Tuesday, June 21, 2005


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Although (as I've previously posted) I don't currently participate in organized religion, I was confirmed Episcopalian, and I really admire the courageous steps some Episcopalians are taking towards religious inclusiveness for gays.

The U.S. Episcopal Church on Tuesday affirmed its support for gay clergy at the meeting of the Consultative Council, an international body of bishops, priests and lay people that meets every three years, and appealed for the contentious issue not to split the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, head of the Episcopal Church, acknowledged that "our actions around the question of homosexuality have deeply distressed a number of you." However, he said, "the overwhelming majority of Episcopalians are committed to living a life of unity in difference."
How can someone's sexual preference make them any less qualified to believe in and/or preach the word of God? Because the bible says so? Didn't that same bible suggest oppression for women and promote slavery? I'm sorry, but it's just wrong to pick and choose which passages to enforce based on one's personal comfort at the blatant expense of another person's comfort.


Blogger Doug said...

I agree with you absolutely, Sar. The only qualification I'm aware of to be a minister in the bible is that one has to be of the Tribe of Levi. Hosea was called to be a prophet and to take a prostitute for a wife.

To be fair, most Churches would say that Gays can be ordained as long as they don't have sex out of wedlock. As long as they kick out cheating husbands I disagree but think it's at least internally consistent.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Dr. Forbush said...

Some Christians have decided that they know better what God wanted. They base this on flimsy evidence.

It's too bad that this gets in the way of seeing a person for being a person no matter how God made them...

9:05 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Scratch a scientist you'll find a theologian just under the skin.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous JJ said...

There's no need for controversy. The Bible encourages anal sex anyway:

11:16 PM  
Blogger Kid Bastard said...

Also, aren't Christians only supposed to follow the teachings of Christ? And didn't he preach tolerance and acceptance? I think most of the anti-gay, oppression of women, pro-slavery stuff is gleaned from the Old Testament. And I'm pretty sure that when Jesus came along, he rendered all the Old Testament edicts moot.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Nominal Me said...

The Bible says many things, not all of it with a great amount of lucidity. There are countless denominations and Christian non-demoninational groups, each with their own brand, interpretation, and theology of the Bible.

Within each of the denominations there are more theologically conservative and liberal wings that debate the true meaning of scripture.

Many, probably most, think of homosexuality as a sin. This is not the case for all, as there are other ways of looking at the passages that imply that.

God is hard to figure out. We've been trying to do it for longer than 2000 years, and we're probably not much closer now to doing what he wants than we were when we started.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Kid Bastard said...

Amen to that. ;)

One would think that he's pretty opposed to us hating each other. I know he doesn't want us killing each other, but we seem to keep killing the people he sends to give us that message.

I would think that by now, God would have figured out how dense we are, and would just show up himself, do something big and impossible, then say, "Okay. One last time. STOP KILLING EACH OTHER. Oh, and for the record, I don't hate gay people, so stop being such assholes."

10:45 AM  
Blogger Sar said...

JJ - I see your alter ego "anal assassin" has made an appearance. ;)

2:04 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

Doug, Dr. Forbush, Kid B & Nominal M -

Excellent comments which all examplify bible nuances. As I see it, the bible is open to interpretation which makes it dangerously subjective. While it dictates we should "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", there are laypeople (ie Church leaders) who abuse this right of interpretation, usurping the ideals and principles of Jesus & God, to create rules that seem to defy the bible in an effort to promote their personal agenda even when it comes at the expense of others (anti-gay for example).

That's why although I believe in Christian ideals, I find great fault with the subjectiveness and agendas of organized religion.

BTW, I'm flattered by your presence, Dr. Forbush. I regularly read and admire your posts on Bring It On (and your own site as well).

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Food-and-God Guy said...

Wow, welcome to one of the hottest topics in contemporary Christianty, people!

Sar, in your last comment, you mentioned that "although I believe in Christian ideals, I find great fault with the subjectiveness and agendas of organized religion."

That is one of the great tensions within Christian thought and practice: How are we, as individuals who can know God in our independent ways, supposed to live in community with one another (which we are called to do!)?

Talk about an enigma!

Try reading "Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics" by Reinhold Niebuhr. It might help.

Kid B, you hoped God "...would just show up himself, do something big and impossible, then say, "Okay. One last time. STOP KILLING EACH OTHER. Oh, and for the record, I don't hate gay people, so stop being such assholes."

If you are a Xtian, you believe that is essentially what happened when Jesus showed up 2,000 years ago. We just don't listen or remember too good.

My point is, the Christian canon, read as literature, repeatedly demonstrates the attempt of God to know and free humanity, and humanity's response in f*#@ing it all up.

I believe that our existence as spiritual creatues is bound up in the struggle to know where we end and God begins.

Frankly, I don't think any issues dealing with "being gay" are on God's to-do list. The Creator of everything probably has better things to do.

In the end, the tension with homosexuality is our problem.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

The Food & God Guy says "In the end, the tension with homosexuality is our problem." Precisely the point, my friend. Which is why it is not at all appropriate (or moral for that matter) for anyone to deny gays' their right to happiness in the name of God. Christian-led agendas have been fighting hard against the rights of gays to marry, saying it defies the bible's definition of marriage and would destroy the sanctity of marriage. Again I have to ask, why is the prospect of 2 human beings wanting to formally declare their union so repulsive? It's an act of love for Pete's sake, and isn't that what the bible preaches first and foremost?

BTW - F&GG has some great recipes on his site.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

"The Creator of everything probably has better things to do."

Yeah, probably.

Free will is a nice and nasty gift.

The bible was written by man and is interpreted by man (and, yes, I am excluding females intentionally). Therefore it is just as fallible as man. It is a book that should be categorized as historical fiction. There is a lot that can be learned from the stories in the bible, not just intolerance.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Zach Cone said...

I like how all the heads of different religions have joined forces to keep gay pride out of Jerusalem. These same people that don't talk to each other about helping fight world hunger are more then willing to join forces to keep the gays out of the holy city.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I second Food-and-God guy, Neibuhr is brilliant. However you read the bible, whether as historical fiction, the literal word of God, or as the recollections of people who came to know a Living God, it is a fascinating mirror, where God is the subject. For that reason it's probably no suprise that we see ourselves in it.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous The Food-and-God Guy said...

I felt as if I had to add this, in response and support of Sar's position.

As a minister, I find the whole gay-marriage-thing somewhat confusing and wholely ridiculous. But I am certainly in the minority.

I have found that gay people simply make a lot of straights feel...for lack of a better word...icky.

Personally, I think it comes from ignorance and maybe even some denial.

Anyhow, what I find intriguing is that marriage plays a role in the church AND the state. It is this tension that is causing a lot of the problems.

You see, as a minister, I play a double role at a wedding.

I am:
1) an agent of God (in a way), and 2) an officiant of the state.

You see, as a protestant minister, my job is to make sure that the married couple knows what they are getting into with one another. I don't wave some magic wand over the couple. What they do is between them , God, and the community of faith. I also believe it is the responsibility of those in attendance to act as witnesses to the love offered and shared, and to act as agents on behalf of the wedding contract.

As an officiant of the state, my job is to officiate at the wedding and sign the gov't paper that says that these two people are married.

I believe that the church should be able to believe what they like about whom they marry and why. The argument is raging within most main-line Christian denominations right now, and it has been a knock-down, drag-out fight!

However, I also believe that the state should not deny two people the right to enjoy the many benefits of state-acknowledged marriage, regardless of their sex.

I believe that the blending of the church and state, in this issue, has really clouded the proper judgement of the state. And that is a real shame for our nation!

Oh, and frankly, I don't know how gay marriage threatens to destroy the sanctity of hetero marriage. We seem to be doing that well enough on our own.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

I think the bible has continued to be a double-edged sword. As Kid B mentioned, it does promote tollerance and acceptance. These are admirable traits, and people would do well to follow suit. But as Nedhead reminds us, it's fallable because it's open to interpretation, which makes it a very dangerous weapon and/or a crutch especially when used by priority-challenged leaders, as Zach pointed out.

Doug - it's pretty ironic (in a cool way) that as devout as you are, you're so passionate about and find reflection in "The Devil's Dictionary" (Ambrose Bierce). Irony is indeed your middle name.

F - I think I knew your dad had been a minister, but I had no idea you ARE a minister! I just thought you were devout & a kick ass cook. Yikes, I just told a minister he's kick ass - I suppose someone's getting that handbasket ready for me!

6:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My middle name is Stephen. There's an article in the Economist this week about how the right wing Republicans hate John McCain because he's too conservative for them. Faith can make you more cynical than cynicism. OK, maybe Irony is my middle name.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

Doug Stephen Irony - did the article really say right wing Republicans hate John McCain because he's too "conservative" for them?

6:17 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pretty much. The article's online and I would recommend it. It's the Lexington column. The point was that he's a traditional small-government libertarian and that most of the current "conservative" interest groups want government to impose their agendas. It also suggests that democrats, who like McCain better than republicans do, should pay more attention to who he is.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for posting this. It is a very real and passionate issue for me. One of my friends was basically 'run' out of our church because of her sexual preference and it changed my view of religion.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

It is good to here someone like Food and God Guy speak. Sometimes the only voices we seem to hear are those preaching intolerance.

My grandfather (80 yrs old and taking a cruise as we speak up the Yellow River in China) is an ordained Methodist minister and has expressed the same opinion as Food and God. So maybe its not all bad?

8:59 AM  
Anonymous RP said...

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10:40 AM  

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