Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Freedom to Marry Week

I've been working on this post for almost a week! Unfortunately, I'm a little late getting it posted for Freedom to Marry Week, but I think think it's important to get this information out there and to start discussions.

This week, Feb 8-14, is Freedom to Marry Week and is intended to generate discussion and understanding of the issues surrounding equal marriage.

This is a very important issue to me, not because I'm lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer (LGBTQ) myself or even because I have someone very close to me who is, but because I feel that this is the civil rights cause of our generation. I truly wish that I had been around during the 50's and 60's and could have participated in the freedom rides and the marches. I would so like to think that I would have been courageous enough to stare down the water hoses and the tear gas in an effort to win my fellow humans their equal rights. I so admire the amazing people who put their lives on the line to fight for what is right. Dr. King is one of my heros. I only wish that I could be as charismatic and courageous as he. But one of the things that I always note in the pictures from that time is the small number of caucasion folks in the mix. I truly admire these people as well, because they were not going to benefit from the changes in policy or society. They would in fact be giving something up... giving up some of the power and privileged that they benefited from, justly or not. So why did they do it? They did it because it was the right thing to do! Because as the saying goes, "No one is free, when others are oppressed!"

So, to begin the discussion, I will layout some of the reasons why I believe that marriage should be an equal establishment under federal law regardless of the sex of the applicants.

Number One:

I am a huge advocate of the separate of church and state, and although the exact phase is not in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, the concept is a corner stone on which our nation was built. The founding fathers had fled persecution, and did not want to allow it to fester in their new state.

The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This can be interpreted different ways. Some would say that this statement keeps the state out of the church but not the church out of the state. Some say that our country was founded on "the freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion". But in my opinion, one without the other nullifies the whole concept. Freedom of religion must include the freedom to practice no religion or it is meaningless.

In the Treaty of Tripoli ratified in 1797 (just 21 years after the signing of the constitution) the United States Senate says:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. source

*emphasis added.

If that's not a declaration of governmental religious tolerance, I have no idea what is!

In an entry in Madison's papers from August 15, 1789, he says, "“Mr. Madison said he apprehended the meaning of the words [of the First Amendment] to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience....” source

For me the key here is the "Congress shall not... enforce the legal observation of [religion] by law" part. This says to me that I as an agnostic should not be mandated by law to observe the rules of the Bible or the Koran or the Torah. The Law of the Land, the law that governs everyone should be based on a logical, scientific (if possible), objective look at what is best for society. Now if a law happens to be both objectively good for society and in line with a particular religion, then even the better. For instance, murder is illegal according to our civil laws. The reason why it is illegal is because of the impact that unpunished killing has on a society (just look at the horror and devastation when a genocide is sanctioned by a government like in Hollucost Germany or in Bosnia, or when there is a weak government like the Darfur region of Sudan) not because the Judeo-Christian Bible says "Do Not Kill."

Now this does not mean that religious people are required to leave their religion at the door of the public debate. But as then Senator Obama put it, when discussing faith in a pluralistic society, "religious people need to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values". source

Number 2:

From what I have heard of the debate, the biggest points have to do solely with a religious opposition to homosexuality. What I hear the most is, "Well the Bible says ...". Well, we've just established that when it comes to the federal government and the laws of the land, that there must be some more universal and not "religion-specific" reason for denying rights to US Citizens. Now, the opinion that homosexuality is wrong should be tolerated just as all other opinions, and just as the First Amendment dictates, the government would never require a particular church or religious organization to acknowledge the marriage of a homosexual couple, just as the Catholic church does not recognize the unions of those married outside the Catholic church, similarly with the Mormons. I'm sure most church would not recognize my marriage because it was not performed in the name of god. But society at large should not have to be held to a strictly religious standard. Since, Christianity is the dominate region in the US, I suspect that it is easier for a majority of people to accept laws based on the Bible because it is something they have at the least grown up around. I wonder how the population in general would feel if the standard stopped being the Bible and started being the Koran. I can only imagine the uproar when headscarves are required! It's funny, how violation of church and state is perfectly fine as long as it's your church.

So, is there any non-religious-specific reasons to deny marriage rights and adoption rights to the LGBTQ community. For a look at this, we'll turn to the American Psychological Association's website. In an article titled Lesbian and Gay Parenting, by Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D, the APA's opinion on this subject is laid out.

"Certainly, research has found no reasons to believe lesbian mothers or gay fathers to be unfit parents (Armesto, 2002; Barret & Robinson, 1990; Bigner & Bozett, 1990; Bigner & Jacobsen, 1989a, 1989b; Bos et al., 2003, 2004; Bozett, 1980, 1989; Patterson, 1997; Patterson & Chan, 1996; Sbordone, 1993; Tasker & Golombok, 1997; Victor & Fish, 1995; Weston, 1991). On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive home environments for children." source

Similarly, in their Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage they quote:

"Anthropological research on households, kinships relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide[s] no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution" (American Anthropological Association, 2004)"

Additionally they state that, "Psychological research on relationships and couples provides no evidence to justify discrimination against same-sex couples (Kurdek, 2001, in press; Peplau & Beals, 2004; Peplau & Spalding, 2000).

And finally, "Therefore be it resolved that the APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges."

source



Number 3


This is not the first debate where the Bible has been used to try and deny rights.

Religion and "natural order" were regularly used to oppose the Suffrage Movement that ultimately gained women the right to vote.

Reverend John Williams of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church of Nebraska said, "God meant for women to reign over home, and most good women reject politics because woman suffrage will destroy society." source

In a paper prepared by J. B. Sanford, Chairmen of Democratic Caucus entitled Against Women's Suffrage, 1911, Mr. Sanford states that:

"The mothers of this country can shape the destinies of the nation by keeping in their places and attending to those duties that God Almighty intended for them." source

One Anti-Suffrage activist is reported as saying:

"The most convincing reason I have heard given was the one offered by Miss Pearson 'We want the ballot, and we want it when we want it.' That is the old story-of woman-Eve she got it and we've had trouble ever since." source

The same is seen during the fight for Inter-racial Marriage Rights:

The ground breaking case in the fight was Loving vs. Virginia, a court case in which a White man and a Black woman married in the District of Columbia where it was legal. They then moved back to Virginia to live, where inter-racial marriage was illegal. They were charged with violating the ban on inter-racial marriage. When suspending their sentence of one year in jail on the condition that they would leave Virgina and not come back, the trial judge said:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." source

The Lovings eventually took their case to the US Supreme Court where the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights based on race and therefore overturned all State laws to the contrary.

I truly believe that in 50 years we will look back on the opposition to Equal Marriage as just as silly and discriminatory, as the arguments presented above.

Number 4

Now I have a feeling that the same thought is flashing through the heads of all my conservative christian friends. "But women's right to vote and inter-racial marriage are not strictly prohibited in the Bible. Homosexuality is!"

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Leviticus 18:22

If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves. Leviticus 20:13

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)


Ok, I can see that point. However, divorce(except under one, questionably two, circumstances), fornication, and adultery are also prohibited.

I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel. Malachi 2:16a

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:3

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. Matthew 19:9

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:1-2, KJV)

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.(1 Corinthians 7:8-9)

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)

Thou shalt not commit adultery Exodus 20:14

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)


And here is that 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 passage again. But notice this time that homosexuals are not the only ones that god says will not inherit the kingdom, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, nor slanderers. Which of us has not stolen a pen or stapler from our office, who has not been guilty of being greedy, I hardly know a single person who hasn't been drunk at least one good time, and I don't think any of us can claim to have never gossiped.

First of all we've already established that the bible is a wonderful moral compass for individuals who choose to see it that way, but it is not an adequate compass by which to set civil law. Secondly... here's my question... Why this issue? Why Equal Marriage. Why not take up a campaign to abolish the no-fault divorce laws, or strengthen and encourage the prosecution of adultery or ban marriage for couples who have lived together prior to marriage? I have my theories, but I'll let you draw your own.

I'll leave you with a couple of great quotes:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority. Ralph W. Sockman

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. Friedrich Nietzsche

Now you know my thoughts. Feel free to share yours.

Peace y'all!

Bonnie

18 comments:

April said...

First of all, I applaud you for a very well-written, well researched blog entry. You brought up some very good points, and addressed them well. Of course, being a Christian, I believe that homosexuality is wrong, and that they should not be allowed to marry. But, for the moment, let's put my Christianity aside, and view my practical side. Several years ago, I read an article written by a very prominent lesbian, who is one of the founding women of some very large Pro-homosexual group. I wish I could remember her name and the article and where I read it.....I think it was while I was having my hair done.....can't remember. But something she said stuck with me, she made the comment that the homosexual agenda was to promote their lifestyle as "free" and that their purpose was to educate all of us "non-free" heterosexuals, in the hopes we would embrace and become free like them. I was appalled, it seemed that their view was that everyone in the whole world would be gay. Now, let's picture that for a while.....if that were to become true, there would never be any children conceived the old fashioned way, the way nature intended....ALL the children would be conceived with the help of sperm donors, surrogates, and doctors....talk about very strange! Now, I am not against sperm donors, surrogates, or infertility doctors, of course I am not!!!! They have helped many a couple realize their dream of having children....but for that to be the only way.....Nature clearly never intended for homosexuality to be a way of life for mankind, it's just not natural. Sexual intercourse was ultimately designed for the procreation of children, homosexual relations prohibits this. Having stated this, I do not hate those who embrace such a lifestyle, I have personally known some myself, two of which have lost their battles with AIDS. Their lifestyle is between God and themselves, I will let God be the judge. But to permit them to marry just does not make sense, in my opinion. It violates the law of nature, and what marriage was intended for in the first place.

It is not my intent in writing this to hurt or offend anyone, I am just stating my opinion and personal belief:0)

bonniebelle said...

First of all, I want to thank you for your honest and well written comment. It makes me very happy to know that we can have different points of view and be able to discuss them in a calm and rational way! OH.MY.GOODNESS. When did we become adults?!?!?! Hehe.

I will say that the LGBTQ community may be homosexual but it is not homogenious. There are lots of differences in thought and belief, and I'm sorry that you heard one that sounded so intollerant and millitant! That has not been my experience from people I've known in real life, over the internet, or through blogs. These folks only want to live their life, not tell others how to live theirs. In fact, that would be kind of backward since that is the exact attitiude that the LGBTQ community has to fight against.

The research is even showing that children who are raised by gay and lesbian couples have no higher percentage of identifying as homosexual than those raised by hetersexual couples. So, if parents aren't even pushing thier own children to become "free" as this woman put it, then I would doubt that her sentiment is the majority voice in the movement. It's kind of like feminism. Every movement has it's radicals!

My second thought is about marriage being the vehicle through which procreation is performed. What about my best friends Dan and Shannon? Shannon had to have a historectomy (sp?) over the summer. Although this was difficult for them, they had already decided that they did not want to have any children. Does that mean that they should not be allowed to marry because they cannot and do not want to procreate?

Just a thought.

And like you, I do not say any of this to offend or anger anyone. I'm very thankful that we can have a conversation about this issue. That is what the whole Freedom to Marry Week is all about. Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion.

April said...

It is nice and refreshing to be able to discuss issues as level-headed adults, who love and respect each other!!!!

I had a feeling when I posted this, that an example of a heterosexual couple who could not or did not want to have children would probably come up!;) I was just simply stating that a union between a man and woman was nature's way, the reason we were created male and female was for this very purpose of procreation. Now, sometimes a couple may not decide to have children, or simply cannot. I do not feel like this should prohibit them from marrying. Procreation isn't the only reason for marriage...though I have heard of some Christians who feel this way, or feel like sexual intercourse should only take place when procreation is desired. Now, that is insane!! Even the Bible talks about the benfits of married sexual relations, apart from procreation! I just personally feel that homosexuality is just not natural, not the way we were designed.

I'm sure this will spark some very interesting views and discussions!!! Hopefully, it will continue to be friendly and respectful as different thoughts are discussed!!

(I hope to see you soon, Bonnie.....Tupperware should be in this week!!!!:0)

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Hey Bonnie :) Since you opened this discussion…I’d like to add a few things ;) My husband Dan is actually planning on writing something too as soon as he has the chance. He’s much more equipped than I am right now as to the correct interpretation of scripture…I’m learning but my “Mommy Brain” gets in the way sometimes, haha.
So many people today misinterpret scripture and read it out of context and therefore come up with their own distorted meaning and view. We need to remember that the Bible was not written to us…it was written for us.

In regards to what the Bible say’s about women in the Church…
“The following words by the apostle Paul are frequently used to denigrate the Bible as sexist- “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” (1 Timothy 2:12 - 13) The criticism that Paul’s teaching is sexist is silenced by a careful consideration of context. First, Paul obviously does not intend to say that women must always be silent in church. Rather, in a culture in which women were largely illiterate and unlearned, Paul is saying that until a woman learns she must not presume to teach. If Paul had intended to say a woman must always be silent, he would not have given women instructions on how to pray or prophesy publicly in church (1 Corinthians 11:5).
Furthermore, by alluding to Eve’s deception in the garden, Paul underscores how crucial it is that women, like men, involve themselves in learning. Far from chastising Eve for her role in the Fall, Paul chastises the Jewish men of his day for excluding women from learning, thus leaving them vulnerable to deception. Just as Adam was responsible for failing to protect Eve from deception, so too the men of Paul’s day would be held responsible if they hindered women from studying and growing in their faith.
Finally, Paul’s words refute the matriarchal authoritarianism practiced by pagan cults in that day. Ephesus, where Timothy ministered, was the home of a cult dedicated to the pagan goddess Artemis. Worship of Artemis was conducted under the authority of an entirely female priesthood that exercised authoritarian dominion over male worshippers. Thus, Paul emphasizes that women should not presume undue authority over men. Paul neither elevates women over men nor men over women, but is rather concerned that men and women be granted equal opportunity to learn and grow in submission to one another and to God (1 Timothy 2:11; cf. Ephesians 5:21).” Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book.

As to Homosexuality…
“A popular sentiment today is that the Bible is increasingly irrelevant in a modern age of scientific enlightenment. Thus, when the Scripture’s condemnation of homosexuality is referenced, it is not uncommon to see expressions of polite exasperation etched on the faces of the masses. After all, the Bible not only condemns homosexuality but also clearly teaches that Sabbath breakers must be put to death. (Exodus 35:2).
First it should be noted that while Sabbath-breaking had serious ramifications within ancient Israel, it is not a precedent for executing people today. Not only are we no longer under the civil and ceremonial laws of a Jewish theocratic form of government, but as the apostle Paul explains, the symbolism of the law has been fulfilled in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14). In his letter to the Colossians Christians, Paul underscores the Christian’s freedom from adherence to Sabbath laws by pointing out that “these are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:17). Thus, there is an obvious difference between enduring moral principles regarding homosexuality and temporary civil and ceremonial laws relegated to a particular historical context.
Furthermore we would do well to recognize that the God of the Bible does not condemn homosexuality in an arbitrary and capricious fashion. Rather he carefully defines the borders of human sexuality so that our joy may be complete. It does not require an advanced degree in physiology to appreciate the fact that the human body is not designed for homosexual relationships. Spurious slogans and sound bites do not change the scientific reality that homosexual relationships are devastating not only from a psychological but also from a physiological perspective.
Finally, far from being irrelevant and antiquated, the Bible’s warnings regarding homosexuality are eerily relevant and up to date. The book of Romans aptly describes both the perversion and the penalty: “Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (1:26-27, emphasis added). It would be difficult to miss the relationship between Paul’s words and the current health-care holocaust. More people already have died worldwide from AIDS than the United States of America has lost in all its wars combined. This is but the tip of an insidious iceberg. The homosexual lifestyle causes a host of complications including hemorrhoids, prostate damage, and infectious fissures. And even that merely scratches the surface. Nonviral infections transmitted through homosexual activity include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. Viral infections involve condylomata, herpes, and hepatitis A and B.
While there are attendant moral and medical problems with sexual promiscuity in general, it would be homophobic in the extreme to obscure the scientific realities concerning homosexuality. It is a hate crime of unparalleled proportions to attempt to keep a whole segment of the population in the dark concerning such issues. Thus, far from demonstrating that the Bible is out of step with the times, its warnings regarding homosexuality demonstrate that it is as relevant today as it was in the beginning.”
For further study see Joe Dallas, A Strong Delusion: Confronting the “Gay Christian” Movement.
Taken from The Complete Bible Answer Book, Hank Hanegraaff.

Homosexuality is a sin just as gluttony and lying is and as all sin, they have consequences. The ramifications of some are worse than others. As humans we’ll never be without sin but when we do mess up we can be forgiven. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us so that through Him we can come before God and repent and be forgiven. As believers that is our great hope!
So, do I hate homosexuals…no. Do I believe that their lifestyle is wrong…yes. The man who cuts my hair is in fact gay and I knowingly continue to have him cut my hair. I don’t think that I’m better than him even though I have made the decision to live for Christ. I can fall short in so many ways but my Heavenly Father is always there with mercy and grace to pick me back up and give me the strength to live for Him. .Jesus in fact ate with sinners but the point is this…He never changed what He knew to be truth and He never condoned what they did and how they lived. He simply was who He said He was and many turned from their sin and believed in Him. I’m praying that God will reveal Himself to Bart and that perhaps through me, God can minister to him.
Joe Dallas is a man who lived the homosexual lifestyle and he met the Lord and never looked back. He can tell you that it was not a life of “freedom.” His talks on how awful that lifestyle is, was astounding to me. Like all sin, it has major consequences and only God and heal and restore. Joe Dallas now ministers to those who are in and getting out of that pit.
All that to say I also have several thoughts to the whole “divorce in the Bible thing” but I’ll have to send that out later…it’s just about dinner time and this Mama needs a bath before the boys wake up ;)
To end…I love this quote from Hank, “Truth is truth, no matter who denies it and a lie is a lie no matter who affirms it.”
Thanks for allowing me to add the conversation :)

bonniebelle said...

April, I'll comment on your comment later tonight when I get home (yes, I'm still at the office! Got here at 8am!).

Anna, Thank you for contributing to the conversation. I've very interested in reading the articles you've posted and looking further at the biblical interpretation, but my main point is that although the bible is a great place to derive moral truth for those who believe in it our constitution prohibits it from being used derive the law of the land.

As an agnostic I totally respect your beliefs and admire your conviction, however, I don't share those and do not want to be held to a biblical standard by federal laws.

Also, I personally know a guy (worked with him for 2 1/2 years)who went through the anti-gay therapy that you brought up. He says it was the most torturous time of his life and he almost lost his faith over it before finally accepting that god loved him just the way he was, ie gay. He now lives a very free very healthy life.

Ok, that's all I'm going to say right now because I'm actually getting to leave work after 10 1/2 hours! Woohoo!

I'll talk with you girls later.

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Hey Bonnie :) Just to clarify…I didn’t say anything about “anti-gay therapy” and as Joe Dallas say’s…no one is “gay” or “lesbian” it’s a lifestyle. :) Just a quick thought before the pizza rolls burn ;)

bonniebelle said...

Anna, Joe Dallas is the founder of Genesis Counseling that believes that therapy can be used to help people be freed of sexual addition and homosexuality. Ex-gay therapy is what we in the LGBTQ and straight ally community call it. :-)

April said...

hey girl....just a thought, I know that you beleive constitutionally basing our moral code on the Bible is wrong, and should not take place because of the separation of church and state, but if that is the case, where does our moral compass come from, where should it? Who is to tell us what is right from wrong, is it only supposed to be us and the laws man has put in motion? I fear if we leave everyone to their own interpretation of right and wrong, and marriage, then we will have a big problem on our hands. Where will the new line be drawn? Marriage has always been defined as between one man and one woman. If we decide to change that, then where does that leave bigamy, polygamy? Maybe those should be allowed as well. How about a 13 year old girl having the freedom to marry her 35 year old boyfriend without her parents consent. I feel like by redifining the law of marriage, we are opening up a huge can of worms......who will decide what is right, where will our direction come from, who decides? It's just a thought.....No one has told homosexuals it was against the law for them to be who they are and live their lifestyle, they just can't marry because it is not the way nature intended or, the way marriage is defined by law. This is just what I was thinking about a little while ago.....if it came out forceful or rude, that was not my intent!!!!! Sometimes my thoughts flow very quickly from my fingers!!!! Love ya girl!!!!

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Bonnie,
I do know who Joe Dallas is as Dan works for The Christian Research In. and Joe Dallas is not only a friend of Hank’s but he’s also on the show quite a bit…I believe the term they use is Spiritual Disciplines. Obviously Dan knows a lot more about it than I do :)
I just wanted to say that the only reason I brought up the Bible at all was because you referenced several scriptures and to be honest I felt that they were misconstrued. So, I had to accurately defend Scripture :) It can be proven that the Bible is accurate and true but I’ll let Dan write a post for our blog on that subject ;)

Raycol said...

In regard to the Bible and homosexuality, the Bible does prohibit full sex between men (homosexual activity). But this prohibition does not apply to men today when the sexual activity causes no harm. Also, the prohibition does not apply to men today because it applied only to the ancient Israelite and Greek-Roman cultures. The full reasoning for these conclusions can be seen on www.gaysandslaves.com.

bonniebelle said...

Raycol, you have a very interesting view and I'll certainly be looking up that website to see more. I do have to completely agree with you that homosexual activity and relationships in this day and age causes no harm! Which I guess is one of the reaons why I fight so hard for it.

Anna, I'm sorry if I misrepresented scripture, and made you feel you had to defend it. I was trying very hard not to do that and when finding the particular scriptures I was looking for I would google things like "divorce and the bible" or "fornication and the bible". I came across a couple of athiest sites that I'm familar with but chose not to use anything they said because I knew it was coming from a biased source. All the scripture references I found were from christian websites. (Although I knew they existed I've just forgotten where to find them.) :-)

Apil,

You bring up a very good point! I've heard this point before. My question is as an agnostic/borderline athiest, I feel it unfair to be held to a standard I do not believe to be the word of god. It would be like you moving to Saudi Arabia and being subjected to Sharia (Islmaic) law. Would you be willing to be required to wear a headscarf?

I derive my moral code from a belief that every living thing has intrensic value, not because they are children of god, or because god made them, but just BECAUSE. I believe in evaluating what is best for society on the whole. I love the saying "Your right to swing your arm ends were my nose begins." Drunk driving is illegal because it endangers innocent lives. Jumping out of airplanes is legal because if you're stupid enough to do it, then you're only endangering your own life. I believe that the only hard and fast definition of family is "a loving and caring environment where both partners provide companionship and support to each other and any children are loved, nurtured, provided and cared for." I know of plenty of hetrosexual couples who do not fit this bill. They are in fact burying a 2 year old today who's parents are charged with child abuse and murder. On the other hand I know plenty of single mothers who create a wonderful environment for their children to grow up in. I had a two parent, hetrosexual home that was filled with abuse, control, and anger. I'm still struggling with these affects. So, if two loving, caring, nurturing, men or women want to get married and adopt a child (that mostly likely no one else wants, because they are more likely to adopt special needs children or children of other races), then I stand up and applaud them, and fight for their rights to do that.

And actually our laws do not define marriage as between one man and one woman. Those laws have to be put in place. And the bible sanctions polygamy in the old testiment. Basically rights are being taken away from us citizens. And you are right, they can live together, but there are so many rights and priviledges that come from being "married" in the eyes of the civl government. For instance there was a lesbian couple, and one of them had a bad car accident and was hospitalized. Because they were not married, the partner was not allowed back into the ER like a spouse would have been and the patient died alone. That's the kind of injustice that I don't understand.

I have no problems with churches declairing homosexuality wrong and sinnful. But I see two parts to marriage, the civl aspect of it that has to do with going to the court house and asking the civil government to be joined in marriage, and any religious aspect that a person chooses. My personal belief is that if marriage is going to be based soley on a religious definition, then the federal and state governments have no business being involved. So, my personal solution would be for states to stop giving out "marriage licenses" and give everyone a "civil union licenses" regardless of sexual orientation. If you want to be "married" then you have to do that with you religious organization. But the federal government is barred from making any laws having to do with the establishment of relginion and I belive that is what it is doing.

And just like you said, please don't take anything personally or offensively! I certainly don't mean that. My thoughts flow quickly too and I really don't want to offend you as you are a very dear friend!

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Raycol,

Respectively, I must inform you that you are dead wrong. God doesn’t change the rules…sin is sin period. There is no “if it doesn’t cause harm” argument. The God I serve doesn’t change...Ever. Sin is never permissible as long as no one gets hurt and the rules don’t apply only a group of people.
Homosexuality is a behavior…not an identity. Just as lying is a behavior…it’s not who you are and both behaviors are still sin. The Word of God never changes.
“Every word of God is pure; He is a Shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5, 6
“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Bonnie,
Many Christians today misconstrue the Bible and take it out of context so I’m not surprised that certain “Christian” websites would be wrong :)

bonniebelle said...

Anna,

If god never changes, then how do you justify the fact that the god that instructed the Isrealites to kill men, women, children, and animals whey they overtook a secular nation, also says, "Do Not Kill" as one of the 10 Commandments?

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Bonnie, you know what…if you don’t want to believe than nothing that anyone say’s can make you believe. The Bible is true and can be proven historical and scientifically…Jesus is who He said He was. People take the whole “Do not Kill” and run with it. Self defense is not wrong and the Bible has never taught that it was. A better translation is “Thou Shallt Not Murder.” In extreme cases you can justify killing to preserve the greater good such as in war but can not justify murder.
Wars happen, why…because sinful man has taken life in their own hands and rejected God. God only appointed a King over the people because they wanted a King. He’ll never force Himself on us and ultimately we make our own decisions and therefore must live with them. Our current way of life was never what God had intended in the Garden. Man has done all this to himself by rejecting the very One who Created all things.
“The very notion that God would command the obliteration of entire nations is abhorrent to skeptics and seekers alike. In context, however, God’s commands are perfectly consistent with His justice and mercy. First, a text without a context is a pretext. God’s commands to destroy the nations inhabiting the promised land of Canaan must never be interpreted in isolation from their immediate contexts. The command to “destroy them totally” (Deuteronomy 7:2) is contextualized by the words: “Do not intermarry with them…for they will turn your sons and daughters away from following me to serve other gods…This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire” (vv. 3-5). As such, the aim of God’s command was not the obliteration of the wicked but the obliteration of wickedness. Furthermore, God’s martial instructions are qualified by his moral intentions to spare the repentant. As the author of Hebrews explains, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (11:31). Not only were Rahab and her family spared on account of her faith, she was allowed to live among the Israelites (Joshua 6:25) and came to hold a privileged position in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). God’s desire to spare the pagan city of Nineveh further illustrates the extent of his mercy for the repentant (see Jonah).
Finally, God unequivocally commanded Israel to treat the aliens living among them with respect and equality. In fact, God condemned oppression of aliens in the harshest possible language; “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless, or the widow” (Deuteronomy 27:19). Such concern for foreigners clearly demonstrates that mercy was to be shown to those who by faith repented of their idolatry and were thereby grafted into true Israel (cf. Romans 11:11- 24).” H.H.
Bonnie, you can argue all day long but the Truth is the same and no matter who denies the existence of God…He exists. It’s not about “my truth” or “your truth;” there is only one Truth and it’s not just a belief…it’s a fact. You can’t “imagine” God away and I think that it’s heart breaking when people choose to throw His gift of eternal life back in His face. For every objection or argument against Christianity, I can guarantee you an answer but if you’re not willing to believe than you won’t hear.

bonniebelle said...

You are very right, Anna. And you don't really know me very well. You don't know the depth to which I was involved in the Christian community. I've read all of Lee Strobel's books. I've read the Purpose Driven Life. I wasn't at April's wedding because I was off dancing with a Christian dance conservatory that toured with Rob Stearns and Eagles Wings worship ministry. I was into Delirious before anyone knew who they were and went to some of Third Day's first concerts. I've danced at numerous Paul Wilber concerts, and been in worship services were people said the glory of the lord fell. And I had a very "closed minded-elitist-arrogant-us vs. them" attitude. And I know I offended and hurt a lot of people and even turned them off to the god I said professed to worship because of it.

But at some point, though, I stopped reading other people's books, and listening to what other people said, and I started looking at things for myself. And when that happened, I decided that Christianity did not make sense for ME (not anyone else, but for me)!

Like I said in an earlier comment, I deeply respect your beliefs, and admire your conviction. But I believe in my truth as deeply and passionately as you do yours. I'm not less because I don't believe in your truth. I don't feel that you are less because you don't believe in mine, but I do get frustrated with the condemnation in your comments. This is my blog and I expect everyone who participates in it to be respectful of other's beliefs. You may not believe that there is more than one truth, but on this blog we respect each other and hold open minded, respectful, discussions knowing that in the end we can all agree to dissagree and then go out for coffee.

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Reading books, listening to “good” music, and “serving” Him doesn’t make you a believer. Bonnie many people have a “said faith” and have never really truly known Him or believed in Him. If a person has really and truly known His heart and felt His love than they would never walk away from Him.
It’s not just my Mama and Daddy’s faith; it’s not just the way I was taught…you really don’t know me at all either. The “religion” that it seems you were brought up with had nothing to do with relationship. I was never taught that God was an angry being waiting to pounce on me the moment I did something wrong; but I was shown the heart of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can even fathom. I have felt His love and known His heart for myself. My life isn’t and hasn’t been perfect. I’ve been down the suicidal road, I sat in an examination room in a Doctors office and was told that our first baby was dead; Dan and I struggled financially for many years and even had to move in with Mama and Daddy at one time. In all those times I felt the love of my heavenly Daddy gently pick me up and hold me. I never once doubted Him because I knew Him. Bonnie if I could describe to you how it feels to know that I am truly loved by the One! After Sarah Grace went to be with the Lord I had my moments of grief…I don’t know why it happened but I do know that through it all God is good :) I asked Him if I could know that I was pregnant again before her due date and I found out that I was indeed expecting the month before :) The first face Sarah saw was God’s…she’ll never know fear or pain…I want to share with you what the Lord spoke to me when I was pregnant with Emma…He said, “Anna, Emma will dance before Me because she knows that she will one day see My face. Sarah dances before Me now because she has seen My face!” Bonnie, it breaks my heart that you never really truly knew His heart or were taught how much He loves you.
I don’t want to sound judgmental and it’s never been my intention to condemn; I just can’t keep silent when those who don’t know Him speak His words with understanding they do not have. If you knew me (well you’ve probably guessed it by now ;) you’d know that I’m a very passionate person :) Again I only shared what I felt I had to…seeing the misuse and lack of an understanding of scripture and the only reason I even shared any of it is because I care about you. Not as in “I’m trying to convert you” caring about you; but I remember the good times we all had growing up and I do want to be able to go out and have coffee, maybe check out a new chick flick with you and April. So, again I’m not trying to sound condemning and I’m sorry if you took it like I was yelling at you. It’s like what my parents said to me all those years; I’m telling you these things because I love you and want you to know and truly feel His love for yourself.

Jr. Mint said...

Anna - I would like to respond to a few things that you have said. The first being your response to Bonnie's question about God and wars. Thank you for clarifying that the reason why my husband and some of our best friends are currently fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom is because man sinned. I am amazed that in light of all that is going on in the world you would respond with such a flippant answer. The world's issues are much more complex than "man sinned." The issue of why God allows this to happen is much more complex than "man sinned." As the wife of a soldier that is in a war zone, I cannot begin to even explain to you how offensive your response was.

Second your explanation that the Bible is real because it can be historically and scientifically proven is nothing other than quaint. If that is your explanation then guess what the Koran is also real. We can proof the existence of it's writer Mohamed. You can no more prove the deity of Christ than Muslims came prove the deity of Mohamed. There is a reason why the cornerstone of any religion is faith. It is because no one can infallibly prove that their religion is the real religion. While I admire your strong and steadfast belief in your faith, I found your absolutist attitude offensive. Your beliefs are your own, but your faith in Christ does not give you the right to tell others that they are wrong or to condemn their beliefs. To further that, who gives you the right to state that someone did not have a real relationship with God. Unlike you, I knew Bonnie during the time that she spoke of. I would never doubt that she had a real grasp on Christianity or a real relationship with God. People like you are the reason that while I still have personal believes I no longer attend church.

I would like to get back to the original topic that was posted. Gay Marriage. The issue should not be one influenced by religion. Yes it can be argued that this country's moral compass was established by looking at the Bible. The reason for this was that the Bible was the moral compass almost worldwide for that time period. You also have to look at those who established this country. They fled a country where they were being religiously persecuted for what they believed. However no where in the Constitution does it state that our government is to base laws on what the Bible says. In fact it states the opposite, "Congress shall make NO law" that inhibits one's religious beliefs. It does not say one's Christian beliefs it says one religious beliefs. Even back then the founders of this country understood that Christianity was not the only religion in the world. Further they understood that it was supremely important to make laws based on what is right not on what is religious. The idea that religion be left out of the government was so important to our founders that it become the first amendment to the Constitution. They realized that without such amendment it would not be long before America fell into the same pit that the countries where they had fled from had fallen. To further that they felt it so strongly that in the fourteenth amendment they declared that states did not have the right to make laws impeding ones religious practice.

With that said I would like to point out that the question of whether or not it is morally right is not ours or the governments to make. Personally I feel that if conservative Christian groups would have kept their nose out of this issue then Americans would have the right to marry whomever they want. Because the bottom line is not what is morally correct but is this a justifiable individual freedom. The answer is yes. Someone is not less of an individual or an American because they have a sexual preference that is not the same as mine. They should have the same rights as I do. The right to the privileges that every married couple in America has. The right to a tax break. The right to sit with your dying spouse. No one should die alone. No one. The right to have children. Because the bottom line is that whether or not something is "natural" to you based on your religious beliefs is not the defining factor for the government. There are very few absolutes in this world. I am not arrogant enough to define them for other people. If you see the world in black and white -straight and narrow then I personally do not believe that you are viewing the world with your eyes wide open. The idea of morals, truth, and lies are simply that they are ideas. They cannot be grasped, held or even simply defined to have the same meaning for everyone. The world is full of gray areas.