How to do Homophobia

Now most regular readers of this website know that I’m not overly socially liberal in the slightest and that I believe that God has designed us to relate sexually within marriage of a man and a woman and that any other sexual relationship is sinful. I link to websites that share the same view and they sometimes link back. As part of the general internet fun I get at least one email or comment a week telling me what a homophobic, fundamentalist bigot I am (though over half of them are anonymous – curious).

I don’t think I’m homophobic and while promoting a traditional sexual ethic I’ll quite happily pull up anybody who’s language or attitude borders on the offensive, intentionally or unintentionally. I’ve done it before and I’m about to do it again.

VirtueOnline publised a story on Tuesday about TEC Bishops supporting housing rights in Ohio and the comment thread displays how in some parts of the traditional Anglican community the phrase "hate the sin, love the sinner" is just an excuse for homophobia.

OHIO: Episcopal Bishops Support Housing Access for Homosexuals

A Message From the Bishop’s Office
April 21, 2008
Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Today Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop Price and I, along with the three assisting bishops of the Diocese of Ohio, have submitted a memorandum to the Ohio State Legislature as they consider current legislation that would protect the civil rights of homosexual persons in the State of Ohio, particularly as regards equal access to housing and employment (House Bill 502 and Senate Bill 305). The text of the memorandum is as follows:

*To: Members of the Ohio State Legislature

From: The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr. Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., Bishop Suffragan of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. David C. Bowman, Assisting Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. William D. Persell, Assisting Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr., Assisting Bishop of Ohio

Re: Statement of Support for Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Persons in Ohio

Legislation currently before the Ohio State Legislature seeks to secure equal access to housing and employment opportunities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. The Episcopal Church has stated unequivocally that the civil rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, must be upheld and protected. As the bishops of the two Episcopal dioceses in Ohio, we strongly support the enactment of laws that further this goal in our state. We pray that the demands of justice and equity will guide you as you consider this opportunity to extend a small measure of protection and dignity to our brothers and sisters in the GLBT community.

I am very pleased that the bishops of our two dioceses have been able to speak with one voice on this matter. While there is a wide range of perspective and conviction in our Church and Diocese on issues related to human sexuality, there is and must be consistent advocacy for the civil rights of all people. This is well reflected in Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention (1976) which states that "homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church," and A071, which states that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality." In 2003 our own diocesan convention resolved that "it is the intent of this Diocese that all persons be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or theological stance" (R-2003-03).

We must never flag in our efforts to insist on such equal respect and dignity. This includes working to protect such basic rights as equal access to housing and employment.

Yours in Christ,

+Tom Breidenthal

Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio

You see, I have no problem with this. I think it’s ridiculous that anybody should be denied housing or employment simply on the basis of their current sexual desires. Makes no sense at all and I think most of the readers of this blog would agree, whatever side of the debate they are. Not so the commenters on VO:

I am not a lawyer; however I do not believe there is anything in the US Constitution, Federal Law or any state constitution or state law, anywhere which discriminates against any member of the homosexual set.

The Bill of Rights does not guarantee the right to peaceable assembly, except for sodomites! No state where the speed limit is 55 miles an hour…. except for sodomites! "I’m sorry Sir, the speed limit on this road is usually 55 MPH but your gay and the sodomite speed limit is 45 MPH, so I am going to have to give you a ticket."

The sodomite lobby and ECUSA seem to be calling for Supra rights for sodomites making them a protected class. After all, George Orwell and his Animal Farm taught us: “All animals are equal only some are more equal than others.”

I just don’t get this comment. The law being proposed would prevent discrimination. It’s not that the state currently promotes discrimination, it’s that it doesn’t prohibit it.

And what is it with this word "sodomite"? Do you know what the word means? Do you think that *all* gay men engage in anal sex? What about lesbians?

The word sodomite here is used entirely in an ignorant, perjorative manner and is designed as such not to be used as descriptive but as derogative.

If they could show me that by no choice of their own the GLBT are the way they claim I might believe part of this. But they can’t. Maybe the two bishops are trying to say we are an equal opportunity diocese, bring any perversion here and we will fight for you "right" to act on it.

Most men and women who experience same-sex attraction have no control over having it, even if the root of their same-sex attraction is developmental rather than biological (i.e. nurture rather than nature). Andrew Sullivan, the gay catholic writer argues that basic civil rights should be afforded to gay men and women regardless of the source of their sexuality. I agree – basic human rights are about being able to perform the same specific action as anybody else and should be guaranteed by law.

This sort of law, if it’s like others I’ve seen, means that as a property owner who rents out, you can’t deny a practicing homosexual couple to rent from you, even right next door to your family. On your property.

This is coercive promotion of homosexual behavior of the most vile kind.

No it’s not!!! Loads of Christians rent houses to unmarried heterosexual couples without batting an eyelid. Why is an unmarried homosexual couple any different to any other unmarried couple engaging in sex?

The UK has fallen into this deep pit. Remember the pansexual that was rejected for employment by one of the clergy and the clergy paid many a pound after being taken to court.

Well he was a homosexual, not a pansexual, and while we can argue about the rights and wrongs of the case, your use of the word "pansexual" was factually incorrect and designed simply to be derogatory. Nothing less than homophobia* really.

Do you see my point readers? The whole comment thread could have been undertaken in a much more graceful manner, but the antipathy just seeps through the whole page. If I was gay and came and read that site, I’d think it was just a nest of homophobia and knee-jerk response-merchants. Why would I want to talk to these people and hear about the love of Jesus when they practically spit on me with their words?

It’s so disappointing, because there are other excellent conservative sites where such language is stamped on and the commenters warned and then thrown out if they do it again. Why can’t VirtueOnline do the same?

* The technical definition of homophobia is "an irrational fear of homosexuals". While I use the word homophobia in this post, I think some of the comments on the page I link to demonstrate an irrational hatred of homosexuals. Anybody got a good word for that?

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