Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gay Christians: Denial, Deception or Delusion?


If there is one thing that the vast majority of heterosexual Christians agree on it’s that homosexuality is a sin. Of highly religious white Evangelicals 88% say homosexuality is a sin. 75% of Black Protestants say it’s a sin. Among Catholics the number is 64%. In all Christian denominations the higher the individual’s commitment to their religion (devoutness) the higher their intolerance for homosexuality. To say that Christianity overwhelmingly condemns homosexuality would be a gross understatement.
http://pewforum.org/PublicationPage.aspx?id=645#4

Thus, when my book The Atheist Camel Chronicles first came out I felt comfortable giving a signed copy to two gentlemen I befriended who sold and installed my underground dog fence. They are business partners and life partners. I had assumed that they’d share my perception of the ills of Christianity, since Christianity has had nothing good to say about them as gays.

Perhaps it’s that suppressed liberal bent in me, but I sort of expected a pat on the back from them for the chapters in the book that express my liberal perspective on homosexuality, equal rights and gay marriage. That never happened. Instead some many months later I discovered they were a little taken aback at my book’s anti-theist themes ... they both being Christians. [Note: Two lessons learned. 1- So much for stereotyping gays as freethinkers. It’s an erroneous assumption. 2- Expecting accolades for being tolerant and modernist in thought is rather, well ... pompous, condescending, self aggrandizing or something not very praise worthy].

This incident, and more recently my awareness of the larger gay Christian community, led me to question how gays can embrace a belief system that preaches against their lifestyle and sexual preference. How can they possibly reconcile their homosexuality with a scripture, a God, a clergy and congregants who see them as “not true Christians” at best and hell bound unrepentant sinners worthy of God’s condemnation and death by stoning at worst? The answers were at once surprising and yet absurdly predictable.

From what I can discern it boils down to three thought processes. The first is simply ignoring the issue of their sexuality entirely, denial. In this gay Christian website the faithful reiterate their love of Jesus, accept him as their savior, recognize the Bible as the word of God and anticipate salvation for their devotion. They just opt to ignore the Old Testament prescriptions for stoning and the traditional ostracizing and almost universal Christian condemnation of their sexual preference and life style. http://www.gaychristian.net/statementoffaith.php

Another tact is exemplified by a gay Christian organization that goes beyond cherry picking of scriptural verse, the tried and true Christian approach to using the Bible to support ones agenda. These people actually attempt to apply new meanings to Jesus’ words to transform his reference to “eunuch” in Matthew 19 to also mean “homosexual.” Thus, not only did Jesus not specifically condemn homosexuality, they imply he actually endorsed it. This may well be the most blatant example of dishonesty or delusion I’ve ever witnessed. http://www.gaychristian101.com/Homosexual-Eunuchs.html

They also embrace the entirely erroneous concept that that Jesus said he had come to dissolve the laws of the Old Testament. http://www.tobyjohnson.com/cause.html

Finally, there are the gay Christians who don’t attend church regularly, are not Bible literate and just ignore the acrimony of hetero Christians, the Bible and the Church leadership. Raised in Christian families, indoctrinated since childhood, they have taken on the identity of Christian from their parents. Never mind what the Bible and their fellow Christians say, they dismiss the homophobes as just acting independently; God makes no differentiation between gays and straights. In fact, it was God who made them gay thus he must approve. In essence they are arbitrarily redefining Christian doctrine. It’s feel good self deception.

It all boils down to the God Virus. Gays have no special immunity or antibodies for it. It doesn’t differentiate between gays and straights. Once infected with the God Virus it can disguise and distort reality. The ugly reality is that homophobia in the West is directly attributable to their God and the Judeo-Christian doctrine. The very reason for gay second class citizenship status is rooted in the Abrahamic God’s disgust for their sexual preference. But don’t bother telling that to them. Reason has always been the enemy of faith, and the faithful gay are no exception.

28 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

It is amazing to see how much people can be self delusional and how people can act totally against their own interests. There are many examples besides the one you have pointed out.

Someone posted on a blog just today about atheists being almost the only ones who seek objective truth.

Momma Moonbat said...

A gay christian makes about as much sense as a black klansman.

Anonymous said...

Greta Christina has blogged about how the LGBT movement has been for decades extremely focused on trying to 'woo' (in more than one sense) the mainstream Christian culture into accepting their gayness. (If you haven't read her blog, I strongly recommend doing so - it's extremely insightful on Atheism as well as LGBT topics and the intersection of the two).

With the passage of Prop 8 and other "defense of marriage" acts, I think more of the LGBT community is finally realizing how unsuccessful pursuing that strategy has been.

-fastthumbs

gristleoflife said...

"If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” -- Leviticus 20:13

Therein lies the christians' lack of acceptance of man on man sex. (Catholic priests are quick to point out that the bible says nothing against man on BOY sex.)
But, why aren't cristians also KILLING gay men? The bible clearly commands them to do so!

How is it that bible literalists like young Earthers take some sections of the bible completely literally (the first sentence of Lev. 20) while ignoring the parts that they find inconvenient (the second sentence of Lev. 20) and still feel comfortable about what they're doing?
Oh, right.."thou shalt not kill".
Ah...so many contradictions in the bible it makes your head spin. What's a poor christian to do?

Lynn said...

I think this just demonstrates how if you want to believe in something, you'll fit the facts around that. Gays are molding the Bible around what they want to think, just as all other Christians do the same thing.

Then you end up with Christians who believe opposite things-and basing it all on the same book. It's really ridiculous.

I've heard some of the arguments that the fundies have it all wrong and have misinterpreted the Bible re gays. Their arguments can be pretty convincing.

I think we should abandon the whole notion of judging everything according to what we think the Bible says and just use our brains.

Just finished your book, by the way. Very good. I liked the set-up too-short articles that were to the point. And I actually borrowed it from a Catholic university library!

LuWeeks said...

Believer = Illogical person

By definition anyone who believes in god(s) is illogical. So being gay and believing in a religion that says its wrong is just one piece of being illogical. I bet most God believers also covet and keep graven images and never see a contradiction or seek forgiveness.

GatorApe said...

Perhaps my biggest peeve with theistic types is their rampant cherry-picking of the bible to accommodate their lifestyles. This is a particularly egregious example of that -- one that boggles the mind.

I'll never understand how certain groups -- especially women and homosexuals -- can ally themselves in any, way, shape or form with organized religion.

longhorn believer said...

Ah, denial! Thanks Hump! I just jumped right past that explanation for this conundrum. Probably some xians will come around to the idea that Jesus supports gay marriage or some other idea that rationalizes that homosexuality does not equal sin. Here is some recent evidence:
http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/anti-gay-covenant-provokes-controversy-at-crystal-cathedral

BUT, it's a much cleaner and straighter path (no pun intended) to reject xianity all together if you don't want to feel like a sinner. However, speaking from experience, I can see how becoming an atheist can be harder on the psyche than just straight up denial whatever the conflict may be.

trikepilot said...

Even if you throw the Leviticus scripture out because of the "new law" you still have 5 more verses that they link to their homophobia.

Lisa Ling did a show on gay Christians last week and it was interesting. There is a whole gamut of beliefs from pray the gay away crusaders to God loves everyone even me LBGT groups.

My opinion is that they were born gay and there is nothing they can do about it. On the other hand they were also born trusting and soon after indoctrinated into a sky-god religion of some sort. There IS something they can do about the latter but refuse to do so.

aspen-bh said...

Well, there is a naked man in the crucifix; maybe gay Christians are using it to masturbate... Also, their gaydar obviously spots Jesus and Paul (the homophobic father of the Christian faith) as blatant homosexuals. A research made in Brasilia (Brazil) in 2008 pointed out that 24% of the gay men living there believe in religious magic but follow no denomination at all, 23% are Atheists and 22% are Christians. As a gay man I think it is revolting to embrace a faith that advocates your extermination, like a Jewish Nazi. Yet, isn't the sole purpose or religion to sacrifice the entire human race on this altar, in honor to a chimera? Don't all religions say that we humans are worms comparing to the gods? Religion is a self-hating routine, already, no matter if you are gay or straight.

John Myste said...

What you have just described is the gay man's claim to ownership of God and he cannot make this claim: clearly the heterosexuals had Him first!

Their homosexuality is undeniable, but if they don't want to perish in hell, or worse, not perish there, then they have no choice but reach in desperation for the only salvation possible, no matter how improbable it is.

I strongly suspect they feel a nagging sense of denial, but what choice do they have? The alternative is absolute destruction.

NewEnglandBob said...

Your post is a word salad with no meaning to the words, John Myste.

John Myste said...

New England Bob, I don't understand. You speaking gibberish.

Dromedary Hump said...

John,
I think what Bob is saying is he is as confusd by your comment as I am.

You see, it can be read as either an ironic criticism of the nonsensical threat of hell being embraced by Christain homosexuals, and of the exclusive claim of god by hererosexuals; or it can be read as an actual condemnation of gays desperation for salvation that they can never attain from this fictiious homophobic diety.

I honestly can't tell what your position is/ from what direction you are coming. Or more sussinctly.. are you speaking as an atheist or theist?

Dromedary Hump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Myste said...

I am so used to being completely ignorant and not looking back that I never question if what I say makes sense or whether it is clear which side I am on. I am frequently condemned for representing a position I don't actual hold. Sometimes, I continue to argue the position until it becomes clear and other times I clear it up at once.

I have re-read my post and I don't think "word salad" is fair. I think "confusing nonsense" is a more accurate characterization.

I am an atheist and a far left liberal. I support gay rights and freedom of lack of religion. I am not a fanatic in any sense and I generally respect both theists and conservatives unless I can amuse myself, in which case sometimes I go too far.

I am still learning to communicate, however. English is my second language and I have no first one. Wish me luck.

Dromedary Hump said...

Hahah..John, very good.
Thanks for the clarification. I'm sure Bob is as relieved as I.

NewEnglandBob said...

Yes, I am, thanks, John.

Anonymous said...

I don't see gay Christians as hypocritical, at least any more hypocritical than any other Christian, because they don't follow those parts of the bible that seem to condemn homosexuality. All Christians I have met ignore parts of the bible, it contradicts itself so many times it would be impossible not to. All of those passages can be explained the same way some of the other ones that Christians have chosen to ignore have been. I am an atheistic agnostic, so I personally am not religious, but from what I gather the reason people feel the need for religion is to feel better about the bad things in their lives. We all know that gays are often discriminated against, so it's no wonder some of us (us being gays, since I myself am a lesbian) feel the need to cling on to a belief system that promises great things after we die or says that "everything happens for a reason." If that's the only way they can cope, then I'm happy that can at least still be okay with being who they are.

LaurieB said...

Anonymous,

Lesbians belong to 2 groups that are scorned and railed against in the holy books of the big 3 religions; women and homosexuals. It's a double whammy against them. As a straight woman, I knew as a teenager that I could never belong to an organization that fulminated against me. Apparently you feel the same since you claim to be Atheist/Agnostic.

I agree with you on your first point about hypocrisy. Based on the dic.com definition of the word:

A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles that one does not really possess

then church going gays who are "out" can't be considered hypocrites. However, those who are in the closet and joint in with virulent gay bashing are despicable hypocrites.

Your second point is the one I feel saddest about; that people who have endured discrimination feel the need to cling on to a belief system that promises great things after we die, etc.

From one woman to another, isn't that just cozying up to the very system that has legitimized our oppression? How can Lesbians sit through church services that strongly reinforce Patriarchal values? How can they choke through Bible readings full of glorification of violent, misogynistic men? I just can't believe that the promise of an eternally blissful heaven waiting for us on the other side of death could ever be a reasonable trade off for the virulent commination that is shoved down our throats in the religious communities., As I said above, this whole scenario makes me very sad indeed.

I hope I can speak for women Atheists in general when I say that Lesbians will find a much stronger, very positive support system in the Humanist/Atheist community. Could it be that the Lesbian community is unaware of our group and what we stand for?

Just think of the possibilities of a coalition group composed of Atheist women and the Lesbian community and what effect this could have as a political force against the religious right in this country.

Dear Anonymous, I don't know where you are in the world, but I hope you will consider taking the courageous stand with your Lesbian community in speaking directly on this issue with them. The religious fanatics are frothing at the mouth at the thought of dragging all women back into the dark ages and they are having some measure of success. They are very well organized and effective in their methods. Our only hope of keeping them at bay is to match them in ferocity. Coalition is our best hope of that.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Dear Laurie B,

I don't know how a lesbian could sit in church and listen to the misogyny and homophobia preached by most denominations of the Christian religion. I don't understand how anyone could be religious period, that is why I am an agnostic.

The way I see it there are three main types of gay people who are born into the Christian faith:
The first being the one I understand the most, the ones who leave the religion, because of what it preaches about homosexuality, and also often for other reasons, like the misogyny you mentioned, or the fact that the whole thing seems a bit far fetched. This is the group that I believe the Atheist Camel originally thought all openly gay people who were born into a Christian home belonged to. This would be great if it were true, but here's the thing: I whole-heartedly believe that there are certain people who, at least in certain points in their lives, need a religion to cling to. I don't understand these people completely, since I am not one of them, and it seems that you don't either. If you are one of these people who feel like they do still need to stay a Christian, you do it in one of two ways: you keep the religion and faith and find a gay friendly church, or you try to get red of the gay. Those people are the ones who go to those 'pray the gay away' camps. I think that when the religion-needing openly gays find a church that is accepting, they are often able to avoid becoming part of the group that hates themselves.

I believe in promoting secularism, I think that it is a great thing for the people who are so afraid of god that they think they are constantly going to hell, and for the open minded religious people in general. BUT the problem with promoting it is that it can push people away. Look at it this way, the atheistic community doesn't understand why anyone would need or want a religion, and the religious community doesn't see how anyone without one could have good morals. So we both don't understand each other completely. Christians are under the impression that we are immoral and we are under the impression that they can't get their heads out of their asses. We are never going to convince everyone that there isn't a god, even all the gays that there isn't one, because some people simply NEED answers now.

I respect any LGBT person who loves himself or herself in a very special and unique way because I have gone through that battle of accepting who I am myself. If Christianity is the only way they feel they can do it, then they still keep that respect. That is what I meant when I said I was happy for them

Texas Mike said...

I had this discussion with a gay friend of mine that is VERY christian. He explained it thusly. "It does not matter what the bible says. Being a christian is about having a personal relationship with god." There you have it. One statement that precludes all other arguments. Pretty smart for an idiot.

Dromedary Hump said...

Mike..and yet, that same god with whom he has a "personal relationship" is going to send him to be tortured for an eternity in hell. Unless herejects the multiple admonishments in the Bible about homosexuals being an abomination unto the Lord.

My assumption is, he selectively does exactly that. And if he rejects God's admonishment, then how can he call himself a Xtian?

ALL.. thanks for your comments. I for one learned alot from them. I guess my issue w/ homosexuals retaining a Christian identity is precisely summarized by the above comment I made to Mike.

The issue isn't whether or not gays should believe in a supernatural god, or have a religious connection. The issue is why embrace a god and a religion that says you are a hell bound sub-human unworthy of the same benefits as heteros.

I would suggest that it's tantamount to women who willingly embrace Islam, inspite of the fact they are victimized by it in most Muslim cultures.

NewEnglandBob said...

I just love the quote from the guy Mike talked to:
"It does not matter what the bible says. Being a christian is about having a personal relationship with god."

I wonder how personal and close this imaginary relationship is. Does he have conversations? Do they have intimate relations? Does he get stock tips? Which restaurant to go to? Does god give medical advice? Do they discuss Hume and Descartes?

LaurieB said...

NE Bob,

Hi Bob. You know, I really had never thought about the whole stock advice thing until you mentioned it just above. If I thought I could get some supernatural stock tips then I might be able to flush my 30+ years of hardcore atheism (not one single molecule of accomodationism) down the toilet and label myself "spiritual". I mean, cut me a break. Times are tough!

Laurie

LaurieB said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for that reply. Tough for me to comment on this issue as I have very little contact with the LGBT community and so no one to bounce ideas off. I've been told that our Unitarian U. church here is town has an increasing LGBT membership. Could this be the most accepting church around? They might be the only "protestant" church that is actually increasing membership - not counting the evangelicals of course. UU church is picking up agnostics and all varieties of spiritual people as well. A UU member told me, "They even have ATHEISTS in our church!" I said, "I don't know how an actual atheist can sit through a sermon of happy horseshit like that" She answered, "They just want to socialize" hehe...

NewEnglandBob said...

Laurie:

If you had a personal relationship then maybe something could be worked out with god - maybe you would only need to trade-in 10 of your 30 years for a so-so supernatural stock tip. After all, didn't Jesus even try negotiation (forgive them, for they know not what they do)?

John Myste said...

And if they know not what they do, shouldn’t that immediate grounds for forgiveness? I am not sure why Jesus even had to explain it to His Father.