Christians kind and homophobic
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Response to a well intended comment on one of my other weblogs. Most of my remarks about Christians are flippant and snide but I felt she deserved a less quick and easy reply. I'm wholly secular and a materialist (in the proper, not the pop sense of the word). To me UFO cults, psychics, pagans and followers of any religion that has ever existed are equally grounded incorrect perceptions of actuality. I'd equally trash almost every philosophy and toss in psychology, sociology and anthropology while I'm loading the cultural dumpster. Despite my epistemological and metaphysical close-mindedness I know that individuals vary. Partly I want to acknowledge the variety and to anticipate the stark homophobia queer men like myself will be facing as the 2004 election nears.
As always, the author disavows anything other than an exploration of his own mind.
Me and Christianity
... came across your "Wrestling with Christians" topic and had to read it because I have been a Christian since I was 9 years old, which is 20 years now.
I'm guessing you read Wrestling with Christian customers . I don't know if you noticed my reply at the end: I do distinguish among various kinds of Christians.
You know the one thing that gives Christianity a bad reputation is the way Christian's act toward people.
Growing up I encountered a spectrum of Christians including the beloved maternal grandmother who raised me until I was about six. And I went to many different Christian churches from neutral (United Methodist), self-righteous (Independent Baptist) to kindly (Pentecostal - back then, anyway).
So I never got that opinion "I'm saved now", so I have to be perfect and hate non-Christians and tell them how bad they are.
Actually I did and I converted my father. Clearly my conversion, which I took very seriously, didn't stick.
I have the same struggles everyday of my life to stay focused on God, and I still fail miserably.
I think every Christian who focuses on their relationship with God feels that way. Really, all strongly ethical people find it difficult to live up to their vision of ideal thought and behavior. Not having the onus of sin that a religious person may, it makes my life more interesting.
I guess I wanted to say that I'm sorry claiming Christianity has to hurt so many people when it should be bringing us closer together.
This isn't an easy issue. If someone believes that certain acts will lead a person to eternal punishment that the "sinner's" behavior will cause others to be damned then extreme, terrible earthly actions, like an Inquisition, can seem justified. Thankfully Jefferson and others made sure Constitution has the separation of church and state.
For this reason I have not attended a intuitional church in three years. I could not live up to their picture of a "perfect" Christian. And if they think they are, then they're only fooling themselves and GOD.
Many people, who are as sad as they are evil, find satisfaction in feeling superior to others. Many need an outlet for their own unhappiness in hate. Others are lost in a world that seems complicated, foreign and frightening. Some Christian leaders exploit this for power, if only over their followers or because it makes them feel important; known when otherwise they'd be as obscure as most of us.
Richard, I know you are an Atheist and that's today. You never know when something or someone will change that. All I'm saying is I love everyone and pray that you too will not hate all Christians or christian books because the way people who claim to be Christians act.
I know there are kindly believing Christians. My feelings about Christians are shaped directly by the effect they want to have on my life, my partner's life. If they want to make our life worse than I'd as soon as see them dead. I sell Christian books, even thenomy (belief that the old Mosaic laws are still in effect and should be enforced literally, e.g., stone adulterers). I admire and enjoy many Christian writers.
Focus on the Family is homophobic
I do not believe that "Focus on the Family" is a code-word for "homophobic".
We part company. From their website:
Dr. James C. Dobson, chairman and founder of Focus on the Family, minced no words when he said the state of marriage is threatened by judicial tyranny.
"What you're doing is undermining the whole legal definition, the underpinnings of the institution of the family, and when that goes, everything goes with it, including the stability of the country . . . and the future of Western civilization," Dobson said.
Oh yeah, let me marry the man that I live in a committed, monogamous relationship with and Western Civilization is doomed. Western Civilization isn't a very meaningful term. Depending on what it means to you it is already on its last legs thanks to a rotten public educational system and a national in love with its television. Or it is a heritage of tolerance. I doubt the two millennia of intellectuals and artists who created Western Civ. Would be looking to Dobson for protection.
Now I don't really hanker to 'marry' Charles. But I do want to insure that our joint property and my personal property becomes his if I predecease him. So some relative can't snatch it away in a lawsuit. When he was in a coma and for all I knew brain-dead last year it took me a day to persuade someone to let me see him or tell me his condition. Anyone who doesn't see the essential humane necessity of that is my enemy. Or anyone who supports acts as nasty as Fred Phelps' Leviticus 18:22 monument My own interpretation of Phelps is that he derives a sense of importance, at least gets to be the leader of a small pack of sad folks: that his homophobia is trivial opportunism.
Federal Marriage Amendment
Dobson supports the Federal Marriage Amendment:
The FMA would also forbid giving same-sex couples the "legal incidents" of marriage, thus vitiating the civil-union law in Vermont and any other state that followed suit.
(From Doug Ireland's excellent Republicans Relaunch the Antigay Culture Wars .)
I haven't any tolerance for those who'd deny us or any other gay couple those "legal incidents." Regardless of their intent they harm the one I love. They are guilty of the repression that was once attributed to communists and Nazis. There is no common ground. I'm equally contemptuous of gay men and groups that seek to cozy up to homophobes.
I do believe that we have gotten way to far away from kids respecting their parents and teachers, families having dinner together to discuss their days and that soccer became more important.
A worry much older than I am (I have an odd memory of Ed McMahon doing a PSA in the 70's where he quoted Socrates on the issue). From what I remember of my childhood and what I see of families that come into my used bookshop most families are doing as well as they ever have. Which is much better than the sensationalizing pop media and the viewers with alarm make it seem.
Michelle, I don't doubt your essential decency. Life as some of us live it isn't that simple.