Friday, March 30, 2012

Late Post is Late: Religion and Homosexuality.

Hokay. Wow. I've been busy. We're here now though! This post IS getting written! HOORAY! I'm sorry this took so long. What should have been a Wednesday post has turned into a Friday post and that's just not cool. Not cool at all. In fact, it's kinda toasty. Not in the "Mmmm, warm blankets" toasty though, more like the "It's uncomfortably warm and I'm sweating just enough for it to be gross" toasting. I feel that level of uncool.

But the Round Table made it kind of worth it. Not really, but I'm glad I saw it before I wrote this. Nothing really got solved at all, but it was good to see both sides of the debate where one or both parties aren't stark raving mad and no one chanted "USA! USA!" There were two girls behind me who kept remarking on how disgusting it was, but I'm willing to accept that as a minor price to pay. Both the pro and the against table had pretty to fairly solid arguments and no one turned it into a shouting match. +1 point, human race. I was especially surprised to hear that one of the against panelists was not, in fact, actually for banning homosexuality outright. To quote him to the best of my memory "My colleagues can attest that I'm probably the most conservative republican in the room, and because of, not in spite of that, I think the Government should stay out of private affairs, including the bedroom" Which is actually just about the most sensible thing I've ever heard anyone say about anything, ever, but especially about the Republican doctrine. I was genuinely surprised and taken aback, in a very good way so...+5 points.

We keep going like this, we might just win the house cup.

Now I've wasted enough of all of your precious, precious internet time, let's dive into this.

Homosexuality and Religion

Let me make a few things abundantly clear. I am not out to make friends with this one and, while my experience with the internet at large has lead me to believe it's a relatively tolerant place (Or at least more tolerant people understand how it works) I expect people to disagree and that's fine. That's part of why I started this blog. Additionally, I'm not out to set anything straight. More so, I'm writing this to voice some observations I've had concerning the subject and some relevant hypotheses. This is a post that will end in more questions than answers and that's probably the way it should be. Additionally, I'll be covering the "Religion" portion of this from a Christian perspective because...well...That's what I know. If there's anyone else of another faith/lack thereof who'd like to weigh in, I'd love to hear it.

 So right off the bat, let me just out myself; me and Gay People are cool. We fist bump. It's awesome. No, that's not an innuendo, but I dare you to think of what it might mean if it were. 

Two crumpets and NO tea? You kinky bastard...

So yeah, we jive like that. And you know what? I'd even be okay if they started getting married because hey, if you really love someone, you should get the privileged of getting to sit by their death bed without some nurse heckling you about "Not allowed to be in here" this and "Tresspassing" that  and "please put down the glitterbomb" whatever. That's what they are, right? Glitterbombs are actual bombs? No? Huh. That would've made the GOP race so much more interesting. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I will also tell you that I am Christian which, in some people's opinion, makes me quite the pair of opposites. Naturally, me being myself, I disagree. I won't tell you which particular flavor of Christian, though I will narrow it down to "Protestant" because I write fairly organically and I cannot promise, at this point in time, that I will not make a Catholic joke (I will, however, refrain from making pedo-priest jokes, because CAN WE PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT, NOW?). 

For all those concerned, let me briefly explain how I reconcile the two; in the new testament, the J-man never explicitly states buttsex is wrong. He does say something about Divorce which is construed as applying to homosexuality, but I don't buy that because it falls too close to saying "Cops wear blue so you can easily identify them when you need them." and then construing that to mean "But they're not actually a cop if they're not wearing blue" After that, Paul says some stuff, but I'm not sure I like him and the translation gets debated on too much. The OLD testament actually does condemn it at some points, but it does it in the same book where it condemns things like shaving, shellfish, polyester, and associating with women on their periods, so I mean, if we're not going to follow those, let's not just pick our favorites. So that being said, lacking any justifiable cause to inhibit a happiness that wouldn't cause anyone but those involved significant harm, I'm okay with it. If they want to get married, sure. If they can find a church to do it, more power to them. If they want to dress up like a fucked-up version of Swan Lake while they're doing it...well...Okay, I guess?

It took me a solid three minutes of manipulating this picture before I realized he was wearing gloves and was not armless. 

Now, when a Christian who isn't as cool, stylish, or hilarious as myself argues against Gay Marriage I ask them "Why?" If they've done their homework, they'll quote me a verse or two. If they haven't, they'll say "Because it's a sin" if they like to fly in the face of reason, they'll quote a verse AND tell me how damaging it is. Legally speaking, none of these reasons really hold up because like a finicky kid at dinner time who insists that absolutely nothing touch, we separate our church and state which, again as a Christian, I support.

 To be fair though, we're not talking about it legally, we're talking about it from a Religious standpoint. So let's do that some more. Let me just spout some brief verses.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Let he who is without sin throw the first stone

[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

I've heard people in response to arguments using these verses say things like we should love the sinner and hate the sin and accept them even though what they do is disgusting and reprehensible and frankly, I think those people miss the point entirely. The woman who was to be stoned to death was to be an object lesson for all the other adulterers; her death was going to help all those other sinners away from their evil predilections and Yahushua (which was actually his name, by the way) stopped them and effectively said that none of them had any right to condemn this woman with their souls in the state that they were. Look also to the verse about the sawdust and the plank; there's no ambiguity there, Jesus is outright saying in big, bold, red letters, don't try to be the saint, you're just as bad, if not worse. 

This clever bit of imagery, now rendered in Legos! Note the horrified expression on the one Lego Man's face as if to say "I AM IN SO MUCH PAIN RIGHT NOW"

In the interest of a well-rounded argument, I'm not saying that no upright Christian should help his fellow man. Neither am I saying that you shouldn't help someone away from sin, if they share that belief. What I am saying is that not everyone does and really, you ought to stay out of their business. Sin, what does and doesn't constitute it and how to deal with it, is a very personal thing and I really think it should stay that way, lest we return to slut shami--oh wait, we totally already are. Thank you, Religion.

Well fuck, now Slytherin's got it for sure. 

One thing has always, and I suspect always will, confuse me about this debate though. When I was young and didn't think for myself, I was always presented with homosexuality as some kind of disgusting perversion and the inclusion of it as a legitimate marriage option as some kind of ultimate insult. As I understood it during childhood, it was up there with bringing Satan back to the Pantheon and saying the Chihuahuas counted as real dogs. I was made to understand that allowing it to pass would lead to, if not, certainly compound the collapse of society and that absolutely nothing good could come of it. As a kid, either through accident or design, I was made to hate Gay people. Now I'm older, I pay taxes, I have to shave and I have a pretty frikkin' sweet car and I can't help but look at all the hoopla and ask "What's the big deal?" 

Sure, let's say it's a sin because you know what? It does say that in the bible. You're right. So is Divorce. We're totally cool with that. I'm very sure that Jesus was not cool with the capital punishment, what with "Turn the other cheek" and all that, yet I live in a state with an express lane for its death row. So why are we picking on this? Why is this the thing that gets debated about and why is this the thing we have people shamed and shunned over? Why not shaving? Shaving sucks. Why don't we shun people who are self righteous jerks instead? Jesus seemed to have a way bigger (read: existent) problem with them. We could make it illegal to claim to be a better Christian than anyone else. We could have "Pray the Jerk Away" Campaigns. I'm excited, let's do this, I'm making T-shirts.

Now accepting pre-orders for 'pray the jerk away' t-shirts. 

And while we're talking about harshly examining one portion of the bible and ignoring the rest, what happens to all of those lovey dovey verses when some of us are talking about the fire and brimstone verses? For a loving, accepting, religion, we have so much hate for everyone else. I have been told (and grew up hearing, at various points) that Atheists are ruining our country, that Gays were ruining our country, that Muslims were ruining our country, that Liberals, Jews, Pagans, Progressive Thinkers, Cell Phones, Pornography were all ruining our country and every time it was said just like that. "Our Country" as if America belonged specifically to us which, as I've mentioned, it totally does not. What allows us to be so convinced that anyone who isn't with us is against us? Has it occurred to anyone that maybe it wasn't really like that until we made it so?

I know those last two paragraphs don't apply to all of you. I know it because I've met some of you. Some of you are even regular readers and that's nice. I also know that some of you who are nodding and saying "Yeah, that's totally not me" are the very same people I'm talking about, just in a sneakier way. Maybe you don't commit hate crimes, but maybe you'd also change lines in the checkout if you got the idea that your cashier might be a bit less Frosted Flakes and a bit more Fruity Pebbles. Even worse, maybe you claim tolerance towards alternative sexualities, but find Christianity or Religion in general abhorrent. So even though I know that most of you will immediately ignore this because hey, I'm just some dude on the internet, I challenge you to look deeeeeeeeep within yourself. Deeeper. Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeper. 


For those who consider themselves tolerant, I want you not to reflect on your tolerance towards Gay People, but towards the ones who are intolerant or even just Christian, but not outspoken on either side. If you want a peaceful outcome, turn the philosophy they claim to follow against them; Be Nice. Do it for no other reason than to be nice. Do it because even though they might be hateful, even though it might be they'd rather you didn't exist, they're still people, too, and they still have feelings, even if maybe they like to think you don't. It's hard--it's maddeningly hard--the fact that we've had two thousand years to practice and still haven't gotten the hang of it should say something about that. Do it right though, and you may just change a mind.

For those who consider themselves in the right for finding such a thing unacceptable, I won't say you're wrong for what you believe. I won't say that you're the scum of the Earth or that you're exactly what's wrong because that won't help anyone. That's the opposite of what everyone's shooting for, so let's not go down that path. I will say this though; examine your prejudices. Try to work out exactly how well-founded all of them are. Look for flaws. I'm not saying this will magically make them evaporate like this was an episode of the care bears; prejudices are like a wine stain, you have to oxyclean the hell out of that bitch to make any headway at all. What I am saying is that if you tend your hate shrub a bit, you might find there was a little bit of unattractive overgrowth. 


And well...I think we're done here. Looking back, I'm glad I took my time on this one. It's a big topic which I file under "None to very few right answers" and I'm pretty happy I could get my head into the game and give it the treatment it deserves. As always, if you found the article particularly interesting or you think you know someone who would find it so, by all means, share it with everyone. Dissenting opinion? Raucous approval? Nomination for some kind of award? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And as always, BE SURE TO VOTE FOR NEXT WEEK'S TOPIC! By reader suggestion I'll be posting the poll on my facebook as well as on this site not this week, but next week because I think that's a good idea, but this week's a bit wonky to start that now.

Thank you, Goodnight.


  1. Thank you for pointing out that all old testament arguements fail. You cannot tell me that gay sex is wrong, while you're eating shrimp and getting a tattoo. (Yes, at the same time, what else would you do while getting a tattoo?)
    I've been saying for many years now, that we need to seperate the religious definition of marriage from the legal definition. For all couples. It bothers me that while we have a problem with gay couples using the phrase "marriage" because of the "Biblical definition", we don't have a problem with people who have a secular wedding using that phrase. If you want to call marriage a religious sacrament, then you shouldn't be ok with anyone, straight or gay, being able to get married outside of a church.
    I think that there should be two types of unions. A marriage, in a church, preformed by a church leader or a civil union, preformed by the government. And the civil union would be open to all human couples. However, as always, the individual churches can decline to marry anyone, gay or straight, if they so choose.

  2. I actually have to disagree with you on the Civil Union bit. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having marriage outside of the church, I mean people already do that all the time. My problem is the word, actually. Just the word. It sounds like a bit of semantics, like something that shouldn't matter, but it does. In a world where we idealize marriage, where little girls look forward to one day getting married to their prince charming, it's kind of a kick to the balls (or ovaries, where applicable) to be told that instead of being married, you have to get civil union'd instead.

    This actually got brought up at the panel and some clever things were said about it. One of the cleverest was actually a quotation from somewhere else to the effects of "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" What we call stuff matters, even if we call two identical things something different. Consider for a moment the difference between a garbage man and a sanitation expert or book and a tome. Both refer to effectively the same thing, but in both cases, either version has a distinctly different connotation. It may sound like semantics, and it kind of is, but no matter how much we wanna dismiss it, semantics matter. They make the difference between a leader and a ruler.

  3. "After that, Paul says some stuff, but I'm not sure I like him and the translation gets debated on too much. The OLD Testament actually does condemn it at some points, but it does it in the same book where it condemns things like shaving, shellfish, polyester, and associating with women on their periods, so I mean, if we're not going to follow those, let's not just pick our favorites."

    Can you please cite the sources that debate the translation of what Paul said concerning homosexuality? I am not familiar with any debate on what he said concerning that.

    Concerning not liking Paul being a reason for not having to listen to him. I assume you are getting at the idea that since Paul is human and not God I do not need to believe everything he says. This goes against several principles for being able to believe in the Bible.
    Being able to rule out Paul for being a man would apply to every other book in the Bible. A workaround for this would be that he is stating his own views whereas the Gospels are historical records and not opinions therefore what Jesus said is still relevant since he is the one that said it and everything else not recorded as being said by God is open to speculation. However a problem that comes from this is believing that God would have chosen these people to give his word, if they claimed to speaking in the name of God while actually giving what in reality was not his word, why should you trust what anyone in the Bible claims is God word not just what they think it is? Paul for instance was written down as being chosen very directly by J-man to give his word if he can not be trusted to do that accurately why should anyone else be?
    These all also go against the belief that the Bible is God-inspired to where you can trust what it says, if you cannot believe some of it is God-inspired why should you believe any of it?

    On "if we're not going to follow those". Although you are getting at a slightly different point about why we should not just believe what we want to from the Bible, you are at the same time arguing for just that. The New Testament including many of Paul's writings say that many of the rules in the Old Testament are no longer needed. So your argument concerning that for the Old Testament is somewhat valid a problem there is that you were arguing that based instead on not people not liking that other stuff being a reason not to follow this part either.

    Just a few questions to look into. Why does the Bible say what it does on homosexuality and do these reasons match up with reality? What are pitfalls and benefits of homosexuality and which out weighs the other and why? Why do homosexual folk wish and reason that they should have these relationships?(Please note that this is really two things I am asking)What is the purpose behind marriage both physiologically and sociologically and how does a homosexual fail and succeed at this and what other ways might it succeed that heterosexual marriage does not and do these outweigh the pitfalls?