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An Open Letter to Dr. Laura Schlesinger

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Time for a change of pace. This came via e-mail from Marshall Auerback:

In her radio show, Dr. Laura Schlesinger (a popular conservative radio talk show host in the USA) said that homosexuality is an abomination according to the Bible Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, and was attributed to a James M. Kauffman, Ed. D.
_______________________

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… end of
debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual unseemliness – Lev. 15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev. 24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed. D.
Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

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108 comments

  1. wunsacon

    Excellent!

    Yet, as a member of the Thought Police, Special Blog Unit (SBU), I must caution you against carrying content not expressly anticipated by your choice of blog title.

    I’ll let you go with a warning. Good day to you, miss.

  2. Dan

    Hmm…

    This immediately reminded me of a clip from the first season of The West Wing, in which President Bartlett berates someone who, I think, is supposed to be a Dr. Laura lookalike, asking pointed questions much like Prof. Kauffman does above.

    Anyone remember this scene? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHaVUjjH3EI

  3. Yearning to Learn

    although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of the letter I also initially have to question the relevance to Yves’ blog. (except of course the fact that she can put whatever she wants on her blog)

    on further reflection, there is one major link that I’ve pondered for some time. It is not uncommon to see a loss of social cohesion during times of major economic impact. Specifically, for minority groups to be targeted and scapegoated for the economic misery of a nation… it happens again and again.

    I have been afraid for some time that our moral, political, and religious “leaders” will target a group or groups in this way.

    Gay people have traditionally been a very “easy” target, as are African Americans, Jews, and a host of other peoples.

    Use them to confuse and divide and conquer the populace.

    Angry that we just gave 20 Trillion bucks to the bankers? Blame the Gays! Clearly part of the gay agenda is for your tax dollars to fund abortions. what does that have to do with 20 trillion dollars? uh… did I mention they’re gay?

    It’s clearly the muslim’s fault that we’ve lost so much manufacturing in the heartland.

    And there is no question that illegal immigration caused the subprime crisis.

    But it’s not just the right that falls prey to this. The left is equally ready to rail against the stereotypes such as the child molesting priest or the “redneck” with a mullet.

    Thus far, I think we’ve held up pretty well… but I still fear. How long until we get the major increase in bread and circuses to distract us (in our case it’s American Idol, Tiger Woods, gays, abortions, and illegal immigration).

    1. eric anderson

      Yearning to Learn, what you say is true, but I’m not sure it is relevant to this particular item. Dr. Laura would have told you that homosexuality is an abomination fifteen years ago, when America seemed to be very prosperous and the future looked so bright, you had to wear shades.

      It is not a matter of scapegoating anyone. It is a matter of sincere faith. I’ll wager Dr. Laura never blamed national problems on homosexuals.

      Of course, ridiculing the faith of others has become a sort of scapegoating of its own at times.

  4. Swedish Lex

    Off topic, yes, but as Yves owns the place, she gets to be our shepard.

    Also unrelated to NC: NYT; “Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html?hp

    From this side of the pond, is that I am pleased that we have managed to keep adherence to any faith, or religion, out of the EU’s Constitutional framework, despite the Vatican’s lobbying to the contrary. From Wikipedia: In the secularising EU, The Vatican has been vocal against a perceived “militant atheism”. It based this on a number of events, for example; the rejection of religious references in the Constitution and Treaty of Lisbon, the rejection by Parliament of Rocco Buttiglione as Justice Commissioner in 2004,[14] while at the same time Parliament approved Peter Mandelson (who is gay[19]) as Trade Commissioner, and the legalisation of same-sex marriage in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain.[14] The European Parliament has also been calling for same-sex marriages to be recognised across the EU.[20] Meanwhile, states such as Latvia and Poland [21] have rejected legislation designed to stop discrimination against homosexuals. This has been stated to be on religious grounds, with homosexual behaviour described as “unnatural”, and the Catholic Church influencing public opinion. The difference of opinion between these countries and Brussels has been damaging relations”

  5. JimV

    One little problem with Gods law. Christians are free from it. I am assuming the author of the letter to Dr. Laura is a gay liberal trying to be smart.

  6. Alexandra Hamilton

    I have been wondering for some time why Christians are so obsessed with the Old Testament. Especially, since most of it cannot be verified in terms of origin and originality.
    These text may have been changed, added and subtracted to over time. How do Christians know that this is really what God said? In other words how do they ensure that the texts are authentically representing God’s will and do (did) not serve someone’s power interests?

    1. DownSouth

      Alexandra Hamilton,

      There’s something in Christianity for practically everyone.

      PBS Frontline had a superb program on Christianity a couple of months back:

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/watch/?utm_campaign=homepage&utm_medium=proglist&utm_source=proglist

      Christianity during Jesus’ day was a sect of the Jewish faith. Since the Jews lived under the heavy heel of the Romans, it was at that time a revolutionary movement.

      But several centuries later Christianity was to be adopted by the Romans themselves as their religion. And as the PBS program points out, Christianity thus underwent a transformation from the religion of the oppressed to the religion of the oppressor.

      So what most biblical literalists like Dr. Schlesinger do, since there is so much contradiction in the Bible, is to cherry pick whichever parts or passages bolster their own preconceived opinions.

    2. Dan Duncan

      Sorry Alexandra…not that I care about whether or not the Old Testament or New Testament or The Testament from The Flying Spaghetti Monster from the Plant Pastafaria are “authentic”…

      But, when you write the last few sentences of your post: “How do Christians know that this is really what God said? In other words how do they ensure that the texts are authentically representing God’s will and do (did) not serve someone’s power interests?”

      C’mon, Alexandra. You’re not writing as a skeptic of “sacred texts” in general. [A skeptic isn't going to write, "authentically representing God's will" in real-time.] Rather, you’re writing as a skeptic of any “sacred text” that isn’t the Koran.

      [Sure enough, your blog states that you are a devout Muslim.]

      Dr. Laura’s schtick is stupid.
      Yours’…is just disingenuous.

      1. LeeAnne

        careful Dan -you can have a fatwah declared against you for ‘defiling’ the insane idea that a book must be treated as a sacred living God or its your head.

        1. Alexandra Hamilton

          What is a fatwa anyway? Wikipedia says:
          A fatwā (Arabic: فتوى‎; plural fatāwā Arabic: فتاوى‎) in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwa is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar.
          ——————————————————
          You see, it is nothing to worry about. Especially so if you are not Muslim.

        2. LeeAnne

          and Theo Van Gogh. I’ll skip the rest of this blog today. Its a gorgeous day in New York and the subject of religion as practiced by the religious is too disgusting to think about.

          bye -bye

      2. Alexandra Hamilton

        That’s actually a fair point your raising, maybe I should have pointed that out.
        However, the Qur’an is a confirmation and a clarification of what went before, i.e. the old and new testament.
        So somehow it concerns me as well, how these old texts can actually be verified as acurate. Provided you believe in God, otherwise you can just move on.
        For the Qur’an it is clear, for some of the hadiths which relay the customs of the prophet, it is not always obvious and some have to been proven to be fakes.
        The integrity of the faith somehow requires of a believer to inquire into the acuracy of those texts.
        Otherwise it would be easy to slip stuff in there that have no place in being there because they were fabricated.

        As a sidenote, doing once five obligatory prayers a day is not considered devout, it is the minimum required.

        1. weinerdog43

          Hmmmm. I’ve heard that devotees of Ba’al must quaff a tasty Cabernet or Chianti on a daily basis. The penalty for failure to observe is horrible. Supposedly shots of Jagermeister until one sees the error of their way. Cruel and unusual indeed!

  7. psychohistorian

    I want to thank you for the posting. I believe that all faith based myths should be challenged.

  8. Sinner

    I was surprised to see this quite-off-the-topic article on this blog. Makes me think it touched a nerve with the host.

    Remember kids, you don’t have to win an argument with logic, facts, or truth, just make it funny!

    1. KFritz

      Just because the rhetorical strategy of ‘reductio ad absurdum’ is phrased humorously, doesn’t mean it’s not logical or coherent. The post shows that biblical adherence is being selective. You beg the question: why is the injunction against homosexuality taken literally when others are not?
      If you believe that humor and logic are mutually exclusive….that’s another matter. And a belief. Not a fact.

  9. Avg John

    Ok, so this is an adult blog so I’ll ask all of the champions of homosexuality a frank question.

    Do I advise my sons and grandsons that “a man putting his weiner in your butt-hole is okay when you become of age, because an enlightened group of politicians, new age cultural gurus, not to mention brilliant economists say so?

    Since our enlightened culture has moved beyond the simple minded spiritual laws laid out by the Good book, maybe it’s okay to have sex with children too. Who says it’s not and who are they to moralize to me? Why this Country was founded on the principles of sodomy, and millions of Americans have fought and died to protect and advance this most righteous cause(sodomy), right? How can we ever claim to be free if we do not advance the act of sodomy?

    Come on, I can get this kind of crap on every left and right wing political blog on the internet!

    1. KFritz

      Interesting that someone hewing to the ‘Good book’ would resort to vulgar description of sexual acts and semi-vulgar ‘crappy’ language.
      Neither the Declaration of Independence, nor the Constitution mentions sodomy. Would you have shipped von Steuben home? He was recruited by Benjamin Franklin, who didn’t miss much.

      1. Avg John

        Gee, I see you’re not only a member of the elite grammar police, but a member of the morals swat squad, as well.

        Who’s to say what is vulgar? What, are you one the ultimate sources of authority on what’s “vulgar”?

        Who say’s you have to be 18 to be a consenting adult?

        I’m just trying to find if the spiritual teachings of the Good book are no longer relevant, who is going to spell out right and wrong? You find it vulgar, does that mean anyone else should?

        1. KFritz

          WHO’S a member of the morals SWAT team? And those descriptions weren’t crude? Where is Judith Martin anyway?

          That’s a great way to duck the substantive issues raised. Would have sent von Steuben home for being gay? Does the constitution address homosexuality?

        2. Avg John

          How many of our “founding father’s” were openly homosexual, living with a sex same partner and actively promoting homosexual rights? It’s okay because Benjamin Franklin says so?

          “Give me the right to sodomize or give me death!” Now there’s a seminal idea to rally around.

          In regards to your question, No. I’ve read the story in the Good book about the Pharisees(I think) dragging the woman caught in adultery before him, and trying to trap the Master into condemning her to a public stoning because she broke the “letter of the law.” Similar to the Professor’s tactic in the article above.

          In his reply to their charges, he agreed it was indeed a violation of the “letter of the law”, but he turned the tables on them, demonstrating that to carry out such a harsh sentence was a violation of the spirit of the law (he attempted to teach this time and time again through his ministry).

          He then went on to tell the adulteress that he did not condemn her, but advised her to be on her way AND SIN NO MORE.

          So, from what my feeble mind can assemble, I neither have the authority nor am expected to condemn and carry out sentence on others. However, this doesn’t mean I am to disregard the moral teachings of the Good book. But, I am not required to advance and promote an agenda that clearly violates the spirit of God’s law.

        3. Michael

          “I’m just trying to find if the spiritual teachings of the Good book are no longer relevant, who is going to spell out right and wrong?”

          Did you read the original post? Did you get the general idea? It seems inconsistent to go thumping on one series of bible passages (the ones condemning the sodomites to he11) while ignoring the ones imploring you to stone your neighbors and whatnot.

          To put it another way, why are you fixated on gay males? Why are you ignoring (for example) the warnings about “dead pig skin?”

    2. Skippy

      Advise away, won’t stop anything in the long run, if they choose or are predicated to a natural sex drive (or just out of curiosity), not conforming to a rewritten monotheocracy for the benefit of its masters out of spite.

    3. bob

      Telling your sons and grandsons what to do with their ‘weiners’ is creepy, and if history is any guide, it will lead them to do the exact opposite.

    4. Kevin de Burxelles

      From what I hear, sodomy is also quite possible between men and women so you would do well to warn your daughters and granddaughters as well.

      In any case, you seem to be blending personal morality and state enforcement of morality. Obviously personally you have to right to consider sodomy or anything you wish an abomination and to try to pass these values down to your children. Personally I consider eating at McDonalds an abomination and therefore my kids have never been inside one of these disgusting places and I lecture them about it from time to time. Is this an effective strategy though? Who knows, probably not, but I do try to make sure they know that I will still love them just the same even if I do catch them sneaking into a McDonalds after they turn eighteen. Will you be able to make the same assurances to your children?

      But personal morals are one thing, demanding the state to enforce your morals is another. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, every state basically enforces the morals of its ruling class. As for sexuality, currently the threshold of state intervention seems to revolve around the concept of consent. So if two consenting adults are engaging in sodomy, most -– but certainly not all — people would not consider this a matter of state intervention. Many may find it repugnant, but they are not demanding police intervention.

      So to answer your original questions, you should advise your children about your attitudes towards sodomy (it is wrong) as well as the state’s attitude (OK between consenting adults). Regarding laws against paedophilia , it the idea that children who are under the age of consent are considered (somewhat logically) to be unable to consent to sexual activity which springs the necessity for state intervention. Rape is in a similar category.

      But why look at sodomy in isolation on the question where the threshold of state intervention should be in sexual matters? It’s always dangerous to look at just one aspect of a question, it is always better to broaden the view to see where this all would lead in other areas. So why don’t we have a look at, for example, adultery as well? There is a commandment about this after all, the seventh I think. Since the Bible clearly places a higher priority on denouncing adultery than on sodomy (although I suppose sodomy could be considered a subset of adultery) shouldn’t the more general abomination of adultery be on the top of any good Christian’s list of areas to push for state intervention?

      1. DownSouth

        Kevin de Burxelles,

        Speaking of sodomy between a man and a woman, you bring up an interesting, and quite humorous, history.

        Back before the Supreme Court overruled Texas’s sodomy law the offending act was only illegal between homosexual couples, as Jonathan David Carroll points out:

        In 1974, the Texas Legislature freed heterosexual couples in their bedrooms from the constraints of the sodomy law, but the same freedom was not given to gay and lesbian couples. Section 21.06, the “homosexual conduct” statute, was passed that year, stating that “A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse [defined elsewhere as "any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person"] with another individual of the same sex.”
        http://weeklywire.com/ww/08-14-00/austin_pols_feature3.html

        When Texas’ penal code came up for reconsideration a couple of decades later, this made for some pretty hilarious discussion on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. As Carroll goes on to explain:

        The new Texas Penal Code, which passed the Senate without the homosexual conduct statute, sparked a bitter debate when it was introduced into the state’s lower chamber. “It ran into a wall and couldn’t get out of the House,” says Gary Kansteiner, senior counsel for the Texas Legislative Council.

        On the floor of the house, a now-legendary exchange took place between conservative Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) and Rep. Debra Danburg (D-Houston). The exchange was provoked after Chisum introduced an amendment to the penal code outlawing sodomy regardless of sexual orientation.

        “Mr. Chisum, you’re trying to make it criminal even between the opposite sex, even if they are married?” Danburg asked.
        “Especially if they are married,” he replied. “I can’t believe anyone would do that if they were married.”
        Their squabble escalated.

        “If my husband and I were having sex and it touched my anus, do I need to go turn myself in to some health official?” Danburg asked.

        “I suggest your husband goes to see a doctor about his aim,” Chisum replied.

        Chisum’s amendment failed, but the ban on homosexual conduct was restored and approved by the House. A conference committee adopted the House version after six deadlocked votes on the issue. “It’s a pretty up-and-down issue without a lot of room for compromise,” notes Kansteiner.

        Off the house floor the banter was even less reserved:

        After successfully preserving the anti-sodomy legislation, Mr. Chisum remains pleased, congratulating his fellow Republicans, shaking hands, slapping each other on the back. In response to all this close felt excitement between Republicans, a couple of the Democrats got together and told the Sergeant of Arms to tell Mr. Chisum to quit his carrying on, as it was “now illegal for a prick to touch an asshole in this state.”
        http://www.cddc.vt.edu/journals/newriver/08Spring/bailey/Legislating_Texas.html

        Mr. Chisum’s obsession with the policing of other peoples’ genitalia found an outlet in other statutes as well:

        The re-visitation of this legislation made illegal any act in the state of Texas that involves the selling, and/or the ownership of six or more dildos; these actions now constitute felony offenses. I’m not exactly sure how Mr. Chisum decided on the illegal number as being “six or more” dildos, since more than five earns you the sentence of “the intent to distribute,” while five or less only makes you a hobbyist.

        1. kevin de bruxelles

          I would have had a hard time saying the words “Mr. Chisum” without bursting out laughing. Who was the co-sponser of his bill, Mr. Chpunk?

          On a more serious note, it is beyond belief that all that occured in 1993.

    5. The Barefoot Bum

      Avg John:

      “Do I advise my sons and grandsons that “a man putting his weiner in your butt-hole is okay when you become of age…”

      First, why should you advise them one way or another? This topic is not one for which people naturally feel a lot of uncertainty or doubt. Men are typically either completely uninterested in or extremely thrilled about the idea of another man putting his weiner in one’s butt-hole. Your advice is not going to substantially affect anyone’s proclivities or interests one way or the other.

      “…because an enlightened group of politicians, new age cultural gurus, not to mention brilliant economists say so?”

      This is nonsense. You shouldn’t do anything just because anyone tells you too. But ask the same question in reverse: should you advise your progeny that homosexuality is an abomination because a benighted group of superstitious iron-age goat… er… *herding* nomads say so?

      If you feel the need to advise your progeny one way or another, why not simply advise them to be considerate and caring of the well-being of others? If sympathy and consideration are your moral touchstones, then there’s no reason to consider any medically safe (use a condom, boys and girls!), consensual and mutually fulfilling sexual activity to be immoral.

      At the end of the day, however, it’s a free country: you can advise your progeny any way you please (so long as you don’t engage in a criminal conspiracy, of course). If you want to teach them that homosexuality is an abomination, blacks are sub-human, Jews are engaged in a massive conspiracy to control the world, communists are polluting our precious bodily fluids, or that shape-shifting lizard people have secretly infiltrated our governments, you are free to do so.

      1. Avg John

        Barefoot,

        So, by opposing sodomy, I am a racist, neo-nazi, facist, delusional, paranoid UFO kook, who has violated every politically correct law on the books?

        How will I ever face tomorrow, knowing that I have violated the covenant as laid out by the political correctness police?

        I’m not telling you, you can’t have homosexual relationships.

        I am saying the Good book says it is wrong. If you think Christians are intolerant you should try to move to Baghdad or read about the military history of ancient Greek culture when they were embracing homosexuality. It may give you a little insight into the “tolerance” of a culture that embraces such practices.

        1. kevin de bruxelles

          What does the good book say about religious intolerance? Didn’t (don’t) many anti-Semites base their beliefs on the Gospel of John stating the Jews are the sons of Satan?

          If the Bible does indeed teach intolerance towards Jews then isn’t it a sin to not be anti-Semitic?

          I’m also confused by your statement about ancient Greece. Alexander, the greatest general in history, was queer and had a boyfriend named Hephaestion. But this didn’t stop his armies from conquering a huge portion of the known (to them) world. Many of the Greek city states used homosexuality as means to build unit cohesion and the exploits of these warriors are still celebrated to this day.

          But if you are saying that Alexander was not tolerant of the conquered Persians then you know absolutely nothing about him. While there is no doubt he indulged in the occasional atrocity; Persepolis, Tyre, and Gaza are good examples, it was in fact his cultural tolerance and his semi-adaptation of Persian ways that ultimately led to the revolt of his Macedonian veterans.

          1. KFritz

            Divine Providence forbid that the US falls to right wing tyranny, I predict that nominal Christians will stand by while violators of obscure morals clauses of the Old Testament and Pauline Epistles, and outsiders like Muslims and illegal aliens are persecuted. They’ll be content with this while Christ’s vital concepts of acceptance, understanding and Essential decency are roundly violated by the persecution. It’s always the way with enforcers of punitive injunctions who don’t understand the Love that underlies all religions, The cultural context is irrelevant. Let’s all hope we don’t have to watch this happen here. In Christ’s time, the working adjective for this mental outlook was ‘Pharisaical.’

    6. Yearning to Learn

      Do I advise my sons and grandsons that “a man putting his weiner in your butt-hole is okay when you become of age, because an enlightened group of politicians, new age cultural gurus, not to mention brilliant economists say so?

      I dunno. Did you advise your sons on every sexual position that they could have with their future wives? For instance did you sit down one day and tell them:
      “It’s ok for you to put your wiener in her puss, and it’s ok for you to put your wiener in her mouth, but it is/isn’t (I’m not sure your belief) ok to put your wiener in her butt”.

      if you got to that level of detail with your sons regarding their future wives, then I suppose it’s fine for you to tell your grandkids the same. If not, then I’d say that you should approach the conversation similarly to how you did with your own kids.

      I personally would tell my children: “we all grow up and fall in love with someone. I hope you choose someone who loves you and who you can be proud of and who you can be happy with, and who will cherish you”. When we had the birds and the bees talk, I talked more about relationships and basic sexual anatomy and basic sexual function and basic romantics/sensuality using appropriate adult language. The mechanics for the most part I left up to them, unless they came and asked. and I never used such crude language to my children.

      but then again, I wasn’t trying to lead them away from their choice either.

    7. DownSouth

      Avg John,

      Your explicit and graphic description of a specific sex act—- “a man putting his weiner in your butt-hole”—-is standard operating procedure for those wishing to appeal to and engender homophobic impulses:

      The gay person, like the heterosexual “straight” person, experiences being gay as a cognitive-social phenomenon, not as a sexual phenomenon. The strangers to whom the gay person is introduced, however, are forced to attend to his or her sexual behavior at the moment of introduction. Attention toward a stranger’s inner sexual life leads to attention toward one’s own. Because of the way the human mind works, the focus of such attention is on imagistic concrete experiences (the fantasy of the person engaged in sexual activity). The gay social role is therefore analogous to being undressed. The introductory situation becomes sexualized, violating a social taboo.
      –Richard C. Friedman, Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective

      Statements like yours are crafted intentionally to sexualize gay people, to deprive them of their humanity, and to push certain buttons, specifically those that exaggerate and inflame the social taboo that Friedman cites.

    1. Yearning to Learn

      Chriatians are not bound to the Old Testament laws but there are still standards of right and wrong. Among these standards is this: Sexual relations outside the bounds of a male-female marriage are considered wrong.

      actually: I believe (I’m willing to be proven wrong) your argument is also intellectually dishonest.

      All 7 mentions of homosexuality are in the Old Testament. None are in the New Testament.
      Jesus never once spoke on the topic.

      Some of those 7 references to homosexuality in the original Aramaic did not cite “male with a male” but instead used other Aramaic words like “sexual deviancy” which were then translated into “homosexuality”.

      You can’t have it both ways.
      Can’t say “Christians are free of the Old Testament”
      but
      “Gays are still subject to it”

      =======
      I will tell you the story that made me change my mind about Gays in the Bible. For those of you who are religious, I recommend you read this story. It is THE MOST CHERRY PICKED STORY OF ALL TIME.

      The hallmark case against gays that I hear most is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. (S&G)
      I often hear argumentd such as this: (simplified)
      “S&G were deviant cities. There were lots of Gays and bad sexual things happening there. Thus God smote them. That shows you that God is against the Gays.”

      In the same story, Lot’s wife is turned to a pillar of salt “proof” that one must obey God’s will.

      But let’s really look at the story of S&G and of Lot and his wife.

      S&G were wicked. (I don’t deny that)

      God sent Angels to S&G, to smite the city and to warn Lot.

      Lot pleads with the Angels to stay with him because the streets are not safe (he doesn’t know they are angels). They agree.

      An angry mob comes to try to have sex with the Angels.
      Lot offers his daughters up instead, so that the crowd may rape his daughters

      the crowd goes away. The Angels say “Go and don’t look back”

      They go, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned to a pillar of salt for disobeying God

      They get to a mountain. Lot’s daughters drug Lot and rape him both becoming pregnant.

      So let’s see here:
      God smote S&G because they were evil
      God smote Lot’s wife because she ignored his will.

      HOWEVER:
      God did NOT smite Lot when he gave his daughters up to strangers to rape.

      and
      God did NOT smite Lot’s daughters when they drugged and raped him.

      SO THIS MEANS
      -God is against gays
      -God is against those who disobey him
      -God is NOT against you giving your daughters up for rape
      -God is NOT against incest, or raping your father.

      You can’t have it both ways.
      God’s will was CLEARLY on display that night. He destroyed a whole city in theory due to sexual deviancy. And yet he let 3 people with what I consider the MOST deviant behavior to live.

      he is either against all that he destroyed (sodom/gomorrah/lot’s wife) AND not against those things he didn’t destroy (incestuous and rapacious lot and his daughters), or the story is flawed.

      1. LeeAnne

        God isn’t a he. I know because she is with me at all times and furthermore would never have anything to do with you. She doesn’t even like you.

      2. JTFaraday

        “SO THIS MEANS
        -God is against gays
        -God is against those who disobey him
        -God is NOT against you giving your daughters up for rape
        -God is NOT against incest, or raping your father.”

        Looks like a pretty transparent bit of social engineering for tribal reproduction to me:

        “And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

        Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

        And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

        And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.” Genesis 19:31-34

      3. Doug Terpstra

        Yearning, you write “All 7 mentions of homosexuality are in the Old Testament. None are in the New Testament.
        Jesus never once spoke on the topic.”

        Actually Apostle Paul condemned homosexuality a couple of times in the NT, in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians. But also in 1 Corintians, he condemned women attending church whithout their heads covered, saying, “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off.” OMG, so many sins to keep ‘straight’.

        As you imply, Jesus words and mission are extremely problematic for wing nuts. He never spoke about gays, abortion, flags, or other divisive issues used to sow conflict and distract people from arguably the greatest sins: greed, hypocrisy, pride, and self-righteousness. But we won’t go into that.

        1. Fred

          Jesus didnt say anything specifically about homosexuality, but he did say in Matt 5:28…”But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

          If this is true between natural relations between men and women, how much more so for unnatural relations between same sex?

          HOWEVER, Paul DID say homosexuality is wrong:
          1 Corinthians 6…Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers-none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

          These are both New Testament references…there is no explaining this away…only those with minds darkened by sin can not see the Truth. The Bible makes many references to those who willfully believe lies…none of them good.

          See the writer of this article in response to Dr Laura of course misses the point, willfully. Biblical writers repeated stress that all forms of unmarried lust are sinful, and if unrepented, end in death. How much clearer does it need to be?

          If you need more understanding: GO TO CHURCH!

  10. ewklap

    The Problem with Mr. Kauffman’s reply is that it is dishonest, and basically perpetuates an untruth or a lie if you prefer.

    Chriatians are not bound to the Old Testament laws but there are still standards of right and wrong. Among these standards is this: Sexual relations outside the bounds of a male-female marriage are considered wrong.

    What was done with that letter was intellectual dishonesty.

    1. alex

      “What was done with that letter was intellectual dishonesty.”

      No, selectively citing the Bible’s prohibitions is intellectual dishonesty. That’s what the letter was ridiculing, not the fact that some religions view homosexuality negatively. There’s a lot of room for theological debate here, but saying that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so, without justifying why you choose that prohibition and ignore many others, is intellectual dishonesty.

      Also it’s ironic that you and many others on this thread keep referring to Christianity, when Schlesinger was (at least at the time) Jewish.

      You also imply that all Christians think that homosexuality is wrong. In fact there are mainstream Christian and Jewish denominations that don’t believe that.

      1. DownSouth

        alex,

        I’ve about come to the conclusion that many, if not most, human beings don’t handle ambiguity well. And uncertainty is completely out of the question.

        The contradictions that inhere to Christianity, or any religion I suppose, are legendary. They sort of reflect the human condition, no?

        The same Christianity that informed Martin Luther King, Jr, for instance, also informed the white racists. King was cognizant of this ambiguity, but did not shy away from it:

        You know, there was a time when some people used to argue the inferiority of the Negro and the colored races generally on the basis of the Bible and religion. They would say the Negro was inferior by nature because of Noah’s curse upon the children of Ham.
        –Martin Luther King, Jr., “The American Dream,” commencement address at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, 6 June 1961

        More and more the voice of the church is being heard. It is still true that the church is the most segregated major institution in America. As a minister of the gospel I am ashamed to have to affirm that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing “In Christ There is No East nor West,” is the most segregated hour in America, and the Sunday school is the most segregated school of the week.
        –Martin Luther King, Jr., Address before the National Press Club in Washington D.C., 19 July 1962

        The question as to who gets to interpret scripture was one of the principle driving forces behind the entire Reformation. Up until the advent of the printing press, the high priests of the church easily preserved their monopoly of this function. But with the invention of the printing press, and the translation of the gospel into popular languages (that is, languages other than Latin), this monopoly came under fire, and laws had to be put in place. As William Manchester explains:

        [T]he Church didn’t want—-didn’t permit—-wide readership of the New Testament. Studying it was a privilege they had reserved for the hierarchy, which could then interpret passages to support the sophistry, and often secular politics, of the Holy See.
        –William Manchester, A World Lit Only by Fire

        And the penalties for defying this prohibition were severe, as William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament into English, found out. Manchester continues:

        At Henry’s (King Henry VIII) insistence he was imprisoned for sixteen months in the castle of Vilvorde, near Brussels, tried for heresy, and, after his conviction, publicly garroted. His corpse was burned at the stake, an admonition for any who might have been tempted by his folly.

        But, as Manchester goes on to point out:

        The royal warning was unheeded. You can’t kill a good book, including the Good Book, and Tyndale’s translation was excellent; later it became the basis for the King James version. Despite a lengthy ‘Dialogue’ by Moore, denouncing the translation as flawed, copies of the Worms edition had been smuggled into the country and were being passed from hand to hand. To the bishop of London this was an intolerable, metastasizing heresy.

        So beginning in about 1525, when Tyndale and others first began publishing their translations, everybody who could lay their hands on a copy of the Bible began running around making their own interpretations.

        Of course Martin Luther, along with many others who read the Bible, believed his particular interpretation of scripture was the undisputed truth. Erasmus tried pointing out the error in this:

        Erasmus…sees Luther, like the Stoics, relying on an absolute standard of truth in a world in which there is no infallible standard or criterion. He knows that Luther believes that Scripture is such a criterion, but he knows it cannot serve this function. Scripture is filled with contradictions and obscurities. In part this is because God wants some things to remain unknown, but it is also the result of the fact that different people read Scripture differently depending on the goal they have in view. Many of the apparent contradictions in Scripture are thus not in the text but in the exegesis of the text. Coming to terms with Scripture requires not the uncompromising assertion of what one believes Scripture to mean, but a broad, communal discussion that reflectively compares the multiple views of one’s contemporaries and one’s predecessors.
        –Michael Allen Gillespie, The Theological Origins of Modernity

        So I don’t know what’s worse—-the pre-printing-press era when only the high priests interpreted the Bible, or the post-printing-press era when everybody and his dog became a biblical expert.

        But one thing’s for sure, many Christians have erased all this history from memory.

  11. eklap

    Mr> Kauffman’s response is either borne out of total ignorance or wilfull intelectual dishonesty.

    The reason is this: A Christian is not bound by the Old Testament laws but there are standards of right and wrong that have been around even before the law was given. One of these standards is that sexual relations outside of a male-female marriage is wrong.

    People may disagree with this view of morality but please don’t set up dishonest strawmen arguments.

    1. Skippy

      Christians are only bound by two things…god is punishing me…god is rewarding me.

      How one observes this distinction with regards to their state of mind is arbitrary at best.

      Skippy…they say the bible, not the new testament, false advertising bait and switch if you ask me. Make up your minds.

    2. The Barefoot Bum

      eklap:

      “A Christian is not bound by the Old Testament laws…”

      Some Christians do in fact consider themselves bound by at least some OT laws, because those laws appear in the OT. It is commonplace for some Christians to condemn homosexuality just because it appears in the OT.

      “…there are standards of right and wrong that have been around even before the law was given. One of these standards is that sexual relations outside of a male-female marriage is wrong.”

      This is a different argument, an argument the anonymous author of the piece is under no particular obligation to address. As a bare assertion, it’s also so pathetically weak that it hardly deserves to be called an argument. Furthermore, it’s directly contradicted by the diversity of opinion regarding homosexuality in the ancient world.

    3. mytwosenseworth

      Not so fast – am important facet of the OT has gotten nary a mention here: The 10 Commandments. These edicts have transcended religion to become the basis of living a “moral” life even in modern times. In fact several State government buildings across the country have them prominently on display (i.e. Alabama).

      For the most part it’s true Christians do not feel bound by the OT, as it is the teachings of Judaism even though this creed obviously begat Christ and his followers. But the 10 Commandments are an exception that are even cited by many non-believers to profess they are living a principled existence.

      1. alex

        But the 10 Commandments say nothing about homosexuality. They do however say something about adultery – of which Schlesinger is guilty.

    4. Moopheus

      Dr. Laura is Jewish. So, she is bound by Jewish law. Whether or not Xtians consider themselves so (Didn’t Jesus say that no letter of the law should pass away?) is not real relevant to replying to Dr. Laura.

  12. Vespasian

    I’m not sure that this “open letter” post was relevant to this blog, but I’m always up for witty comedy at the expense of offending religious sensibilities. Thanks goes out to the Christians for tolerating it without too much negativity.

    “Always look on the bri-ight side of life, d-doo, d-d-d-d-d-dooo….”

  13. Matt Franko

    2 Timothy 1:9

    “Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian…”

    Dr Laura does not “get it”.

    Resp,

  14. TT

    Remember:

    making any moral judgments is wrong…
    … unless it is a moral judgment about finances.

  15. Stephen A. Meigs

    “This is nonsense. You shouldn’t do anything just because anyone tells you too. But ask the same question in reverse: should you advise your progeny that homosexuality is an abomination because a benighted group of superstitious iron-age goat… er… *herding* nomads say so?”

    Ask your question in reverse. Why has it become unpopular to view homosexuality as an abomination? Because the hallowed priests in priestess of scientism in their white robes in our nation’s hospitals and outpatient clinics do so exorcise the fearers of alien rectal probes according to such-and-such a page of ye great DSM-IV-TM (2000), which I presume suggests that to cure such individuals it is better to suggest to them that they fear being gay too much rather than to suggest the obvious, namely that they should fear sodomizers instead of aliens with rectal probes.

    Why does the DSM no longer say homosexuality is a pathology? According to something I heard the other day on This American Life, because in the early 70s while being pressured by gay activists the chief guy on the relevant DSM committee or whatever went to a gay bar and decided, well, these people are sort of normal looking. That’s all the scientific reason for it, basically. Why do people have more faith in the DSM than Leviticus? Because the government has decided that psychology/psychiatry is not a religion, and so it’s not violating the religious establishment cause of the Constitution to only allow/fund in hospitals the sort of people in white robes who do support the DSM.

    There is no science being produced by the psychological/psychiatric establishment that supports the claim that sodomy is not a vile controlling addiction. Common sense suggests that given that (1) there are great selfish benefits that could be gained by males in addicting people to them , (2) that sodomy involves putting chemicals in the digestive system whose purpose is to absorb chemicals, (3) that sodomy is rather common and that (4) semen is full of neuromodulators like prostaglandins (blocking which in rats has been shown to decrease the amount of time drunk laboratory animals take to right themselves) and various ananadamide-like chemicals (anandamide being the neurotransmitter marijuana is presumed to have an effect upon), it definitely would be surprising if sodomy has not evolved to become addictive. Why wouldn’t it?

    And there are other considerations that after a little scientific reflection should suggest to people the addictive nature of sodomy. Perhaps the main distinguishing quality of mammals (with a very few exceptions such as the beaver) is that they have separate openings for the reproductive and digestive systems. Before, when our ancestors had cloaca, one may well imagine that all sex was addictive; the great evolutionary explosion that occurred in mammals can be understood by it allowing females to be free to their own nature in having sex without necessarily being screwed-up by semen chemicals the way sodomized people are. Similarly, one might attribute human success to their upright stance, which by encouraging sex from the front does discourage sodomy (the fossil record suggests upright stance evolved before increased brain size). And why has the y-chromosome lost the ability to engage in recombination via chromosome crossover? An obvious explanation is that sodomizing characteristics (like how addictive one’s semen is) might largely be on the y-chromosome and so species that have lost such crossover at least temporarily evolve to become so females are more free to their natural selves when making mating decisions, making sexual selection arising from female mate choice much more profound. I could go on.

    Perhaps the most blatant reason to view sodomy as something to be scared of is that people naturally are paranoid about multifarious things like alien rectal probes that resemble sodomy. If crazy people are paranoid about things to the extent they suggest sodomy (as it seems to me basically the case), that could suggest to people that fear of sodomy is the craziest fear of all, but it shouldmore properly suggest to people that sodomy is something very important to fear (because the chemicals of it can make it seem more innocuous that it be). It is more reasonable and scientific to believe that if people have a great many otherwise inexplicable tendencies that seem to be associated with making people paranoid about anything resembling sodomy, that this is not by some bizarre accident of chance. What’s so blatantly preposterous is that the favorite game of the same people who refuse to believe that crazy people might have evolved to be crazy for a reason is to deride creationists. At least the creationists believe paranoid fears can be useful. Your so-called scientists who dominate psychology may say that they believe in evolution, but since they believe that people have a tendency to fear anything resembling sodomy so strong that it can driven them into lunacy for no reason other than they have some mysterious tendency to be crazy, one is led to wonder who really believes in evolution more. Crazy people might not always be smart enough to know precisely what people need to be scared of, but at least they are not such idiotic pompous DUMB ASSES as to believe that nothing resembling sodomy is worth being scared about, a consideration that if widely believed might reduce the willingness of people to spend good money becoming brainwashed, drugged, electro-shocked, etc., by psychiatrists and pscyhologists, so don’t expect anyone in those fields to admit anytime soon that so-called crazy people might not be so crazy after all..

    I’d say there is actually a link between the wealthy’s attitude toward sodomy and the financial crisis. Almost everyone knows intuitively that there is something that screws people up. Poorer people (when they aren’t trying to sodomize people as they actually more tend to do because lacking money they have a harder time getting mates by buying them) relatively tend to correctly see that screwing is what causes people to get screwed up, more particularly nasty screwing, viz., sodomy. The wealthy, influenced by those among themselves selfishly exaggerating their own importance, wrongly tend to think poverty is what screws people up, and since they are indeed wealthy, they to that extent consider themselves cleaner, wiser, better, etc., than poorer people, whom for instance they actually look down on for using the“vulgar” vocabulary of cuss-words suited to dealing with such matters. But caring excessively for money is incompatible with the lazy reflections necessary for wisdom and a sense of what the f*** is going on. So the wealthy wrongly tend to think themselves and their class uniquely incapable of the arrant idiocy and villainy that caused the financial crisis.

    1. DownSouth

      Stephen A. Meigs,

      I’m actually sympathetic to your beating up on science. The grounds for the apodictic truth envisioned by Descartes and Hobbes, and especially when it comes to the behavioral sciences, have so far proven to be illusions, if not outright pretensions.

      But that’s not really where you’re coming from, is it? Instead, you impugn the “scientism” of psychologists and psychiatrists, while at the same time promoting your own opinions as “scientific reflection.”

      So in a way you’re no different than Avg John where, in his comment back up the thread, he takes a swipe at “brilliant economists.” He mostly engages the theological debate, whereas you pursue more a “secular-scientific” argument.

      But what you both have in common is that you are quick to perceive “the speck in your brother’s eye,” but are stone-blind to “the log in your own eye.”

      1. Stephen A. Meigs

        I would be the first to admit that focusing just on experiments or external observation in a quest for some sort of illusory objectivity is a poor way to determine the truth. Especially in a field such as psychology dealing with the nature of thought and emotions, one must include what Locke calls reflection, namely perception of what one goes inside one’s brain. Observing one’s own thoughts, emotions, etc., affords a wealth of data that is much easier to be gotten at than external data. People should see that the reason experiments, surveys, etc., are excessively lauded at the expense of common sense derived from internal reflection is that people more interested in convincing others of something than in figuring out the truth are partial to concentrating on just those aspects of perception that can best be shared and demonstrated to be actual to others in an almost necessarily convincing way. Those partial more to status than truth tend to be especially partial to experiments and surveys. Reason based on reflection only tends to be convincing to people who have reflected internally well enough (with concomitant pondering about the reflections) to differentiate explanations that afford improved explanations of oneself and one’s relation to others from explanations that don’t. But reflection itself is not sufficient. One also has to observe the external world to a certain extent, and one indeed needs to bother to spend a great deal of time and effort trying to make sense of what one sees. A facility with logic and, more importantly, a willingness to use it, is very useful here–that’s the sense that being scientific is important. I’m not saying particularly that dumb ass psychologists tend to be illogical, though yeah I guess they might be supposed to be that to a certain extent–what makes them unscientific to me is more that they don’t bother to use logic or even thought, basically.

        The worst thing about psychology is that it strives for a professional consensus. The prevailing societal view of what constitutes human nature is always destined to be ridiculous. Bad people are more skilled at deceptions concerning human nature than just about anything else, and one must respect that they will always have significant effect on the prevailing dogma. Why? Because people tend to judge others by how well others judge themselves, and so the rewards of deceptions here can be especially significant. Academia, and more particularly fields like philosophy and psychology that deal with human nature, should be fractured into pieces, so students wise enough to successfully sense the foolish areas can always have the opportunity to study comprehensively just the small slice or slices of such fields that they want to study. Whether freedom of religion is important because religion deals with God can be debated, but it is definitely important because religion deals with human nature (and morality in particular). I believe it consistent with the spirit of Locke, Jefferson, Madison, etc., that governments need to be as jealous of respecting freedoms regarding spheres of thought concerning human nature as it more particularly is with religion.

  16. Adam

    I’m sure I read somewhere that all leaders of the right-wing nut jobs movement believe that the most important commandment to follow is the 11th commandment – Thou shall say and do whatever is necessary to make an extra buck!

  17. Dave of Maryland

    Hello Yves,

    It is increasingly offensive to see alternative points of view mocked & trivialized in this fashion. You would not like it if tables were turned & it was done to you.

    If you want to promote gay rights, DO SO.

    If you want to investigate what gays, on the national level, may or may not be up to, then DO THAT. (They are, in fact, guilty of exactly this sort of smear tactic. Which might be all they’re guilty of, or it might be a cover for something else. Since no one is holding them to account, you simply do not know, one way or the other.)

    I think you’ve got one of the few outstanding blogs. Why you are trashing it with unrelated drivel is a mystery to me.

  18. e

    Nice work as always, Yves.

    It’s a slow day. Nothing is getting done.

    Outing the greedy bigots on your blog is indubitably a worthwhile, if not amusing endeavour.

    Some people are clearly uncomfortable with their “freedom.”

    Actually, on such a slow day, watching bigots squirm is a legit source of levity.

          1. KFritz

            F’ you looked too much like an appropriate response to your riposte, so I changed it, if that’s what you mean.

  19. Attitude_Check

    This is probably risky on this site — but here goes.

    This whole article demonstrates a complete lack of understanding what Scripture clearly states about itself. This is a straw-man argument that appears to prove something it doesn’t. If you are going to quote scripture to make a point, you should probably understand it first, so you don’t make nonsequitor arguments.

    I won’t go into a long drawn out exegesis of scripture, or deep-dive into hermeneutics. One of the basic assumptions in the laundry list, is that all commands/rules of scripture are universal across time, culture, and situation. The short answer is they aren’t all — but some are.

    One example. The rules on slavery are culturally and temporally dependent. It all had to do with the form of societal justice. If a person stole something, they were obligated to pay the person back at 3x what they stole (notice the “fine” doesn’t go yo the state, but to the victim!) If the person couldn’t pay, they were not thrown in jail (like what happens if you can’t pay a fine in the US – we still do have a form of debtors prison in this country), but is instead sold into slavery (a maximum of 7 years) to pay the debt, any remainder of the money for the sale remains with the individual as their property. So slavery as described in the old testament — isn’t what you think it is, and is very dependent on the specific form of governmental justice system. (By the way read Josephus, a roman historian around the time of Christ also, who describes this in some detail)

    The rule against homosexuality, falls into the category of a principle that transcends time and culture. If you look at other parts of Scripture, it clearly describes it as something which is destructive to the individual and culture overall, and as such must not be tolerated else the negative effects harm all in the long-run.

    You may not agree with any of this. The “fact” of Scripture being God’s word or not cannot be proven or dis-proven in anyway I know of, but if you are going to try to make a point using Scripture, you need to actually use what it says in total, not just cherry-pick some verses out of context to try to make a point.

    1. DownSouth

      Attitude_Check,

      That’s right. You’re the only one that comprehends scripture, and everybody else demonstrates “a complete lack of understanding what Scripture clearly states about itself.” Your interpretation that the Bible condemns homosexuality is veridical truth.

      I mean: Really! How dare anyone question the sure truth that ushers from your lips.

      1. Attitude_Check

        Sorry, I won’t bite. But for the record i am a fallible human being who has made many mistakes, will make more, and I do not claim “infallibility” of Scriptural interpretation.

        That does not mean that Scripture isn’t clear or understandable. If you want to have a rational discussion on if the Scriptural prohibition against sodomy and homosexuality applies today or not I’m fine with that. But it seems pretty clear that’s not what your interested in is it?

        RHS,

        No God is not a moral relativist. The point I was making is you can’t cherry pick verses to make your point, you have to look at the whole context. Additionally, you need to be very careful about standing up straw men to knock down. When you knock them down, you don’t say anything meaningful about Scripture — only yourself.

        1. Michael

          Your arguments about context are at least somewhat interesting, but you’ve failed to apply them to the homosexuality issue.

          The origin of biblical homophobia seems reasonably straightforward. BIGTIME religion would be expected to condemn homosexuality. All healthy adults should be contributing to the (tithing) flock.

          Has that possibility occurred to you?

    2. RHS

      So God is a moral relativist except when he is not, which conviently coincides with what you believe is objective morality.

      Joshua can commit genocide killing woman and children for living on land meant for his chosen people in the ancient world but Hitler can not do the exact same thing in the modern world because times change right? Please. Both are genocide, both are repulsive in any time.

      Far more defensible to say the Old Testiment is the perversion of God’s word and the New Testment was divinly inspired to correct the mistakes created by humanity’s interpretation of the Old Testiment. I dont believe that but I can at least respect it.

  20. mannoclay

    What is frightening is that the biblical quotes demonstrate that sodomy is considered an abomination and slavery is not.

    The whole point of the New Testament is that it is a refutation of the Old one. The reason we have considered it a milestone is that Jesus was preaching a philosophy of a God of love as opposed to the brutal dictatorship of Yahweh.

    Conservatives preach that they are firmly against “big government”, the dominance of the state over the individual. But when it comes to personal choices they are adamant that the state dictates personal behavior.

    Lighten up people. Yves is interjecting a little levity into dismal discussions of the dismal science. I don’t see anyone railing against her “Antidote du Jour” as being out of place in this blog.

  21. JasonRines

    Wonderful post! I am a Christian. One of my favorite scriptures is the Apostle Paul telling the early churches to use “reason”. Paul stated that those practicing homosexuality could not enter the kingdom of God.

    Of course in his day it was not unusual for the Greeks or Romans wealthy to have boy sexual slaves or prostitutes. So I will listen to Paul and use my reason and state that the times have changed and that homosexuals cannot enter the kingdom of God but pedophiles holding sexual boy slaves cannot.

    Now I will go one step further and state my belief that it is only God that can judge an individual. After all, if your going to spend eternity with a being of any kind why spend it with a jerk? But in reading the bible cover to cover I am left with the impression that God provides multiple chances in this life and the next for personality improvement and progression rather then the rigid beliefs about God’s personality of a punisher that most Christian religions adhere to.

    Maybe they should read the entire book cover to cover themselves instead of having a Preacher tell them that the bible is the “literal” word of God. Nonsense! Timothy wrote that the bible was inspired by God.

    Inspired and literally from God are two separate things, wouldn’t you agree? Same problem with Islam and the Koran. Questioning that Mohamed was an imperfect man and hence his writings may also be imperfect can get you killed.

    1. skippy

      Wonderful day aint it, ohhh btw what are you going to do with the rest of your life, like to take the family to Disney Land[?], well AM WAY can help. As a diamond member with need of many ruby members, I can help you ha ha ha ha!

    2. ritoMcCay

      Problem there is, the Qur’an is claimed to have been written by Muhammad himself. No one claims Jesus wrote the bible. I’m betting if people claimed Jesus wasn’t perfect, you’d get a similar reaction.

      Neither were perfect, and neither of their associated books are perfect. Take them and good historical texts, with some good in them, but not as rules to live by.

      Funny written so long ago, and are so outdated, and out of context are taken so seriously. Yet Dianetics, in the contemporary age gets so much flak.

  22. tz

    Sigh.

    This does not belong here because it is a counter-diatribe. It adds nothing to any intelligent discussion on the issue.

    There are seven deadly sins, and Yves ordinarily sticks to the corruptive effects of Avarice. But if we shouldn’t be free to pursue money and damn any consequences to self or others, ought there not be limits on Lust?

    Gay? As in the family pics with two mommies and daddies, or the S&M and bath-houses?

    And what of Polygamy? I have yet to see EVEN ONE defender of Gay-anything say that someone who happens to want the same legal status for N>1 spouses should also have it. No, we need a huge profane institution called government to regulate marriage (If it is a “sacred institution” it should be SEPARATED as in “separation of church and state” – I won’t pray in government schools if you won’t presume to state which sanctified unions are legal or not).

    We are getting positively puritanical toward smokers. In a true assessment of risks, they are likely to be far less a threat than many other behaviors people champion.

    And as a final example, do you celebrate morbidly obese people (Gluttony and/or Sloth)? There are ranges of behaviors that only affect the self, others which affect the community, still others both, and the effects can be barely noticeable, or dramatically destructive. Ought we not judge the effects – but honestly? By their fruits?

    I tend toward fairly radical libertarianism – but with the caveat that people must bear the full costs including indirect costs of their behaviors. That is what Government ought to do.

    So my take on this is we have Yves shouting from the rooftops that the Banksters are evil and a threat (I should see if I can find a Dr. Laura moment which reads like Econned transposing sex and money – It would probably be less hard than you think), yet seeming to say that everyone should be free to act as perversely as they want to.

    Self control? It that completely gone? And if you can’t control your own urges in one instance, how can you expect dicipline in another?

    This, sadly is gone. C. S. Lewis once said “we laugh at honor, then are surprised to see traitors in our midst”.

    We deride virginity, laugh at prudence, despise temperance, bypass justice, and hope some pharmaceutical company might manufacture fortitude. Those poor midwest farm-boys who can actually keep their pants on. And the girls too. Hics. Dweebs.

    And then you and your crowd who cheer and engage in debauchery of one form seem utterly shocked at those who show the same lack of self control in another area.

    I have met some people who happen to be gay but are disciplined. I can respect their choice though I disagree with it. However I’ve met far too many people in all stations of life who have trouble resisting the mildest temptation.

    When you can sculpt or paint with photographic precision I will belive those amorphous blobs are “art”.

    When you can resist seduction, bribery, and embarrass a monk with your self-control, I will believe in your “choice” to be gay. Or to get rich. Or to get fat. Or to run for office.

    Passions are a terrible master, and it is always destructive to have the slaves of passion running around – they are not free in any sense of the word. Whether the passion is for money, sex, fame, vainglory, or anything else other than a cardinal virtue.

    Where are those pursuing honor, prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude indivisibly and for its own sake?

    Apparently not here.

    1. DownSouth

      Let me condense your long screed down to a couple of short sentences.

      Essentially it’s Manichaeism. On one side you have “honor, prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude” and on the other side you have gay people. And of course never the twain shall meet.

      Layer on top of this the hackneyed incantation about how homosexuality is all a “choice,” and you have the right-wing polemic in a nutshell.

    2. ritoMcCay

      “I won’t pray in government schools if you won’t presume to state which sanctified unions are legal or not).”

      Ah such a slippery slope this logic. Apparently two loving, caring people wanting nothing more than equal legal benefits as a straight couple are somehow overindulging, lacking self control, overly gluttonous for sex, giving in to every evil whim of temptation. This view of homosexuality is quite possibly the most ignorant and distorted thing you could have come up with.

      By this logic one should say you are overly gluttonous and infatuated with your heavenly lord, destroying every last self-thinking braincell to his good book, giving into any and all “self control” you might have had to this all powerful, possessive god.

      One might say religious zealousness, encompasses all seven sins in a single strike.

  23. Sambone

    GB,
    The answer is YES you can own a Canadian IF you are a neocon teabagger only. No others are pure enough.

  24. Jim in MN

    Yves, I wonder how you think the off-topic excursion worked out?

    Personally I think it’s in keeping with the overall spirit of things here…starting with the first few links and the antidote of the day.

    A sort of understated flag: ‘Sanity Spoken Here’.

    Silence = consent? Silence = Death? It’s an honorable thing to insist that social values be a valid topic of discussion. Humor as an ingredient in that discussion maintains a crucial strand of transgressive yet open-minded perspective.

    As for the Biblical angle….well I could go with turning the other ‘cheek’ but let’s instead talk about God’s grace, God’s love and Christ’s cleansing of the world’s sins. The code of social ethics is not dependent on Scripture; it is dependent on what places people nearer to the divine grace. It is not one’s choice of partner that determines one’s felicity; it is one’s choice of integrity, of health, of honesty, and of embracing the inner word and the inner light.

    Are you acting in the world in a manner which you know to be most holy? Ask that. The mechanics of intimacy are not the issue. It’s quite funny that some think so. It’s not at all funny that extremely sinful acts are perpetrated using such pretexts.

    Thanks for your daring and your balance of naivety and cynicism, Yves, it’s part of your essence.

  25. RHS

    Thanks for sharing this Yves

    Its sad that others can not see that if you use the Old Testiment to justify one belief, you can not ignore the other beliefs which are repulsive by any moral definition.

  26. andy

    Seriously? Don’t drag an otherwise worthwhile site into this rubbish. I have recommended this site to many, and if these posts continue, then I’ll have to rescind said recommendation.

  27. Benny Harris

    Hmm … plenty of people can’t take a joke. I do appreciate the humor in the post, Yves. My vote is that you breeze confidently ahead with whatever postings strike your fancy.

    As a life-long Calvinist, I’ve journeyed to the point where I realize that Jesus gave only one commandment — to love one another. Any moral/social/political control objective whether applied against homosexuals or immigrants is against the commandment.

  28. constantnormal

    wow. Pretty impressive to a blog entry that spotlights a piece of humor that turns religious intolerance back on itself is at first treated humorously in the comments, but inexorably progresses until it is nothing but bile and venom being spewed back and forth.

    What would Jesus say?

    Myself, I fall back on the words of the greatest American writer:

    “… until man shall develop into something really fine and high
    — some billions of years hence, say. ”

    Still applicable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As I like to repeat myself, until the Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens species is replaced by another.

      And based on the past rate of evolution, you don’t have to wait more than half a million years until a new master of the universe arrives.

  29. Skippy

    Can’t help my self, sorry Yves.

    We live in a Universe (scale/dimensions+/physics) that_most of_the worlds population has not a clue [of], yet there are those that proclaim [!] understanding of it through various religions ha ha ha ha[!], via cave or windy hilltop machinations when the planet it self was a topographical mystery really?

    Born into or bruised falling into, to allow others too mentally drive for them[selves] bah ha ha. Yet the cry when the priests of laissez faire capitalism lets a world down, please.

    Christianity has been an enabler of this hijack, aided and enabled by its vaporous think speak (can turn any mind to mush after to much consideration [see above]). Monotheocracy has to be the biggest mind fk ever created by wandering minds yet to explain our self inflected insecurity with regards to our place in the cosmos as a self aware species.

    Rather than cobble together bits and pieces of ancient gobbly gook splaning the way shit is out of lack of a better explanation, why not just say HAY I don’t know but WE_ME_I endeavor to find out and until then all bets are off.

    For all of those that think their god of abraham (yes the three offspring that drag this world and the rest of humanity through their family domestic) you are a blight on the potential of humanity, always holding the rest of us down that wish to explore and find empirical evidence of what ever does exist out side our infinitesimally small cosmic weight in relationship to the hole of the Universe.

    Skippy…as a marsupial pretending to be mammal a word of warning, isolation is a evolutionary trick, don’t be fooled by its comfort in the now, for when the seas recede you will be ill-equipped for the onslaught.

  30. knowledge_4U

    A queston for all you college grads out there, I hope someone can answer. Can something be created out of nothing, and if so, can it create it self or does it require someone or thing to create it?

  31. sayWhat

    I don’t understand why any questions about ANY holy text, goes in to a deep debate about authenticity. Here’s an idea, just give me some reasoning.

    Saying “Thou shalt” is the same thing as a parent screaming at their kid to not eat skittles, your kid is 5 years old, he is supposed to like skittles. God (or human author) just saying something is an abomination means nothing.

    If the bible said, “Two men shalt not engage in sexual activities, otherwise society shall deficate upon you, and you will live a terrible awful life because, I the Lord, have created narrowminded people that will hate you for just being you.”

    I would bet that would be much more effect….

    and more importantly, backed by reason, not “authenticity”

  32. sayWhat

    Ha. See, reasoning.

    Religion has, and always will be, about exclusion and exclusiveness. That more or less is it’s very definition. If you don’t believe in THIS god, and THIS text, then we have the right to hate you, see it says right here in this text that you don’t believe. Clearly this god character is pretty insecure, if you read LEV or any other books, he mentions that he is YOUR GOD, I AM YOUR LORD about a thousand times. Then goes on and on about how to live your life.

    Good old-fashioned witch hunting, or in other words: hate.

  33. ritoMcCay

    If you ready any Jewish/Hebrew translations, the text is much different. Most/No jew views that verse as homophobic, rather, a law dictating when/why one may lay in a woman’s bed. Sounds a bit strange today, but there were even restrictions on when a man could lay in his own wife’s bed.

    The verse, better translated reads:

    “Thou shalt not lay with mankind in a woman’s bed; it is an abomination”

    So you all should be hating on people who lay in other people’s bed, not the homosexuals.

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