Inspiration from an Unexpected Source

Have any of you seen this ad?

This internet movement, of people speaking up and publicly saying “there’s nothing wrong with you or your lifestyle, and things will get better,” is an amazing thing, and it may very well change the life of somebody out there. And who would have thought that it would be sponsored by Google?

It’s virtually an established fact that gay teen suicides decline when there is a supportive community. My honest question is, what does this community look like, and how do we build such a community? The religious will tell us that all of this secular stuff is not enough, that what is really needed is some sort of spiritual awakening and some practicing of tough love.

Sarah McEwan wrote a letter that I think is a good response:

You can argue all you want that the solution is Christian compassion despite a belief that being gay is sinful, but as long as you believe and preach and teach that gay kids are inherently abominable to God, you’re always going to be part of the problem.

And no, the philosophical contortions in which many Christians like to engage, claiming God only hates homosexuality but doesn’t hate homosexual people, does not absolve you of your responsibility. Treating people as though their humanity is somehow separate from their intrinsic characteristics is not merely absurd bullshit; when you seek to wrench apart the components of people’s whole selves and throw away pieces of their identities, it’s just eliminationist rhetoric dressed up in its Sunday best.

I find it also very funny that Christians don’t make a fuss about people working on the Sabbath or eating bacon. But when it comes to things like who you may have sex with and what kind of contraception  you may use (or none at all), the debate is so controversial.

The moral of the story: inspirational freethought messages from Google > anything the Church or the Bible says.

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Posted on May 3, 2011, in Humanism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Bradford Black

    Haha, you really need to consult an average everyday Christian on these matters, not just the ones bellicose enough to appear in the media, because your stereotyping of what “Christians would say” or “the religious will tell you” is off the mark. There are many Christians, including myself, who find the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign to be very effective in building community for the LGBTQIAxxx, whether it’s of a spiritual nature or not.

    And while the majority of Christians do not, as a Seventh-Day Adventist, the Sabbath and Kashrut commandments still hold much significance for me, and I pray for the day when others too will recognise their significance.

    Here’s to more balanced discussions.

  2. How about this?

    The majority of Americans now say that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. I’m not so sure about Christians, but I know they are quickly catching up.

  3. I agree with Bradford Black. Not all of us think like her. She says “And no, the philosophical contortions in which many Christians like to engage, claiming God only hates homosexuality but doesn’t hate homosexual people, does not absolve you of your responsibility.” – That couldn’t be farther from the truth. If it were true than why was Jesus considered a ” friend of the sinners”. If she really thinks that ” You can argue all you want that the solution is Christian compassion despite a belief that being gay is sinful, but as long as you believe and preach and teach that gay kids are inherently abominable to God, you’re always going to be part of the problem.” – she needs to take a hard look in the mirror and open up her bible. No one is perfect and leads a life completely void of sin even Christians. No sin is above an other sin and I’m sure she has her share of sins under her belt. Part of Christianity is realizing we aren’t perfect and relying on God to help us with our imperfections. As far as what you said about us eating bacon and working on the Sabbath ( which I don’t) read Acts.

  4. “Haha, you really need to consult an average everyday Christian on these matters, not just the ones bellicose enough to appear in the media…”

    The Pew Research Center shows that nearly half of all Protestants still think homosexuality is a choice. A majority of white evangelicals and black protestants believe homosexuality is a choice.

    There’s a really poisonous and hostile environment to homosexuals/homosexuality in many “everyday” Christian communities across America, far more than in more secular ones, and to ignore or downplay that reality is quite disingenuous.

    However, I give credit for Christians for improvement in these numbers.

    So please stop with your repeated attempts to say that I’m misrepresenting Christians when I’m demonstrably not.

    • Bradford Black

      I’m not certain, but I feel you would likely say that atheists, brights, and freethinkers are misrepresented by the religious majority. I would agree with you. But I would say the same is done in the opposite direction.

      See, it would have been helpful for me to have seen those Pew statistics in the original post, rather than later in the comments. It would have given your point more credibility. It also wouldn’t weaken your coverage of the debate/problem to acknowledge, as you did in the comments, that religious folks are making strides in (what you see as) the right direction. I’m not trying to tell you how to run your blog, but just what would help me as a reader.

  5. wingers81,

    I don’t think you’ve at all addressed the point. Here’s why:

    It isn’t about being a “friend of the sinner.” It’s about whether there’s anything at all wrong with living a homosexual lifestyle. And when Christians say there is, that’s putting unnecessary pressure (to put it rather nicely) on teens trying to find their place in this world.

    Christians can say they love thieves and other criminals; I understand what they mean. But thieves do something truly evil and bad, and while homosexuality doesn’t hurt anyone. It is not a disease; it is not a disorder, it is a normal part of nature, and it is found in animals.

    Christians have to take responsibility for the environment they create when they imply that homosexuality is a sin (like stealing, lying, etc.), and that’s the point that you aren’t addressing.

    • We imply that it is a sin because in the bible it is a sin. You don’t see it as a sin because you don’t believe in the bible. You have different values as an atheist then I do as a Christian. We have the freedom in this country to practice what ever religion we want to. That’s the difference. If the situation was reversed and atheists saw it as a sin or wrong and the Christians didn’t then you would still be complaining, you would just be complaining about us supporting homosexuality. It’s a never ending cycle.

      • “You have different values as an atheist then I do as a Christian. We have the freedom in this country to practice what ever religion we want to.”

        A common fallacy. Of course we know that you can practice your religion. Nobody is saying you cannot. You can say “homosexuality is a sin” as an exercise of free speech and religion. I will defend your right to do that.

        But that doesn’t make it right, and it’s not because we just happen to “disagree”. There are clearly right and wrong answers to moral questions, and to not defend the merits of your position seems a bit relativistic to me.

        There are all kinds of things considered sins in many different holy books. For example, depicting Muhammad, according to the Koran (and many Muslims), is very very bad. But the question of how we as a society should view and handle depictions of the prophet is a much more complicated question than what is implied when you say “we just see it that way.” To begin, you have to take into account who is harmed, what the long term effects are, what the consequences are, what principles are at play, etc. etc.

        I’m not saying I have all the answers. But I just won’t accept arguments like “well you just happen not to believe in the Koran. That’s the difference.”

        Note that the topic of homosexuality hits people much more intimately than the example I used above. Gay people often grow up in very unsupporting communities (to put it mildly), and that includes the reality that they are told that there’s something sinful about being in a gay relationships, or that one’s own gay parents and family are a product of sin.

        The secular community has always been a close ally of the gay community, and we can change things for the better.

        But we can’t do it alone. We’ll need everybody’s help, including yours, to make it better for everyone.

  6. The difference I am referring to is that we have different views on what is moral ( sins ) or immoral based on our beliefs. The problem with defending my position with some one who is atheist is the bible. There is no point in me quoting scripture to you that supports the Christians view on the topic because 1 I’m sure you’ve heard it all already and 2 if you believe that the Bible is fictional then you are not going to believe anything that is quoted from it. The topic of morality would take me to long to explain in just a comment form on here. You are right that there needs to be a change with the way a lot of Christians handle the topic. Yes it’s a sin according to the bible but the bible teaches us not to judge others and treat others with respect. Bulling some one because of there sexual preference is a sin. There is a book called ” Loving Homosexuals The Way Jesus Would ” by Chad Thompson. There are too many people out there spreading hate and calling it Christianity and it does need to stop. I personally believe that if homosexuals want to get married than that’s there right and they should not be stopped by the government ( after all the government is supposed to be secular right?) . I would only have a problem with it if there was a Christian pastor who wanted to perform the ceremony because that goes against the Christian beliefs.

    • I understand that we disagree. There are all kinds of holy books in the world that we don’t believe in. I gave you an example of how Muslims can use the Koran to enforce their own beliefs.

      My challenge to you was, how do we resolve these disagreements? Given a proposition from Holy Book Y, how do we know whether a moral guideline is a good one or not?

      If you won’t even begin to answer that question and just give up and say “we just disagree,” or “we just have different values” then I don’t see the point of discussing this topic.

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