Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son

July 1, 2013


by Linda Robertson

From Huffpost Gay Voices, 7/1/13

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, whom I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by faith instead of by fear. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone.

Continue reading this story.

Christians vs. Gays: The Damage Done

June 30, 2013


Excerpt from “Christians v. Gays: The Damage Done,” by David Gushee. Published in Religion Dispatches, 6/26/13.

Many [conservative Christian activists] are already arguing about the great damage that will be done to marriage with today’s decisions [U.S. Supreme Court rulings of 6/26/13 on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8]. I would suggest that a more important damage to Christian witness in American culture has already been done, not by the Supreme Court but by the Christian activists; and not just today but for a generation or more. And that damage will intensify in proportion to the Christian outcry in days to come.

What has that damage been?

  • Christians (understood to mean here heterosexual activist traditionalists) have become identified with actively pursuing the denial of rights and benefits to others that they themselves enjoy. In other words, the “Gospel” has been identified with the cause of self-benefiting social discrimination against a minority group, a losing hand if ever there was one.
  • Christians, claiming to follow Jesus, have become identified as the chief enemies of gay and lesbian human beings (some of whom are also Christians), and of the moral and legal rights of lesbians and gays, whereas Jesus’ enemies tended to be people who performed exactly this kind of marginalization on the despised ones of their era.

Continue reading this article.

Crisis Magazine Writer Austin Ruse Sees Nazi Totalitarianism in Recent European Court of Human Rights Decision Regarding LGBT Rights

January 19, 2013


Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute) has just published an incendiary article on the paleo-conservative Catholic website, Crisis Magazine. The piece, entitled “Yet More Christians Silenced in Europe … and America,” depicts Christians (by which he means paleo-conservative Catholics) as victims of a systematic oppression rivaled only by that of the Nazis against … (of course) the Catholics! At the top of the article is a photo of goose-stepping Nazi troops. Mr. Ruse, questioned about this photo, replies that modern liberals have “pronounced authoritarian tendencies.” The Crisis Editor who chose the photo adds, “I wanted to hold up a mirror to those who seek to restrict the freedoms of Christians [paleo-conservative Catholics]. We know how thick-headed these activists are. Subtle argument doesn’t work. Since the Left perceives the Nazis as rightwingers (which they were not), it would make more of an impact ON THEM…”

I have been blacklisted from the Crisis website for challenging statements like these. However, I would be pleased if others could take up the slack. You’ll find the article here.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France

Mr. Ruse’s beef is with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which earlier this week ruled that an individual’s religious beliefs do not trump the rights of an LGBT person and may not be used to discriminate against him or her. Mr. Ruse repeatedly distorts the facts in this case.

One of the two decisions that drew Mr. Ruse’s ire concerned Lillian Ladele, a civil registrar in London, who was dismissed from her job because she refused to officiate at same-sex partnership ceremonies after these were made legal in 2005. She claimed she was a victim of religious discrimination. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that she was discriminating against LGBT persons—which is to say, they had been her victims.

The second case concerned another British subject, Gary McFarlane,  a counselor providing psycho-sexual therapy to couples. He refused to work with same-sex couples and was dismissed. Like Lillian Ladele, he claimed he was a victim of religious discrimination. Again, the ECHR ruled that he had discriminated against LGBT persons, not they or his employer against him.

The Court ruled that religious freedom is no ground for exemption from the law. The principle of equality and equal treatment cannot be circumvented with a simple reference to religion.

Freedom of religion is never absolute. Sikh boys in the U.S. are not permitted to carry swords to their schools, though their religion requires them to do so. In France, Muslim girls may not wear veils in the public schools.

Mr. Ruse’s rhetoric employs all the usual tropes of scapegoating. He makes homosexuals out to be like vampires (“Has that slaked the thirst of the homosexuals?” he writes.) and implies that they are atheists (“They want Christians prostrate before them.”)

Actually, most homosexuals are neither vampires nor atheists, and many of them are devout Christians of the Catholic persuasion. The aptly-named Mr. Ruse is at the very least disingenuous in framing these Court decisions as a victory of homosexuals over Christians. That is just not the case. The decisions are simply a victory of LGBTs over discrimination.


UPDATE, 1/31/13: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) co-founder Robert George has submitted an amicus brief in the California Proposition 8 case about to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. In it, he takes a position diametrically opposed to that of the European Court of Human Rights, which declared that freedom from discrimination trumps religious freedom. In his brief, George essentially claims that religious freedom should trump freedom from discrimination. Read more here.

Response to Dale O’Leary, author of “The Defense of Marriage Requires Honesty About Homosexuality,” Crisis Magazine, 12/20/12

December 20, 2012

[Read Ms. O’Leary’s article here.]

Ms. O’Leary, how ironic that your article calls for “honesty” about homosexuality but is so starkly and fundamentally dishonest in its claims. You would have us believe you are speaking as a professional, an expert, and perhaps even as a scientist: “It is long past time to educate the public and particularly the younger generation as to what we know about SSA,” you write. Who is “we?” Surely not the medical community, which has time and again denounced the reparative therapies that you advocate.

Maybe by “we,” you means the Catholic Church? But the Church doesn’t “know” anything about homosexuality. It is not in the business of research or the accumulation of scientific knowledge; it is in the business of propagating certain views of society that are often at odds with scientific knowledge.

So let’s be honest about where we’re coming from, Ms. O’Leary. This is a propaganda piece masquerading as health science, and one sure sign of this is the conspicuous absence of journal citations or even names of researchers. You refer to “numerous well-designed studies” without a hint as to their origin. You make easily disprovable claims from beginning to end, in the apparent conviction that none but the “faithful Catholic laity” for whom Crisis articles are intended will read your piece.

Identical twins don’t share the same sexual attractions? Check again. More than half of them do. There is “no evidence” of a genetic or hormonal cause? Time to read up on the literature. By “the literature,” I mean the scientific literature, not junk-science articles in Catholic magazines. You want evidence? Just ask me. I’ve got it waiting in the wings. Homosexuality is caused by “masturbation with fantasy?” I suppose masturbation also causes pimples? … and hair to grow in the palms of your hand? All this is early 20th-century Catholicism redux.

If you are interested in disease control and prevention, follow commenter “Tim’s” advice. Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and read what they have to say about HIV.  Here’s what I found:

“The effects of homophobia, stigma and discrimination can be especially hard on adolescents and young adults. Young MSM and other sexual minorities are at increased risk of being bullied in school. They are also at risk of being rejected by their families and, as a result, are at increased risk of homelessness. A study published in 2009 compared gay, lesbian, and bisexual young adults who experienced strong rejection from their families with their peers who had more supportive families. The researchers found that those who experienced stronger rejection were:

  • 8.4 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide
  • 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression
  • 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs
  • 3.4 times more likely to have risky sex”

I hope that before you write another article about HIV, you will do some serious soul-searching about  the issue of responsibility for the HIV scourge. Blaming HIV on “troubled childhoods,” “narcissistic attitudes,” “[early] wounding,” “rebellion against the moral law,” and “[psychological] disorders” all adds up to homophobia, which is one of the three causes of HIV as identified by the CDC. If anyone needs conversion, it is you.

Doughlas Remy (The Bent Angle)


Maybe There’s Hope After All

June 21, 2012

Chicago Christians show up at a gay pride parade to apologize for homophobia in the church:

A reaction from one of the marchers:

A Month’s Compilation of Anti-Gay Hate Speech

June 5, 2012

It is all from preachers.

O’Donnell Takes NC Pastor to Task for His Non-Apology Over Beat-Your-Gay-Kids ‘Sermon’

May 4, 2012

Pastor Sean Harris

Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. exhorts parents to “squash” their sons’ gay behavior “like a cockroach.” “Can I make it any clearer?” he continues. “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Okay?”

Lawrence O’Donnell takes Harris to task over this diatribe and the “non-apology” that Harris issued this week.

Watch the video here.

Pastor Dennis Terry Introduces Rick Santorum

March 21, 2012

The following videos contain content that may be disturbing to people who value religious liberty, freedom of conscience, women’s reproductive health, gender equality, civil rights for GLBTs, and democracy:

And he prays over Rick Santorum:

Read the Huffington Post story here.

Rick Santorum Should Ditch the “Slippery-Slope” Metaphor

January 25, 2012

Rick Santorum

Would somebody please explain to Rick Santorum why he was booed at a recent town hall appearance in Concord, New Hampshire?

When a young lady in the audience asked him about “two men who want to marry the person that they love,” he cut her off, saying, “What about three men?” Then he trotted out his boilerplate “slippery slope” argument:

It’s important that if we’re going to have a discussion based on rational thought, that we employ reason. Reason says that if you think it’s OK for two, you have to differentiate with me why it’s not OK for three. Let’s just have a discussion about what that means. If she reflects the values that marriage can be for anybody or any group of people, as many as is necessary, any two people or any three or four, marriage really means whatever you want it to mean. [emphasis mine]

Here’s my point of view. And we’re done talking about this issue. We’re going to move on to something else.

Santorum appears not to understand the meaning of “discussion,” the purpose of town halls, or the requirements of rational thought. After rudely interrupting this audience member and insulting her intelligence, he offers an argument that is fundamentally flawed, then declares the “discussion” will be closed after he has stated his point of view. What could be more irking to an audience?

His argument is flawed for two reasons.

(1) If two, then why not three?

First, consider this part of his statement: “Reason says that if you think it’s OK for two, you have to differentiate with me why it’s not OK for three.”

This astonishing and utterly unreasonable claim is not just a momentary lapse on Santorum’s part, because he has said it before—many times. Taken at face value, it means that any monogamous marriage is the first step on the slippery slope to polygamy. And that begs the question, “Why not also ban opposite-sex marriage in that case?”

How are we to explain this bizarre statement? I suspect, though I cannot possibly confirm, that a word or phrase is missing after the adjective “two.” Santorum has mentally edited out a phrase from that position, and that phrase is something like “wicked and depraved persons,” which he has used before. He thinks but cannot say, “…if it’s OK for two wicked and depraved persons to marry, then why not three?” Or maybe the thought-phrase was “two of those people,” or “two perverts.” Something said in the company of family and close friends cannot be uttered when the public is listening.

(2) The slippery slope

The second flaw in Santorum’s response is his very choice of the slippery-slope argument, which logicians, jurists, and scientists universally regard as a logical fallacy.

The fallacy of the slippery slope argument is in supposing that a single step in a particular direction will inevitably lead to taking all the remaining steps. This may be true in the case of jumping off a rooftop, but it is not true in other life situations where choices are still available after the initial step has been taken.

Consider the following argument: “If we lower the drinking age from 21 to 18, there will only be further demands to lower it to 16, and then to 14. Before we know it, our newborns will be drinking wine instead of milk.”

In this example, the regression from twenty-one to zero is linear, and common sense tells us the skids are not greased and that babies will not soon be drinking wine. But what of Santorum’s “regression” from same-sex marriage to polygamy? It is neither more nor less linear than the “regression” from opposite-sex marriage to polygamy. Both entail increments of one or more, and so again we have equivalence of the two.

Also, if the steps are in the proper order and are in fact slippery, then couldn’t we conclude that opposite-sex marriage is the first step on the slippery stairway? Why choose the second step and not the first as the one to avoid?

And what if we were to discover that Santorum’s first two “steps” are in the wrong order and that polygamous relationships were the norm before monogamous ones in most societies? This was in fact the pattern in nearly all the cultures of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Polygyny was clearly approved in the Torah (Exodus 21:10, Deuteronomy 17:17) and was practiced among Jews as late as the second century CE. Only within the last hundred years or so has monogamy been in the ascendancy.

If Santorum is to characterize the historical shift away from polygamy as a “progression” and not a “regression,” then where is he to place our newest entrant in the marriage game, i.e., same-sex marriage?  Is it also a progression, or is it a regression following a progression?

The point of all these questions is to show that slippery-slope analogies inevitably lead to muddled thinking of the kind Santorum displayed in Concord. His audience very likely sensed his confusion and resented his refusal to own up to it.

There is a viable alternative to slippery-slope argumentation, and it lies in evaluating every form of behavior on its own merits. We deserve to hear Rick Santorum’s reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex American couples who do not share his particular religious views. So far, he has advanced his badly broken line of reasoning because his objection to same-sex marriage must, for political reasons, appear to be grounded in logic, not church doctrine. Let’s hope that a dogged debate moderator somewhere down the line will smoke him out on this.

And we would appreciate his leaving polygamy, “man-on-dog” sex, and other forms of diversion out of the discussion. They do not belong there.

Catholic Bishops Close Charities Rather Than Comply With Anti-Discrimination Laws

January 2, 2012

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have reacted to their state’s anti-discrimination laws by closing their Catholic Charities affiliates. These charities served the state’s poor and neglected children for more than 40 years and were networked with the state’s own Department of Human Services.

Illinois recently began to require Catholic Charities to accept applications from same-sex couples for foster-care and adoption. The state could no longer justify supporting the affiliates with taxpayer money. In Illinois, the affiliates received from 60 percent to 92 percent of their revenues from the state. Same-sex couples who were turned away complained that their own money was being used to discriminate against them.

The bishops have accused the state of “intolerance” and of violating their First Amendment rights. A circuit judge in Sangamon County thought otherwise. In August 2011 he ruled against Catholic Charities, saying, “No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government.”

Catholic Charities is to be credited with having helped build Illinois‘ child welfare system, but now their share of responsibility for it will pass to the state and other agencies. The state’s anti-discrimination laws will prevail.