surfer. As a Christian, homosexuality just never bothered me. Nope. Never did.
I looked at it like this. Jesus, when asked by a lawyer, basically summed up the entirety of the Mosaic Law into two basic, simple commands…
I used to be an evangelical Christian. In the summer of 1966, I got ’saved’. I literally came out – I got up out of my seat in front of family and friends at a Billy Graham rally at the age of 13, and decided to follow Jesus. That faith and commitment lasted for a long time, at least until 2000. I was a lay preacher, a pastoral counsellor, a church leader, and a Christian author. I was in hook, line, and sinker. However, over the past 7 years I have slowly abandoned that faith.
Of course, I know that if my Christian friends were reading this they would say that I am trying too hard. That the fact that I am having to write about it just proves how insecure I am in my new atheism. I would argue that since so many of them ask me about what has happened to me I have had to think things through, for their benefit, and to make sense of the massive change for myself. It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen in any neat, logical order, but it has happened, and what is written below is a poor attempt at an explanation after the event…
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all kind of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven… You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:10-14a)
It could be argued that this is the beginning of the Christian persecution complex – or at least the reason for it. Of course, the early church had plenty of “valid” reasons to be persecuted – their core beliefs were directly opposed to the established Jewish community from which they arose and, furthermore, the early Christians, especially of the Pauline variety, were downright treasonous in the eyes of the Caesar-worship of the time. These beliefs had little to do with morality, and everything to do with loyalty. Martyrdom – not the kamikaze murderous kind of present extremism – became an increasingly noble cause. In the time of Ignatius – writing in the late 1st century, possibly predating some canonical gospels and pseudo-Pauline epistles – martyrdom was perhaps the single greatest act of faith that a Christian could show (see Ignatius’ letter to the Romans). It was, after all, the ultimate act of following Christ…