Skip to comments.Full gay rights! The argument is over (Does your pastor feel the same way?)
Posted on 05/08/2009 11:01:20 AM PDT by AlaskaErik
Two issues continue to cloud the American political scene. Gay rights and the protection of life. These two issues are seen as so important that many Americans are willing to ignore all other issues such as poverty, housing, foreign policy and health care to vote according to a candidates position on homosexuality and abortion.
The right to life, abortion, freedom of choice issue is much the tougher issue and a healthy debate should continue until some sort of understanding is reached and codified into laws that are firmly upheld by our courts. I suspect the most workable solution is not yet on the table for discussion. We Americans are good at prolonged debate. This willingness to discuss and debate is a basic reason we are a great nation.
The rights of gay people are a different matter. About 35 years ago when I first began facing the fact of the presence of gays in our churches, I became a very lonely advocate for their full acceptance and participation. The accepted opinion was that homosexuals were sick or woefully sinful or both. The majority of Americans have moved a long way from that damning evaluation. American opinion is moving us in the direction of full equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Those who want to block full rights for gay people have consistently been losing in the courts of America. They have turned to ballot initiatives with significant success. However, those victories are limited in scope. These last-ditch efforts have been to reserve the word marriage for heterosexual couples. I suspect even those victories will have a short life. Gay rights activists have long known that they will eventually win by winning young. In other words, younger voters are voting overwhelmingly in favor of gay rights. Old voters die first.
I have tried to analyze what has happened to bring this shift of opinion in so short a time. I offer three reasons.
First, gay people slowly but surely have come out of their closets. Gay people have always been around us, in our families, in our communities, in our churches and in our institutions. Our gay family members and friends were invisible to us. The most highly developed skill of a gay person was to remain undetected. No one can point to a single event and say, It started here, but there are milestones in the opening of the closet door.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall incident. New York City police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. A riot broke out. That single incident, more than any other, is the rallying point for gay activism. The celebration of the Stonewall riot is the base for all gay pride celebrations and parades.
The next milestone, especially for gay Christians, was the publishing of a book in 1972 titled, The Lord Is My Shepherd, and He Knows I am Gay. It was written by a Pentecostal minister named Troy Perry. Because of Perrys efforts there is now a sizable denomination called Metropolitan Community Church that offers a safe church home to gay people who have been turned aside by their churches. Reading Perrys book was pivotal in shaping my own understanding of the homosexual phenomenon.
The importance of Phil Donahue cannot be overstated. More than any other person he took the discussion of homosexuality into the public arena. He was a pioneer in the world of television talk shows. He took the discussion of the gay presence among us out of the closet. He took what had been a private concern into the public square.
At first gay people came out of their closets in a trickle. The trickle became a stream and today is a flood. Twenty years ago the typical gay person came out of the closet in college. Now kids in junior high are joining the ranks of the openly gay population. The closet is nearing extinction.
The second factor in establishing gay rights has been the battle over the Bible. Forty years ago, Churches of every stripe rejected gay people and especially sexual activities among gay people. The commonly held perspective was that the Bible rejected homosexuals and homosexual activities of all kinds. Then Biblical scholars began their homework. A few scholars starting in the mid-1980s looked more intently at the nine Bible passages that were commonly identified as rejecting homosexual activity. In the 1990s a flood of scholarly books hit the bookstores. I have them all in my personal library. The verdict: Not a single passage in the entire Bible speaks about a loving, committed, intimate relationship between two people of the same sex. The Bible neither endorses nor condemns same-sex relationships. The Bible cannot be used to reject gay people.
Primarily because of the influence of scholarship, opposition to full acceptance of gay people in mainline Christian churches is melting away. I suspect that 50 years from now, Christians will be as embarrassed about the rejection of gay people as they are now about the denial of equality for women and their support of the horror of black slavery.
The third influence may be the most important. As gay people moved out of their closets and into a more public presence, they have proven themselves to be good public citizens. Our communities are blessed by teachers, lawyers, business owners, legislators, carpenters, doctors and ministers who just happen to be gay. When we get to know our gay neighbors, denying them their full rights, including the right to marry legally becomes all the more absurd.
Full acceptance of gay people in our churches and in our American society needs to be affirmed and celebrated. We need to put this dark night of ignorance and discrimination behind us. The 40th anniversary observances of the Stonewall riot are a good time for thoughtful people of good will to walk hand-in-hand with our gay neighbors.
The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last time I heard such a pronouncement it was ‘The Debate is over’ related to Global Warming.
I’m starting to think saying such a statement is a indicator the speaker has already lost the argument.
“The second factor in establishing gay rights has been the battle over the Bible. Forty years ago, Churches of every stripe rejected gay people and especially sexual activities among gay people. The commonly held perspective was that the Bible rejected homosexuals and homosexual activities of all kinds. Then Biblical scholars began their homework. A few scholars starting in the mid-1980s looked more intently at the nine Bible passages that were commonly identified as rejecting homosexual activity. In the 1990s a flood of scholarly books hit the bookstores. I have them all in my personal library. The verdict: Not a single passage in the entire Bible speaks about a loving, committed, intimate relationship between two people of the same sex. The Bible neither endorses nor condemns same-sex relationships. The Bible cannot be used to reject gay people”
Sure, and I have a bridge I would like to sell you. what a crock of BS.
Because we all know that liberals don't mind gay babies as long as they're someone else's gay babies.
What Bible does this genius use? Man shall not lay with man is pretty plain to me.
Homosexuals are 2% of the population.
50 million babies have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade.
Who's been affected more?
keep your premise thanks, Howard.
If someone’s idea of “sex” is to go to Seattle & bugger horses, I don’t want to know.
Likewise, if someone’s idea of “sex” is to go to Seattle & bugger men who share their mental health problem, I again don’t want to know.
India has the right idea. It’s illegal, but rarely prosecuted, which simply means “keep it out if society’s face: if you start rubbing it in society’s face, we’re going to stop you. if we don’t have to know, and we don’t have to tell our children what it is, then we don’t really care”
Homosexuality perversion most definitely does NOT need affirmed or celebrated. Thank goodness this yahoo is retired lest he lead astray a congregation.
Where does the term sodomite come from?
Gays have full rights. There is no right that a heterosexual individual is offered that a homosexual is not. The concept of the right of gay couples to marry is a fraud. “Couples” do not have rights - individuals do. An individual female, straight or lesbian, is free to marry an individual male, so long as he consents.
Eons of Biblical interpretation versus 25 years of "new" scholarship.
Gotta love those libs!
Some people are so blinded. Pity this writer.
It is difficult to observe the world around you when you are busy “navel gazing” (in the original sense of “navel gazing”!)
I suspect that 50 years from now there will be about as many vocal homosexuals in Europe as there are in Iran, It all has to do with genetics and there are many more Muslims being born in Europe than native Europeans.
America may be closer to the sway Europe is today in 50 years and with a large percentage of Muslims vocal proclamation of homosexual activity is tantamount to suicide.
Riiiight. The bible does not condemn homosexuality. I have never thought of the word “abomination” as being ambiguous.
This cerebral cripple would be a real treat to engage.
Notice how employs the classic intelelctually bankrupt gay attack line- make it about the individual and then screech about how “god is love, accept and forgive” yada yada.
Of course all of that is quite true. But quite irrelevant. Christians never do anything but accept, forgive, and love.
This mental infant has the typical inability to differentiate between sinner and sin.
The article exposes nothing more, and nothing less, than that.
The author is quite likely correct in his suspicion.
That, however, does not mean these Christians of 50 years from now will be right.
Also, FWIW, the Christian church was divided on the issue of slavery almost from its rebirth in early modern times. Those opposed gradually gained ground and eventually won. But the idea that Christians were ever fully united in support of slavery is just inaccurate.
What rights did a gay person not have until recently? They could marry a person of the opposite sex, like anyone else. They could vote. They could own property. Leave the country. Take the Fifth. Worship or not as they pleased. Ride the bus. Have an attorney present. All that.
As the mother of a homosexual son, whom I love with all my heart: It took me a long time to see that he isn’t struggling, he isn’t trying to do right. My son is hell bent on doing evil.
Homosexuality is slow, deliberate suicide. My son was delightful,bright, talented, motivated, and healthy. Over time he has become a lying, hateful, deceitful, hiv+, freak.
Every time I see homosexuality presented as positive I think I’ll go crazy!!! I wouldn’t wish this stuff on my worst enemy. It’s destroying my son and crushing everyone in our family. And before someone gives me the old “you must reach out and accept.....” We’re his family, it wouldn’t be crushing us if we didn’t care, if we didn’t love him.
Like the article says, everything is wonderful with these guys until you challenge them on their behavior, and then all hell breaks loose.
I wish I knew how to respond to these articles without spilling my guts, but there is so much more to this evil than just a little weird behavior.
Our church accepts gay people. Any gay person willing to repent and turn there life over to Christ we will accept, They are treated like every other sinner in our church which is everyone. We all have had sin, I had to turn from my sins which are probably mentioned less time in the Bible then homosexuality.
Biggest issue facing the church is not that they won’t allow gays, it’s FALSE TEACHERS who teach a “NEW GOSPEL” and not the “TRUE GOSPEL”. People that tell others that sin is good and what’s good is bad.