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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Christian War Against Gays

For those who are interested, this article has been delayed by the weather. For I cannot both construct and enter an article and shovel snow at the same time. I guess it is because of my age.

If some sensitive Christians can call the insistence of some to substituted "happy holidays" for "merry Christmas" a war on Christmas, then we  should be allowed to say that when Christians want to use the law to prohibit gay marriage or when Christians talk about homosexuality the way some do, they are waging a war on gays. It seems only fair. What isn't fair is when Christians feel persecuted by those who resist their antagonism.

Before writing about the war of some Christians against gays, I want to be clear about this blog's stance on homosexuality. Homosexuality is a sin and against God's Word. And one must practice Olympic level, exegetical gymnastics to interpret the Bible as saying anything different. And all sexual sin is taken very seriously in the Bible, including the ones Christians engage in.

But, contrary to the impression that many Conservative Christians give by how they talk about homosexuality, saying that homosexuality is sin implies nothing about how we should regard homosexuals both in society and as individuals. Some Conservative Christians have horribly misread the Bible on this matter so that they feel uninhibited in how they both judge gays and work to ensure that gays are persecuted in society. These Conservative Christians start predicting doomsday scenarios should gays not be kept under their thumb to some level. Even when Conservative Christians oppose same-sex marriage in society because they don't want people, especially children, to think homosexuality is normal, this is an attempt to control gays by insisting that society stigmatizes them. It's a form of persecution. 

With that being said, this blog is reviewing a portion of a lecture/article (not sure but it is posted on the web) by Dr. J. Budziszewski.  His message is followed up on by comments made by a Mr. Coolidge. This blog will focus on Dr. Budziszewski's statements. Dr Buziszewski's message is entitled, Advancing A Heterosexual Public Ethic With Grace, Wit, And Natural Law.

Having read his message, my opinion was that the message was mislabeled for there seems to be neither grace nor wit in the message. And we should note that Budziszewski wants to use natural law as a basis for how he speaks against homosexuality. For those who have not encountered natural law arguments before, it is used by people, many of them religious, as a source of authority to define and govern how we should live. Thus, it is somewhat like a Bible but for a wider audience with a lower common denominator. And all we have to realize is that us Conservative Christians, I am a religiously conservative, love sources of authority because it gives us permission to yell at others and boss them around.

We should also note that not all hold to a universal version of natural law. This is especially true when it comes to determining the appropriateness of homosexuality. Whereas Conservative Christians take their definition of universal law regarding homosexuality from anatomy and function, others look at how homosexual behavior is beneficially practiced by other species (click here). Christians can rightfully say that the nonbeliever, whether the person is homosexual or not, has had knowledge of what natural law as it actually is, but not believing in God changes one's view of natural law. And thus, in a land where religious liberty is celebrated, we must be careful about whose version of natural law we use when determining lawful behavior in society.

The crux of Budziszewski's article here is his reactions to 14 attacks on the Christian opposition to both homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. His responses to these challenges to the Christian view is the focus of this blogpost.

Budziszewski's response to attack #1, which is the claim that Christians are not tolerant of homosexuals, is simply disingenuous. In his response, Budziszewski wants to turn the tables of the tolerance/intolerance debate on gays by saying that it is gays who are not tolerant of the Christian challenge to their sexual orientation. What makes Budziszewski's comeback rather disingenuous here is that the American Christian challenge to homosexuality has been more than saying that it is wrong. Christians have supported laws that once criminalized homosexuality and are now fighting legislation and court decisions that would allow for same-sex marriages. And the reason why Christians do not want same-sex marriages to be legal is that they don't want people to think that homosexuality is normal. In other words, they want society to stigmatize and possibly persecute homosexuals for their orientation. Budziszewski knows this which makes his description of Christians opposing homosexuality as merely challenging  a gross understatement. 

Budziszewski then responds to attack #2 on the Christian position on homosexuality. He states that that attack says gays have committed relationships. Budziszewski bluntly states that research denies that this could be true because it shows that gays still cruise for additional partners. The trouble here is that Budziszewski never tells us which research shows that. In addition, I know a few gay couples and I have observed that the partners in these couples are faithful. So what is Budziszewski's point here? In addition, one wonders how past persecution of homosexuality and the prohibitions to marriage affects the behavior of gays. Finally, I am going to take a wild guess and say that there are some heterosexuals who have strayed once or twice from their committed relationships too.

Budziszewski then responds to attack #3 which says that Christians demean the dignity of homosexuals. His comeback is that gays perform acts that would embarrass them if heterosexuals knew that is what they did. But, how does Budziszewski know this when certain sexual practices are shared by both heterosexual and homosexual couples?

Next, we want to look at Budziszewski's response to attacks #4 and #7. Attack #4 asserts that there is nothing wrong with gay love. Attack #7 declares that being gay is natural. Budziszewski's response to both show that he relies on antiquated information. In his response to #4, Budziszewski asks how gay love can be right when it results in physical injuries and diseases such as gay bowel syndrome. The problem here is that the US Center For Disease Control no longer recognizes gay bowel syndrome. Likewise, in responding to attack #7, Budziszewski claims that gay relationships are narcissistic. Certainly psychologists and psychiatrists from the past use to regard homosexuality as a disorder. And Freud theorized, note the word, that narcissism was involved in gay attraction because the genders were the same. However most of today's behavioral scientists do not regard homosexual attraction and relationships to be narcissistic per se. A point against Budziszewski's response here is that narcissists usually cannot maintain longtime relationships and that is independent of one's sexual orientation (some of this comes from a source which I cannot currently find).

In addition, the other diseases which Budziszewski cites in his response to attack #4 are diseases caused by promiscuity regardless of one's sexual orientation. 

Attack #8 claims that people like Budziszewski hate gays. Budziszewski's response is that love includes telling the truth. However, we have already seen how Budziszewski shades the truth as well as uses antiquated information. So he is either not telling the whole truth by mistake or deliberately. In either case, he cannot claim that his rebuttal to homosexual attacks on Christians are based on telling the truth.

Attack #11 scolds Christians for opposing hate crimes legislation. Budziszewski's comeback is that such legislation is unnecessary because murder and assault are already illegal. Here, however, we should ask Budziszewski whether he would undo all hate crime laws even if the victim was chosen because of their race or religion. In addition, we find that hate crimes for sexual orientation happens at a high rate compared to other hate crimes.

Attack #12 challenges Christians for not supporting equality of people regardless of their sexual orientation. Budziszewski's response is to point to sexual orientations such as necrophilia as being orientations as well. The implication is to question if the believer in such equality accepts those orientations too. Perhaps if Budziszewski were to ask gays what they felt about those other orientations, he would have his answer. But why ask when one can imply?

Attack #13 asks why marriage cannot be between two people of the same gender. Budziszewski's response is to ask about marriage between one man and two women. But here, as we could have asked him in his response to attack #12, which practices are closer to heterosexual marriage? Is it two adults of the same gender or one person with multiple partners? The similarity we have between heterosexual and homosexual couples is that we are still talking about the joining of two consenting adults. That should adequately challenge Budziszewski's response.

In Budziszewski's response to attack #14, which complains of workplace discrimination, he says it is better not to let sodomy advocates near kids. However, sodomy is not just practiced by homosexuals. In addition, Budziszewski gives no reason why we should prohibit sodomy advocates near kids.

We have covered enough of Budziszewski's responses to see his general attitude toward gays. In the name of all that is right with natural law, Budziszewski is both less than honest while wanting to assume enough authority to declare how homosexuals should be treated in a moral society. If we thought that Phil Robertson's reference to bestiality was bad, Budziszewski is far worse because he exudes an appearance of rationality and intelligence and he characterizes his comebacks as having grace and wit. But how can that be when he speaks with half-truths, if his word have any truth at all, in talking down to and speaking against homosexuality?Budziszewski's words play to a crowd that shares his antagonism.

Preaching the Gospel is difficult enough. We have to tell people that they are sinners and that the only remedy is faith in Christ. But do we need to place unnecessary stumbling blocks in their way to hearing the Gospel? All of us do and we do that to gays when we go beyond saying that homosexuality is sin by describing homosexuality in ways that distance ourselves, with our own sins, from homosexuals and their sins. We also provide unnecessary stumbling blocks when we don't give gays the respect they deserve by standing up for their rights and when we oppose their equality in society. Those who are impressed with Budziszewski's comments provide such stumbling blocks. And all of us provide unnecessary stumbling blocks when we deny the contributions gays have made to both society and each person individually.

Budziszewski's comments show and inspire arrogance. He does not talk to gays as equals or fellow sinners. Rather, he presumptuously takes a rather typical Conservative Christian approach of desiring a place in society where he will try to save gays from themselves. But in so doing, has he placed himself outside the reach of others who want to do the same for him?    

cited the primary reference



Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Curt,

I read your comments over at Heidelblog. Amen and Amen - again and again!

And Amen to your post here!

What these folks are unable to see or appreciate is that their approach is *DE-humanising.* I don't bother posting at Heidelblog anymore because I've been put on moderation.

Jason Loh
Kuala Lumpur

Curt Day said...

To Jason and Kuala,
Yes there is dehumanization there but my gut feel is that is not the basic motivation. The primary reason for why some Christians talk about homosexuals the way they do is to rationalize paternalism. These Christians want a privileged place in society where they have the authority to control the personal morals of other and they need society's cooperation for that.

I see things this way because of many conservative Christians' penchant for authority and authoritarianism. And since the scriptures do speak strongly against homosexuality, the combination results in their hyperbolic assessment of gays which distances these Christians from homosexuals. Thus, their problem is not in opposing homosexuality but in how they oppose it. They believe that they are above and superior to homosexuals. Ironically for these Christians, when that belief in being superior enters, the Gospel leaves and flies out the window.

Thank you for reading and commenting